Thursday, July 12, 2007

More on Indiana's time zone

Jeremy (#76) wrote, "... you have to admit that this quote is irrelevant. Think of how much has changed since 1953... There has been a change in the country and these statistics have absolutely nothing to do with Central/Eastern timezone... think about all of the cities (and just land) in between Philly, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Denver, etc. Each of those cities are located pretty close to the middle of their respective time zones. Indianapolis is located at the edge of its time zone (whether that's Eastern or Central)..."

Thanks for your thoughtful comments Jeremy. I agree that we cannot make too much of the state's per capita income history. About all I make of it is that there was no apparent harm to Indiana's economy when the entire state was on one time zone and when we were on the same time zone as our western neighbors, and I doubt that it would do any harm to the state economically to return to that situation.

You accurately point out that the four cities that I picked as examples are each very near the central meridian for their respective North American time zones, as well as being near the same latitude as Indiana. Therefore, there are pretty representative of "normal" for our distance from the equator.

We were on year-round eastern standard time for so long, which was effectively central daylight saving time given our longitude, that it is really easy to lose track of what is typical for our latitude. During that time, we averaged about 45 minutes of DST year-round -- about 45 minutes of sunlight shifted from the morning to the evening.

The time zones were laid out so that places like these four cities that are near the central meridian for their time zone (75, 90, 105, and 120 degrees longitude) would set their clocks to match their local mean time (solar time averaged out over the year). Locations in the eastern half of the time zone would have their clocks up to 30 minutes slower than their LMT and those in the western half would have the clock up to 30 minutes faster than their LMT.

The mid-point between these meridians for eastern (75) and central (90) is 82.5 degrees. This natural boundary runs near the eastern edge of Michigan and Kentucky, and right down the middle of Ohio. It's pretty easy to see why Ohio asked the national government to move the boundary to their western border, so the entire state could be in a single time zone. It's harder to figure out why Indiana would have asked to have it moved even further west to divide us into two zones. Quite a few Hoosiers can attest how awkward it is to have the boundary running between the counties within a state.

"USDOT decides" (#83) wrote, "Time zones are decided by the USDOT, not a governor, not the legislature, and local politicians..."

While that is technically correct, the DOT certainly weighs heavily the input and requests of state and local politicians, as the duly elected representatives of the people, when they make these sort of decisions.

In 1967, for example, six years after the federal government had first divided us by moving half of Indiana from central to eastern time, Governor Branigan petitioned the DOT to place all of Indiana back in the central time zone.

In their opening post (Docket OST-2005-22114-1), the DOT's position is, "The General Assembly and Governor of the State of Indiana have asked the Department of Transportation (DOT) to initiate proceedings to hold hearings in the appropriate locations in Indiana on the issue of the location of the boundary between the Eastern and Central Time Zones in Indiana. The General Assembly and Governor did not, however, take a position on where the boundary should be..."

The strong implication from the DOT is that if the General Assembly and Governor took such a position, the awkward county-by-county petition process would no longer be needed.

Thu, 12 Jul 2007, 7:12 am EDT

Ex-congresswoman enters race for Indiana governor - Topix

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ex-congresswoman proposes return to Central time for Indiana

I wrote:

Politics aside, I certainly like to hear anyone in a position of influence talking about trying to return the entire state to the central time zone again.

For my taste, and compared to average for our latitude, the sun sets about 45 minutes too late in the summer and rises about 45 minutes too late most of the rest of the year. Just check out Philadelphia, St. Louis, Denver, or Reno if you want to see what is normal for our latitude.

On central time, our sunrises and sunsets are only about 15 minutes earlier than typical for our latitude.

Long Thompson said she also would consider seeking to move the entire state to the Central time zone. "It's pretty ridiculous when it's still daylight to almost midnight," she said.

Terry Martzall (#2) wrote, "... apparently the sun goes down later in northern Indiana because in central Indiana it is dark by 9:30 p.m.... if her definition of 'close' is 2 1/2 hours... perhaps we should review the other things she promises?"

It appears likely that Long Thompson was using hyperbole. Depending on whether you consider the daylight hours over at sunset, civil twilight, nautical twilight, or astronomical twilight, the latest daylight on June 28 in Indy on eastern daylight time was either 9:17, 9:49, 10:30, or 11:18 pm. Astronomical twilight is getting pretty close to midnight, although 10:33 pm is the typical astronomical twilight for our latitude that day.

Jeremy (#6) wrote, "For everyone who is in favor of being on central time, remember that means it will get dark between 3:30 and 4:00 PM during the winter. Do you really want to make winter days any shorter?"

Again, I guess it depends on what you mean by dark. The earliest sunset of the year is about Dec 8. On eastern time, the sun sets about 5:20 pm in Indy, with twilight at 5:50, 6:23, or 6:56 pm depending on which definition you use.

The typical latest sunset at our latitude (see Phila, Denver, etc.) is about 4:35 pm. On central time, the latest sunset in Indy would be 4:20, with twilight at 4:50, 5:23, or 5:56 pm -- only 15 minutes earlier than normal for our latitude.

As far as making the winter days shorter, that has nothing to do with the time zone. There are only 9 hours 21 minutes from sunrise to sunset in Indy from Dec 18 through Dec 25, no matter what time zone we are in. The only way to have longer winter days is to move closer to the equator.

"Come on Jill" (#58) wrote, "How embarassing (sic) for her that she has no ideas except to criticize Daylight Savings Time."

I didn't see any criticism of DST in this article -- only a comment about which time zone might be preferable for Indiana.

Central DST is still DST. It just shifts 45 minutes of sunlight from morning to evening instead of one hour and 45 minutes like eastern DST.

Bryan (#71) wrote, "People we are always going to have two time zones. We have had them for over 40 years and got along just fine."

Conversely, we had virtually a single time zone for over 40 years before that and got along just fine then too.

By the state's own figures (pdf page 7 of 44), Indiana's per capita income was 106.4 percent of the national average in 1953 (when most or all of the state was on central time year-round, and had been for decades). By 2006 this figure had dropped to 91.4 percent.

Bill Starr
Columbus, Indiana
Wed, 11 Jul 2007

Ex-congresswoman enters race for Indiana governor - Topix

No, Mr. President: The Iraq War Is Not the American Revolution | The John Birch Society - Truth, Leadership, Freedom

Gary Benoit writes:

The president’s high praise of our modern-day citizen-soldiers who are willing to leave their homes and place themselves in harm’s way to defend our freedoms is well deserved. Tragically, however, through no fault of our soldiers, they are not being used to defend our freedoms, despite the president’s claims to the contrary...

Yes, our “men and women of the Guard” do stand ready to “fight for America.” Yet many of them have been maimed and killed in Iraq for reasons unrelated to defending our beloved country in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks...

If America were attacked by Iraq on September 11, then the Congress should have immediately declared war against Iraq. But that is not what happened. Iraq did not attack us, and Congress did not declare war.

In fact, as President Bush himself acknowledged on September 17, 2003, months after our invasion of Iraq was launched, “We’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th [attacks].” Even today, that admission may sound surprising to many Americans who mistakenly believe we went into Iraq because Iraq attacked us here. After all, in his public speeches, including his recent Independence Day speech to West Virginia’s Air National Guard, President Bush has repeatedly juxtaposed references to Iraq with that of 9/11. These juxtapositions have created the false impression that Iraq had attacked us, without the president actually saying it...

Today’s freedom-loving patriots who wear the uniform were deployed overseas to attack a country that did not attack us, and they are there now propping up a new regime that, unlike Saddam Hussein’s old regime, is closely aligned with Iran, a radical Islamic terror state identified by President Bush himself as part of an “axis of evil.”

“We must support the Iraqi government,” Bush declared in his July Fourth speech. Yet that government, which would never have come into existence without American blood and treasure, could prove worse than the admittedly despicable regime it replaced.

“If we were to quit Iraq before the job is done, the terrorists we are fighting would not declare victory and lay down their arms — they would follow us here, home,” Bush warned on July 4. But what job is supposed to be completed in Iraq? Originally, Bush repeatedly stated that we needed to go into Iraq to enforce United Nations Security Council mandates forbidding Iraq to possess weapons of mass destruction. But no WMDs were found. We also, according to Bush, needed to rid the world of Saddam Hussein’s regime, but Saddam Hussein is now dead. And now we supposedly need to prop up the new Iraqi regime in the midst of what has become a civil war, until such time as that regime can take care of itself.

President Bush may glowingly cite the American War for Independence and the Founding Fathers when he trumpets his Iraq policy, but the truth of the matter is that his Iraq policy runs totally contrary to the intent of the Founders when they fought the War for Independence and later drafted the Constitution.

Bush is not upholding American independence by launching an offensive war against a foreign nation. He is not defending our freedom by sending our troops abroad to put in place and then prop up an increasingly radical Islamic regime in the midst of a civil war. He is not even helping the victims of the civil war by doing that.

The Founding Fathers recognized the follies of interjecting ourselves into foreign quarrels and warned against it. “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world,” George Washington wisely counseled in his Farewell Address to the nation.

In an Independence Day address in 1821, John Quincy Adams said: “America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own…. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standards of freedom.”

Does that sound like a description of what’s happening in Iraq? It obviously does not sound like President Bush, who certainly is not on cue with the Founding Fathers.

Nor is President Bush emulating the Founding Fathers when he behaves like a king, sending the nation into war without a congressional declaration of war. The power to declare war, recall, was assigned to Congress — and Congress alone. The Founding Fathers assigned this power to Congress because they did not want a single man to be able to plunge the nation into war as Bush has done (and as other modern-day presidents have done before him).

Our modern-day citizen-soldiers should never have been sent to war against Iraq, and they should not be there now. If we truly want to celebrate the Founding Fathers who won our independence for us, and support our modern-day citizen soldiers who have been placed in harm’s way in Iraq, we would bring our soldiers home — now!
No, Mr. President: The Iraq War Is Not the American Revolution The John Birch Society - Truth, Leadership, Freedom