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December 2010

Lunar Eclipse

It looks like the weather won't let us see it, but a total lunar eclipse will occur late Monday night to Tuesday morning. Some of us may be getting up early for snow desk duty wishing we could look up and see it.

Just so you know, the last time a total luncar eclipse happened at southern solstice time was in 1638. That was apparently overlooked by NASA, to which a 1554 date is attributed in one news story I found online. The 1554 event happened, it just wasn't the most recent occurence as described. Lesson for news reporters: even experts make mistakes.

Repeal or new law

Isn't it more accurate to say "don't ask don't tell" is being replaced, not repealed? If it's repealed, the country goes back to the previous policy, which was asking, telling, and discharging. "Don't ask don't tell" is really being replaced with a new policy of "don't hold it against anyone".

Sooner or later, something else will be repealed in the sense that Prohibition and the national 55mph speed limit were repealed. (Local prohibitions in effect before the federal change were still in effect afterward. State speed limit laws were back in effect where the federal law no longer applied.) How will we describe it if the word "repeal" is transformed to mean something different?

IL General Assembly Overrides FOIA Veto

From INBA FOIA/OMA Chair Bob Roberts:

The cause of transparency in government was set back Thursday when the Illinois Senate voted 48-3 to override Gov. Pat Quinn's amendatory veto of House Bill 5154. The override was the final action needed to enact the measure into law. The Illinois House voted 77-36 on Nov. 16 to override. The measure took effect immediately.

As a result, Illinois voters and government watchdogs will no longer have access to key records that can tell if a state employee is doing the job or if supervisors are unfairly singling out specific employees or applying pressure on them to perform work that is prohibited by law.