Month: May 2017

Analysis: Space junk could destroy satellites, hurt economies

The growing amount of fast-moving space debris orbiting the Earth could lead to catastrophic collisions with satellites, hurting economies, researchers warned Wednesday ahead of a summit to coordinate efforts to remove the junk. There are an estimated 170 million pieces of so-called “space junk”—left behind after missions that can be as big as spent rocket stages or as small as paint flakes—in orbit alongside some US$700 billion of space infrastructure. But only 22,000 are tracked, and with the fragments able to travel at speeds above 27,000kmh (16,777 mph), even tiny pieces could seriously damage or destroy satellites. “The space junk problem has been getting worse every year,” Ben Greene, head of Australia’s Space Environment Research Centre which is hosting the two-day conference of international space environment scientists in Canberra, told AFP. “We’re losing three or four satellites a year now to space debris collision. We’re very close, NASA estimates, of within five to 10 years of losing everything.” Greene added in a statement that “a catastrophic avalanche of collisions which could quickly destroy all orbiting satellites is now possible”, noting that more collisions were creating extra debris. With society heavily dependent on satellites for communication and navigation, and powering key industries such as transport, finance and energy, the growing cosmic junkyard could threaten economies.

Indeed..  Space junk is definitely a big problem; one we’ve been talking about here at The Daily Buzz for over two years.

‘You Aren’t Representing Me’: Trump Supporter Confronts Maxine Waters

A Trump supporter confronted frequent presidential critic Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and asked why she wasn’t being properly represented. The woman asked Waters why she is not representing the Trump supporters in her Los Angeles district. “I can’t stand him. He’s the most horrible man I’ve ever seen in my life,” Waters said. “Your president is a dishonorable, lying man.” “He talked about grabbing women by the private parts. He lies every day,” Waters said, adding that Trump is “in bed” with Russian petroleum oligarchs. The woman asked Waters why she criticized Trump for the “Billy Bush tape,” but stayed silent about the Monica Lewinsky scandal. “I don’t care about Clinton, I care about [Trump],” Waters responded, turning to walk away. Waters told the woman she will continue to work against Trump until he is impeached. The woman said she, in turn, will work until Waters is impeached. “You can’t impeach a member of Congress,” Waters claimed as she walked away. A former member of Congress, Tennessee founding father Sen. William Blount did face the threat of impeachment. In 1797, the Senate dismissed all charges against him – for allegedly trying to get Britain to purchase the neighboring Louisiana territory from the cash-strapped French.

Of COURSE you can impeach a member of Congress, as you can a judge.  Clearly Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), is American civics-challenged in the extreme.  If you’re in her California district, you should keep that in mind in 2018 when she’s up for re-election…again.  Maxine has the IQ of a chihuaha..  Kudos to this lady for calling her out.  To see the video clip, click on the text above.

Hollywood’s summer has flopped so far. Here comes ‘Wonder Woman’ to the rescue

Hollywood just suffered its worst Memorial Day weekend in 18 years, an eye-popping omen for what’s shaping up to be a bleak summer box office. All signs suggest Warner Bros. is about to deliver a much-needed hit with Diana of Themyscira, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, whose long-awaited feature film gets its wide release this weekend. But that probably won’t be enough to lift the movie business out if its funk, with summer ticket sales down 9% from the same period last year, according to ComScore. Last weekend’s debut of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” topped the charts with $77 million in the U.S. and Canada, down significantly from its 2011 predecessor “On Stranger Tides.” Paramount Pictures’ “Baywatch” wiped out with $27.6 million in five days, thanks to poor reviews. “Summer box office is off to a terrible start,” Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz said in a Tuesday note to clients. Individual movies are not the only problem, analysts say. This summer has been hampered by Hollywood’s over-reliance on tent poles and aging franchises, coupled with worsening attendance levels because of increased competition from at-home entertainment. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” started May off in a big way ($338 million to date), but it’s been mostly downhill since then. Warner Bros’ “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” was a $175-million flop, and Fox’s “Alien: Covenant” was a lackluster performer. Memorial Day weekend ticket sales totaled $173 million in the United States and Canada, the lowest result for the four-day holiday frame since 1999, according to data from ComScore. The sluggish results are validating pre-summer predictions that the season would fall as much as 10% from last year. American audiences seem to be growing weary of the preponderance of sequels and reboots of old franchises. The latest “Alien” movie opened with $36 million in ticket sales, nearly 30% lower than its predecessor “Prometheus.” The three-day opening of the latest “Pirates” was also down 30% from “On Stranger Tides,” though the movie is making up ground internationally. Growing competition from buzzed-about prestige TV and streaming shows may also be siphoning attention from summer film fare, making it harder for would-be blockbusters to lure patrons. “There are so many options for entertainment, and that certainly raises the bar,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. “But the main thing is, you need movies that keep people coming back to the theaters.” Smaller movies normally billed as “counter programming” are getting squeezed. Amy Schumer’s R-rated comedy “Snatched” did modest business, and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” also failed to register at the box office. Not even the charisma of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson could save the raunchy “Baywatch.”

Yeah, I’ve heard from friends that the Baywatch reboot was dreadful..  Anyway, to read the rest of this article by Ryan Faughnder over at the LA Times, click on the text above..

Kabul blast: Death toll rises to 90, 11 US citizens injured

Nearly a dozen United States citizens were among the 400 people wounded when a massive explosion rocked a highly secure diplomatic area in Kabul on Wednesday, killing at least 90 people. There were 11 U.S. citizens — all contract personnel — injured in the blast and one Afghan local guard was reported missing, a senior U.S. official told Fox News. Nine Afghan guards working for a U.S.-contracted security company were killed. No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, believed to be caused by a suicide bombing, though both the Taliban and the Islamic State group have staged large-scale attacks in the Afghan capital in the past. The Taliban later Wednesday issued a statement denying any involvement and condemning all attacks against civilians. Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban, said the Kabul explosion had “nothing to do with the Mujahedeen of Islamic Emirate,” as the Taliban call themselves. The target of the explosion in the Wazir Akbar Khan area was not immediately known, but Ismail Kawasi, spokesman of the public health ministry, said most of the casualties were civilians, including women and children. It was one of the worst attacks Kabul had seen since the drawdown of foreign forces from the country at the end of 2014. The bombing also raised serious questions about the Afghan government’s ability to secure the war-battered nation. “We don’t know at this moment what was the target of the attack, but most of the casualties are civilians,” said Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry. Germany’s Foreign Minister Signmar Gabriel said employees of the German Embassy in Kabul were wounded and an Afghan security guard was killed. The Foreign Ministry activated a crisis team to help deal with the aftermath. Windows were shattered in shops, restaurants and other buildings up to a half mile from the blast site. “There are a large number of casualties, but I don’t know, how many people are killed or wounded,” said an eyewitness at the site, Gul Rahim. The blast comes a day after a massive bomb outside a popular ice cream parlor in central Baghdad and a rush hour car bomb in another downtown area killed at least 31 people in Iraqi. The neighborhood is considered Kabul’s safest area, with foreign embassies protected by dozens of 10-foot-high blast walls and government offices, guarded by police and national security forces. The German Embassy, the Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Palace are all in the area, as are the British and the Canadian embassies. The Chinese, Turkish and Iranian embassies are also located there. The U.S Embassy and the NATO mission in Kabul are also near, about a kilometer (half mile) away from the site. Both condemned the attack and the alliance praised “the courage of Afghan Security Forces, especially the police and first responders.”

Another KaBOOM day in Kabul..   I remember them well…

The Civil War General from Illinois Who Gave Us Memorial Day

Only three years after the Civil War, as our nation started upon its long road toward reconciliation, rebuilding, and healing, the wife of a union general noticed a touching scene of devotion in the South. She saw Confederate mothers, widows, and children coming together each year to place flowers and little flags at the graves of their loved ones who had fallen in battle. This general’s wife thought it was an edifying experience the whole country could emulate. Moved by the devotion she witnessed, Mary Simmerson Logan urged her husband, Illinois General John A. “Blackjack” Logan, to look into creating what was to become Memorial Day. So, at the urging of his wife, Logan became instrumental in creating Decoration Day, the celebration of the nation’s war dead that eventually became Memorial Day. Today, thanks to that gracious and energetic lady, America takes time each year to remember those who served and died for our country, and it is fitting that the holiday was born of both a re-united South and North after our bloodiest war. The man at the heart of the commemoration was a leader in his day but is now largely forgotten. General Logan was a Senator from Illinois and eventually became the candidate for Vice President on the 1884 Republican ticket, losing to Grover Cleveland and another Illinoisan, Vice President Adlai Stevenson. Perhaps no other Federal Army general was as suited as Logan to be the one to launch Decoration Day. Certainly, Logan was a state politician, a political general who successfully transitioned to federal service and continued to hold rank after the war, and also his party’s vice presidential nominee. What many don’t know is that “Blackjack” Logan was aiming to be a Confederate general when the war first started. Thus his sympathies for both sides make him a particularly good fit for the father of Decoration Day. Logan was born in February of 1826 in Murphysboro, Illinois, an area rich with émigrés from Kentucky. His home was near the river bottoms once called “Little Egypt.” The area was a hotbed of Southern sympathy during the early days of the civil war. The genus of the region’s nickname is not entirely known, but what is known is that a company of nearly 40 Illinois men from Williamson and Jackson Counties gathered together in 1861, crossed over into Kentucky, and joined the Confederate Army of Tennessee, becoming Company G of the 15th Tennessee Infantry. Heading up that company was one Captain Hilbert A. Cunningham. He led his men across the river to the Confederacy and served in the C.S. Army for nearly two years. Co. G has the distinction of being the only company of men from a northern state to fight as a group for the Confederacy. A small number of them fought throughout the war for the rebel forces. Captain Cunningham, though, was not one of those stalwarts, for in May of 1863 he quietly went AWOL from the Confederate army and ended up a captain on General John Logan’s staff. This sudden turn may not be so surprising, as Capt. Cunningham was Gen. Logan’s brother-in-law. What may be more surprising is that Logan himself was initially supposed to lead Co. G across the river and into the waiting arms of the Confederacy. Rumors from his family were that the Illinois politician had accepted a Colonel’s commission from the Southerons and intended to make his military mark under the banner of the Southern Cross. But ambition was greater than ideology, at least that early in the war, because Logan was casting a wide net for his officer’s commission and was able to cajole his way into General U.S. Grant’s favor. Logan was soon commissioned as Colonel of the 31st Illinois Infantry shortly after the Battle of Bull Run and so wore the blue for the whole of the war. Many in the 15th Tennessee held a grudge against Logan for the rest of their lives, feeling that he betrayed them for his personal ambitions.

Fascinating!!  While Memorial Day was yesterday, it doesn’t hurt to post such relevant, historical articles.  To read the general order that Logan issued in 1868, click on the text above.

Portland mayor urges US officials to shut down ‘alt-right’ rallies

The mayor of Portland, Ore., urged federal officials and organizers to shut down “alt-right” Trump rallies planned for the upcoming weekend after two men were stabbed to death while coming to the aide of two women during an anti-Muslim tirade. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Monday that the “alt-right demonstrations” would only fuel hatred and fear during a time of tragedy. “There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not now,” Wheeler said in a three-part note posted on Twitter. The mayor assured that the city did not issue permits for the “Trump Free Speech Rally” and other similar events scheduled for this Sunday and June 10. U.S. officials already issued a permit for the Sunday rally. “Our city is in mourning, our community’s anger is real, and the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate an already difficult situation,” Wheeler said, adding that the permits should be revoked. The appeal, however, opened the debate about First Amendment rights in the U.S. Violent protests between far-right and far-left protesters have derailed appearances by contentious figures on college campuses and in liberal cities like Portland and Berkeley, California. The Facebook page for Sunday’s event stated there would be speakers and live music in “one of the most liberal areas on the West Coast,” adding that it will be “an uplifting experience to bring back strength and courage to those who believe in freedom.” The description also thanked President Donald Trump. The Associated Press said one of the speakers attending will be Kyle Chapman, who describes himself as an American nationalist and ardent supporter of Trump. Trump condemned the fatal stabbing on the official POTUS Twitter page on Monday, saying the violence was “unacceptable.” “The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them,” Trump tweeted.

This Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) is a self-righteous, hypocritical, fascist, and shameless opportunist.  I’m sure he’s not wanting to revoke any permits for “alt-left” organizations..  Seizing on a tragedy like that to justify censoring political speech he (or other liberals) may not agree with isn’t only fascist, it’s unconstitutional.  So, shame on him for even going there.

Court Criticizes Obama Admin for Illegal Spying on U.S. Citizens

Intelligence agencies violated the constitutional rights of American citizens through illegal surveillance during the Obama administration, recently declassified documents from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) show. The secretive court also notes a change for the better under President Trump’s team. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorizes two courts to provide judicial review for U.S. intelligence agencies when their activities require them to monitor people on U.S. soil. One is FISC, and the other is the court that hears appeals from FISC decisions, the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR). The benches of FISC are comprised of federal judges from regular federal trial courts throughout the nation, and three appellate judges from around the nation comprise the bench of FISCR. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) recently declassified an April 26, 2017, ruling from FISC, detailing violations of Fourth Amendment rights during the final year of the Obama administration. The problems dealt specifically with Section 702 of FISA. This provision of federal law, found at 50 U.S.C. § 1881a, contains “minimization” procedures for U.S. citizens whose information is scooped up by the intelligence community while those agencies are conducting FISA surveillance. These safeguards minimize the burden on civil rights caused by the intrusion of the federal government into citizens’ lives.

The fact that this story is NOWHERE in the dominantly liberal mainstream media shows their brazen hypocrisy.   Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews would NEVER bring this up..  But, if this were about Trump, it would be on MSNBC 24/7.  That’s why they’re not real journalists.  They’re partisan hacks.  Remember that..  To read the rest of this disturbing article, click on the text above.