Burlington Derailed — The Continuing Story

31 July

Lockwood Greene Parent - CH2M Hill - Accused of Government Waste

CH2M Hill, the parent corporation for the consultants hired by Southeast Regional Planning to study Burlington’s future has been accused of wasteful spending while managing a $100 million dollar contract to oversee temporary housing for Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

This isn’t the first time CH2M Hill has been accused of waste.

Taxpayers can’t control waste at this federal level. But we can sure clean up Regional Planning to see that it doesn’t happen at the local level.

05:39:12 - SPIKE - No comments

Burlington Schools, High School and Middle School Fail


Thought you might like to see this report. Good thing our school superintendent got a big raise. But did it have anything to do with performance or just waste of taxpayer money?


Since this town can't function without comparative analysis, it looks like most comparable sized cities that have built new libraries for less money can be found on this list of shame.

If the schools and school districts fall short a 2nd time, the District faces possible sanctions. How about the embarrassment of having a our name on this list to begin with?

It seems to me we better get our ducks in a row before we go build more schools. Or throw another incentive package in the wind without a performance clause.

Here are the results below.


05:25:24 - SPIKE - No comments

Vote No To 1¢ Sales Tax

Hello Spike,

I plan to vote no on the 1 cent sales tax. Everything the school district plans on building never comes in on budget.

This is proof that before, during and after they (sad excuse for a school administration) do not know how to balance a checkbook.

Of all the places to build a school, they have picked the very worst place to build a new school. And this will come back to haunt them.

It makes me mad when the school district uses the bottomless pockets of hardworking taxpayers to cover for their mistakes.

Revoking Book's raise would be a step in the right direction.

That's all........for now!


It seems if we are going to pay Book's health care until he is age 65, we should have at least added a performance clause to hold him accountable for his spending spree.

We already have enough self-tributes built around this town.


04:35:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Time To Clean House


After living in Burlington for the last seven years, I would have to say this is the most corrupt town I have ever lived in. I guess pay offs and behind the back room deals are the way things are done.

Sad the average tax payer ends up getting the shaft. Its about time to clean house. Start at the top and work down to the zoning and planning commission.


04:02:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Sidewalks, Schools, Circus Tents & Viagra

Spike -

New sidewalks are required by the city for new construction along Sunnyside. This is a safety issue, especially since the new middle school is going around the Sunnyside area.

As far as the local option sales tax, vote yes. It's an extention of something already in place. How often do you build a new middle school, or for that matter a new library?

Did the City go about it the right way, who knows. Should all the kids be cramed into two building for middle school?? Crappy modular buildings?

Remember, these kids we are educating today, are the ones who will/won't take care of us when we get old.

An answer to how often schools and libraries get built, about every 90 years.


I learned in school because I wanted to. It didn't matter if the school walls were painted pee green or pee blue. It's motivation, not new buildings that develop leaders.

The big rush to demolish Horace Mann was an overt act to place the taxpayers in this very position you proclaim. I'd rather spend $5-8 million on each middle school and call it quits.

If we don't find jobs for the baby producers, there is no need for a new middle school. It will sit 1/2 empty for 50 of those 90 years.

All we need are circus tents, bales of hay and Viagra.


03:41:00 - SPIKE - No comments

30 July

20% Sales Tax Increase?


Will voters in Des Moines County approve the 20% sales tax increase on themselves?

How much of this goes into the state to support Iowa's all too numerous other school districts? When the tax option passed the legislature originally, it was supposed to be strictly local. School districts that can not even support two squad football, let alone a viable retail base, started howling it was not "fair."

Why should larger areas be forced to subsidize school districts that have not been viable since the last milk train passed through town?

I find it ironic that the two counties in Iowa who rank right at the top nationally in terms of residents holding at minimum a Bachelor's degree, do not currently impose the option sales tax. Do the folks in Linn and Johnson Counties know something the rest do not?


How to say, No?


06:48:00 - SPIKE - No comments

29 July

Lake Starker


Remember the goose goo problem at Lake Starker? Our Einstein parks department have created a bigger mess at the lake than any group of geese ever could.

If the work needed to be done why did it have to happen in the middle of the summer when the parks are being used the most? Just wondering what anyone else thinks about this.


18:34:31 - SPIKE - No comments

28 July

Vote NO August 8


I don't know about the lack of sidewalks to the Roosevelt and Sunnyside $40 million dollar middle school site but I do know that that school should not be built in the first place.

We need to properly maintain the school buildings we have and stop the government building boom. Save Oak Street!

The only way that we are ever going to get local government under control is to say no to their tax increases. Vote No August 8 on the 10 year sales tax and urge your friends and neighbors to do the same.

You can vote early at the courthouse, 2nd floor 8-4:30.


03:27:00 - SPIKE - No comments

27 July

Regional Planning Running Wild


It to my understanding that The three stooges Kowzan,Kelly, and Bradley indeed master minded this plan of redistribution to save Bradley. It is further researched that Bradley had to get out of Keokuk for personal reasons, so he was living in Hamilton just accross the river.

In the bylaws it states "members have to live in the planning area." Therefore Bradley had to use a Keokuk address. Sounds like to me these three and Tapp are partners in this cover up. Of course they all would want to protect each other, because they all have used SIERPC money to go on these expensive junkets.

"Hey guys lets change the rules (or bylaws) so we can get our way, and besides airfare is cheaper by the foursome.

This whole story rings true to what I heard why Kelly was asked to resign. Because he wanted to be a political powerhouse, and didn't think he had to listen to his new mayor and council.

I have heard many elected officials are privately getting concerned about Tapp, Bradley, Kowzan and SEIRPC on how they conduct business, and how these types of activities are not what the municipalities are paying for.

Another Watergate?? Maybe its time to turn the Tapp off !!!

Concerned in WB

The Tapp is going to get shut off. Be patient.

It does seem strange that the minutes from the SEIRPC Board meetings are mysteriously absent from the SEIRPC website.

Anyone can ask for these minutes and their financial records becasue they are a non-profit corporation under IRS rules. They only think they can hide.


04:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

If They Build It, Who Can Walk There?


If the School District builds a new Jr. High near Sunnyside and Roosevelt, what of side walks to reach it?

This area was largely developed shortly after World War II. Back then, everybody in the future would drive, or fly, to reach their destination. Sidewalks were a relic of the past. Developers on the cheap did not argue, nor charge any less for a G. I. dream house on Sunnyside sans sidewalk.

The old Iowa Highway Commission was of the opinion if ain't got wheels hooked to and engine, heck with it. This attitude lingered at the Department of Transportation until recently. As a result, US 61 through Burlington is pedestrian and bicyle hostile at a minimum.

The last I looked, Jr. High kids are not driving cars, nor flying to school.

Will anything be done to provide safe access for non-motorized patrons of the new public school? Will an 18 wheeler need to squash a kid, or two, on US 61 before anything is done?

Who will pay to put sidewalks down Sunnyside and Roosevelt?


We'll get right on that after we pay the Fun City bond payment. Just hike the taxes to pay for the 13 kids left in town.

I still say, a circus tent and bales of hay.


03:20:00 - SPIKE - No comments

School Costs - How Much More Can We Afford?


The listing of the Burlington School District salaries have really escalated in the last 5 years. It would be interesting to see how much some of the positions have gone up in the last 6 or 7 years. The superintendent's position has had a substantial increase. Some of the other positions have climbed too.

How much more can we afford? Do these management positions have a top out point such as teachers or other positions?


I think it is more a question of how much more are we going to pay.


03:13:00 - SPIKE - No comments

26 July

So Goes Burlington - So Goes S. E. Iowa

"More Than A Round Of Golf And A Long Lunch."

Spike -

From what I have observed, SEIRPC has done little for anybody. As you relate, when Burlington murmurs, Tapp comes running.

Given that the powers behind Burlington's throne want nothing done that may upset their status quo, it appears the same goes for Keokuk and everywhere else. At least somewhere else is getting pissed.

How per chance progress? Fire Tapp. Put Keokuk, or other area people wanting positive change in charge. Do not change the mission of SEIRPC.

A new leadership and Director may do the job not just for Keokuk, but all of Southeast Iowa. Issue a new slogan, "More than a round of golf and a long lunch."

Success at SEIRPC will infuriate the fossils currently calcifying Burlington's future.


So you think there is little chance of change?


04:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

25 July

Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Scandal Erupts Over Representation

SEIRPC Serves Elite Few - Others Suffer

Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Brian Tapp has become embroiled in the first of several major problems recently brought to our attention.

SEIRPC was designed to be a regional planning commission to help all cities, counties, municipalities and residents in Southeast Iowa in such a way that no entity receives any more special consideration than any other entity.

We have seen that since Burlington is the largest contributor to SEIRPC, there have been many instances where all of the other members have taken a back seat. If Burlington tells Tapp to jump, he just leaps in the air like the scared, neutered, Mindless Lemming Sheep he is.

The SEIRPC Board is made up of representatives from Lee, Des Moines, Henry and Louisa County. Other political entities have no voice on the Board.

The SEIRPC Board Chairman is Ray Bradley who, up until recently, represented the City of Keokuk.

Keokuk has had trouble with the work SEIRPC has been doing for Keokuk. Grants have allegedly been denied and funding lost due to late applications and poor execution. SEIRPC is well known for, and has a very bad habit of procrastination. SEIRPC always presents their work at the last minute in such a way that governing bodies have little or no time to respond to their poor execution.

Understandably, Keokuk wanted someone to sit on the SEIRPC Board that would hold Tapp’s feet to the fire and make him do the job for Keokuk they pay for.

Afraid that SEIRPC would be retaliatory, Keokuk decided to quietly change their representative and Bradley was replaced on the SEIRPC Board. And since Bradley had moved from Iowa to Illinois, the change was warranted.

So SEIRPC Executive Director Brian Tapp along with Lee County Supervisor Joe Kowzan and former Fort Madison City Manager Bill Kelly decided to change the by-laws to accommodate, and add, a new Board position to include an at-large representative.

That new at-large representative is Ray Bradley. And not only was he given this new Board position, he was made SEIRPC Board Chairman again.

The effectiveness of any organization is enhanced or diminished by the boss. In this case, it appears that Brian Tapp circumvented the wishes of one of his key players (Keokuk) and did what he wanted instead of what his customer wanted. Further, he apparently changed the by-laws of the organization to do it.

Maybe Bradley is a good member of SEIRPC. But it appears that he wasn't adequately serving Keokuk.

And we do know that Bradley wasn’t a good chairman because he didn’t demand that Tapp do his job and serve Keokuk’s best interests; the very people Bradley represented.

Executive Director Tapp rewrote the rules to make the Board serve the specific interests of a very few. That is disingenuous to every other member of SEIRPC and all residents of Southeast Iowa that don’t have a SEIRPC Board member to voice their opinion of Tapp’s actions.

That is wrong. And Tapp should be held accountable. Keokuk, and any other poorly served member should withhold their payment to SEIRPC until Tapp is ousted. That may seem like a strong recommendation but there is a lot more to the SEIRPC story and it isn’t pretty.

Stay tuned.

03:18:00 - SPIKE - No comments

24 July



From an employee perspective, I am thankful that I have been employed for 34 years by the same employer, Murray. We've been called a lot of things in those 34 years; Murray Iron Works, Trane, Coppus, Tuthill and now Dresser-Rand.

I think that we have always been an asset to the community and the companies that have owned us, and I believe that we will continue to be, as we have for over 100 years. While being profitable is important, so too is the support of the community. Most of our employees own homes and pay taxes in this area, and many retired employees continue to live in the area.

Again, thanks for your support. No matter how long Dresser-Rand owns us, our intention is to always be a Burlington company, and an asset the people of Burlington will be proud to support.


We are glad you are here and pleased that you have had the same employer that long. Those quality jobs are why Murray is so important. It takes a highly skilled work force to build world class turbines. And when you build something value is added to the community in many forms.

I've seen those old green turbines all over the world doing what they were designed to do. They work because you do.


04:09:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Let My Lemmings Go


It appears lemmings in the wild are not like Japanese Imperial Marines of over six decades past. The little fuzzies are not clinical depressed to the point of mass suicide.

More study is needed, but initial observations of Burlington's bureaucratic lemmings appear to indicate that they induce wide spread depression and mass outward migration.


This news throws a new wrinkle. I guess since Lemmings will follow one another we are OK. Our "leaders" will have to work on the mindless part.


04:03:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Defending Only the Right to Advertise


I read the Advertiser is not happy with individual property rights being protected by the Iowa Legislature. I was wondering how long it would take them to bring up the dispute between Aldi Bakery and the late Horace Sutton.

Sunday's Advertiser told of Mr. Sutton's fight to retain the ratty property he owned nearly 20 years ago. Sutton would not sell, at least not at any price offered, so the city took his vermin hotels and presented them on a platter to Aldi.

Aldi expanded and hung around for another 20 years. Good jobs were held. Aldi advertising continues in the Advertiser. Who cares if Mr. Sutton's property rights were run over with eminent domain cheered on by a large printing press.

Advertising is considered free speech. How different the Advertiser on other rights where, "the public interest" overrides individual rights.

Nut cases must be allowed to preach falsehood. To do otherwise would threaten free speech, i. e. advertising. Criminals must be let go if their rights are violated. Public outrage sells papers and their next murder will sell even more papers and advertising.

Honest citizens should have their firearms confiscated because dishonest citizens misuse them. Criminals shot breaking and entering do not live to write the next day's headlines. On and on it goes.

Unless a provision of our Bill of Rights directly aids the right to advertise, it is obsolete and unecessary.

Once all our other rights are gone, who will give a damn about the right to advertise other than the Advertiser?


01:15:05 - SPIKE - No comments

22 July



I think its comical the people of West Burlington ranting and raving about the increase in Library fees. Burlington residents should be outraged that they are charged more at the WB public pool than the WB residents.

They have known about this for over a year, and didn't bother to get excited about it until the proverbial stroke of midnight. I love the way HANS Solo volunteered the SCC library (which couldn't meet the needs of the community based on what they want to pay), or suggested the WB schools as an alternative (they are closed in the summer).

Summer is usually when the Library kicks off summer reading programs to keep kids in the reading groove.

Hans, what's more important? Childrens educational opportunities, or your ego?


04:19:00 - SPIKE - No comments

20 July

Dresser Rand Incentives


Citizen had the same question I was wondering about, how long is Dresser Rand required to stay in Burlington for the 3.3 million or $20,000 of taxpayer money per employee?

The taxpayer seems to always come out a loser on these deals because the local forces to be can't see the forest because of the trees.


With the Mindless Lemming Sheeps' blind eye to covering the taxpayers' butt, you would at least think the ever faithful watchdog protector of taxpayer's rights, The Ad Vertiser, would ask the question before they sign us up for batting practice.

But if The Ad Vertiser took a leadership role then they couldn't make it into a big commotion to sell advertising, er, newspapers to us when the bond payments are due and we have no Fun City revenue to pay them.

If Dresser Rand builds a 35,000 square foot addition like Slagle said at Monday's meeting, that goes a long way to pay off the incentives.

$20,000 per employee is quite a bit of money per employee. $40,000 is usually about the extreme upper limit for a lot of good paying jobs with heavy construction of new buildings.

I will take the stand that these are excellent, high quality jobs for the community. We need to retain them at all costs utilizing prudent economic development incentives.

If you want to see excess, look no further than the ethanol plant. Chamber Smoke & Mirror Generator Dennis Hinkle told us that the incentives per employee would be "$6-$8,000." Those nitwits Diewold and Hoschek signed us up at the ethanol plant for over $400,000 per employee.

The Dresser Rand deal is palatable. The reason it worked is not because of Hinkle and Slagle with Edwards cheering from the bar sidelines.

It happened because the Governor and IDED went to New York and talked to Dresser Rand. The Governor knew that the locals had a long history of not picking up the phone. Hinkle and Slagle were fluff.

Communication. It can be as simple as picking up the phone on a regular basis. You just have to do it.

If you have doubts, just look to the loss of the railroad jobs at the Shops.

Dresser Rand is very welcome news. Their 163 jobs mean more to this community than 600 casino jobs any day of the week.


11:46:02 - SPIKE - No comments

Gambling Numbers Don’t Add Up

According to a story in the Fort Madison Daily Democrat, Catfish Bend Casino plans to beach the boat and build another land-based casino in Fort Madison. I don’t think that will ever happen.

The July 12 article in the Des Moines Register stated the current Catfish Bend Casino revenues of $30 million place the casino in 13th place in Gross casino revenues out of 14 casinos operating statewide predicated on the 2 new casinos are poised to blast by expectations and place well ahead of Catfish Bend.

Catfish Bend told the Burlington city council that their market study showed that with 2 casinos the expected gross revenues would be about $60 million.

I don’t see it. To validate this premise you have to believe that 50% of the possible customers are staying home when the boat is docked in the opposite city. So then when both casinos open, attendance will double. It doesn’t add up.

This market approach is similar to the locals paying $15.00 a head to get in the Fun City water park. Now that the fee has been lowered to $5.00 they probably need about 2.6 – 2.8 times more visitors just to break even. And probably 3.3 – 3.5 times more visitors to make the same profit structure when they charged the $15.00 admission fee.

I’ll bet my money that the boat floats away and the only casino you will see is on Roosevelt Avenue, because those numbers do add up.

04:34:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Dresser Rand Details


I think it is great that Tuthill is staying in Burlington. We definitely need those jobs.

One question I have and maybe I missed it in the article in the Hawkeye. Maybe a council member could write you. Is Tuthill required to stay in Burlington for a certain number of years to receive the benefits? What is the agreement?

I would think we would have some safeguards.


It seems that much of the time the details seem to escape the attention of City Hall.


03:59:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Kill the Messenger


The government of India is shutting down blog sites.

I bet Burlington's City Manager and Drunk Mayor wish they could do the same. If they could and would, you would not hear a whimper from the Advertiser about the 1st Ammendment.


All you could hear would be the cheers.


02:01:00 - SPIKE - No comments

19 July

Airport To Get $650,750 In Federal Funds

The Southeast Iowa Airport will receive $650,750 in federal funds to buy a new aircraft crash truck.

This is really an example of how Supervisors Blow and Beck had the foresight to join the airport authority so that more federal grant money makes its way to our airport.

It's a lot better than Hoschek's Washington expense accounts that reap no ultimate benefits.

03:56:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Animal Ordinance Passes First Reading - Campbell Only Rational Mind

The Burlington City Council passed the first reading of the vicious dog ordinance Monday night in typical Mindless Lemming Sheep fashion.

I watched a portion of the council and was not impressed with anyone except Campbell.

When Councilman Campbell raised the concern that the Police Chief could arbitrarily change the ordinance rules that would bar the dog owner from the police hearing over their pet, the police chief just looked at Campbell and never responded to his concerns.

According to Councilman Scott the judges will not rule on a vicious dog complaint. The judges say they have no jurisdiction.

The police chief said the owner of the alleged vicious dog would have to file a motion with the court to get their dog back after police confiscate it. This motion will be filed with those same judges that say they have no jurisdiction.

All of this commotion is over less than 1% of 2,000 animal calls per year. That’s less than 20 complaints per year. Any vicious dog is one too many. But it is the owner’s responsibility and liability to harbor a vicious dog.

The police chief said he thought the last vicious dog case was in 1998. That hardly makes this news worthy let alone law worthy.

I will respond like our President did about the Syrians. They need to stop this shit. This is a bad law not written within the scope of due process. It gives the police chief the power to do whatever he wants. And he can change the rules as he goes.

Just because our present chief seems to have it together, that doesn’t mean anything about the next guy in the chair. This is just bad law making and a lawsuit waiting to happen. The police can’t just go dispose of personal property without a court order unless it falls under certain laws. They won’t sell the drunken mayor’s Jeep when he gets busted for DUI.

There were 2 cars stolen from the airport Saturday. What’s next? Ban parking at the airport?

And that grand standing crap from Scott and Thomas? Knock it off. You guys are the boss. They need to kiss your ass, not theirs. And that goes for Slagle, too. Slagle is your employee.

And for Campbell’s concerns? Those concerns need to be addressed and the ordinance changed. The police are here to enforce laws, not to be the judge and jury in any manner.

Without safeguards for this power, it is nothing more than a police state.

03:52:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Decay of the Old Media


Looks like the New York Times will join The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times in reducing their paper and column size to cut newsprint use and production costs becasue of the loss of readers and advertising to the Internet and other media.

It appears the old media may well disappear as did Schramms. It will shrink until there is not enough left to sustain continued operation.

Readers and advertising revenue are going elsewhere.

You can not say it is all technology. People are tired of being told what they should think and having information withheld that goes against the publication's agenda.


03:48:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Burlington Gets Derailed Once Again


Well, Book got his raise and taxes will go up again in Burlington to cover his greedy butt. With the exception of Mr. Harter, who no doubt understands money issues, the rest of the school board disgust me to the pit of my stomach.

Why do you even serve on the board? Is it some sort of power trip? Is there money involved?

Kind of funny how a group of people have the power to raise taxes for the better of our children (ha ha, now that is funny!) never ask the people paying taxes if he deserves one. Burlington gets derailed once again.


The raise is one thing. After all, green fees go up, lunch costs skyrocket, and and the cost of dreaming up these monuments all take a toll. Maybe it's the cost of gas to drive out of town to go shopping.

Since we get to pay the health insurance costs for Book and his wife until age 65, how much more fun could we have with more taxes to pay for that and all these new schools for the students we don't have and no prospects of having any more of, either.

To totally experience paying for their health care for 8 years after he leaves, I think I am going to pull a couple of toenails out with the pliers to feel the pain.

And while we're at it, the SCC board gave their President the same deal. No wonder they want more students.

It has to be something in the water. Otherwise, it seems we must have problems attracting people to the province.


02:29:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Godfather’s Pizza Closes And Isn’t News

All You Mindless Lemming Sheep, Think Our Way

According to the #2 shepherd at the advertiser the fact that Godfather’s Pizza closed its doors several weeks ago is not news.

In a Letter to the Shepherd Monday, when a local resident asked shepherd #2 why the advertiser never covered the story, #2 replied something to the effect that the story didn’t warrant coverage by the advertiser. Oh, and all of the writers had something else to do so nobody could write the story anyway.

As the letter writer stated, when a million-dollar franchise leaves the community, it is news and we want to know why. Maybe a few of Godfather employees would like to know why they’re unemployed.

Why did Godfather’s Pizza leave?

01:18:55 - SPIKE - No comments

We Have to Stay Competitve


I can't wait to see if Winegard will ask the city for money to buy a warehouse for his antenna business. After all he came right up with an idea for Fun City after the city gave the Comfort Inn $2million.

I like the idea to use money to create and save jobs. But when greedy corps.get miffed because they didn't get their share, it's time to stop paying the rich just because they think they can get some money handouts.

I'm curious to see what becomes of this handout in the not so distant future. Dresser Rand will probably expand and sellout to another company who will do the same thing.

Thanks Spike

As long as quality jobs like these are maintained, we have to stay competitve. But it can't be one-sided.


01:13:00 - SPIKE - No comments

18 July

Shuttle's Headsup Display On Approach

Since lots of things happen very fast in the last few minutes of flight for the shuttle with little time to do anything but focus on the approach, the pilot has a heads up display that gives him an enormous amount relevant data on a transparent screen mounted between him and the windshield.

Here are screen shots from NASA TV of the what it looked like on approach Monday morning. It was the first time this camera view was broadcast live on approach.

To see all of this work, click here to the STS-121 home page andscroll down the right column to RELATED MULTIMEDIA and click View Video for either Real Player or Windows Media Player.

All NASA TV Images

01:50:00 - SPIKE - No comments

A Few More

The orbiter Discovery, with Commander Steven Lindsey at the helm, approaches Runway 15 at NASA's Shuttle Landing Facility for landing after completing mission STS-121 to the International Space Station. Discovery traveled 5.3 million miles, landing on orbit 202. Mission elapsed time was 12 days, 18 hours, 36 minutes and 54 seconds. Main gear touchdown occurred on time at 9:14:43 EDT. Wheel stop was at 9:15:49 EDT. Photo courtesy of Nikon/Scott Andrews

With drag chute deployed, the orbiter Discovery slows to a stop after landing on Runway 15 at NASA's Shuttle Landing Facility, completing mission STS-121 to the International Space Station. Discovery traveled 5.3 million miles, landing on orbit 202. Mission elapsed time was 12 days, 18 hours, 36 minutes and 54 seconds. Main gear touchdown occurred on time at 9:14:43 EDT. Wheel stop was at 9:15:49 EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

KSC-06PD-1605 (07/17/2006) --- KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. – Still being towed by a diesel-powered tractor, the orbiter Discovery is moved into the Orbiter Processing Facility. Umbilical lines for coolant and purge air are still attached. Discovery landed at the SLF at 9:14 a.m. EDT, completing mission STS-121. Discovery traveled 5.3 million miles, landing on orbit 202. Mission elapsed time was 12 days, 18 hours, 36 minutes and 54 seconds. Main gear touchdown occurred on time at 9:14:43 EDT. Wheel stop was at 9:15:49 EDT. During the mission, the STS-121 crew tested new equipment and procedures to improve shuttle safety, and delivered supplies and made repairs to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann
01:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

NASA Welcomes Space Shuttle Crew Back to Earth

The Space Shuttle Discovery and its crew are home after a 13-day, five million-mile journey in space. The mission, STS-121, succeeded in testing shuttle safety improvements, repairing a rail car on the International Space Station and producing never-before-seen, high-resolution images of the shuttle during and after its July 4th launch.

Discovery's Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Mark Kelly and mission specialists Mike Fossum, Piers Sellers, Lisa Nowak and Stephanie Wilson landed Monday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 9:14 a.m. EDT.

Following landing, Lindsey and his crew did the traditional walk around, post-landing inspection of the shuttle. "I have been on four flights, and this is the cleanest vehicle I've ever seen," said Lindsey. "We had two major objectives and we accomplished both of those, and we're ready to assemble the space station."

NASA's Space Shuttle Program managers also were pleased with Discovery's performance. The flight verified the safety of the biggest aerodynamic change to the external fuel tank in shuttle history. The protuberance air load ramps were removed after a piece of foam came off this area during Discovery's flight last year.

STS-121 is the most photographed shuttle mission ever, with more than 100 high definition, digital, video and film cameras documenting the launch and climb to orbit. Data from these images helped assess whether the orbiter sustained any damage and whether that damage posed any risk to Discovery's return to Earth.

The STS-121 mission also bolstered the International Space Station. Fossum and Sellers, with the help of crewmates, completed three spacewalks. The third spacewalk was confirmed after mission managers determined there was enough electrical power to add another day to the flight.

The astronauts tested the shuttle's 50-foot robotic arm boom extension as a work platform. They removed and replaced a cable that provides power, command and data and video connections to the station's mobile transporter rail car. The transporter is used to move a platform containing the station's robotic arm along the truss of the complex. During the third spacewalk, the astronauts tested techniques for inspecting and repairing the reinforced carbon-carbon segments that protect the shuttle's nose cone and leading edge of the wings.

Discovery delivered more than 28,000 pounds of equipment and supplies to the station, as well as a third crew member. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter joined Russian Pavel Vinogradov and American Jeff Williams. This marks the first time since May 2003 that the station crew has three members.

President George W. Bush called the astronauts to congratulate them on a successful mission and to thank them for their work to further America's Vision for Space Exploration. The vision calls for NASA to return humans to the moon, and then venture to Mars and beyond.

Texas Governor Rick Perry also made a call during the mission to fellow Texas A&M University graduate Fossum.

With Discovery and its crew safely home, the stage is set for the resumption of International Space Station assembly. Preparations continue for Space Shuttle Atlantis' launch targeted for late August/early September for the STS-115 mission to deliver additional truss segments to the station. Atlantis is expected to be moved to the launch pad early next month, and NASA managers plan to meet shortly thereafter to clear the shuttle for its first mission since October 2002.

NASA Press Release

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17 July

Scandal Rocks Southeast Iowa Regional Planning?

Information is flooding in about a recent scandal involving the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission.

Look for the details soon.

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NASA Image
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Touch Down

Shuttle Discovery landed safely at Kennedy at 8:14:56
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Fox News Running Best Shuttle Coverage With Graphics

Fox News is running great coverage with computer simulations.

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Discovery About To Atmosphere At 400,000'

Discovery is about 10 minutes from entering the effects of the Earth's atmosphere at 8:45 a.m. and is traveling 16,600 MPH near the Southeast tip of New Zealand.

It’s 72.3º F, 37.2% humidity and 14.6 psia pressure aboard Discovery right now.

Maximum heating is reached at 8:54 a.m.

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“Good Burn, Discovery On Way Home”

Shuttle Discovery fired its main engines to begin descent for landing about 8:14 a.m. today. Everything is going well.

See it live on NASA TV.

07:14:30 - SPIKE - No comments

Discovery STS-121 MCC Status Report #25

Discovery is targeted for a landing at 8:14 a.m. CDT Monday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. For that landing, Discovery's engines would be fired at 7:07 a.m. CDT Monday to begin its descent. A second opportunity is available for Discovery to land at Kennedy on Monday, beginning the descent with an engine firing at 8:43 a.m. CDT and leading to a touchdown in Florida at 9:50 a.m. CDT. Flight managers do not plan to consider other shuttle landing sites on Monday.

The weather forecast for landing on Monday calls for a chance of rain in the vicinity of Kennedy's shuttle runway that could be unacceptable for Discovery's landing.

Discovery Commander Steve Lindsey and Pilot Mark Kelly checked the shuttle landing systems and steering jets early today. A test run of one of the three generators that power the shuttle hydraulics found that auxiliary power unit operating normally. A minute leak in that system has remained at expected levels. All three units are planned to be run as normal for landing.

The astronauts spent the rest of their planned final full day in orbit stowing gear and securing the shuttle for the trip home. Key events leading up to Discovery's first landing opportunity on Monday include:

4:27 a.m. CDT -- Discovery's payload bay doors are closed
6:07 a.m. CDT -- Discovery's astronauts begin to strap in for landing
6:48 a.m. CDT -- Mission Control "go" or "no-go" for the deorbit engine firing

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Shuttle Landing

Deorbit and Landing Preliminary Advisory Data (DOL PAD)

NASA Images

Automated DOL PAD For STS-XYZ - this data is for the STS-XYZ mission
Deorbit To KSC On Orbit N - deorbit will occur on the Nth orbit of this mission
Generated MET 000/00:00:00 - the Mission Elapsed Time in days/hours:minutes:seconds that this information was generated by computers in Mission Control.

Deorbit TIG - Time of Ignition - the orbiter will fire its orbital maneuvering system engines to slow itself down and begin its descent to Earth. The time of the deorbit burn is shown in both MET (days/hours:minutes:seconds) and Central time (Julian Day/hour:minute:second). The location over the Earth at which this event will occur is shown by Latitude (degrees:minutes) and Longitude (degrees:minutes). The altitude (H - height) of the event is given in nautical miles (NM) or thousands of feet (KFT). Note: To find statute miles, multiply nautical miles by 1.15. Velocity is shown in thousands of feet per second (KFPS). 1.47 feet per second equals 1 statute mile per hour. Comments Section - DV (delta velocity) is the change in velocity the burn will cause and DT (delta time) is the duration of the burn. XR is the crossrange, the distance away from what would have been the shuttle's normal orbital groundtrack that the shuttle will fly during its descent through the atmosphere in order to reach the landing site.

TDRS West AOS - The orbiter will be in range (Acquisition Of Signal) of one of the NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS West). Comments Section - EI Minus is the time in minutes:seconds until Entry Interface occurs.

EI - Entry Interface - that point at which the orbiter begins to encounter the first effects of the Earth's atmosphere, usually at an altitude of roughly 400,000 feet. Comments Section - Range is how far away the orbiter is from the landing site in nautical miles (NM).

MACH 2.5 TAEM - the orbiter has decelerated to a velocity of two and one half times the speed of sound and has reached a phase of descent called Terminal Area Energy Management (TAEM). TAEM is the second of three phases that the shuttle's entry and landing process is divided into because of the unique onboard software requirements for each phase. The first phase of descent is labeled simply Entry and extends from five minutes before Entry Interface to the start of TAEM. TAEM is a phase that takes the orbiter from about 83,000 feet and two and half times the speed of sound to a point where the shuttle is at an altitude of about 10,000 feet and aligned with the runway centerline. Approach and Landing phase extends from 10,000 feet to touchdown on the runway.

MACH 1 - the orbiter has decelerated to a velocity equal to the speed of sound (approximately 740 miles per hour at sea level). The time that the shuttle commander takes manual control of the spacecraft's approach and landing usually coincides with the point that the shuttle has slowed to Mach 1. Comments Section - how many minutes:seconds after reaching Mach 1 before the orbiter reaches the HAC I/C point.

HAC I/C - The point at which the orbiter intercepts the Heading Alignment Cylinder, an imaginary cylinder created by the Microwave Scan Beam Landing System (MSBLS) that is installed at primary shuttle landing sites. The HAC is a tool to assist with guiding the shuttle's final approach to the runway. Comments Section - the shuttle normally performs a turn following the HAC as it aligns with the runway and rapidly descends. The turn angle refers to how much of a turn will be performed by the shuttle around the HAC as it aligns with the runway. The shuttle can turn as much as almost a full circle (360 degrees) before aligning with the runway and descending to touchdown, but the amount of turn required is usually between 200 to 300 degrees for most landings.

Landing - the scheduled landing time is given in both MET (days/hours:minutes:seconds) and Central time (Julian Day/hour:minute:second). Landing occurs just a little over an hour after the deorbit burn.

Roll Schedule - as the orbiter descends through the atmosphere to a level where air pressure has built sufficiently and slows to where heating has subsided somewhat, it begins a series of four steep banks to slow down. The shuttle, in essence, fishtails through the atmosphere as it descends to dissipate its speed. The first couple of banks that the shuttle performs can often be very steep, as much as 80 degrees, that result in the shuttle's side facing toward the ground. The second, third and fourth banks are referred to as "roll reversals," since they basically reverse the shuttle's roll angle, i.e. from 80 degrees left to 70 degrees right. It is important to understand that although the shuttle is performing these steep banks, its angle of attack -- the angle of its nose toward the oncoming air pressure -- is very high, at 40 degrees for much of the entry, to protect the spacecraft from the intense heat that is generated. The angle gradually decreases, i.e. the nose is slowly brought down, as the shuttle descends and slows.

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Drifting Apart

The International Space Station moves away from Space Shuttle Discovery. Earlier the STS-121 and Expedition 13 crews concluded almost nine days of cooperative work onboard the shuttle and station. Undocking of the two spacecraft occurred at 5:08 a.m. (CDT) on July 15, 2006. NASA Images.

03:35:00 - SPIKE - No comments

1st Reading of Vicious Dog Ordinance Tonight

The city council is poised to determine whether or not they will become embroiled in yet another lawsuit if they decide to enact the proposed vicious dog ordinance. The ordinance would grant the police department the right to seize personal property (the dog) and destroy it after a 10 day waiting period.

The only answer offered so far is that the city seizes property every day and you will have to go to court to get your dog back while the police department makes the decision about your dog.

I can see the confusion now. " Oh yeah, you didn't have any court order so we put ol' Rex down yesterday. Sorry."

This proposed ordinance spins directly in the face of the Constitution regardless of what Scott Power is dreaming up for a U.S. Supreme Court case questioning what the Continental Congress meant in 1776 about due process.

The police department may seize drug money or have the mayor's Jeep towed from Burger King but they do not seize any personal without a court order telling them what to do with the seized property.

Just like the Constitution says.

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Why No Secret Vote?


The Dresser-Rand support measure is on schedule for an open vote by Burlington's City Council. This is most unusual.

When the decision to unwisely sue the railroad was made, it was done behind closed doors. I am certain the eminent legal scholar Mr. Power could find some way to tie this vote to a lawsuit over weed control at Dresser's Central Avenue location and say an open vote would destroy his case.

Is this to be an open decision with public comment because of new faces on the Council since the railroad decision debacle? Why the sudden sunlight?


They don't know why, they just follow the Lemming in front of 'em.


02:46:05 - SPIKE - No comments

16 July

Still More Views

SS013-E-49644 (8 July 2006) --- Astronaut Michael E. Fossum, STS-121 mission specialist, used a digital still camera to expose a photo of his helmet visor during today's session of extravehicular activity (EVA) while Space Shuttle Discovery was docked with the International Space Station. Also visible in the reflections in the visor are fellow spacewalker Piers J. Sellers, mission specialist, Earth's horizon and a station solar array.

S121-E-06583 (12 July 2006) --- Astronaut Piers J. Sellers, STS-121 mission specialist, participates in the mission's third and final session of extravehicular activity (EVA). The demonstration of orbiter heat shield repair techniques was the objective of the 7-hour, 11-minute excursion outside Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station.

ISS013-E-49681 (8 July 2006) --- The shadows of astronauts Piers J. Sellers and Michael E. Fossum, STS-121 mission specialists, who are anchored to the Space Shuttle Discovery's Remote Manipulator System/Orbiter Boom Sensor System (RMS/OBSS) foot restraint, are visible against a shuttle's payload bay door during today's session of extravehicular activity (EVA).

All NASA Images

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15 July

Discovery Undocks From Space Station

View of the International Space Station from the Space Shuttle Discovery after it undocked. Photo Credit: NASA TV

Space Shuttle Discovery ended STS-121’s stay at the International Space Station when it undocked at 6:08 a.m. EDT today. Undocking occurred as the two spacecraft flew above the Pacific Ocean north of New Zealand.

STS-121 delivered a new Expedition 13 crew member and much needed supplies and equipment to the international outpost. The shuttle crew also conducted three spacewalks to perform maintenance on the station and to test on-orbit heat shield repair techniques.

Pilot Mark Kelly flew Discovery to a point above the station before performing the final separation burn at 6:57 a.m.

STS-121 crew members are using the robotic arm and the orbital boom sensor system to perform final inspections of the starboard wing and the shuttle nose cap. Discovery will remain about 45 miles behind the station until the mission management team reviews survey results and clears it for landing.

Discovery is scheduled to touch down at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 9:14 a.m. Monday.

12:48:43 - SPIKE - No comments

More Views

S121-E-06211 (10 July 2006) --- Astronauts Michael E. Fossum and Piers J. Sellers (out of frame), STS-121 mission specialists, install the new trailing umbilical system in the mobile transporter on the International Space Station during the mission's second session of extravehicular activity (EVA).

S121-E-06679 (12 July 2006) --- Astronaut Michael E. Fossum, STS-121 mission specialist, works in Space Shuttle Discovery's cargo bay during the mission's third and final session of extravehicular activity (EVA). The demonstration of orbiter heat shield repair techniques was the objective of the 7-hour, 11-minute excursion outside the shuttle and the International Space Station.

ISS013-E-49639 (8 July 2006) --- Astronaut Piers J. Sellers, STS-121 mission specialist, participates in the mission's first session of extravehicular activity (EVA) while Space Shuttle Discovery was docked with the International Space Station. Astronaut Michael E. Fossum, mission specialist, who was also on the spacewalk with Sellers and took this photo, appears as a small reflection in Seller's helmet visor. Earth's horizon and a portion of a station solar array are also visible in the reflection.

S121-E-06388 (8 July 2006) --- The shadows of astronauts Piers J. Sellers and Michael E. Fossum, who are anchored to the Space Shuttle Discovery's Remote Manipulator System/Orbiter Booster Sensor System (RMS/OBSS) foot restraint, are visible against the port pod for the Orbital Maneuvering System on the shuttle.

S121-E-06560 (13 July 2006) --- Cosmonaut Pavel V. Vinogradov, Expedition 13 commander representing Russia's Federal Space Agency, smiles for the camera as he works in the Zvezda Service Module on the International Space Station while Space Shuttle Discovery was docked with the station.

All NASA Images

00:05:56 - SPIKE - No comments

Shuttle STS-121 MCC Status Report #21

5 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 14
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

Emptied of its cargo and refilled with returns, the Multipurpose Logistics Module Leonardo is back in the payload bay of Space Shuttle Discovery with just hours left before the orbiter undocks from the International Space Station and heads home.

First thing this morning Shuttle Commander Steve Lindsey and ISS Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter deactivated the cargo module, closed the hatch, and prepared it for removal from the Unity node. Just after 8:32 a.m. CDT Mission Specialists Lisa Nowak and Stephanie Wilson used the station robotic arm to uninstall Leonardo from ISS; the MPLM was reberthed in the shuttle payload bay at 10:00 a.m. CDT.

More than 7,400 pounds of cargo was delivered to ISS in the cargo module, and approximately 4,600 pounds of material including experiment samples, broken equipment and trash are now packed inside for return to Earth.

After the MPLM was returned to Discovery, Nowak and Wilson used the shuttle robot arm and the Orbiter Boom Sensor System to inspect the shuttle’s port wing. Similar to the pre-docking inspection on Flight Day 2, which was aimed at uncovering evidence of damage from debris at launch, this inspection looked for any signs of damage done by debris on orbit. None was found; inspection of the starboard wing and the shuttle’s nose cap will be done after undocking tomorrow, which is scheduled to occur at 5:08 a.m. CDT.

Early this morning, as Lindsey and Reiter worked at the MPLM, Nowak and Wilson joined Mission Specialists Mike Fossum and Piers Sellers, Pilot Mark Kelly, and ISS Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Jeff Williams to discuss the mission in interviews with CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS.

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14 July

Iowa Senate Passes Veto Override For Eminent Domain

Moments ago, the Iowa Senate passed the Governor Vilsack's veto override of the eminent domain bill.

15:04:42 - SPIKE - No comments

Leonardo Back Aboard Shuttle Discovery

The International Space Station’s robotic arm transfers the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module (center) from the Unity node to Space Shuttle Discovery’s payload bay. Photo Credit: NASA TV

STS-121 Mission Specialists Stephanie Wilson and Lisa Nowak used the International Space Station’s robotic arm to return the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module to Space Shuttle Discovery’s payload bay this morning. The reusable cargo carrier was detached from the station’s Unity node at 9:25 a.m. EDT and placed in the payload bay at 11 a.m.

Leonardo contained more than 7,000 pounds of equipment and supplies when STS-121 arrived at the station. It will return to Earth with more than 4,000 pounds of station experiment results and unneeded items.

Later today, Wilson and Nowak, with the assistance of Commander Steve Lindsey, will use the shuttle’s robotic arm and boom extension to inspect the shuttle’s port wing to verify that it has not been damaged by tiny micro-meteoroid debris particles. The starboard wing and nosecap will be inspected after undocking.

Discovery is slated to undock from the station at 6:08 a.m. Saturday to begin the two-day trip home.

14:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Piers Sellers Checking His Ebay Auction Results

S121-E-06484 (13 July 2006) --- Astronaut Piers J. Sellers, STS-121 mission specialist, uses a computer near a hatch on the middeck of the Space Shuttle Discovery while docked with the International Space Station. A beverage container is at left, while a food container sits in Sellers' lap. NASA Image

12:21:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Tanks A Lot

KSC-06PD-1019 (06/09/2006) --- KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. – Tug boats maneuver the Pegasus barge next to the dock in the turn basin at the Launch Complex 39 Area. The barge holds the redesigned external fuel tank, seen inside, that will launch Space Shuttle Atlantis on the next shuttle mission, STS-115. The tank, designated ET-118, was shipped from the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. After off-loading, the tank will be moved into the Vehicle Assembly Building and lifted into a checkout cell for further work. The tank will fly with many major safety changes, including the removal of the protuberance air load ramps. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the orbiter Discovery is lowered in front of the Solid Rocket Booster and External Tank already stacked on the top of the Mobile Launcher Platform (MLP) . The view is from the MLP surface. After Discovery has been mated to the External Tank/Solid Rocket Booster assembly on the MLP and all umbilicals have been connected, workers will perform an electrical and mechanical verification of the mated interfaces to verify all critical vehicle connections. A Shuttle interface test is performed using the launch processing system to verify Space Shuttle vehicle interfaces and Space Shuttle vehicle-to-ground interfaces. In approximately one week, Space Shuttle Discovery will be ready for rollout to Launch Pad 39B for Return to Flight mission STS-114 in July 2005.

04:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

City Letterhead


I just saw an old piece of City of Burlington letterhead (circa 1982) come across my desk. The caption reads "Progressive Government on the Mississippi"

What happened?

Any idea what the current slogan reads?


Since the advent of laser printers the city has 2 letterhead slogans they use.

For economic development purposes:
"Have Lawyer - Will Sue For Retirement Money."

For other city business:
"Home of The Mindless Lemming Sheep"


04:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

An Example for the Mayor


Burlington's drunk Mayor appears to model his political world view and personal behavior on the Bay Colony's Bonapartes. One of the Bonapartes is trying to correct their personal behavior disorder.

While I have doubts that the drunk Mayor is capable of doing likewise, has he even tried?

If the drunk Mayor cannot help himself, the voters of Burlington would do all concerned a great favor by throwing the drunk Mayor out of office. Once out of power, abuse of privilege will not allow him to avoid detox behind bars.

Will it take an Oldsmobile in the water and a body count for people to finally demand dismissal?


00:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

13 July

Walking Around

Astronaut Michael E. Fossum, STS-121 mission specialist, participates in the mission's second session of extravehicular activity (EVA). During today's six-hour 47-minute spacewalk, Fossum and astronaut Piers J. Sellers (out of frame), mission specialist, restored the International Space Station's Mobile Transporter rail car to full operation and delivered a spare pump module for the station's cooling system. Photo Credit: NASA
Click Here for High Res Image

Astronauts Michael E. Fossum and Piers J. Sellers (partially out of frame), STS-121 mission specialists; participate in the mission's second session of extravehicular activity (EVA). During today's six-hour 47-minute spacewalk, Sellers and Fossum restored the International Space Station's Mobile Transporter rail car to full operation and delivered a spare pump module for the station's cooling system. Photo Credit: NASA
Click Here for High Res Image

NASA Images

04:44:00 - SPIKE - No comments

European Space Agency Lab Columbus Arrives

KSC-06PP-0950 (05/30/2006) --- KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. – A Beluga aircraft taxis on the runway at the Shuttle Landing Facility on NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The Beluga carries the European Space Agency's research laboratory, designated Columbus, flown to Kennedy from its manufacturer in Germany. The module will be prepared for delivery to the International Space Station on a future space shuttle mission. Columbus will expand the research facilities of the station and provide researchers with the ability to conduct numerous experiments in the area of life, physical and materials sciences. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

KSC-06PD-0954 Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

KSC-06PD-0958 Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

04:35:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Thumbs Up - Dresser Rand


It is a good thing that our Governor and the local officials worked to retain Tuthill-Murray. Those are good jobs that we can't afford to lose.

I do not think we should buy the downtown Tuthill building just because Tuthill no longer wants it. We should assist Tuthill in locating a buyer, but we should not take ownership and the responsibility of the building.

Maybe a lesson was learned when the Gov. and the other elected officials were a little late and behind the Kansas effort to retain the BNSF shops. BNSF could be our best hope and partner in helping locate a company for the BNSF shops that would provide the needed jobs. They have the resources and the personal connections. We should not sever our relationship with this lawsuit. Why would we want to do that?

That may have happened and it may be a huge mistake.


It's all about relationships. And we have a town full of people that don't play well with others.

I'll guarantee you that if the Governor hadn't gone to New York, Scott Power would be getting another lawsuit ready over the Corliss Engine that was really developed by the city of Burlington over 100 years ago.


02:19:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Ethanol Plant Could Resolve Library Problems

According to the article in Sunday’s advertiser the local ethanol plant sells 14,728 tons of distiller’s grain each month for $70 per ton. That’s $1,030,750 per month in revenue on top of their ethanol sales.

With the planned expansion of the ethanol plant the amount of distiller’s grain will increase to 300,000 tons per year. That’s $21 million in sales of their by-product.

For some unknown reason when the ethanol plant tax incentive package was put together there was no allowance made for the library assessment.

The taxpayers invested in this private enterprise with a tax abatement to help the ethanol plant get started. Since the ethanol plant has been so successful it seems to me that the least they could do is contribute a significant amount of money to the library until West Burlington, Middletown and Danville can get their assessment levels up to a reasonable level over a 5-year period.

We better take advantage of this prosperity before the ethanol industry’s colon explodes like a cow patty on the windshield of a 1964 Volkswagen windshield going 63 mph.

And while they are writing checks they need to get their fire district some money to operate, too.

Most development plans always make room for schools, libraries and fire protection. It sure seems strange that it wasn’t done in this case.

01:43:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Shuttle STS-121 MCC Status Report #17

4 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

Astronauts aboard Space Shuttle Discovery gathered valuable new data during the third spacewalk today as part of an ongoing evaluation of repairing a damaged orbiter.

Mission Specialists Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum began the spacewalk at 6:20 a.m. CDT and prepared a foot restraint on the end of the International Space Station’s Canadarm2. Sellers rode the arm, commanded by Mission Specialists Lisa Nowak and Stephanie Wilson, to the starboard wing of Discovery where he used an infrared camera to shoot 20 seconds of video of selected reinforced carbon carbon panels on the wing’s leading edge. Infrared imagery may aid in identifying damage on the inside of those panels.

Fossum translated to the aft of Discovery’s payload bay to join Sellers and help prepare a box containing 12 RCC sample panels for the EVA’s primary task of testing a repair material known as NOAX. Non-oxide adhesive experimental is a pre-ceramic polymer sealant containing carbon-silicon carbide powder, and is being evaluated for repairing damage to RCC panels.

Data gathered from tests on mission STS-114 last year indicated NOAX is most effective when applied while the temperature of an RCC panel is falling between 120° F and 30° F, so today’s spacewalkers were directed to apply NOAX to the pre-damaged RCC panels based on the temperatures of the panels. Over the course of almost two and a half hours, Sellers and Fossum completed three gouge repairs and two crack repairs with NOAX, and provided Mission Control a running dialogue describing the repair activity and how the NOAX responded. They also imaged four of the samples with the infrared camera, which Fossum also used to gather video of an area of Discovery’s port wing while riding Canadarm2 back to the airlock.

Near the end of the EVA, Mission Control added a task to the spacewalk. Since the spacewalkers were on schedule and had plenty of supplies, Sellers carried a Pistol Grip Tool to the Integrated Cargo Carrier in Discovery’s payload bay and removed the fixed grapple bar used during delivery of the Pump Module during the second spacewalk. He carried it to the S1 Truss where Fossum helped him install it on an ammonia tank inside that truss so that the tank can be moved on a later shuttle assembly mission.

Repressurization of Quest began at 1:31 p.m., completing a 7-hour, 11-minute spacewalk, the 68th in support of ISS assembly and maintenance. The cumulative duration of the three spacewalks on this mission is 21 hours and 29 minutes. Sellers’ total spacewalking time of 41:10 on six EVAs ranks him 4th among U.S. spacewalkers and 9th in the world all-time.

ISS Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter concentrated on packing the Multipurpose Logistics Module today with returning experiment samples, unneeded hardware and trash. The Leonardo module is scheduled to be returned to Discovery’s payload bay on Friday.
01:01:00 - SPIKE - No comments


Mission Specialists Mike Fossum and Piers Sellers successfully completed STS-121’s third and final spacewalk at 2:31 p.m. EDT today. The demonstration of orbiter heat shield repair techniques was the objective of the 7-hour, 11-minute excursion outside Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station.

The spacewalkers tested repair techniques on pre-positioned heat shield materials in the payload bay. Among the tools they used were a space-certified caulk gun and a variety of spatulas to manipulate the test materials.

The duo also used an infrared camera to get a 60-second recording of two damaged tile samples. The camera is designed to capture temperature gradients that will indicate invisible damage.

Near the end of the spacewalk, Mission Control notified Sellers and Fossum that they would get extra time outside the shuttle/station complex to perform a get-ahead task. The spacewalkers relocated a grapple fixture from a cargo carrier to an ammonia tank on the S1 truss. This sets the stage for the tank's removal during a future spacewalk.

Pilot Mark Kelly coordinated the spacewalk activities and Commander Steve Lindsey oversaw shuttle and video systems. Mission Specialists Lisa Nowak and Stephanie Wilson were the robot arm operators.

Meanwhile, the Expedition 13 crew continued to load the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module with station experiment results and other items returning to Earth. Leonardo will return to Discovery’s payload bay on Friday, setting the stage for STS-121’s departure on Saturday.

00:39:00 - SPIKE - No comments

12 July

Flying Around

S121-E-06040 (8 July 2006) --- Astronauts Piers J. Sellers (red stripes) and Michael E. Fossum, STS-121 mission specialists, work in tandem on the shuttle's Remote Manipulator System/Orbiter Boom Sensor System (RMS/OBSS) during the mission's first scheduled session of extravehicular activity (EVA). Photo Credit: NASA
High Resolution Image Click Here

Astronaut Piers J. Sellers, STS-121 mission specialist, waves to a crewmate inside the Space Shuttle Discovery as he works in the shuttle's cargo bay during the mission's second session of extravehicular activity (EVA). During today's six-hour 47-minute spacewalk, Sellers and astronaut Michael E. Fossum (out of frame), mission specialist, restored the International Space Station's Mobile Transporter rail car to full operation and delivered a spare pump module for the station’s cooling system. Photo Credit: NASA
High Resolution Image Click Here

The STS-121 (green shirts) and Expedition 13 crewmembers gather for a group photo in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. From the left (front row) are European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Reiter of Germany, Expedition 13 flight engineer; cosmonaut Pavel V. Vinogradov, commander representing Russia's Federal Space Agency; and astronaut Jeffrey N. Williams, NASA space station science officer and flight engineer. From the left (middle row) are astronauts Stephanie D. Wilson, STS-121 mission specialist; Steven W. Lindsey, commander; and Lisa M. Nowak, mission specialist. From the left (back row) are astronauts Piers J. Sellers, Michael E. Fossum, both mission specialists; and Mark E. Kelly, pilot. Photo Credit: NASA
High Resolution Image Click Here

04:29:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Hinkle and Slagle - Ambiguously Dynamic Duo?


The City is going to get yet another bill. One for massages for Hinkle and Slagle received after they patted themselves on the back too many times celebrating the Dresser Rand miracle.

It is nice to see politicians actually get out from behind their desks and try to retain business, I am surprised those two were able to accomplish this task, they must have had help/handholding.

I question why the City needs to purchase/take title to the old Murray Turbo plant, especially since they have an interested buyer. How many new jobs will be created and at what wages out of this expansion?

I for one would like to know if the City is handing over $1.5 million in incentives, how many new jobs await SE IA? I can't help but bring up the Italian outfit that was to have a set number of employees on staff at minimum wage levels (and have failed to do so).

My parents always said -- everyday you’re reminded you live in Burlington, IA.


Hinkle had to be there and Slagle went because Edwards doesn’t present a good image for the city.

The real dealmaker was the Governor. Hinkle even said so.

When the Governor shows up, corporations pay attention. In our case, if he hadn’t shown up this would have been a non-event and a bunch of dead air being sucked up.

The building deal downtown does seem strange as reported in the advertiser.

If the building had a value above $1 million, by selling the building for less than market value to the City, Dresser Rand might receive a tax write-off for the remaining value. Murray would still have to remediate any EPA issues on the property.

I'm sure we will get a load of the grand scheme any day.


04:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Mr. Hog Trough Out To Lunch

Spike -

Thank you, Tom Green for your letter to the editor apprising seniors of Hoschek’s NACO prescription card scam. Just when you thought he hit rock bottom - he's still digging.


There are no free rides in life unless you are Hoschek. Hoschek is a special ops qualified trough rider. People like that don’t pay attention to details like who pays the bill.


03:38:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Let Them Eat Crickets!


The Lee County Conservation Board is sponsoring an event on edible insects. Burlington's Parks Department should consider doing the same.

As local "leaders" pile ever more taxation upon wage deflation and an aging, shrinking population base, a great many may soon be facing the dilema of paying taxes or eating. If you factor in never ending lawsuit against the railroad, Turkey Kitty Gourmet in a can may become a luxury reserved for Thanksgiving.

Bon appetite. Bastille Day is just around the corner.

03:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Day 8 Summary

Flight day 8 went smoothly for the STS-121 and Expedition 13 crew members aboard Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station. In addition to their scheduled duties, they received a phone call from U.S. President George W. Bush at 10:35 a.m. EDT today.

Throughout the day, the crews prepared for the third and final spacewalk to be conducted during STS-121’s visit to the station. Mission Specialists Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum are slated to begin the excursion at 7:13 a.m. Wednesday. The spacewalkers will demonstrate on-orbit shuttle heat shield repair techniques.

The crews also continued cargo transfers to and from the shuttle, the International Space Station and the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module. Leonardo arrived inside Discovery’s payload bay with more than 7,400 pounds of equipment and supplies for the station. Leonardo will be returned Friday to the payload bay packed with more than 4,300 pounds of science experiment results, unneeded items and trash.

This morning, STS-121 crew members took a few moments from their busy schedule to answer questions from reporters with the Associated Press and USA Today. They were asked about the legacy of STS-121 since Discovery did not receive damage from launch. Pilot Mark Kelly referred to a conversation with his brother, Scott, who is also an astronaut. Kelly said, “My brother put it well on the IP phone, which is an internet phone and he said, ‘We’re back, baby.’ That’s his quote, not mine.”

00:44:00 - SPIKE - No comments

11 July

Shuttle STS-121 MCC Status Report #15

5 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

In between spacewalks, the joint crews aboard Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station today turned their attention to packing the Leonardo logistics module in preparation for its return to Earth. Additional time was set aside today for procedural review for the third spacewalk planned to begin at 6:13 a.m. CDT Wednesday.

Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov along with Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter spent most of the day loading items no longer needed on the station into the Multipurpose Logistics Module docked to the station’s Unity module. Before being returned to Discovery’s payload bay on Friday, the Italian-built Leonardo will be filled with almost 4,400 pounds of experiment samples, unneeded hardware and trash.

Included in the more than 7,400 pounds of supplies delivered to the station was a new window and window seals for the Microgravity Science Glovebox, a European Space Agency-developed enclosed workspace for science experiments involving fluids, flames, particles or fumes. Reiter, the ESA astronaut who joined the station crew last week, installed the new window and window seals today. Additional work will be needed after the shuttle departs before the MSG can resume operation.

Discovery Mission Specialists Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum, who already have spent 14 hours and 18 minutes outside the Discovery/ISS complex on two spacewalks, devoted much of the day to preparing their spacesuits and tools for the mission’s third Extravehicular Activity. The planned 6-½ hour spacewalk is devoted to testing a non-oxide adhesive as a repair material for the reinforced carbon carbon panels that line a shuttle’s leading edge, and the use of an infrared camera to detect unseen damage to RCC.

At 7:18 this morning the spacewalkers joined Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists Lisa Nowak and Stephanie Wilson to talk about the progress of their flight in interviews with the Associated Press and USA Today.

23:46:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Shuttle Status Report #14


3 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

Repacking the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo will be the focus of today’s activities for the Space Shuttle Discovery and International Space Station crews.

More than 4,300 pounds of experiment results, unneeded hardware and trash is scheduled to be loaded onto the pressurized cargo module for return to Earth in Discovery's cargo bay next week. Mission Specialist Stephanie Wilson serves as the loadmaster for the extensive transfer activity.

All nine shuttle and station crew members will help gather and stow the return cargo in Leonardo. It brought more than 7,000 pounds of clothing, food and other supplies for the station.

Throughout the day, Mission Specialists Mike Fossum and Piers Sellers will also have spacewalk preparation tasks. They’ll recharge the spacesuits, gather and organize needed tools, and configure the airlock.

Before the day’s end, they’ll be joined by Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Mark Kelly, and fellow Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak and Wilson for a review of the spacewalk procedures.

Kelly, Fossum, Nowak, Wilson and Sellers will talk with representatives from the Associated Press and USA Today. That 20-minute chat is scheduled to begin at 7:18 a.m. CDT.

The shuttle crew was awakened at 1:08 a.m. by “All Star,” performed by Smashmouth. It was for Nowak, requested by her family.

Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter were awakened 30 minutes later, at 1:38 a.m.

20:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Judge Grants Motion For Summation Hearing

According to an order filed Monday, July 14 both sides in the railroad lawsuit will be given 45 minutes to present their oral arguments in summary of their case to the Judge by telephone.

It won’t matter what Power says. Ultimately, we will lose this lawsuit.

Preponderance of the evidence takes precedence over Power’s gibberish.

05:06:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Space Station On Orbit

S121-E-05902 (7 July 2006) --- Astronaut Stephanie D. Wilson (center), STS-121 mission specialist, works with the Mobile Service System (MSS) and Canadarm2 controls in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station while Space Shuttle Discovery was docked to the station. Wilson used the station's arm to move the Italian-built Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) from the shuttle cargo bay to install on the station's Unity node. Astronauts Jeffrey N. Williams (foreground), Expedition 13 NASA space station science officer and flight engineer; Michael E. Fossum (top) and Lisa M. Nowak, STS-121 mission specialists, assisted Wilson. The MPLM was successfully latched in place by 7:15 a.m. (CDT) on July 7, 2006.

ISS013-E-49268 (8 July 2006) --- Astronaut Piers J. Sellers, STS-121 mission specialist, participates in the mission's first session of extravehicular activity (EVA) while the Space Shuttle Discovery was docked with the International Space Station.

ISS013-E-47643 (6 July 2006) --- A close-up view Space Shuttle Discovery's tail section is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 13 crewmember on the International Space Station during RPM survey. Visible are the shuttle's main engines, vertical stabilizer, orbital maneuvering system (OMS) pods and a portion of the aft cargo bay and wings.

All Images Courtesy of NASA
05:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Crew to Prepare for Third Spacewalk, Transfer Cargo

The Discovery and Expedition 13 crews will continue to transfer items to and from the shuttle, the International Space Station and the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module. Leonardo arrived inside Discovery’s payload bay with more than 7,400 pounds of equipment and supplies for the station. Leonardo will be returned Friday to the payload bay packed with more than 4,300 pounds of science experiment results, unneeded items and trash.

Throughout the day, crew members will prepare for STS-121’s third spacewalk. Mission Specialists Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum are slated to begin the excursion at 7:13 a.m. EDT Wednesday. The spacewalkers will demonstrate on-orbit shuttle heat shield repair techniques.

04:59:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Sleep With Those Who Love You


The Advertiser probably would let the drunk Mayor sleep it off in their parking lot. After all, he is one of the local political stooges they consistently endorse and cover up for.


Again and again.


04:46:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Is the Advertiser Hiring?


Check this out. A university student newspaper columnist has been fired for claiming a political party position paper as his own work.

Regarding the now unemployed Jimmy Olson in question, he should submit his resume to the Advertiser. He has a verifiable record of submitting what others tell him to believe is truth. He has already learned the ease at which an assignment may be accomplished without doing research. The political party he has plagiarized allegiance to is the Advertiser's consistent choice.

This job candidate should fit right in with little, or no training.

The Advertiser better hire this guy while they can. The student newspaper that fired this Jimmy Olson is taking steps to prevent future embarrassments. The next crop out of this reporter mill may graduate with some idea of integrity.


You wouldn't see any remarks from Delaney like the editor in Iowa City.


03:48:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Shuttle STS-121 MCC Status Report #13

A six-hour, 47-minute spacewalk by astronauts from Space Shuttle Discovery today restored the International Space Station’s Mobile Transporter rail car to full operation and delivered a spare pump module for the station’s cooling system.

Spacewalkers Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum exited the Quest module’s airlock at 7:14 a.m. and climbed down into the shuttle payload bay, where they lifted the Pump Module from its stowage platform so Mission Specialists Lisa Nowak and Stephanie Wilson could grapple it with the station’s 58-foot-long robotic arm. While the arm moved the module to its destination, Sellers and Fossum moved to the S0 Truss segment to begin work on the primary task of the EVA, replacement of the nadir-side Trailing Umbilical System (TUS).

A TUS contains a power, data and video cable that serves the Mobile Transporter as it moves along the station’s truss; the nadir TUS cable was inadvertently severed late last year and required replacement. As the first step in that process Sellers replaced the Interface Umbilical Assembly—the component containing the cutter—with a new IUA, one without a blade.

By that time, Canadarm2 reached External Stowage Platform 2 on the forward side of Quest with the Pump Module; Sellers and Fossum moved to the platform to receive the module from the arm, secured it to the storage platform, and returned to the TUS work site.

The spacewalkers removed the damaged TUS from within the S0 Truss, and Fossum carried it to the payload bay while riding the station arm. When he arrived, Sellers removed the new TUS from the payload bay platform, and the two swapped cable reels. Sellers stowed the old TUS on the cross-bay carrier while the arm moved Fossum back to the truss work site, where Sellers rejoined his crewmate to complete installation of the TUS and properly route its power, data and video cable through the IUA.

At two points during the spacewalk Fossum paused to take care of a loose connection of the emergency jet thruster backpack on Sellers’ spacesuit, securing it the first time with a safety tether.

The spacewalkers closed the hatch and began to repressurize Quest to end the spacewalk at 2:01 p.m. to conclude a six-hour, 47-minute excursion; the combined time spent spacewalking on two EVAs on this mission so far is 14 hours, 18 minutes. A third spacewalk, devoted to testing potential repair techniques and materials, is scheduled for Wednesday.

During the spacewalk Pilot Mark Kelly oversaw the timeline for the spacewalkers while Commander Steve Lindsey managed the cameras and transferred two containers of water onto ISS. Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter continued to work on delivery and stowage of equipment and supplies from the Multipurpose Logistics Module.

The next STS-121 mission status report will be early Tuesday.

02:29:37 - SPIKE - No comments

10 July

Vicious Dogs & Vicious Architects

Tonight the Burlington City Council chambers will be hearing the spirited debate over vicious dogs and vicious architects.

The council will listen to arguments that could strip away the rights of the citizens to due process in the courts. The same rights granted by the Constitution.

The police department wants to be given the right to order the killing of any vicious dog at the end of a 10-day period without any court process. That decision will be made solely by the police department. The police have no experience in taking people’s property without court direction and are ill equipped to do so now.

I have no use for vicious dogs. But almost all vicious dogs are a product of truly dysfunctional owners. Most vicious dogs cannot be recycled into pets without an enormous amount of work.

If you want to do something, punish the owner to such an extent that he/she will never be inclined to turn Fido into Cujo again. Publish the laws and offer a moratorium for everyone to understand there will be severe penalties for keeping a vicious dog.

The real flaw in this proposed ordinance is the taking of people’s personal property without due process. That is blatantly illegal.

Unless you are willing to have Scott Power attempt to unwind the Constitution, a dog owner will sue the city when the cops kill a supposed bad dog only to find out that the biter only bit the bitee because he was poking the biter with a stick. And it will go to federal court. And the dog owner will win.

Next on the council agenda of fresh ridiculous ideas for economic development is a plan to limit the design esthetics of new building construction to blend in with the old architecture of the city. This brainstorm was apparently conceived as if we have a multitude of companies wanting to build a bunch of ugly-ass new buildings in Burlington.

I suppose it also means that any company wanting to build a new building should design missing windows so the pigeons can get in. Instead of this new ordinance, why not enforce existing laws and make the pigeon lovers fix their junk buildings.

And I suppose this new ordinance will require all new buildings have fluorescent neon casino lights in order to bring good jobs to the community.

I swear it looks like there isn’t a lick of common sense anywhere in city hall.

But there are a lot of dumb ass ideas that portray this city for what it is – a provincial little town of Mindless Lemming Sheep singing KOOM-BY-YA.

14:43:24 - SPIKE - No comments

Wrong Approach - It's A Business, Not A Newspaper

Hey Spike,

The advertiser has 96 employees' pictures on the back page today. 23 of them work in the advertising department.

23.958% of their employees work to sell ads.


It's all about the money. This is a business that sells ads using paper instead of the radio/TV/internet to distribute those ads. It is not a newspaper.

They are no different than Burger King. You pay your money to get what they serve.

Except you can't sleep it off in their parking lot.


12:31:47 - SPIKE - No comments

The Miracle of Inertia


The Advertiser celebrating 170 years reminded me of the Newtonian Physics you ran to explain how the International Space Station and Space Shuttle remain in orbit. A body in motion tends to stay in motion.

Inertia is a powerful force, but outside forces come into play. Without corrective action, all will come to a humbling tumbling.

How much longer until the Advertiser comes crashing down like Skylab?


Yes, and like the equations predict, this humbling tumbling mess will land in our backyards not the South Pacific.

12:11:22 - SPIKE - No comments

NASA Podcasts Now Available Here

First Offered On BurlingtonDerailed.com

For those of you with iPods or most mp3/4 player, NASA offers some really great video for download. Since some of these files are very large, you need to avoid them if you are on dial-up internet service.

A series of educational podcasts are also available at the NASA Podcast link.

Launch Podcast

Shuttle Pitch Over

05:06:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Softening the Masses for the Mallet


The Advertiser's ranting about the brilliance of counselor Power in the railroad lawsuit appears a pre-emptive strike. The people are being readied for bad news on the railroad law suit. Powers will doubtless be nailed hard.

Delaney and friends want Power's position so high that when he falls, he will still be able to look down on the peons stuck paying for his incompetence.


It's still gonna hurt even if that mallet is rubber.


04:23:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Hawk Eye 170th Anniversary Job Performance Review

According to Sunday’s chest beating by #2 Allison, the advertiser seems ill prepared for the volatile future of news distribution. There are serious deficiencies that need to be addressed before the advertiser can sprint off to the future.

Ability to chronicle factual history – F, too lazy to do the job
Ability to chronicle history as they see it – A
Offer advertisers a vehicle to reach consumers - B
Independent and objective news source – C, due only to sports, business & obituaries
Ability to be objective, fair and sensitive to the people they cover – F-
Total disregard for the people they cover in order to sell papers – A+
Engaged in the matters that affect us as members of the community – A
Willingness to do anything about it – F
Concern for actions and decisions regarding Burlington taxes – Zero, no grade needed, call Slagle for further direction
Total resources spent following activities they believe important - $725.13, $700 trying to bend Federal court local rules on tape recording the railroad trial
Real challenges issued on editorial page – D, none from any known source
Leadership role in growth and development of our region – F, no leaders found

Overall Job Performance – D, good grade due only to sports, business & obituaries.

04:20:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Space Walk

Astronaut Piers J. Sellers, STS-121 mission specialist, works on a section of the International Space Station during the mission's first session of extravehicular activity (EVA). Photo Credit: NASA

Astronaut Michael E. Fossum, STS-121 mission specialist, works on a section of the International Space Station during the mission's first session of extravehicular activity (EVA). Photo Credit: NASA

Using Space Shuttle Discovery's Remote Manipulator System/Orbiter Booster Sensor System (RMS/OBSS) for maneuvering, astronauts Piers J. Sellers (red stripes) and Michael E. Fossum, STS-121 mission specialists, work on the S0 Truss of the International Space Station. The 7 hour 31 minute spacewalk was the first of three scheduled EVA sessions for the STS-121 mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Astronauts Piers J. Sellers (red stripes) and Michael E. Fossum, STS-121 mission specialists, work in tandem on the shuttle's Remote Manipulator System/Orbiter Booster Sensor System (RMS/OBSS) during the mission's first scheduled session of extravehicular activity (EVA). Photo Credit: NASA

July 4, 2006 Launch
Photo Credit: NASA

July 4, 2006 Launch
Photo Credit: NASA

03:06:26 - SPIKE - No comments

Shuttle Status Report #12

Discovery Mission Specialists Mike Fossum and Piers Sellers will work on the International Space Station’s mobile transporter and install a pump module today on the second of three spacewalks of the STS-121 mission.

The shuttle crew was awakened at 1:08 a.m. CDT by "Clocks," performed by Coldplay. It was requested by Sellers' family for the day of the second spacewalk.

The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 7:13 a.m. and expected to last nearly seven hours. First, Fossum and Sellers will make their way to the shuttle’s payload bay to a spare pump module for the station’s thermal control system. Once there, they will attach it to the fixed grapple bar which will allow Mission Specialists Lisa Nowak and Stephanie Wilson, inside at the controls of the robotic arm, to maneuver the pump to the external stowage platform.

While the module is being moved, Fossum and Sellers will stay in the payload bay and get ready for their next task, replacement of a trailing umbilical system (TUS) reel assembly, this one on the nadir side of the mobile transporter.

After they reconfigure the payload bay for the activity, they’ll then translate to the starboard zero truss segment, to get it ready for retrieval. Fossum will disconnect electrical cables while Sellers changes out the assembly. Once it is ready, they will leave that site to go to the stowage platform and assist with the detaching and installation of the pump into its permanent storage location. That pump is onboard as a spare should it be needed in the future.

The two spacewalkers will then return to the truss and remove the TUS reel assembly. Fossum, on the end of the robotic arm, will take the reel assembly to the payload bay. Sellers will move there on his own, and set up for the swap of that assembly with a new one. After the swap is complete, the two will go back to the worksite to install the new reel assembly, reroute the power and data cable and thus restoring the desired redundancy to the mobile transporter and enabling it again to be used for continued station assembly tasks.

Shuttle Commander Steve Lindsey and Pilot Mark Kelly will support the spacewalk with Lindsey monitoring the vehicle systems and video/television set ups and Kelly overseeing activities and coaching the spacewalkers.

The Expedition 13 crew, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and flight engineers Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter, will be working steadily throughout the day transferring trash and unneeded equipment and supplies for return to Earth in the multipurpose logistics module Leonardo. More than 4,300 pounds of cargo will be packed for the return to Earth.

03:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

09 July

High Resolution NASA Image Links Added

Below each photo you can click to the high resolution version of the photo. Most are images are 1.1 Mb in size so do take a bit of time to download on dial-up.

If you save them to desktop they will load faster and you can study them without the any slowdown.

15:20:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Shuttle Photos

For all high-speed users, links to large versions of these NASA images are now available. The large images average about 1.1 Mb in size. Slide your cursor over the image and click to get the full image. They are absolutely magnificent in detail.

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

All NASA Images
02:52:42 - SPIKE - No comments

07 July

Another Misguided Advertisorial For Mindless Lemming Sheep

Thursday morning the advertiser decided to tout Power’s innate ability to shape the direction of the railroad lawsuit towards the local Federal court instead of the Surface Transportation Board, the venue where it really belongs.

If Delaney and crew had any knowledge of railroad history, railroad governance, railroad operations or the issues of the City’s legal case at hand, this editorial wouldn’t have been written (as many others shouldn’t have been).

You also have to wonder why the advertiser chooses to endorse the City’s litigious circular path of problem solving unless the turmoil results in more revenue for the paper - “Let’s stir the pot and sell more ads.”

Thursday’s advertisorial wonders aloud why the railroad wanted to leave Burlington. Maybe because the Mayor called a railroad executive a “liar.” Why doesn’t the advertiser stress the fact that everyone from the State down to Dennis Hinkle and the City Council failed to talk to the BNSF for over 6 months while they were making their decision on the Shops? Perhaps that would lead to an answer.

If, by some stroke of luck similar to a runaway river barge hitting the Federal courthouse, the city wins the 1st round this month, rest assured Power will never see the inside of the STB hearing. Power isn’t qualified. And for the council to turn him loose is reason enough to vote them all out of office and chase ‘em out of town.

The advertisorial fails to mention the judge told everyone that he would go ahead with the trial, if for no other reason than to prepare a full record of the case and arguments for the STB. The advertiser makes no mention of that, and in fact, leads you to believe something else.

What the advertiser apparently doesn’t know and hasn’t told you is that North Dakota Senator Dorgan is supporting the cause for North Dakota grain shippers that feel the railroads and the STB have been unresponsive to the grain shippers’ freight rate increases brought about over increased fuel costs. The shippers want more railroad competition. They live in North Dakota; they aren’t going to get more competition. There are 3 or 4 railroads and that is it.

The next time the advertiser raises their rates (to protect their profit structure) because newsprint and ink cost more to ship to the Daily Planet, remember that all businesses have to make money. Even at the expense of their customers and employees.

Apparently, Iowa’s Oldest News On Paper also forgot that there are 3 motions before the judge. One of these motions is to move the proceedings to the STB should the judge fail to realize he has no jurisdiction on those issues.

Maybe this was just a ploy to begin to divert our thinking that this lawsuit will ultimately be lost because it was heard at the STB and, as the expert trial lawyer Power put it, a friendly forum for the railroad.

Yeah, it is a friendly forum for the railroad when you bring a half-assed, frivolous lawsuit against a railroad. There are smarter people than the sheep Power and Slagle tend in Burlington. And they can separate the fact from fiction in Power’s redundant pleadings, too.

If you want to chastise the STB, go learn about what the issues are before your spout off about it to your readers. There are a lot more readers than you think that individually have more knowledge of railroad operations and the STB than the Collective’s knowledge found on South Main.

But if your audience truly is the breed of Mindless Lemming Sheep found here in Southeast Iowa, I guess it was a hell of a good we-told-you-so editorial.


05:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Close Up

NASA Photo

A view of Discovery's crew cabin as photographed by one of the Expedition 13 crewmembers onboard the International Space Station during the RPM survey prior to docking of the two spacecraft.

04:14:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Target Acquired

The International Space Station is pictured from the space shuttle's docking port as the spacecraft are a few thousand feet apart. NASA TV Image

For the first time since May 2003, the International Space Station has a three-member crew. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter joined the Expedition 13 crew this afternoon when his custom-made seat liner was installed into the Soyuz spacecraft docked to the station. The seat liner will allow Reiter to return to Earth on the Soyuz. Reiter arrived at the station when Space Shuttle Discovery docked at 10:52 a.m. EDT. Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams welcomed Reiter and the six-member STS-121 crew aboard the station at 12:30 p.m. EDT. The two crews will spend the next week conducting joint operations, which includes two spacewalks and the transfer of cargo.

STS-121 also delivered hardware and supplies, most of which are located in the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module. Leonardo will be attached to the station’s Unity module on Friday.

The two crews will spend the next week conducting joint operations, which includes two spacewalks and the transfer of cargo.

03:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

STS-121 Status Report #05

There is a crew of three aboard the International Space Station today for the first time in more than three years, and for the first time ever that crew includes an American, a Russian and a European.

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter of Germany was delivered as the newest member of ISS Expedition 13 just hours after Space Shuttle Discovery docked at the station’s Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 at 9:52 a.m. CDT, as the two ships flew above the south Pacific Ocean south of Pitcairn Island.

Commander Steve Lindsey piloted Discovery’s approach to ISS, halting 600 feet directly below the station to perform the rendezvous pitch maneuver: the shuttle was commanded to do a nose-over-tail somersault so ISS Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Jeff Williams could photograph the thermal protection system tiles on the orbiter’s underside. Imagery experts on the ground will study the high-resolution still pictures for evidence of any damage to the insulating tiles.

Lindsey and his crew—Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists Mike Fossum, Lisa Nowak, Stephanie Wilson, Piers Sellers and Reiter—greeted the station crewmembers when the hatches between the vehicles were opened at 11:30 a.m. CDT.

After Vinogradov’s safety briefing for the shuttle crew, he helped Reiter install his customized Soyuz seat liner into the Russian rescue vehicle and check his pressurized Sokol suit, finalizing Reiter’s transfer from Discovery to ISS. Other first-day transfers from Discovery included the spacesuits that Sellers and Fossum will wear on their spacewalks out of the Quest airlock on Flight Days 5 and 7.

In preparation for the first EVA, Nowak, Wilson and Williams lifted the Orbiter Boom Sensor System with the station’s robotic arm and handed it over to the shuttle’s robotic arm. During the first spacewalk Sellers and Fossum will simulate orbiter repair tasks while attached to the OBSS/shuttle arm combination to test that 100-foot-long construction crane as a work platform.

On the second spacewalk the astronauts will deliver a spare Pump Module to an external stowage platform before replacing a damaged power and data cable reel assembly in the station’s truss. The repair will allow the Mobile Transporter to move along the truss during installation of new truss segments on future shuttle assembly missions.

The next STS-121 mission status report will be issued early Friday morning.

01:07:21 - SPIKE - No comments

06 July

Discovery Docks With Space Station

Space Shuttle Discovery reached its destination this morning when it docked with the International Space Station at 9:52 a.m. CDT. The STS-121 mission delivered supplies equipment and a third Expedition 13 crew member to the station.

The STS-121 astronauts entered the station for the first time at 11:30 a.m. CDT. They will spend the next week working with the Expedition 13 crew transferring much needed supplies and hardware from the shuttle and the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module to the station. Then, the two crews will transfer unneeded items from the station to Leonardo for the trip back to Earth. Leonardo is scheduled to be lifted out of Discovery’s payload bay and attached to the station Friday.

European Space Agency Astronaut Thomas Reiter arrived with STS-121. He will become Expedition 13’s third crew member later today.

Prior to docking, STS-121 Commander Steve Lindsey piloted Discovery through a back-flip maneuver to allow the station crew to capture imagery of the orbiter’s heat shield.

13:25:12 - SPIKE - No comments

Regulate the Advertiser? Most Monopolies Are!


The Advertiser was beating up the railroad again in an unsigned editorial. It seems the Advertiser does not like the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

The Advertiser praised the legal genius of counselor Perry Mason Power for not letting the BNSF move the City's lawsuit before the STB. The Advertiser may suspect that before this is over the STB will be involved, so it is time to start bashing them.

The STB is slow to move. The STB refuses to set rates to please farmers and miners. The railroad is a monopoly.

If you do not like the railroad, you can hire a truck. If you do not like the Advertiser, you can not buy another local newspaper. This sounds like more of an evil monopoly to me.

Where is the local Truth in News Board? Who is there to protect the citizens of Burlington from falsehood and non coverage in pursuit of advertising revenue? Who is there to protect from journalistic incompetence?

The Advertiser took a swipe at the BNSF closing its shops here because BNSF said Burlington is an out of the way place to do business. Out of the way is as much a state of mind as geography.

The state of mind towards business in Burlington makes it as attractive a place to do business as Antarctica. If you do not believe me, just read the Advertiser.


We are at the mercy of the soy inkheads. Unfortunately, there are no minimum standards to be met to perform that job.

Yet they can impact people's perception of the truth and shape the thinking of those that can't get information anywhere else.

Even Pavlov's dogs hated to hear the bell ring. They wanted to eat out of the bowl like the other dogs.

It's like the new Borg chant - "Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated, KOOM-BY-YA"

10:36:29 - SPIKE - No comments

Things Great In West Burlington - Just No $$ For Fire Department


I think its great the City of West Burlington can hold a 4th of July celebration. It must feel good having a raffle(for over $18,000.00 worth of merchandise) to raise money.

I think it's odd they can do that, but not help the Fire Department with the purchase of emergency equipment.

What's even odder? Councilman Rod Crowner pulled the winning raffle ticket out - his daughter is Amy Eggar!

Crowner and Trousil must be taking lessons from Edwards and Ell, all they need is Dan Hockett.

Thanks for the great Space Shuttle coverage.


Hockett might have been the juice keeping that crowd walking straight.

Just keep an eye out for the West Burlington Council meeting replay on channel 18. This is all going to happen again over something else. It's a pattern of behavior.

Very similar to Burlington.


10:17:36 - SPIKE - No comments

STS-121 Shuttle Status Report #03

The Astronauts of Space Shuttle Discovery examined their spaceship with the Orbiter Boom Sensor System today and found no evidence of any damage from debris during yesterday’s ride to orbit.

The several hours of inspection began just after 6:00 a.m. when Mission Specialists Lisa Nowak and Stephanie Wilson verified proper operation of the Space Shuttle’s robotic arm, then maneuvered it to lift the 50-foot-long OBSS from the starboard sill of the payload bay.

Assisted by Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialist Mike Fossum, Nowak and Wilson began a slow and steady examination of the reinforced carbon-carbon panels along the leading edge of Discovery’s starboard wing just before 8:30 a.m., looking for any evidence of damage.

The inspection using the Laser Dynamic Range Imager, Laser Camera System, and Intensified Television Camera on the end of the boom continued across the shuttle’s nose cap and port wing. After returning the OBSS to its berth, Nowak, Wilson and Fossum spent an hour using the cameras on the shuttle robot arm to scan the outside of the crew cabin.

While the survey proceeded, Mission Specialist Piers Sellers completed the setup of on board computers and cameras and Mission Specialist Thomas Reiter of the European Space Agency prepared Discovery’s middeck for the planned transfer of supplies onto the International Space Station. The first item to be transferred after docking, scheduled for 9:52 a.m. Thursday, is Reiter’s customized seat liner for the Soyuz vehicle; that will make him an official member of the station’s Expedition 13 crew, and the first ISS crewmember who is neither an American nor a Russian.

Sellers and Fossum, who also installed the centerline camera in Discovery’s docking mechanism, completed a checkout of the spacesuits they will wear during scheduled spacewalks on Flight Days 5 and 7. The EVAs will evaluate the combination of ISS robot arm and OBSS as a work platform for astronauts repairing a damaged shuttle orbiter and restore the station’s Mobile Transporter to full operation to support continued station assembly.

On board ISS Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Jeff Williams prepared the digital cameras with 400mm and 800mm lenses they will use to take high-resolution photos of the shuttle's heat shield when it flies a nose over tail somersault at a range of 600 feet below the station. They also prepared Pressurized Mating Adapter 2, at the forward end of the U.S. laboratory Destiny, where Discovery will dock tomorrow morning.

The astronauts on Discovery were scheduled to be awakened at 2:38 a.m. CDT Thursday to being final preparations for the docking with the ISS.

The next STS-121 mission status report will be issued at approximately 6 a.m., or earlier if events warrant.

02:01:00 - SPIKE - No comments

05 July

Shuttle Status Report #2

STS-121 MCC Status Report #02

Discovery's astronauts are awake and ready to begin their first full day in space. Today the crew will focus on thermal protection system inspections, preparing for docking to the International Space Station and getting spacesuits ready for two and perhaps three spacewalks.

Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists Mike Fossum, Lisa Nowak, Stephanie Wilson, Piers Sellers and Thomas Reiter got their wakeup call at 4:08 a.m. CDT, allowing them an extra 30 minutes of sleep after their first day in space ran long. The wakeup song was “Lift Every Voice and Sing” performed by the New Galveston Chorale.

Four crewmembers will spend much of the day looking for damage to Discovery's thermal protection system. Lindsey, Kelly, Fossum and Nowak will use the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS), a 50-foot boom on the end of the shuttle's robotic Canadarm, to look at the wings' leading edges and the nose cap.

The task involves about 6½ hours of intense work for the crew members. Actual data takes will total about an hour, 20 minutes for each wing and the nose cap. The rest of that time is devoted to very careful movement of the Canadarm and the OBSS.

Later, after lunch, Nowak and Wilson will return the OBSS to its berth on the starboard sill of Discovery's cargo bay. Then they and Fossum will use cameras on the shuttle arm to photograph the outside of Discovery's cabin. That activity should take about an hour.

Wilson also will take digital hand-held camera photos of the orbital maneuvering system pods at the base of the shuttle's vertical tail fin.

Photos and sensor readings from the shuttle, as well as photos of launch and ascent from more than 100 ground-based and airborne cameras and radar and instrument data, will be reviewed by experts on the ground. The data, photos by the station crew and information from subsequent arm surveys at the station and after undocking, will be used to determine if Discovery sustained damage during launch and ascent or in space, to ensure that it is safe for the shuttle to re-enter the atmosphere to land.

In other activities today, Wilson and Reiter will get items on the middeck ready for transfer to the station. Spacewalkers Fossum and Sellers, helped by Kelly, the intravehicular officer who will coach the spacewalkers, will check out spacesuits.

Nowak and Sellers will extend the shuttle docking ring which will help secure Discovery to the station. Just before the shuttle crew goes to bed, Kelly and Sellers will check out and prepare docking tools, including laptop computers.

At 3:30 a.m., Discovery was trailing the station by 9,573 statute miles and closing at a rate of 870 statute miles per orbit. Docking is scheduled for 9:52 a.m. Thursday.

Today the space station crew, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams, will continue to prepare the orbiting laboratory for Discovery's arrival. They will ready the digital cameras with 400mm and 800mm lenses they will use during Discovery’s approach to take high-resolution photos of the shuttle's heat shield. They also will pressurize the Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 at the end of the U.S. laboratory Destiny, where Discovery is scheduled to dock.

The next STS-121 mission status report will be issued Wednesday evening, or earlier if events warrant.

11:59:02 - SPIKE - No comments

Local News To Precede Shuttle Coverage - Scroll Down

While Discovery is flying, we will be posting all local news below our shuttle coverage. Don't forget to scroll down.

03:38:20 - SPIKE - No comments

Shuttle Space Station Sighting Schedule & Tracking Info

Information Through July 9

Tracking Info - To see where Discovery and the ISS are at any given time, click here. Allow time to load and you need Java to view data. For other satellite viewing, click here.

Sighting Info - Use this chart to see when Discovery or the ISS will be visible within a 30 mile radius of Burlington. For areas outside this range, click here.

02:53:28 - SPIKE - No comments

Bird's Eye View

Viewed from the top of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Space Shuttle Discovery kicks off the Fourth of July fireworks with its own fiery display as it rockets over the blue Atlantic Ocean and into the blue sky, spewing foam and smoke over the ground, on mission STS-121. Photo credit: NASA/Gianni Woods

The majority of the white "smoke" is actually steam released during the launch to both silence the shuttle noise and cool the launch platform.

Sound Suppression System

A sound suppression system was installed on the launch pads and the mobile launcher platform to protect the orbiter and its payloads from being damaged by acoustical energy reflected from the platform during liftoff.

Water stored in a 290-foot-high, 300,000 gallon tank on the northeast side of the pad is released just prior to the main engine ignition and flows by gravity to special outlets on the platform, including six 12-foot-high quench nozzles, or "rainbirds." Nine seconds after liftoff, peak flow rate is 900,000 gallons per minute.

The system reduces acoustical levels within the orbiter payload bay to about 142 decibels, below the design requirement of 145 decibels.

02:24:08 - SPIKE - No comments

Too Good To Be True


I knew it was too good to be true. Taxpayers are going to have to pay for Fun City. Why hasn't the newspaper writen about this?


Taxpayers already had to make the first bond payment for Fun City because our city manager didn't negotiate a construction clause in the bond agreements.

We won't hear from the advertiser because Fun City generates too much ad revenue.

It's not about the news. It's about the money. Delaney won't take a stand unless they can profit from it. If it would jeopardize his manager status, you'll never see it in print.


01:18:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Hinkle Vision Iowa/Library Remarks Part 3

As I mentioned I watched the June 21 West Burlington City Council Meeting on Tuesday.

It seems Chamber President Dennis Hinkle made remarks concerning the library and Vision Iowa funding to West Burlington Councilman Raleigh.

After listening to Raleigh try to explain what was said it just got worse. The longer Raleigh spoke the more befuddled he became. It sure sounds to me like Hinkle got caught and demanded Raleigh try to make it better for him.

This isn't the first time Hinkle has made a statement and then decided that maybe he better tell the truth rather than get caught.

Busted. Both of you.

01:16:00 - SPIKE - No comments

West Burlington City Council Meeting Erupts

I watched the June 21 West Burlington City Council Meeting rebroadcast on channel 18 on Tuesday. What a show!

Mayor Trousil got into it with the Fire Department over a used fire command vehicle the fire department bought. All I can say is Trousil was out of control. In fact, he was an absolute ass speaking to the city fire fighters like he did.

I don't care what his beef is with these guys or the Fire Chief, his behavior and tone was bush league amateur night. Somebody should have told the bully to shove it.

When it got the worse, a council member got up and left the council chambers over the mayor's behavior and sarcastic attitude. Then the remainder of the council members made fun of the council member for leaving.

What a bunch of spuds. You guys need to clean up your childish behavior or you're going to find your antics a regular feature on this website, on a very regular basis.

We don't like bullies. And we sure as hell don't have to condone that attitude from a bunch unprofessional elected officials.
00:55:00 - SPIKE - No comments

04 July

Shuttle Status Report #01


STS-121 MCC Status Report #01

On the nation’s 230th birthday, Discovery rocketed into the Florida sky this afternoon, returning the shuttle fleet to space after almost a year.

The first human spacecraft to launch on an Independence Day holiday, Discovery has begun a journey to resupply and service the International Space Station. Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists Mike Fossum, Lisa Nowak, Stephanie Wilson, Piers Sellers and Thomas Reiter, a European Space Agency astronaut, lifted off at 1:38 p.m. CDT. The launch followed a flawless countdown.

During the next 12 days, Discovery’s crew will demonstrate techniques for inspecting and protecting the shuttle’s thermal protection system, restore the station to a three-person crew for the first time since May 2003, and replace critical hardware needed for future station assembly. The crew is planned to conduct two spacewalks during the mission. If supplies allow, managers may extend Discovery's flight by an additional day, a day that will be used by the crew to conduct a third spacewalk.

A system of new and upgraded ground-based cameras, radar and airborne cameras aboard high altitude aircraft documented Discovery's launch. That imagery, along with data to be gathered from in-flight inspections, will be used to ensure Discovery's heat shield is in good condition. The in-flight inspections will be performed by the crew using the shuttle's robotic arm, an extension boom and laser system as well as photography to be taken from the station of a back flip the shuttle will perform as it approaches for docking.

Moments after main engine cutoff, less than nine minutes after liftoff, Fossum and Wilson used handheld video and digital still cameras to document the external tank after it separated from the shuttle. That imagery, as well as imagery gathered by cameras in the shuttle’s umbilical well where the tank was connected, will be transmitted to the ground for review.

As Discovery lifted off, the International Space Station was 220 miles above the southern Pacific Ocean, south of Tasmania. Aboard the outpost, Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams watched the launch via a television transmission from Mission Control. Discovery is set to dock to the complex at about 9:51 a.m. CDT July 6.

The shuttle crew will test Discovery’s robot arm tomorrow and then use it to grasp a 50-foot long boom extension, called the Orbiter Boom Sensor System. That boom holds the laser system and TV cameras they will use to inspect the shuttle’s wings and heat shield.

During the two spacewalks, Sellers and Fossum will test the capability of the boom extension to be used as a work platform from which repairs could be performed to the shuttle heat shield. They also will repair a cable system on the station’s rail car, a system that will be a base for the station's robotic arm for future assembly work. If the mission is extended by a day, the third spacewalk will be used to test techniques under development for repair of the reinforced carbon-carbon that makes up the heat shield on the shuttle wing edges.

Carried inside the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module in Discovery’s cargo bay and elsewhere on the shuttle, about 14 tons of hardware and supplies is on its way to the space station. Discovery's crew begins an eight-hour sleep period at 7:38 p.m. CDT. The astronauts will awaken at 3:38 a.m. CDT Wednesday to begin their first full day in orbit.

The next STS-121 status report will be issued shortly after crew wakeup, or earlier if events warrant.

23:50:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Lift Off

Space Shuttle Discovery kicks off the Fourth of July fireworks with its own fiery display as it rockets into the blue sky, spewing foam and smoke over the ground, on mission STS-121. It was the third launch attempt in four days; the others were scrubbed due to weather concerns. Liftoff was on-time at 2:38 p.m. EDT. During the 12-day mission, the STS-121 crew of seven will test new equipment and procedures to improve shuttle safety, as well as deliver supplies and make repairs to the International Space Station. Landing is scheduled for July 17 at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility. Photo credit: NASA/Sandy Joseph, Robert Murray
21:03:47 - SPIKE - No comments

Beans For Everybody

Discovery lifted off on time this afternoon. Beans and cornbread for everybody.

If your blood doesn't run when those engines gimbal before the launch, you aren't alive.

A perfect launch.

Absolutely Spectacular.

NASA Image

NASA Release

With a rocket's red glare, Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in a spectacular display of sound and light befitting of Independence Day.

Commanded by Steven Lindsey, Discovery and its crew of seven astronauts roared from Launch Pad 39B to begin a 15,000-mph chase to rendezvous with the International Space Station.

As Discovery raced into the bright blue sky, cheers and applause erupted across Kennedy and along the nearby beaches of Florida's Space Coast. Today's successful launch came on the third try after the first two attempts to launch were dashed by poor weather.

Now under way, Discovery and its crew set their sights on a mission to deliver equipment, supplies and an additional crewmember to the station. While docked, the STS-121 crew will test new equipment and procedures to improve shuttle safety, as well as make repairs to the station.
13:38:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Shuttle Day 1 Schedule

13:15:00 - SPIKE - No comments

People's Rights

“Property must be secured or liberty can not exist.” - John Adams 1790

Breakfast nearly took leave of my mouth when I leafed to the Editorial page of the Burlington Advertiser of Sunday, June 25th. Those of us who have yet to achieve the proper collectivist class-consciousness were lectured again on the evils of an individual’s right to personal property.

It seems defending personal liberty is not worth a special session of the State Legislature to curb ever increasing abuses of eminent domain. The Advertiser claims no need to rush the issue. In truth, Delaney and company hope the issue will simply go away if ignored long enough.

While the wannabe Woodward and Bernsteins stuck in the backwater of Burlington may fancy themselves as members of a free press defending freedom, this issue further demonstrates the hypocrites and cheap frauds they really are. In this the Advertiser has other crummy company.

Other newspapers across Iowa want the destruction of private property rights to proceed. Why?

The vast majority of eminent domain abuse occurring at an alarmingly increasing rate across America involves commercial development. A lot of this commercial development involves retailing. Who puts the advertising in the Advertiser?

When the Bolsheviks took power in Russia, one of the first decrees issued by Lenin was to abolish individual property rights. It was for the collective good.

The Advertiser uses the same twisted logic to the same twisted end with a slight twist. Economic development for the collective good demands the abolition of an individual’s property rights.

Trampling individual freedoms set forth in the Bill of Rights is no vice if it further enriches the Advertiser.


13:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Advertiser Missing Facts Doesn’t Disappoint – Supervisors Do

During Monday’s Des Moines County Supervisors meeting Hoschek and Beck voted to approve a $2,000 donation to the Washington County lawsuit over railroad bridges. Blow voted no which is completely contrary to what Quirk wrote in Iowa’s Oldest News on Paper.

Quirk wasn’t even at the meeting, so I have no clue or guess where Quirk got his story the vote was unanimous. But it’s typical of the attention to detail that goes lacking everyday in the effort to repeat every news story 50-60 times.

I don’t know what County Engineer Brian Carter, Supervisor Bob Beck or Hoschek were thinking. Talk about a dumb ass move. Brian Carter should have known better. I guess it’s youthful indiscretion or inexperience. It did show a lack of common sense.

If Carter thinks his relationship with the railroad was poor to begin with, it will be non-existent now. Every time the County needs something done he can expect it won't be done in a timely manner. And Carter’s name, along with Des Moines County, will be forever added to the little black book of troublemakers all railroads use everyday. To think otherwise is foolish.

It is amazing to me that after 2 years of watching Burlington get their ass kicked in their lawsuit, the boys in the courthouse didn’t learn anything about suing railroads. It’s a dead-end stunt.

What is even more ludicrous is taking our tax money to pay for someone else’s lawsuit. It would be different if there were an agreement with all 98 other Iowa counties to help pay for a lawsuit of general interest. But we don’t have that agreement. I doubt if Washington County contributes any money to sue Metzger-Johnson over the County Home.

If the public wants a preview of the direction the Supervisors are headed, look no further than Monday’s vote. Get used to knee jerk reactions to stupid human stunts devoid of common sense.

10:09:15 - SPIKE - No comments

Shuttle Set To Launch at 1:38 CDT

Scheduled liftoff for Discovery is scheduled to occur at 1:38 p.m., CDT.

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John Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence"

The first painting that John Trumbull completed for the Capitol Rotunda shows the signing of the Declaration of Independence in what is now called Independence Hall, Philadelphia.

The painting features the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence — John Adams, Roger Sherman, Thomas Jefferson (presenting the document), and Benjamin Franklin — standing before John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress.

The painting includes portraits of 42 of the 56 signers and 5 other patriots. The artist sketched the individuals and the room from life.

Look closely to see that John Adams is standing on Thomas Jefferson's foot!

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Ben Franklin Warned Us


As the Constitutional Convention broke up, a lady asked its oldest delegate, "Dr. Franklin, What kind of government did you give us? A monarchy, or a Republic?" The wit of Poor Richard not being dimmed age gave the reply, "A Republic madame, if you can keep it."

The creators of our Constitution knew that if people were not vigilant, active participants in the process, representative government would be replaced by arrogant tyranny. Burlington has become living proof of what will happen.

A confederacy of crooks, drunks and fools have come to govern.

This tyranny has come to be largely by default. Nobody wishes to bother joining with others of higher morals and intellect to oppose them. That would mean some extra time and effort like putting in an evening, or two a week during election season to help a candidate of worth.

Worse yet, the base level of participation to protect a Republic goes untended. Look at how few people even bothered to vote when the Drunk Mayor was last re-elected. A 20th Century Philosopher named Pogo defined the problem, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Until the citizens of Burlington take a more active role in public affairs, the saloon sweepings that have been dumped into City Hall will hold power and insure a negative future.


05:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Citizens Betrayed


We've gotten to the point, here in Loserville, where the taxpayer is subservient to the thugs, golfers and drunks occupying city hall.

The taxpayer has become indigent because of the spurious decision making by city hall dead heads.

The voters in Loserville should be more wary about who they elect to represent them. This continuous revolving door policy is destroying our city and county.

Wages based on comparable cities has made more liars here in Loserville than golf has. Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough, down at our city hall.

Remember voters, that stupid is forever and ignorance can be fixed; try to think of this the next time you vote, provided there is some semblance of choices.


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Insensibility To Our Situation

Thomas Jefferson wrote of the delay in finalizing the Declaration of Independence, “Nothing of particular excitement occurring for a considerable time our countrymen seemed to fall into a state of insensibility to our situation.”

Old Tom sure could foretell the future of the Burlington leaders falling into a state of “insensibility to our situation.”


04:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Cowardly Convention Didn’t Serve People


After watching the Democrats railroad Mr. Heland into office, I am ashamed to say I have been a Democrat for 61 years.

And for my Democrat friends that I spent years working with on Democratic causes, shame on you for your cowardly convention. Being told what to do and how to vote goes against everything I believe in and have ever worked for.

I am changing parties and as long as I am alive, I will never support a Democratic cause again. You have done nothing to serve the county residents.

Shame on you Senator Courtney for leading the party down this road. Don’t come knocking for campaign money. You are not welcome.

Thank you Spike for letting me say my piece.

None of Your Business Who I Am

I used to think there were some really good people that wouldn't lay down for the Democratic leadership of Edwards, Courtney, Anderson and the rest of the wannabe thugs.

How wrong I was; just gutless, spineless Lemmings.


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Taxation Without Representation


I can’t afford it any more. One of the reasons we fought the Revolutionary War was over taxation without representation.

Not one council member had a way to save money this year. All they know how to do is just sit there.

Right now we are being represented by no one. Our mayor has an alcohol problem and can’t control the city staff. He doesn’t provide any leadership but intimidates the city council into voting his way.

I used to think more of Ell than I do now. He has been such a disappointment for being retired. I suppose his retirement from the city is so good he doesn’t care about the rest of us.

Every year we keep getting a bigger tax bill. Every year Mr. Slagle gets a raise while the people in my neighborhood are getting no raises and most have no insurance.

We have fought many wars to preserve our freedom. We need to fight another war over taxation without representation. And that war is right here in Burlington.


It’s just a question of time before Edwards hits the drunk tank. With him out of the way, changes will have to be made. Courtney will powerless to save his buddy and fellow thug Democrat.

Ell isn’t competent to lead the city so he will be sidelined as Slagle’s manager until Slagle is fired. We can’t have someone with a known history of deceiving the taxpayers as a leader. And they both qualify for that.

Then things might have a chance.

Otherwise, these thugs and drunks will keep Burlington headed further down the toilet than we already are.

I don’t care what Angelou or the advertiser say about singing campfire songs. I can’t sit around the campfire with a bunch of busy body people I have absolutely no respect for; bankers, lawyers, accountants and supposed community leaders like the advertiser that are there only to protect their own interests and not those of the community. Just listless souls in a sea of shipbound faces.


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Can The Fun City Debt Be Paid? Sure, Raise Taxes!


Now that Fun City has lowered their prices how will the city repay their loan? Did the city have any say in lowering the admission charge?

Will the taxpayers have to come up with the money to cover this grand scheme gone mad?


If you have a 1,000 people per week at the water park and they were paying $15.00 that would bring Fun City $15,000 in gross revenues.

Now that the admission fee is $5.00 Fun City only brings in $5,000 in gross revenues.

After Fun City pays for insurance, electricity and wages I would guess the whole mess is losing money and taxpayers will be paying more taxes to pay off the bond debt.

Anytime you cut prices 66% you’d better be doing a hell of a lot of volume. And I don’t mean a little bit more. I mean a hell of a lot more. Substantially more than 3 times the previous volume, or you aren’t going to make it.

Some more of that Slagle, Edwards, Ell blow-it-out-their-ass, keep-up-with-the-Winegards using taxpayer money stuff Burlington is so famous for.

Maybe that’s why Mini-Me Worden borrowed money the other day to give Slagle a raise and plan for the revenue shortfall.


01:44:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Hinkle Outed & Upset Over His Comments?

According to Falcon, it seems Dennis Hinkle read about his remarks concerning the library and the Vision Iowa funding boondoggle on BurlingtonDerailed.com. So Hinkle called up West Burlington Councilman Raleigh to complain about it.

According to Falcon’s account, the councilman then retracted his remarks and tried to clarify what was said while trying to cover Hinkle’s exposed ass.

After I read Falcon’s transcript of Raleigh’s remarks I was more confused.

I tend to believe the original remarks as stated in the Des Moines County News. I find their reporter seldom makes a mistake and tends to tell the story without the endless repetitive nonsense found on Main Street.

I think Hinkle was outed. And he should have been.


01:43:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Political Legacy – A Tavern

Most politicians strive to leave a legacy for the work they accomplished in office. All Edwards can do is claim fame for spending time in a bar like many of the meetings held in early American taverns to form the basis of the Declaration Of Independence.

Little does he recognize, there are no similarities.

And there is no legacy. And there never will be.

01:29:55 - SPIKE - No comments

More Than One Birthday to Celebrate July 4th


I have always liked Calvin Coolidge's insight on taxation. "Collecting more taxes than absolutely necessary is legalized robbery."

The crooks running Burlington and Des Moines County would not like this.

The whole lot should be tarred and feathered and marched down Broadway at the head of West Burlington's July 4th parade. Born on the 4th of July does not apply to these criminals.


I don't think the citizens of West Burlington would take kindly to us littering their streets with our trash. In fact, after this library excitement maybe we could take Edwards out there and collect a reward.


00:42:21 - SPIKE - No comments

Mea Culpa For Our Mayor?


If justice ever catches up with the crowd currently running Des Moines County, would you care to venture what their post release from the penitentiary comments would be? Do you think it would be like Ex-Connecticut Governor John Rowland after his release from federal prison?

Dare we ponder and offer:

"If people read only the Hawkeye, I would not be here right now."

"My political enemies who are out to screw the workin' man did this me."

"I deeply regret my getting caught."

"If they had not gotten to Pat Jackson before me, my trial would have had a different outcome."

"I trust the people I really represented will have a job waiting for me when I get home."

"I owe my present condition to alcohol. I promise never to touch alcohol again. (Is the mic off? Good. Pull into the Wever Quickie Mart and get a 12 pack. We'll take the back way through Yarmouth to get to Burlington").

"Spike, you mother*#&#($ # # son of a bitch. I'll get you for this."


00:38:23 - SPIKE - No comments

Can’t Afford It


It is sad to see that our city has become such a one-way road for the power hungry occupants in city hall. If they cared at all about us taxpayers, they wouldn’t keep doing the things they do.

Slagle’s pay raise must be nice for him and his family this 4th of July. When he sits down around his family table he’ll probably be having steak and drinking beer from a keg with all the brown nosers that come running and then he’ll probably be taking the kids out to Fun City for some freebies.

Our family can’t go to Fun City even with the $5 entry fee. We are going to have hotdogs and chips. If my wife wasn’t working 2 jobs we wouldn’t have that.

My boss makes me work overtime one day and then tells me to go home early the next day. I pay 35% of my insurance costs and we don’t have any extras.

I am real tired of hearing about Bruce Slagle and his pay raise. We need to find somebody that will work for less and do something for the community instead of spend our money and tax us.

Keep up the good work.

Working Stiff

00:31:56 - SPIKE - No comments

03 July

What Are They Thinking?


I can't believe Sunday's newspaper. What are thy thinking? We paid $120,000 for a consultant to tell us that we had to work together? I thought we were taught that in kindergarten.

And isn't this the same group that took a year or more to go meet with the governor?

Lee and Henry County seem to have some good ideas, so why would they want to take the risk of being involved with Burlington?


Singing campfire songs isn't going to fix this mess.


14:02:01 - SPIKE - No comments

One Step Towards Democracy - Fire Scott Power


One thing that would help the democratic process in Burlington is to fire the city attorney. Scott Power has lied to the citizens, lied to the council, threatened elected officals with his "silver bullet" and failed to account for excessive legal bills that the council has so willingly paid.

No longer is the need for secrecy an issue. After reading the court filings there wasn't much need for the secrecy. All the city witnesses seemed to be feeding off the mothership.

Power needs to provide a line item accounting for each and every charge billed to the city for every legal problem in the last 3 years.

Not only will Power not do this, none of the city council has the guts to make him or Slagle do it. Spineless and gutless are the only words that come to mind.

One of you readers was right, these guys can't get or hold a job in the real world. The first time I couldn't produce a detailed explanation or receipt for $3000, let along $200,000, I would be fired.

I don't care what you do, you need to be held accountable. Scott Power is proof that scurrilous people can weasel their way into a position and screw everybody. Schrushy, Ken Lay and the others have everything in common with city hall.

It's time for a change or time for charges. One or the other.


Don't forget Lost Key Ell will sign on as Scott Power's agent to represent fairness and equality even though it might take 7 months for you to find it out what he is doing.


13:51:52 - SPIKE - No comments

02 July

Launch Scrubbed - Discovery Set To Launch July 4th

NASA Release

The launch of Space Shuttle Discovery has been postponed for an additional 48 hours due to inclement weather at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Our next attempt will take place on Tuesday, July 4, with liftoff scheduled to occur at 2:38 p.m., EDT.

Steven Lindsey commands a crew of five American astronauts, Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists Michael Fossum, Lisa Nowak, Stephanie Wilson and Piers Sellers, and one astronaut from the European Space Agency, Thomas Reiter. This is the 18th U.S. flight to the International Space Station and the 32nd flight for Space Shuttle Discovery.

In Discovery's payload bay, the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo, built by the Italian Space Agency, will deliver more than two tons of supplies, equipment and tools on its fourth trip to the station.

While docked, the STS-121 crew will test new equipment and procedures to improve shuttle safety, as well as make repairs to the station. Reiter will remain with the Expedition 13 crew on the station.

13:18:30 - SPIKE - No comments

01 July

Shuttle Launch Scrubbed For Weather

Lingering thunderstorm anvil clouds will delay the scheduled launch of Discovery until Sunday at 3:26 pm.

14:46:10 - SPIKE - No comments

2:49 PM CDT Shuttle Launch 50/50 Due To Weather

Image above: Space Shuttle Discovery at Launch Pad 39B. Photo credit: NASA

1:30 p.m. CDT Status Update

Discovery's thruster issue has been cleared for launch by the Mission Management Team. The weather is still in question but there are no other major issues being worked at this time.

The crew is in the orbiter and the hatch is closed. Discovery stands ready for liftoff on Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA's Freedom Star and Liberty Star are in position for launch. Both recovery ships are currently stationed out in the Atlantic Ocean prepared to tow the solid rocket boosters back to Kennedy Space Center. The boosters will then be scraped, painted and repaired (if necessary) and put back into service for another shuttle launch.

Steven Lindsey commands a crew of five American astronauts, Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists Michael Fossum, Lisa Nowak, Stephanie Wilson and Piers Sellers, and one astronaut from the European Space Agency, Thomas Reiter. This is the 18th U.S. flight to the International Space Station and the 32nd flight for Space Shuttle Discovery.

In Discovery's payload bay, the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo, built by the Italian Space Agency, will deliver more than two tons of supplies, equipment and tools on its fourth trip to the station.

While docked, the STS-121 crew will test new equipment and procedures to improve shuttle safety, as well as make repairs to the station. Reiter will remain with the Expedition 13 crew on the station.

14:16:33 - SPIKE - No comments

Most Profound Words In Lawsuit Filing

These are the most profound words in the railroad's filing Friday.

“The city’s argument that it derived no benefit from the presence of the railroad in the city is astounding and sadly reflects either an ignorance of, or indifference to, the role of the railroad in the development of this country and the city of Burlington in particular.”

The answer is BOTH. The paragraph should read:

“The city’s argument that it derived no benefit from the presence of the railroad in the city is astounding and sadly reflects BOTH an ignorance of and indifference to, the role of the railroad in the development of this country and the city of Burlington in particular.”

06:22:20 - SPIKE - No comments

Link For Courtney Article Fixed

Due to operator error the link for Courtney's call for a cover-up has been fixed.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

06:16:20 - SPIKE - No comments

G Men to Our Rescue?


You make a good point about misuse of federal funds by the folks running the Tom Harkin Center for the Central Iowa Training Consortium. Federal investigation is lot harder to derail than your friends in the Des Moines old boys club poking around. I wonder if this has any of the trough artists around Burlington worried?

I would guess many of their antics have involved federal dollars at some point. This would mean a federal investigation. I watched the Untouchables before they were in reruns, let alone a movie. Elliot Ness was no Pat Jackson.

How much longer must we suffer until the rot draws attention and the Federal Department of Justice, Treasury, etc. lances the boil Burlington has become?


Sooner than you might think.


06:07:27 - SPIKE - No comments