Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lonely on the Planet

This is an endangered animal that doesn't get so much publicity, possibly because it is already so rare and rarely photographed. This particular species of endangered cheetah starred into a fixed unmanned camera, giving us a glimpse of what may soon vanish from the Earth. They are the fastest animals on the planet, and disappearing fast, too.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rallying the Troops

Click photo to enlarge. They don't get much publicity, but Michelle Obama has been making a series of visits to federal departments. The above photos are from the Interior Department visit (evidently she was given a Native American shawl at the event). Today she was at the Environmental Protection Agency. These visits are as important as anything the President does, because these are the people who need to be inspired to do their best for the country. Today she told them, "This is what it is all about: the future... And in many ways, it starts with all of you. You ensure that the water we drink is safe, that the air we breathe is clean, and that the polluted fields and abandoned factories in our neighborhoods all over this nation are cleaned up and restored."
"Your work will not only save our planet and clean up our environment; it's going to transform our economy and create millions of well-paying jobs. You know this better than anyone in the country," Obama said. "So there is a lot riding on your shoulders.... I know that you are up to the challenge. I can feel it in this room." There is no way to overestimate a visit by the First Lady (making them feel part of the glamor of the presidency, as well as her own) who can say these things with the credibility of her professional experience to back them up. These people need to be honored and inspired. Feeling part of this larger mission can motivate them and focus them on the work ahead, which is every bit as important as Michelle Obama said.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Command Performance

"We are not quitters":Presidential scholars and journalists compared President Obama's speech before a joint session of Congress to FDR's fireside chats, calling it a command performance and the boldest and best speech of its kind in a long time. The President explained his policies and the reasons for them clearly and Americans understood--support for the Obama economic plan shot up to 80% in one snap poll, and the President's approval rating increased in all polls and focus groups. This speech will be talked about for a long time, including here. For now, some of the poll results are here, here and here. The video and text of the speech are here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Special Comet

Comet Lulin, a stranger to this part of the solar system, is zooming through the sky and comes closest to the Earth today. It's visible with small telescope, maybe binoculars, and in very isolated areas, maybe the naked eye. It's an unusual comet on an unusual path, so it may look pretty strange--maybe with a tail in front as well as behind, and it may look like it's shifting position quickly. Here's some info on where to look for it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hope is On the Way

President Obama outlines how the Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus will help you, and previews this coming busy week: a fiscal summit on Monday, an address to Congress and the nation on the state of the economy and what we need to do. The President is looking at this complex and scary situation comprehensively: "We can't address any of our problems without addressing them all." That includes oversight, and a news report Sunday says that tomorrow, he will appoint an investigator to oversee stimulus spending--a former Secret Service agent who exposed corruption at the Interior Department in the Bush administration.