Monthly Archives: March 2012

Galactic Views (35)


Hubble Spies a Spiral Galaxy Edge-on
NASA – The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has spotted the “UFO Galaxy.” NGC 2683 is a spiral galaxy seen almost edge-on, giving it the shape of a classic science fiction spaceship. This is why the astronomers at the Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory, Cocoa, Fla., gave it this attention-grabbing nickname.

While a bird’s eye view lets us see the detailed structure of a galaxy (such as this Hubble image of a barred spiral), a side-on view has its own perks. In particular, it gives astronomers a great opportunity to see the delicate dusty lanes of the spiral arms silhouetted against the golden haze of the galaxy’s core. In addition, brilliant clusters of young blue stars shine scattered throughout the disc, mapping the galaxy’s star-forming regions.

Perhaps surprisingly, side-on views of galaxies like this one do not prevent astronomers from deducing their structures. Studies of the properties of the light coming from NGC 2683 suggest that this is a barred spiral galaxy, even though the angle we see it at does not let us see this directly.

This image is produced from two adjacent fields observed in visible and infrared light by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. A narrow strip which appears slightly blurred and crosses most the image horizontally is a result of a gap between Hubble’s detectors. This strip has been patched using images from observations of the galaxy made by ground-based telescopes, which show significantly less detail. The field of view is approximately 6.5 by 3.3 arcminutes. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Is healthcare a privilege or a right?

By David Lazarus – One of the most striking take-aways from this week’s U.S. Supreme Court hearings on the healthcare reform law was the steadfast insistence on the part of Republicans to deny affordable and accessible medical treatment to as many people as possible.

The party is determined to maintain the status quo of healthcare being a privilege and not a right — putting us at odds with just about every other developed nation on the planet and, not coincidentally, resulting in about 50 million people being uninsured.

As I wrote earlier this month, Republican attacks on the mandate as a threat to freedom and liberty ignore the real-world realities of the insurance business. more>

Kucinich: Single-payer healthcare on its way regardless of how Supreme Court rules

Single-payer rally

Single-payer rally (Photo credit: Public Citizen)

By Julian Pecquet – The Supreme Court’s review of President Obama’s healthcare reform law is just another step on the inevitable path toward a single-payer medical system, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said Monday (Mar 26, 2012).

“The cost of health care continues to grow because the costs cannot be constrained within the context of that for-profit system,” Kucinich said in a statement after the high court completed the first of three days of oral arguments on the law. “Whether the Supreme Court upholds the law or strikes it down, single-payer is the only alternative that can meet our nation’s needs.” more>


CONGRESS WATCH House repeals another key provision of Obama Health Care Law, US Congress eNewsletter, US Congress Mac’s Video Mailbox: Week of March 26, YouTube [VIDEO 3:21] Related articles Updates from Congressman Mac Thornberry ( Updates from Congressman Mac Thornberry … Continue reading


CONGRESS WATCH Vice Chairman Kevin Brady Leads Joint Economic Committee Budget Floor Debate Tonight, US Congress Brady Votes for A Budget Path Back to American Prosperity, US Congress Supreme Court Determining the Constitutionality of Health Care Act, [AUDIOx5 7:24/1:29:38/2:00:53/1:31:10/1:25:27] C-SPAN … Continue reading


CONGRESS WATCH H.R. 3433, Grant Reform and New Transparency Act of 2011 S. 1023, Haiti Reforestation Act of 2011 H.R. 2309, Postal Reform Act of 2011 S. 1813, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act Related articles Updates … Continue reading


CONGRESS WATCH Hoyer Floor Statement on the Republican Budget for Fiscal Year 2013, US Congress Hoyer: GOP Budget Ends Medicare Guarantee, Will Hurt America, US Congress Related articles Updates from Congressman Steny Hoyer (


CONGRESS WATCH Boxer, Burr Introduce “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” Legislation, US Senate Video: Senator Boxer Calls for an End to Tax Breaks for Big Oil, [VIDEO 7:06] US Senate Presidential Proclamation — Cesar Chavez Day, 2012, White House César … Continue reading

Medvedev says Romney’s anti-Russia comment smacks of Hollywood

By Alexei Anishchuk – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday (Mar 27, 2012) a comment by U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, branding Russia the “number one geopolitical foe”, smacked of Hollywood.

“I would recommend all U.S. presidential candidates … do two things. First, when phrasing their position one needs to use one’s head, one’s good reason, which would not do harm to a presidential candidate.

“Also, (one needs to) look at his watch: we are in 2012 and not the mid-1970s,” said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the end of a nuclear security summit in the South Korean capital.

President Obama was overheard assuring Medvedev, who will hand over the presidency to newly elected Vladimir Putin in May, that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with arms-control issues after the Nov. 6 presidential ballot. more>

Justices seem split over striking down healthcare law as arguments end

The Supreme Court Trauma Center

The Supreme Court Trauma Center
(Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

By Sam Baker – Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s traditional swing vote, for a second day in a row appeared deeply skeptical of the healthcare law’s individual mandate, suggesting he could side with other conservatives to toss it out in a 5-4 vote.

Whether a majority of the court thinks that would necessitate striking the rest of the law remained a more muddled question after the third and final day of oral arguments, which offered the last public glimpse into the justices’ thinking before they retreat into private deliberations. more>