If, by chance, you felt hot breath on your neck… 26 February 2009Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
Nicknamed the Eye of God, the amazing object is actually a shell of gas and dust that has been blown off by a faint central star. [ESO via the Telegraph]
The bright blue pupil and the white of the eye are fringed by flesh-coloured eyelids – but this eye is so big that it light takes two and a half years to cross from one side to the other.
The object is actually a shell of gas and dust that has been blown off by a faint central star. Our own solar system will meet a similar fate five billion years in the future.
It lies around 700 light-years away in the constellation of Aquarius, and can be dimly seen in small backyard telescopes by amateur astronomers who call it the Helix nebula. It covers an area of sky around a quarter the size of the full moon.
The photo was taken with a giant telescope at the European Southern Observatory, high on a mountaintop at La Silla in Chile. It is so detailed that a close-up reveals distant galaxies within the central eyeball.
I on the other hand… have picked up the very opposite of the ‘big eye in the sky’… a tiny mouse has moved in. A few nights ago I thought I heard a bit of a rustle in the bedroom… but then noticed I still had a big wad of cream colored tissue on the bed, from inside a gift box… so I thought, well that is it. But tonight I saw a little mouse. Haven’t had one in years, and last time it was a much, much colder winter… that time, it moved from the bedroom to a storage / cooking pots and pans sort of area, part of a big old range I have in the kitchen (warm, as it is right along side the pilot light), and after a while, in the early spring, disappeared. Saved me doing anything about it. Fingers crossed it goes that easy this time…
I volunteer my mouse to the Treasury! Ask not what your country can do for you… ;)
TAPPER: OK. And second question, Paul Volcker today said about the staffing at the Treasury Department, “There’s an area that I think is shameful, the secretary of the treasury sitting there without a deputy, without any undersecretaries, without any, as far as I know, assistant secretaries responsive in substantive areas. At a time of very stark crisis, you shouldn’t be sitting there alone.” He said, “Now, various things have contributed to this, I guess, include vetting procedures, but it’s really an unfortunate situation.” And he said that we can’t have a “weak” Treasury at a moment like this. Does the president agree with Mr. Volcker that this is a problem, his Treasury staff?
GIBBS: Well, this president is committed — (clears throat) excuse me — to ensuring that we have as many people and as quickly as possible that we can get into this government. I think I would say a little — I wouldn’t quite agree with everything that our friend Mr. Volcker. I don’t — I don’t think that the secretary is alone at the Treasury Department. I think there are many able people assisting him. And I asked somewhat of this question yesterday, and I asked that they pull some numbers for me. So, to figure out exactly the breakdown of this includes political appointees and Schedule C appointees, that by the end of February there were 279 that were staffed up in the first Bush administration, 286 in the Clinton administration, 200 and — this is for the whole government — 288 for the second Bush, and as of today, 483 in the Obama administration.
TAPPER: In the Treasury Department?
GIBBS: This is for — this is government wide. I will find out. I don’t have specific Treasury figures in front of me, but I’ll pull those.
TAPPER: Because that was the point that he was making.
GIBBS: These are — this is in relation partly to some questions that I got yesterday about that. But no, I think the Treasury Department, I think what what we’ve asked the Treasury Department to do is certainly a lot, and I think what they’ve produced through a recovery and reinvestment plan, both working with a financial stability package, dealing with individual banks, insuring that we have a way forward that protects our manufacturing base in autos — we’ve asked a lot of Treasury and they’re doing a lot of great work.
I offer the mouse. I think they need the help…