Daily Archive: 09/08/2014

Sep 08 2014

Harvest Super Moon

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The full moon will rise tonight over the east coast at 6:55 PM EDT. It is the third consecutive super moon and the 5th this year.

We in astronomy used to call them perigean new moons or perigean full moons, that is, new or full moons closely coinciding with perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. But, like almost everyone else, now we enjoy calling them supermoons. The name supermoon was coined by an astrologer, Richard Nolle, over 30 years ago. It was popularized and came to be the accepted term for most people only in the past few years. Are supermoons hype? In our opinion … gosh, no, just modern folklore. And they can cause real physical effects, such as larger-than-usual tides. The year 2014 has a total of five supermoons. They are the two new moons of January, and the full moons of July, August and September.

It’s also the Harvest Moon which is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox which falls (punny) on September 22 this year.

The super Harvest Moon and Mid-Autumn Festival of September 8-9 are early in 2014, but September equinox isn’t until September 23 at 2:29 UTC. Although the equinox happens at the same moment worldwide, the clock times vary by time zone.

In the U.S. this equinox comes on September 22 at 10:29 p.m. EDT, 9:29 p.m. CDT, 8:29 p.m. MDT or 7:29 p.m. PDT.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is rising later now, and nightfall comes sooner. This is our autumn equinox, when the days are getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere. At this equinox, day and night are approximately equal in length. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, people are enjoying the cooler days of autumn even as preparations for winter are underway. South of the equator, spring begins.

Depending on where you live the Super Harvest Moon can be on either tonight, September 8 or September 9

It happens on September 9 at 1:38 Universal Time. In North America, the crest of the moon’s full phase comes on September 8, at 9:38 p.m. EDT, 8:38 p.m CDT, 7:38 p.m. MDT or 6:38 p.m. PDT.

So the night of September 8-9 has the brightest, fullest moon for the Americas. Meanwhile, for the most of Asia, the moon turns precisely full during the daylight hours on September 9. For all of us, by the night of September 9-10, the moon will be waning. In fact, September 8, 2014 is the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Asia, which is linked to this full moon.

For modern Pagans and Wiccans, this moon marks the start of the second harvest which culminates on the Autumnal Equinox. The third and final harvest then begins as the nights are longer than the days and we start to prepare in earnest for winter. Samhein, or Halloween, marks the final harvest celebration with bond fires, feasts and music marking the passing of another year and the beginning of winter.

Wherever you are tonight, step outside, stand barefoot on the earth, reach up to touch the moon and breath.

Sep 08 2014

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial Board: Voter ID on Trial in Texas

In April, a federal judge in Wisconsin invalidated that state’s voter-identification law, finding that it would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of eligible voters in a phony attempt to prevent a problem – in-person voter fraud – that does not exist.

Last week, the spotlight turned to the federal court in Corpus Christi, where the Justice Department and several advocacy groups are fighting Texas’ absurdly strict voter-ID law. Passed in 2011 by the Republican-dominated Legislature, the law accepts as proof of identity a concealed-weapon permit but not a student ID card. [..]

Rather than find a way to appeal to a wider swath of voters, Republican lawmakers rig the game with pointless obstacles to voting. The courts are finally catching on, but in the meantime, many of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens are shut out of the democratic process.

Paul Krugman: Scots, What the Heck?

Next week Scotland will hold a referendum on whether to leave the United Kingdom. And polling suggests that support for independence has surged over the past few months, largely because pro-independence campaigners have managed to reduce the “fear factor” – that is, concern about the economic risks of going it alone. At this point the outcome looks like a tossup.

Well, I have a message for the Scots: Be afraid, be very afraid. The risks of going it alone are huge. You may think that Scotland can become another Canada, but it’s all too likely that it would end up becoming Spain without the sunshine. [..]

But Canada has its own currency, which means that its government can’t run out of money, that it can bail out its own banks if necessary, and more. An independent Scotland wouldn’t. And that makes a huge difference.

Could Scotland have its own currency? Maybe, although Scotland’s economy is even more tightly integrated with that of the rest of Britain than Canada’s is with the United States, so that trying to maintain a separate currency would be hard. It’s a moot point, however: The Scottish independence movement has been very clear that it intends to keep the pound as the national currency. And the combination of political independence with a shared currency is a recipe for disaster. Which is where the cautionary tale of Spain comes in.

David Cay Johnston: Time to end co-pays

They are one of many reasons that U.S. health care has the world’s highest overhead costs

American hospitals spend a huge and growing share of their revenue on overhead, a study published today in Health Affairs shows. Getting those costs down should be a national priority.

American hospitals on average spend 25.3 cents out of each dollar of revenue on overhead, with for-profit hospitals spending 27 percent and nonprofits a bit below the average.

By contrast, the Netherlands and England, which have the next highest overhead costs, spend 19.8 percent and 15.5 percent, respectively. Both are moving toward market-based financial models, so as with the U.S. overhead costs are likely to rise.

Compare Canada and Scotland, which have single-payer health care systems. Their hospital administrative costs are half those in America.

The new study helps explain why for each $1 the 33 other countries with advanced economies spend per person on universal health care, the United States spends $2.64 – and yet more than one-fifth of Americans have no or poor health insurance.  A significant reason America’s health care system is so expensive and inefficient turns out to be those annoying co-pays.

Robert Kuttner: Free Scotland, Free New England!

Until recently, few people took seriously the possibility that Scotland might actually secede from the United Kingdom. However, with a referendum scheduled for September 18, the latest polls show secession in the lead for the first time, and gaining dramatic momentum.

The British government is frantically scrambling to offer the Scots a much more autonomous form of federalism, to head off the drive for full independence. Meanwhile, the specter of a diminished Britain has led to speculative attack against the British pound.

What’s going on here? [..]

The Scottish Nationalist Party and its leader Alex Salmond, the first minister of the Scottish Parliament, are highly popular with local voters. Salmond pushed hard for this referendum, and in 2012 won the consent of the British government (what was London thinking?) The Tory government campaign urging Scottish voters to vote to stay in the UK has been spectacularly inept.

It’s anybody’s guess what will happen if independence wins. At the very least, it would put pressure on London to convert the United Kingdom into a far more federalist country. Even so, full independence for Scotland is not out of the question.

Robert Reich: The Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Division of America

Detroit is the largest city ever to seek bankruptcy protection, so its bankruptcy is seen as a potential model for other American cities now teetering on the edge.

But Detroit is really a model for how wealthier and whiter Americans escape the costs of public goods they’d otherwise share with poorer and darker Americans.

Judge Steven W. Rhodes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan is now weighing Detroit’s plan to shed $7 billion of its debts and restore some $1.5 billion of city services by requiring various groups of creditors to make sacrifices.

Among those being asked to sacrifice are Detroit’s former city employees, now dependent on pensions and health care benefits the city years before agreed to pay. Also investors who bought $1.4 billion worth of bonds the city issued in 2005. [..]

No one knows whether Judge Rhodes will accept or reject the plan. But one thing is for certain. A very large and prosperous group close by won’t sacrifice a cent: They’re the mostly-white citizens of neighboring Oakland County.

Oakland County is the fourth wealthiest county in the United States, of counties with a million or more residents.

Sep 08 2014

TBC: Morning Musing 9.8.14

Well, good Monday mornin’ to y’all. Since it’s Monday, i’m going light for ya, but interesting.

It seems as though the mystery of who was Jack the Ripper has been solved through DNA.

Jump!

Sep 08 2014

The Breakfast Club (Cruel Summer)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Nazi Blitz on Britain begins in World War II; Mobutu Sese Seko dies; Panama Canal Treaties signed; Rapper Tupac Shakur shot; ESPN debuts; Pro Football Hall of Fame dedicated; Rock star Buddy Holly born.

Breakfast Tunes

Sep 08 2014

On This Day In History September 8

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 8 is the 251st day of the year (252nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 114 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1966, The TV series, Star Trek, debuted on NBC-TV, on its mission to “boldly go where no man has gone before” and despite ratings and only a three year run that gave us 79 episodes, the series did exactly that.

When Star Trek premiered on NBC-TV in 1966, it was not an immediate hit. Initially, its Nielsen ratings were rather low, and its advertising revenue was modest. Before the end of the first season of Star Trek, some executives at NBC wanted to cancel the series because of its rather low ratings. The chief of the Desilu Productions company, Lucille Ball, reportedly “single-handedly kept Star Trek from being dumped from the NBC-TV lineup.”

Toward the end of the second season, Star Trek was also in danger of cancellation. The lobbying by its fans gained it a third season, but NBC also moved its broadcast time to the Friday night “death slot”, at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (9:00 p.m. Central Time). Star Trek was cancelled at the end of the third season, after 79 episodes were produced. However, this was enough for the show to be “stripped” in TV syndication, allowing it to become extremely popular and gather a large cult following during the 1970s. The success of the program was followed by five additional television series and eleven theatrical films. The Guinness World Records lists the original Star Trek as having the largest number of spin-offs among all TV series in history.

The series begat five televisions series and 11 movies with more to come. I knew I loved Lucille Ball for a reason.