MAG-IT Surplus
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Vol. 5 No.3
Online Edition
April 9, 2004


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If there is one thing central to what makes American style Democracy work it has to be the common intelligence of each member of the body republic and the collective intelligence of the whole. For it is in each individual voter that decisions of right and wrong, of truth and of falsehood are made. From these discernments, from these moral decisions that form the basis of each voter's choices. On election day, in aggregate, the body republic affirms their collective choices.

This is nothing less than remarkable to those who observe but do not experience such freedom of choice. Not to mention the responsibility of such a choice. To many it may seem chaotic; it certainly is. Some perhaps think us as madmen. Despite the noise and confusion, yes the madness of it all, it nonetheless works! It works because it gives each member a vote, depending on each member to separate the wheat from the chaff, determine the best path and chose that which remains true in their hearts and minds.

My fellow Americans (and all others around the world who enjoy such a freedom) please listen to your candidates with all of your hearts and minds. Be mindful of the tricks of the media and of political double-talk. Observe both what a candidate says and does, including their "private" lives. Please don't forget to stop and look at the world we occupy. Ask yourself what is best. Then, vote your conscience.

Iraqi "insurgents" have launched a major offensive. I am not in Iraq but there are a number of "bloggers" who are, some of them are even Iraqis, folks like you and me but with a greater stake than us in what is happening in Iraq. One of the earliest, and by every indication genuine, Iraqi bloggers is "Salam Pax" from Where is Raed?

Always an interesting read, articulate, educated and clearly a practioner of free-speech, the post dated Tuesday, April 06, 2004 is a must-read for all concerned about what is going on in Iraq at the present. In a nutshell, Salam Pax states that the "insurgents" are thugs claiming to be fighting for god and freedom for Iraq. But is this the kind of "freedom" the world needs? I don't think so. Visits by black-garbed "thought police" is NOT in any way representative of freedom. It is exactly the opposite.

I've said it before, the Islamists want to kill all of us. All as in extinction. They will kill themselves trying. It is an ugly thing, totally lacking in humanity, but it is a fight to the death. So kill we must. Frankly, it's much easier when they are gathered up all in one place. Hospitals near insurgencies are being filled with fighting age young men with gunshot wounds or worse, typically injuries they received at night. All claim to be civilian "noncombatants". But what were they doing out at night? You can bet the innocent aren't out past curfew.

T he FAA has licensed the Rutan Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne for sub-orbital flight. Perhaps the X-prize will be won soon. I certainly hope so. What is needed is a cheap and fast way to get humans into space, especially into the ISS's orbit, and back.

The GAO has issued a new report on the Space Shuttle and manned spaceflight. For the foreseeable future the shuttle will remain the platform for heavy lifting, especially for components of and the supply of the ISS. Service life of the vehicles is expected to be another 20 years. Issues with flying experimental vehicles for 40 years will remain and will need to be addressed, as the report clearly points out.

It is my opinion that we should continue to fly the shuttle because of the capability it has and the basic flight research opportunities it offers. Keep in mind that there is presently no other way of lifting very large and/or heavy items into earth orbit. It is also worth pointing out another unique capability of the shuttle; it's ability to return such heavy and large structures back to Earth. Returning long-duration exposed hardware to earth for study is an absolute necessity for materials research; without such materials research long-duration spaceflight becomes much more risky. Returning these materials to earth for study is the only way to find out.

It is for this reason that I advocate another servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope if safety issues can be worked out, and they should be. In addition to the servicing mission I also advocate the return mission because of the priceless materials research opportunities it presents and the priceless value of such a historical artifact. The HST certainly deserves a place of honor in the Air and Space Museum.

The economy is growing robustly and it appears that job losses have started to reverse themselves. Job growth remains stagnant however, but then there is always some facet of our nation's economy that is less than "nominal". Especially in an election year.

In the spirit of this Christian Easter season I offer this passage from the Book of Revelation (Revelation 21:3-5)

"Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
and God himself will always be with them as their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,
for the old order has passed away."

The One who sat on the throne said,
"Behold, I make all things new."

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One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex was staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. It was covered with names, and small American flags were mounted on either side of it.

The seven year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, "Good morning, Alex."

"Good morning, Pastor," replied the young man, still focused on the plaque.

"Pastor, what is this?"

"Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service."

Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Little Alex's voice was barely audible, trembling with fear, when he asked, "Which service, the 9:45 or the 11:15?"


A man owned a small farm in West Texas. The Wage and Hour Departmentof Texas claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent to interview him. "I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them," demanded the agent.

"Well, there's my hired hand who's been with me for 3 years. I pay him

$600 a week plus free room and board. The cook has been here for 18
months, and I pay her $500 a month plus free room and board. Then
there's the half-wit that works about 18 hours a day. He makes $10 a
week and I buy him chewing tobacco," replied the farmer.

"That's the guy I want to talk to; the half-wit," says the agent.

The farmer says, "That would be me."


Due to the popularity of the Survivor shows, several southern TV stations are joining together and are planning to do their own, entitled "Survivor: Southern Style." The contestants will start in Alabama, travel over to Georgia and on to South Carolina. From there they will head up to North Carolina and over to Tennessee. They will then proceed down to Mississippi and Louisiana; finally ending up back over in Alabama. Each will be driving a pink Volvo with New Jersey license plates and large bumper stickers that read: I'm Gay, I'm a Vegetarian, NASCAR Sucks, Go Yankees! Smoking is for Idiots, Hillary in 2004, Deer Hunting is Murder ,and I'm Here to Confiscate Your Guns!

The first one that makes it back to Montgomery alive, wins.




The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or to forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because in the opinions of others to do so would be wise or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise.

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty [1859]


If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it:
Every arrow that flies feels the attraction of the earth.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


To educate a person in mind and not in morals
is to educate a menace to society."

President Theodore Roosevelt


Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.

Marcus Aurelius


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