Archive for August, 2006

Orion XT6, a waxing moon and Jupiter

August 29, 2006

So I got this telescope for my birthday; a gift from my wife and daughters. I am no astronomer, and star-hopping is a difficult skill to learn for this terrestrially-directionally-challenged old man. But tonight the moon is waxing, and though it was low in the west, it was nicely visible from our yard.

I quickly pulled the Orion XT6 outside, discovered the moon in the finder scope, and looked through the 10mm eyepiece. It was a wonderful site. The moon was setting quickly though, so I looked for something else to observe. There was a very bright object slightly north and east of the moon. I had no idea what it was, but acquired it in the finder scope, then looked through the eyepiece: there was Jupiter and four moons. My wife and daughters came out; everyone looked. All the appropriate oohs and ahhs were uttered. It was very cool.


KT McFarland, campaigns, and parenting

August 22, 2006

According to a story at NY1 News, KT McFarland is “suspending” her campaign subsequent to her youngest daughter’s arrest for shoplifting.

Political campaigns take a lot out of the candidate. In a way, I think they take even more out of the candidate’s family. Nothing is private any more; everything is made available for public consumption. A candidate needs to be very convinced of his or her desire for office and of the appropriateness of that desire for office before committing to the campaign. A candidate also needs to make sure that the family is on board with the decision.

How does the candidate decide between the campaign and the family, if ever there is a cause to have to decide between the two? My personal belief is that the family should come first. But then I’m not running for anything. Are there times when a candidate should sacrifice the family?

The man in the arena

August 21, 2006

It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

Warrantless wiretapping unconstitutional?

August 17, 2006

The article “Judge nixes warrantless surveillance” tells how U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor has declared the NSA’s program of warrantless wiretapping to be unconstitutional. I haven’t read the opinion, and I haven’t read the ACLU’s original complaint, but my gut reaction to the decision is that it’s right.

I wonder about the contention the government makes, again as told by the article, that the program is within the president’s authority but proving this “would require revealing state secrets.” What might have to be revealed in order to prove scope of authority? birthday: All the best

August 17, 2006 celebrates its birthday. See Lorelle’s post and Matt’s.

WordPress is a great package. My brother, the technical one in the family, is using it to create family web sites at and What a great tool! My very best wishes to the crew at!