How I Met the President

Recent events involving mobs and riots at our nation’s capitol and the extensive security precautions for the 2021 Inauguration reminded me of my opportunity to meet President Obama in 2012. It was during a campaign stop at the University of Iowa. I felt it would be interesting to share some of the behind-the-scenes activities involved in that visit.

“What’s your name?” asked President Obama.

“My name is Jim, Mr. President. It is an honor to meet you.” We stood close, arms around each others waists, and smiled for the official photographer. There was a flash of light.

“Thank you for your support and your hard work” he said.

“It is my pleasure, sir.” It was over and couldn’t have taken more than 30 seconds.

I had just met President Obama. I worked hard for his re-election in 2012. Countless phone calls, letters to the editor, weekly team meetings, 1-on-1 meetings, conversations with friends, and efforts to recruit volunteers. I finally got to meet the man. It was over literally in a flash. I wish I could have talked with him over a beer or two.

I read in a news story the week before that President Obama might stop in Iowa City. I sent the news clip to Matt, my regional campaign coordinator. By the weekend, it was confirmed. Things happened fast. Matt called me and said “I have a ticket for you to meet the President next week. What’s your social security number?” That’s when it really struck me. Something special was in the works.

Photos and commentary about the Presidential visit are below. There was much security as with all his visits. Our county is a strong Democratic stronghold in a largely rural state. He needed our continued support for his re-election.

Solar Panels | 2020 Report

Now that 2020 is over, we can report annual results from our home’s solar panels. Previous posts can be found at this link.

Panel production data is accessible via a phone app or the computer. Charts for monthly and daily production can be generated. Records from our electric utility show our home averages 400 kW-hr of energy per month to operate all the electrical devices, based on 15 yrs of data. Our panel output nearly reached that amount in the summer months thus offsetting our house needs. Winter months production was low due to low sun angle and more cloudy days.

Viewed on a daily output basis, variability is obvious due to seasonal and weather differences.

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Dial-a-Moon | 2021

What will the Moon look like on any date in 2021? What will it look like on your birthday? Find out at NASA Dial-a-Moon. The example pictured below is for 16 January 2021. Set dates and see views for northern hemisphere and for southern hemisphere readers by following either link. Enter any month and day to see a high definition image. You may leave the universal time (UT) at the default value. If you wish, your local-to-Universal time conversion can be done at this link. Or, type ‘universal time’ into Google. Go back to Dial-a-Moon to enter the UT.

After visiting Dial-a-Moon, scan down that web page for a wealth of additional information about the Moon’s motions and appearance. The images of Dial-a-Moon are made from those of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in low altitude orbit around the Moon since 2009.

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ISS Space Science | 2020

It has been a busy year of research aboard the International Space Station. In November, we celebrated the 20th year of continuous human presence aboard the space station, which so far has hosted 242 people and more than 3,000 science experiments. During the past year, research has ranged from growing radishes in microgravity to capturing 360-degree footage of life aboard station to monitoring our planet. This research benefits people on Earth while helping prepare us to explore farther into space.

More about this story is linked here.

Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction 2020

It has been fun watching the progress of Jupiter and Saturn over the recent months as they neared each other. I started photographing them November 8th. My camera memory setting opens with the same parameters each time for zoom, ISO, f-stop, shutter, etc. I put it on a tripod and got the images at about the same time on 11 dates as indicated in this image. Using Photoshop Elements, I overlaid the new images as layers on top. Saturn’s positions were aligned with a very faint straight line in the image. Jupiter was always placed in the same location for reference.