Thunderpig’s Mirror

Archive for January 14th, 2007

Frankly Hilarious

Posted by Thunder Pig on January 14, 2007

Someone just IMed a link to this video…since I’m on dial-up, it’s gonna take another 10-15 minutes for it all to load, but what I’ve seen so far so hilarious. Congressman McHenry played the Chair like a fiddle.

The next two years might have some entertainment value, after all, like the ASheville City Council Meetings.

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Comet McNaught Now Visible in Daylight

Posted by Thunder Pig on January 14, 2007

I found this at Space Weather, and I can’t wait to try it. I’ve also got a new camera that might be up to the task of recording my find. Updates later. Find a copy and paste of the article below:

DAYTIME COMET: Comet McNaught is now visible in broad daylight. “It’s fantastic,” reports Wayne Winch of Bishop, California. “I put the sun behind a neighbor’s house to block the glare and the comet popped right into view. You can even see the tail.”

This trick is best performed around local noon: Go outside and stand in the shadow of a building. Face south. The comet lies 5 degrees to the left of the sun. (Five degrees is the width of your fist held at arm’s length.)

Photo credit: Thorsten Boeckel of Bavaria, Germany

You may not see anything at first, but don’t give up. Scan the blue sky until your eyes alight upon the comet. Once seen, you’ll wonder how you could’ve missed it.

This weekend is a special time for Comet McNaught because it is passing close to the sun. Solar heat is causing the comet to vaporize furiously and brighten to daylight visibility. At magnitude -4 to -5, McNaught is the brightest comet since Ikeya-Seki in 1965.

Binoculars dramatically improve the view of the comet, allowing you to see structure within the tail. But please be super-careful not to look at the sun. Direct sunlight through binoculars can cause permanent eye damage.

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Nancy’s Culture of Corruption, Part II by John Armor

Posted by Thunder Pig on January 14, 2007

You may find this article in its context at Free Republic. I have swipped the whole thing, and posted it here. The comments at Free Republic are eloquent, so I won’t add to them.

So, the House of Representatives has passed its Federal Minimum Wage Act as one of its “first 100 hours priorities,” per the new Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. But it turns out that the “raise” for all Americans contains two exemptions. One is for the Northern Mariana Islands and one for American Samoa.
The Mariana Islands have a special low minimum wage. They have a Republican “representative” to Congress, who is not a “Congressman.” Their interests have, until recently, had the disgraced Jack Abramoff as their spokesman and operative.

American Samoa has a better deal. They are totally exempt from the minimum wage. They have a Congressman, Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, who is a Democrat, and who has voting rights in committees and on the floor of the House (so long as his vote doesn’t control the outcome). Congressman Faleomavaega is well funded by Starkist, whose tuna-packing plant in American Samoa now pays $3.60 an hour as opposed to the new federal minimum of $7.25 after two years.

So, the difference if the federal minimum applied would be about $3.65 an hour. Assuming 40 hour weeks, and 50 weeks a year – it is doubtful that the tuna packers in American Samoa are getting paid vacations – the difference amounts to $7,300 per worker, per year. So, 150 workers represent $1 million off the bottom line of Starkist, if they had to pay the federal minimum wage.

My understanding is that the plant employs about 300 Samoans. So, that’s $2 million a year saved by the exemption. If the plant is running two shifts, that would be $4 million a year saved.

Does Starkist have any friends more powerful than Congressman Faleomavaega? Why, yes. Starkist is owned by Del Monte, headquartered in San Francisco, represented for the past two decades by, tah dah, new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. And the total exemption of American Samoa is not new, it has been around for about two decades.

Have the good folks at Del Monte made significant contributions to their Congresswoman, Nancy Pelosi? I imagine they have, and leave the interesting research to others at Cross reference that with the Board of Directors and top employees of Del Monte and Starkist – both lists available on the Internet.

But there is one final wrinkle in this story. The Democrats, and an unfortunate majority of the economically-illiterate press, have been describing this as a “raise for all Americans.” It is a raise for some, imposed by law. But it is a pink slip for some Americans. A basic law of economics is that when you raise the price of anything, you decrease the amount that will sell. This is a fundamental law, like gravity, or the fact that water runs downhill.

The press, mostly, and the Democrats, universally, pretend that there is no downside to any increase in the required minimum age. But there is. The situation in American Samoa may prove this point nine ways from Sunday.

When confronted with the American Samoan situation yesterday, Speaker Pelosi blinked continuously while saying that this “mistake” would be “corrected.” I thought she was surgically incapable of blinking, but there she was on TV looking like a perp in a spotlight. She didn’t say how the “mistake” came to be. It remains to be seen whether the “correction” will be made.

But if the minimum IS applied in American Samoa, Starkist will likely move its plant one island over, from American Samoa to the independent island of Samoa, where American law does not apply. Then the plant can continue operating with a pay rate of $3.60. And 300 or so American jobs will have disappeared as a direct result of the federal minimum wage law. Neither Speaker Pelosi nor any other Democrat wants that economic fact proved in such an obvious way that even the sleepiest reporter would notice it.
Is Nancy Pelosi an example for women? Yes. She’s an example that women can be just as bought and paid for as men, when they take money from major benefactors and then do favors for those donors. Not exactly a bright and shiny example, but an example, nonetheless.

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