To Boldly Go

 More than three decades after launching, NASA’s workhorse spacecraft is now close to the edge of our solar system.

According to recent research published in Geophysical Letters, the probe is now 111 astronomical units from the sun – meaning it is 111 times further from the sun than it is from the Earth.

Voyager 1 has been exploring the fringes of the solar system since 2004 – and it is now close to the very edge of our solar system, affording the first-ever ‘alien’s eye’ view of our planet.

The probe is still detecting ‘spikes’ in the intensity of cosmic ray electrons – which lead scientists to think it’s still within the ‘heliosheath’, the very outer edge of our solar system.

Voyager 1 still has a little way

V’GER

  to go before it completely exits the solar system and becomes the first manmade probe to cross into interstellar space, or the vast space between stars.

 The spacecraft has enough battery power to last until 2020, but scientists think it will reach interstellar space before that – in a matter of several months to years.

Chief scientist Ed Stone of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said the timing is unclear because no spacecraft has ever ventured this far.

‘The journey continues,’ Stone told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. For the past year, Voyager 1 used its instruments to explore the new region.

It appeared to be the cosmic doldrums where solar winds streaming out from the sun at 1 million mph have dramatically eased and high-energy particles from outside are seeping in  a sign that Voyager 1 is at the doorstep of interstellar space.

Scientists expect to see several telltale signs when Voyager 1 finally crosses the boundary including a change in the magnetic field direction and the type of wind. Interstellar wind is slower, colder and denser than solar wind.

Even with certain expectations, Stone warned that the milestone won’t be cut-and-dried.

‘We will be confused when it first happens,’ Stone said.

Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, were launched in 1977 to tour the outer planets including Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. After their main mission ended, both headed toward interstellar space in opposite directions. Voyager 2 is traveling slower than Voyager 1 and is currently 9 billion away miles from the sun.

“Sacaja-Whiner”

Elizabeth Warren and the Oppression Olympics

By: Michelle Malkin

Elizabeth Warren is the Harvard law professor running for Senate in Massachusetts as a Democratic populist-progressive champion. But don’t call her “Elizabeth Warren.” Call her “Pinocchio-hontas,” “Chief Full-of-Lies,” “Running Joke” or “Sacaja-whiner.”

Warren has claimed questionable Native American minority status for years to reap career “diversity” benefits. Now, Cherokee leaders, campaign rival GOP Sen. Scott Brown and an army of Twitter detractors have called her out for gaming the racial-preference system. Live by identity politics, die by identity politics.

The Boston Herald reported last Friday that Harvard administrators “prominently touted Warren’s Native American background … in an effort to bolster their diversity hiring record in the ’90s as the school came under heavy fire for a faculty that was then predominantly white and male.” When asked for proof of her tribal heritage, Warren’s campaign first denied that she had ever bragged about it. But from 1986 to 1995, Warren listed herself as a minority professor in a professional law school directory.

While the Democrat’s team scrounged for evidence over the weekend, Warren stalled for time by asserting that she didn’t need to provide documentation because family “lore” backed her up. Someone told her a story, you see, and magically conferred native status upon her. Through narrative, all things are possible! (Notorious “fake Indian” Ward Churchill is wondering why he didn’t think of this alibi first before the University of Colorado at Boulder fired him for academic fraud.)

On Tuesday, Warren finally discovered a great-great-great-grandmother supposedly “certified as Cherokee” and a random cousin somehow involved with a museum that preserves Native American art. There’s also a great-great-grandfather somewhere in Warren’s dusty genealogical records who spent time on a Cherokee reservation. Because walking a mile in someone else’s moccasins is now just as good as being born in them.

Native American officials aren’t buying Warren’s 1/10,000th Cherokee claim. Suzan Shown Harjo, a former executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, told the Herald: “If you believe you are these things then that’s fine and dandy, but that doesn’t give you the right to claim yourself as Native American.”

When Brown raised the issue, Warren and her progressive strategists traded in the candidate’s Native American blanket for a War on Women victim’s mask — because asking a privileged Harvard prof to verify her minority claims is sexist, of course.

“If Scott Brown has questions about Elizabeth Warren’s well-known qualifications,” her campaign manager railed, “he ought to ask them directly instead of hiding behind the nasty insinuations of his campaign and trying to score political points. Once again, the qualifications and ability of a woman are being called into question by Scott Brown, who did the same thing with the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan. It’s outrageous.”

Once again, the left’s incurable love affair with oppression chic is on naked display. It’s an Olympic competition of the haves to show their have-not cred. Just a few weeks ago, it was the White House tokenizing Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor — the “wise Latina” — as “disabled” in an official graph promoting the administration’s minority hiring practices. What’s her disability? She has diabetes. No, it’s not debilitating, nor does it fall anywhere near the definition of disability under federal law.

But like their friend Elizabeth Warren, the Ivy League social engineers at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. just couldn’t help embellishing their “diversity” record to score political correctness points. Birds of a manufactured feather flock together.

OOOHHH, Travelin Man

By: Toby Harnden

Barack Obama has already held more re-election fundraising events than every elected president since Richard Nixon combined, according to figures to be published in a new book.

Obama is also the only president in the past 35 years to visit every electoral battleground state in his first year of office.

The figures, contained a in a new book called The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign by Brendan J. Doherty, due to be published by University Press of Kansas in July, give statistical backing to the notion that Obama is more preoccupied with being re-elected than any other commander-in-chief of modern times.

Doherty, who has compiled statistics about presidential travel and fundraising going back to President Jimmy Carter in 1977, found that Obama had held 104 fundraisers by March 6th this year, compared to 94 held by Presidents Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Snr, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush combined.

Since then, Obama has held another 20 fundraisers, bringing his total to 124. Carter held four re-election fundraisers in the 1980 campaign, Reagan zero in 1984, Bush Snr 19 in 1992, Clinton 14 in 1996 and Bush Jnr 57 in 2004.

Doherty, a political science professor at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, has also analyzed presidential travel to battleground or swing states, which change and fluctuate in number with each election cycle.

In their first years in office, Carter visited eight out of 18 battleground states and Reagan seven out of 17. Bush Snr, Clinton and Bush Jnr all visited around three-quarters of battleground states while Obama went to all 15 within his first 12 months.

While the Obama’s campaign activities in office have been largely in line with historical trends, he is especially vulnerable to criticism because in 2008 he promised to change how politics works and to curb links with special interests.

Vowing in 2008 to ‘launch the most sweeping ethics reform in US history’ Obama said that if elected he would ‘make government more open, more accountable and more responsive to the problems of the American people’.

In his State of the Union speech in January, Obama bemoaned the ‘corrosive influence of money in politics’. The following month, he reversed course and announced he was allowing cabinet members and top advisors to speak at big money events for so-called super PACs – unaccountable outside groups raising money for his re-election.

During the 2008 election, Obama abandoned a pledge to opt for public funding of his campaign, instead opting to raise an unlimited amount privately. He then raised and spent approximately $730million, almost double the campaign funds of Senator John McCain, his Republican opponent.

Up to the end of March, Obama had raised $191.6million for his re-election bid, compared to $86.6million raised by his Republican challenger Mitt Romney. His frenetic fundraising activities are in part because he is lagging behind campaign expectations. Early last year, some advisers spoke privately of raising $1billion.

In his book, Doherty writes that in his first full month in office Obama visited Indiana, Florida, Colorado, Arizona and North Carolina – all battleground states – in 2012. ‘Clearly, the White House made a point of the president travelling to key electoral states early in his term in office.’

This week, the Republican National Committee (RNC) lodged a formal complaint with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) about alleged misuse of taxpayer money by Obama.

The Obama campaign dismissed the complaint as a ‘stunt’ and the White House said that it would follow the same rules as previous administrations and refund the appropriate amounts.

In the complaint, Reince Priebus, RNC chairman, wrote: ‘Throughout his administration, but particularly in recent weeks, President Obama has been passing off campaign travel as “official events,” thereby allowing taxpayers, rather than his campaign, to pay for his re-election efforts.’

Doherty, however, said that although the tactic of labelling Obama’s activities as fraud was ‘novel’ in reality the opposing party always complained about a president facing re-election dressing up political events as official ones.

‘This is not new. The Republican complaint is more of a situational complaint than a principled complaint because they certainly weren’t complaining when George W. Bush did this eight years ago.’

He added: ‘In 2004, President George W. Bush broke all records for presidential fundraising in terms of time devoted to fundraising and in terms of money raised and at the time Democrats hit him hard for that.

‘Obama has already surpassed Bush [Jnr] in numbers of re-election fundraisers, but not yet in money raised.’

The rising costs of campaigns, lower contribution limits, the breakdown of the public financing system, the 24/7 media environment and the professionalisation of campaigns had all led to successive presidents having to devote more and more time and energy to raising money.

He added that the ‘big picture’ was incumbent presidents fearing defeat. ‘Until 1976 [when Carter beat President Gerald Ford] no sitting president had been defeated for re-election since 1932. It had been 44 years.

‘And then three of the next four presidents who tried [Ford, Carter and Bush Snr] lost. Of all the presidents re-elected since Ford lost to Carter, only Reagan has won in a landslide. George W. Bush’s re-election [in 2004] was close, Clinton got less than 50 percent [in 1996]. There is a very keen sense among presidents that they really might lose.’

Kirsten Kukowski, an RNC spokesperson, said: ‘It’s no surprise that the Campaigner-In-Chief has taken raising money for his re-election to a whole new level. The worst part is the American taxpayer has been footing the bill.’ The Obama campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Joke of the Day

Don’t blame me for these:

When chemists die, they barium.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d
never met herbivore.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.

PMS jokes aren’t funny, period.

Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.

We are going on a class trip to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there’s
no pop quiz.

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she
couldn’t control her pupils?

When you get a bladder infection urine trouble.

Broken pencils are pointless.

I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.

What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.

All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. The
police have nothing to go on.

I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

Velcro – what a rip off!

A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy

Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!

The earthquake in Washington obviously was the government’s fault.

Be kind to your dentist. He has fillings, too.

Attribution: Bev