NOTICE: Biggest Brightest Moon of 2009 This Weekend

The clear frigid nights that are forecast this weekend will be fantastic for viewing a phenomenon in the night sky.

This weekend’s full Moon will be the biggest and brightest of 2009.

Astronomers call it a “perigee Moon,” which means it will be up to 31 068.6 miles closer to Earth than full moons we will see later on in the year.

When the moonlight shines through icy air, it can produce halos and other atmospheric phenomena.

This will be great to see….take out your camera and have fun.

If skies are clear Saturday, go out at sunset and look for the giant moon rising in the east. It will be the biggest and brightest one of 2009, sure to wow even seasoned observers.

Earth, the moon and the sun are all bound together by gravity, which keeps us going around the sun and keeps the moon going around us as it goes through phases. The moon makes a trip around Earth every 29.5 days.

But the orbit is not a perfect circle. One portion is about 31,000 miles (50,000 km) closer to our planet than the farthest part, so the moon’s apparent size in the sky changes. Saturday night (Jan. 10) the moon will be at perigee, the closest point to us on this orbit.

It will appear about 14 percent bigger in our sky and 30 percent brighter than some other full moons during 2009, according to NASA. (A similar setup occurred in December, making that month’s full moon the largest of 2008.)

Time: Israel Might Have To Deal With Hamas

The cover story in the latest edition of Time has a very pointed article about the need for Israel to brace for the idea they may not be able to wage war as a way to peace.  Not a new idea for much of the world who watches the Middle East, but the writer, Tim McGirk, still hits a home run with “Why Israel Can’t Win”.

But the cold reality is that eventually Israel may need to look not to “deal” with Hamas so much as do a deal with it. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he doesn’t intend to topple Hamas; he knows Israel can’t fill the vacuum of leadership that its elimination would produce in Gaza. Neither can Mahmoud Abbas, Israel’s preferred Palestinian leader, who is fading into the background in the West Bank. So Israel has said it will be satisfied if Hamas stops shooting rockets and an international force polices the Egyptian border to keep the militants from re-arming themselves with weapons smuggled through tunnels.

Hamas says it will agree to a truce if Israel retreats from Gaza and loosens the economic choke hold that has strangled the 1.5 million Palestinians who live on the sliver of land along the Mediterranean. After weeks of global outrage over the unfolding humanitarian disaster in Gaza, any mediator — France, the European Union, Turkey and Egypt are all auditioning for the role — will insist that Israel end its 18-month blockade.

What then? Like Hizballah, Hamas will declare itself victorious: not only will it have survived a direct assault by a far superior military force, but it will also have freed Gazans from Israeli tyranny. As an added bonus, any economic revival of Gaza would put money into Hamas’ coffers. But Israel would gain some breathing space and force Hamas to prove it can actually govern and maintain stability in Gaza rather than heap blame entirely on Israel.

The Economist: Israel Must Be Willing To Give Up Land

The Middle East is a favorite topic on the covers of the newsweeklies, and some sage advice has been penned.  From The Economist comes a long and insightful leader article that ends with this thought.

There is a limit, however. Taking Hamas down a peg is one thing. But even in the event of Israel “winning” in Gaza, a hundred years of war suggest that the Palestinians cannot be silenced by brute force. Hamas will survive, and with it that strain in Arab thinking which says that a Jewish state does not belong in the Middle East. To counter that view, Israel must show not only that it is too strong to be swept away but also that it is willing to give up the land—the West Bank, not just Gaza—where the promised Palestinian state must stand. Unless it starts doing that convincingly, at a minimum by freezing new settlement, it is Palestine’s zealots who will flourish and its peacemakers who will fall back into silence. All of Israel’s friends, including Barack Obama, should be telling it this.

Chris Matthews Gives Credit To Howard Dean

As stated here on this blog, many feel that Howard Dean should have been given a job in the Obama Administration.  That of course seems not to be the case.  Most have noticed that Dean is on the outside looking in, and have made note of it.  Including Chris Matthews who understands great political moves, such as the work Dean did over the past four years.

Illinois House Votes To Impeach Rod Blagojevich


The Chicago Sun Times reported the following, and if you have been in or near a legislative body, will understand the following shows the gravity of the matter.

Everyone is pretty silent and appear to actually be listening to whoever is speaking. No one is really playing ont heir laptops or texting on the iPhone. Very serious tone, as expected.

Also as a side note, the lone vote to support the Governor made it onto the Wikipedia site less than 20 minutes after the vote.  I just find that fact amusing.  BTW, the lone vote from Rep. Patterson was based on his feelings there was not enough evidence to impeach, along with a lack of feelings expressed by his constituents.

History Made In Illinois.

In a historic vote, the Illinois House has impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, directing the Senate to put the state’s 40thchief executive on trial with the goal of removing him from office.

The vote by the House was 114-1 and marks the first time in the state’s 190-year history that a governor has been impeached, despite Illinois’ longstanding reputation for political corruption. Rep. Milt Patterson (D-Chicago) was the lone vote against impeaching the governor.

A Blagojevich spokesman said the governor will not resign.

The actions of the House–approving an article of impeachment maintaining Blagojevich had committed abuses of power–represents the equivalent of an indictment.

The impeachment resolution covering Blagojevich’sactions “show a public servant who has betrayed his oath of office, who has betrayed the public trust, who is not fit to govern the state of Illinois,” said Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, the Chicago Democrat who headed a special panel that recommended Blagojevich’s impeachment a day earlier.