Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Here are some predictions for 2003:

(1) Iraq, Iran, and North Korea will all endure regime change and will be much the better for it.
(2) Despairing of winning back the White House with the current crop of candidates, some Democrats will mount a serious Draft Hillary movement.
(3) NASA's NeXt team will push for an early and cheap return to the Moon and will justify it as a means of testing technology NASA is developing to break out of Low Earth Orbit.
(4) A package of tax cuts will pass the Congress. Democrats will condemn it as "tax cuts for the rich" while many vote for the package.
(5) China will launch a man into orbit.
(6) Gangs of New York will win the Oscar.
(7) UPN will pickup Firefly, the starship series Fox unwisely cancelled.
(8) Some of these predictions may turn out wrong. Not saying which ones.
Plans to explore Mercury, one of the more neglected planets of our Solar System, are afoot.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

China has launched the Shenzhou IV successfully. This constitutes yet another step for China's quest to be a space faring power and a rival to the United States in that arena.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

One of the more ammusing things about this claim of human cloning is how the media is behaving as if it actually happened without a doubt. I have heard breathless accusations of irresponsibility, of subjecting a human baby to the perils of desease and premature aging, all certainly well taken given the results of animal cloning. But there seems to be very little in the way of demans to produce the baby, the mother, and the doner. Nor an examination of this cult, the Raelians, who believe we were created by aliens. Does that claim not give one a little pause in considering the credibility of this announcment? I, for one, am skeptical,

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Rand Simberg offers a review of 2002 in space. His view is for the most part positive.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

In the spirit of the season, it is very sad to note that the shadow of Scrooge hangs over the land.
John Kerry's record as a war hero will not be enough. For one thing, it seems he accused American soldiers in Vietnam of commiting systematic war crimes.

Monday, December 23, 2002

Just when all hope seemed to be lost, our noble French allies joined the fight.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

A group called NuclearSpace supports the development of nuclear power and nuclear propulsion systems to open up the high frontier of space. Considering that there are environmental wacko groups to oppose such things, I think these folks might serve a useful purpose to balance lies and hysteria with truth.
The final test flight of the Shenzhou is scheduled to launch shortly.
Bill Frist is the Democrats' worse nightmare. Here we have a man who, when the Senate is out of sessions, travels to Africa to perform heart surgeries pro bono. Frist has probably saved the lives of more black people with his own hands than Bill and Hillary put together know on a first name basis. Naturally the Democrats think that Senator Frist's elevation is further proof of the inherent racism of the GOP.

Friday, December 20, 2002

Patty Murray is trying to explain herself, but not doing a good job. She doesn't seem to b at all-well-sorry for her statement about Bin Laden. She really needs to apologize to the people she has hurt-a whole lot of times.
"Hercules" weighs in about Firefly, including tonight's episode, the last which will air (at least for a while.)
Trent Lott, seeing the handwriting on the wall, has decided to do the honorable thing and step down as Senate Majority Leader Elect. Others have given Lott the back of their hand, no doubt well dserved, but I need to make the following observations. Unlike a another certain, southern politician the only thing Lott put in his mouth is his foot. And, again unlike the other fellow, Lott finally put his country and party above his personal ambition. Let that be an example.
Senator Patty Murray praises Osama bin Laden as a great philanthropist.
The old Puritans banned the celebration of Christmas as being inmoral. It looks like the Puritans have returned in the guise of Politically Correct school administrators and ACLU scolds.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

How the Democrats stole a Senate seat in South Dakota,
We saw the Two Towers last night and found it just as stunning an epic as Fellowship. I won't spoil things for you, though there are two observations I care to make. First, there needs to be a new Oscar category for Best Performence by a CGI Charecter. Gollum is more real than many live charecters played by actual acters I have seen. Second, the center piece of the film, the Battle of Helm's Deep, is a stunning meditation on the horrors of war, even when it is necessary to wage it. The message seems to be: Evil must be fought with our full strength, even when the triumph of evil seems inevitable.
Rand Simberg compares and contrasts our progress in air travel since the Wright Brothers and our progress in space travel since Sputnik, and makes some very telling points.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Go here for information on what to do to save the SF series Firefly. (See also below.)
Another nut case was running for President in 1946. His name was Henry Wallace, a man who made George McGovern seem like Atilla the Hun and whose campaign was riddled with communists. Oddly enough, a lot of modern liberals believe that country would have been better off has he won in 1948. We certainly would not have been affllicted by "all those problems" which come from having freedom.
John Kerry needs to apologize, a whole lot of times, for slurs against Italians, hispanics, and blacks.
The Fox Network has taken a decison which is epic in it's boneheadedness and has cancelled the series Firefly. Firefly is a space adventure taking place aboard a privately owned merchant ship five hundred years from now. It was, in my opinion, one of the freshest shows on televsion, with original charecters and wonderful writing. Joss Whedon, the show's creator who also gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, will try to find the show a new home, perhaps on UPN or the SciFi Channel. Presumably if he succeeds, Firelfy will find a better timeslot than Friday night at 8 Eastern which has been the graveyard of many promising shows. The Curmudgeon will be following Joss's efforts to save Firefly with great interest and will be posting news concerning it as it breaks.

In the meantime, do watch the final episode to show on Fox this Friday, which oddly enough is the two hour pilot.
If you haven't yet gotten a Christmas gift for that someone special, E-Book versions of Children of Apollo and Nocturne can still be had before December 25th.
A who's who of aerospace pioneers gathered to kick off the year long Centennial of the first flight by the Wright Brothers on the 99th anniversary of their epic flight.
The usual suspects have already started carping about President Bush's plan to start building a missle defense system. The good news is that it doesn't matter anymore what they think.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

There's a view that we are indeed going back to the Moon and on to Mars. We're just not saying so right now and we're not going very quickly. The approach, in my opinion, is sound insofar as Mars or other really deep space destinations are concerned. There's a lot of technology that has to be developed before we go to Mars in any way that's not a flags and footsteps stunt. However, in my opinion, we could start going back to the Moon fairly easily, in a matter of a few years, and for very little money over and beyond what is being spent now. A short term effort to the Moon could compliment and support the longer term effort, in my opinion.

The article, by the way, makes one invalid assumption. No way will the liberation and rebuilding of Iraq will cost a net two hundred billion. The plan is to pay at least for the rebuilding with the sale of Iraqi oil.
The fact that starting in 2004 we shall at long last have a modicum of defense against nuclear missiles is proof that the outcome of elections do matter.

Monday, December 16, 2002

Maybe this is why Gore has decided not to run. But I should offer a warning, in a paraphrase of the old saying: Politics is easy; comedy is hard. And that is especially true if you are trying to do the latter deliberately.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Looks like Al Gore has concluded that he can't win in 2004 and therefore has decided not to try. So as of right now it looks like Kerry as the favorite of the old time liberals and Lieberman as the candidate for the centrist New Democrats.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Thirty years ago this day, the last man to walk on the Moon departed from the Moon. That fact, and the reality that it has been thirty years, is a blot on human civilization. To understand why, one must remember what was happening in 1972. The nation which had so ernestly taken up the challenge of the Moon was reeling from the twin tempests of Vietnam and the social unrest of the 1960s. Politicians and other opinion leaders told us to turn away from the promise of the High Frontier of space, to turn inwards, or in the words of one Presidential candidate, "Come home, America."

And we pretty much did.

Yet, we've recovered from all of that. We are the nation which won the Cold War and is now winning the War in Terror. We have gotten our spirit back, mainly by living an American Iliad which has changed the face of the world for the better; it is still changing it.

The time has long since come for an American Oddysey. The time has come for us to return to the Moon and to reclaim the promise of Apollo. It is nothing less than the promise of the next leap in human evolution, to end forever the time when the human species is limited to one, fragile world.

If not now, when? If not us, who?

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Daschle has apparently learned nothing from the last election.
Barbara Morgan is finally going to get to fly in space next year. In my opinion it's about fifteen years overdue.
Amazon Canada reports a sudden surge of sales of Children of Apollo up north. Thanks, guys. Keep it up. It's a good, thought provoking read.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Is it just me, or does anyone get the impression that if Trent Lott promised to be pubicly whipped as a penance for his remarks about Strom Thurmond, in the same way King Henry II was whipped for causing the death of Thomas Beckett, that there are certain people who would say it still wasn't enough.

Trent is probably toast, mainly because he doesn't have oodles of good will in any case. I have personally wanted him replaced ever since he botched the Senate trial of Bill Clinton. The irony, of course, is that other Senators who have done far worse-Teddy Kennedy comes to mind-will likely die in the Senate. Now that's a feat which Strom failed at, no matter how long he tried to accomplish it.
Condi, Warrior Princess, has told Red China's Lt. General Xiong Guankai that threatening to nuke Los Angeles and invade Tawain is not acceptable behavior. This much needed message, as far as we know, was never conveyed by anyone in the Clinton Administration.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

The usual suspects in Hollywood have signed a letter asking the President to keep our hands off of Saddem Hussein. This letter is not really meant to influence anyone, since I suspect even these actors know that no one in the White House is going to listen to them. It's meant for the signers, including the feckless Mike Farrell, to feel good about themselves. Farrell was asked, I think by Bill O'Reilly, what should be done if Saddem obstructs the UN arms inspecters. After hemming and hawing, Farrell said something about, "Enforced inspections." I'm not sure that he knows that means invading Iraq with troops and shooting Iraqis if they resist.

In the meantime, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, Arnold, and even usually left leaning Harrison Ford, support the ouster of Saddem. As Ms. Whittington points out, the President is supported by all the manly men in Hollywood.
Pete Dupont looks at various new forms of energy, including space based solar power.
Then again, Drudge is reporting that this isn't the first time Lott opened his mouth without engaging his brain first.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist anyone?
The Trent Lott Affair, the fury of which is matched only by it's triviality, is now threatening Tom Daschle. Seriously.
Speaking of movies, we saw The Emperor's Club recently and I cannot recommend this film enough. It's about a teacher, played by Kevin Kline, at a private boy's school who actually believes that one can learn the right way to live by studying the lives of the great men of history, ancient Greeks and Romans to be exact. His belief is tested by a young student who seems destined to be a Bill Clinton type, believing that charecter does not matter, only winning does. The story is uplifting and wonderful.
According to Done Deal, the fourth Mad Max movie has finally been greenlighted, with Mel Gibson reprising his signature role. Budget is rumored to be in excess of $100 million.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Trent Lott has apologized for his stupid remarks about Stom Thurmond and it ought to be the end of it. It's not the end of it, however, for Al Gore. Gore, whose father was a segregationist, wants the Senate to censure Lott. Of course Gore also opposed any kind of punishment for Bill Clinton.
More on the reinvention of Battlestar Galactica. Sounds very interesting, though I can already hear the howls of rage in certain quarters.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Calls for Trent Lott to resign just because he said some damn fool think about the country maybe being better off if Strom Thurmond had been elected on the Dixicrat ticket in 1948 strike me as very silly. Does any serious person think that Lott really wants to roll back civil rights and bring back Jim Crow? If every politician who said something foolish were given the royal order of the boot for saying something idiotic, then there would be no one in public office.

Of course Lott should resign anyway, at least as Majority Leader, for the simple reason that his leadership has been feckless and weak.
Here is an excellent reason why the title of "Last Man on the Moon" should be taken away from Gene Cernan, the sooner the better.

Friday, December 06, 2002

The Last Man on the Moon really wishes, after thirty years, that he was not the last man on the Moon.
Earlier I mentioned that the one thing different in the Spielberg miniseries on the SCIFI Channel, Taken, which is about UFOsand alien abductions, is that the head of the evil government conspiracy does not smoke. I've been informed by several people that by the second episode, he starts to smoke like a train. Well, of course.
It's not just right wingers who think that Hollywood is corrupting the morals of people who watch movies. It seems that some of your favorite movies, like Star Wars, are teaching you to tolerate genocide on a planetary scale.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Astronaut Bill Shepherd, the first commander of the International Space Station, has a lot to say.
Here's an account of an event which, in living memory, was science fiction by a beloved writer of science fiction, Anne McCaffrey:
The Launch, yes - well, we know how it goes, with clouds of smoke from the rear of the ship and then it slowly lifts from the gantry and up into the sky - but one doesn't see the plume of flame rising as well, or see the water of the lagoon bounce with the noise and shock wave. That's the real surprise...and the beauty of it all. I could stand seeing a launch every week, just to revive my spirit. It's simply amazing.

I was very tempted to stay on and see the landing but I knew I had to get back so I resisted. While in Florida (hot and sultry) we could watch what was going on and see lots of Pam (that is, Colonel Melroy, the pilot, whose guest I was at the Launch) on the Nasa channel. She was checking off the various tasks of the EVAs and keeping them current so the camera on her was called the Pam Cam! She comes over very well. I left her a hard cover lst edition of White Dragon, suitably inscribed, to trade for the copy she had taken with her on this trip. Yes, the White Dragon has been in space!

My thanks to Chantal for passing this one along.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Another one of John Kerry's not well thought out ideas is an "Apollo project" to create "green" renewable energy. A interesting idea, but with problems. First, the private market is working on that anyway. There are private companies which are right now working on fuel cells, residential solar power units, and wind mill farms. Second, it has been my experience that greenies like certain technologies in the abstract until they become reality, at which time they turn of them. A great example is the idea of wind mill farms. There's one in California that's had to shut down because environmental extremists believe that birds fly into them.

However, in the spirit of being positive and not just critical, here's my idea for a real "Apollo Project" for clean energy. Let's go back to the Moon and learn to use lunar materials to build space solar power stations. Let's also ramp up R&D on fusion so that one day we can use lunar Helium 3 as a power source. The Moon could be the Saudi Arabia of this century and the best thing about that is that it won't be overrun with Wahhabi fanatics.

Of course, if we do this, rest assure that environmental extremists are going to go berserk over the idea of space solar power stations microwaving birds and bees.
Will Smith may be making a big screen version of Asimov's I Robot, even though the plot line looks more like Caves of Steel.
Here's a rundown of the revival of Battlestar Galactica, one of my favorite space shootemups from the late 70s. Of course a female Starbuck is going to take getting used to.
God and the courts willing, McCain-Feingold has begun it's death spiral.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Speaking of social security one of the rarely reported aspects of Election 2002 is the number of GOP candidates such as John Sununu the Younger and Elizabeth Dole who won their elections on the proposition of allowing people to invest their social security taxes in stocks and bond. This proposition is surprisingly popular, considering recent stock market turmoil, among the growing investor class who recognize the long term value of investment. I suspect JF Kerry's plan is part of an effort to forestall this idea from becoming reality.
John F. Kerry has denounced the Bush tax cuts as being evil.
''The largest cost of the Bush tax giveaway will not be borne by any of us here today it will be paid for by our children. We're borrowing from Social Security and Medicare to put money in our pockets today and sticking our children with the bill.''

However, Kerry's main tax proposal is to cut social security taxes for the poor which will-well-drain money from social security.

Monday, December 02, 2002

A Vanderbilt University professor. whose personal hero is Che Guevara, thinks that everyone who fought for the Confederacy should have swung from the end of a rope. He also compares southern heritage organizations to holocaust revisionists and at least one Confederate General to Adolf Hitler.
I also just finished reading Ruled Britannia by Harry Turtledove and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is ten years after the Armada has conquered England and brought her under the merciless heel of Spain. But one man is England's hope for a new birth of freedom. His name is William Shakespeare.
I saw the first installment of Spielberg's epic miniseries about UFOs and alien abductions, Taken on the Sci Fi channel. I must say it was a huge disappointment. There was nothing on the show that one hasn't seen on the X Files innumerable times. The only thing different is that the guy running the secret, evil government conspiracy doesn't smoke. Spielberg did a much better job on the subject over twenty years ago with Close Encounters and ET.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Looks like John F. Kerry is about to apply for the job of the latest second coming of John F. Kennedy. He will, doubtless, become the second coming of Michael Dukakkis instead.

Saturday, November 30, 2002

Well, once again the holidays are upon us. I have a humble suggestion for a couple of gifts. Children of Apollo is my alternate history novel set against the backdrop of a slightly different space program of the early 1970s. It is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever fine books are sold.

We also have Nocturne: A Novel of Suspense, our spy thriller set in Venice during the closing years of the Cold War. It is also available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever fine books are sold.

Friday, November 29, 2002

Hollywood is ready to embrace the historical epic again. As I grew up on such films as Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur, and Spartacus, I find this prospect delightful.
Religious fanatics want to take away your right to choose. In this case it is your right to choose which vehicle to drive.

Of course this whole business of "what Jesus would drive" is a rather stupid one. A single, male, carpenter living in a small town would likely today drive a pick up truck. The same man, having decided to become an iternerate preacher with twelve disciples, would need a bus to get around in.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Looks like TransOrbital may get that private mission to the Moon off the ground.
At least one lab in Switzerland thinks the latest Bin Laden tape is a fake. Suits me just fine. I want him to be burning in Hell at this moment.
Peggy Noonan tells Tom Daschle to stand up and be a man.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Check out the Apollo Maniacs site, done in English by a person from Japan.
The aid to the Canadian Prime Minister who called President Bush a "moron" has resigned. Meanwhile, having not understood the lesson, another anti American Canadian pol has called the President an "idiot."
Done Deal reports that Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six is now in development for a film. Now here's my question. Will the film keep as terrorist bad guys the environmentalist wackos as depicted in the book? Or will the film use instead right wing militia types, aided and abbetted by Central European neo fascists?
The Fox Opinion Dynamics Poll indicates that if an election were held to day, GW Bush would beat either Al Gore or Bill Clinton by two to one.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

The Bush twins. Jenna and Barbara, are now 21 and therefore can drink legally. Bush hating scandal mongers are in mourning. Happy birthday, ladies.
While Tom Daschle has fantasies about imaginary threats from Rush Linmbaugh fans, here's one Democrat making real threats. Mary, Mary, don't you know that words have consequences?

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Micheal Kelly refers to Yeats in trying to explain the perpetual embaressment which is Al Gore.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Ever since the wreck of the Exxon-Valdez (and probably before) Exxon (later Exxon-Mobil after the merger) has been the target for environmentalist wackos. In response, the neferious corporate managers at Exxon have been pouring money into various conservation causes to try to stave off this kind of criticism. Looks like efforts to preserve the tiger. a well known corporate symbol of Exxon-Mobil, has started to have some effect.
There are, of course, many Canadians who are not knee jerk anti-Americans. Indeed, when we were up there some years ago for a friend's wedding, the only criticism we got was a mild question: "What's up with this Clinton, eh?"
Rand Simberg turns a gimlet eye toward the horrible situation regarding space launches. However, in the spirit of offering solutions, which I think Rand fails to do, allow me to suggest the following:

(1) That NASA, DOD, and any other government entity involved in space flight use their activities to create markets for private businesses. These would include assembling spacecraft for beyond LEO exploration, resupplying the space station (and that means of course that this planned Orbital Space Plane as well as the space shuttle needs to be commercial), building a space based missile defense, and building a space based air traffic control system.

(2) NASA should continue basic research and development into space access technologies, but not with a view of building it's own "next space shuttle", but rather as a means of facilitating a commercial launch industry.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

President Bush is driving certain members of the Canadian government crazy by telling them things that they ought to know without being told.
Done Deal is reporting that a live action/CGI film staring Garfield the Cat is in development. Just what is needed.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

For some reason, Europeans use the term cowboy as an insult. That only goes to show how utterly clueless they are about real cowboys.
Tom Daschle, proving that he's ready to be taken away by men in white coats, says that Rush Limbaugh and his listeners are really out to get him.
Having turned his coat once, Jumping Jimmy Jeffords wants to do it again and rejoin the GOP. So far Trent and co are unwilling to say, "Come on back; all is forgiven."
Apparently Senator Bill Nelson (D) Florida gave Sean O'Keefe the back of his hand on the Senate floor for "mixing politics with NASA." This coming from a man who used his office to get a free ride on the space shuttle at public expense.
A really cheap access to space update. A private company is raising money to build a space elevator test prototype.
Over on The Corner Jonah Goldberg told this story:
A man arrived at the Pearly Gates with his dog and was told, "You may enter, but dogs are not allowed." The man declined to enter because he couldn't leave his dog behind. He wandered down the road and eventually came to another set of Pearly Gates. The gatekeeper invited him to come in. The man replied that he wouldn't enter without his dog. The gatekeeper told him that his dog was certainly welcome to enter also. The man said, "But the fellow at the other gate up the road said dogs weren't allowed". To which the gatekeeper replied, "Oh, that was actually the gate to hell and you were being screened. Anyone who would leave his dog behind doesn't deserve to enter heaven".

I had to admonish him with the following:
Jonah - Admit it. You stole that story about the man, his dog, and the Pearly Gates from an old Twilight Zone episode. You did this and, despite being known as someone who uses allusions to popular SF, did not attribute this. For shame.

Apparently I was not the only one, as Jonah responded later:
I have now been told by 8 billion, seven-hundred and eighteen people that the dog story I posted yesterday was actually the plot to a Twilight Zone episode, "The Hunt." Now, am I terribly, terribly, terribly embarrassed for not knowing this? Yes, yes I am. I didn't think there were any TZ's I hadn't seen. Maybe I did see it. Maybe I don't remember. Regardless, I apologize. Oh, and you may be wondering how more people than currently exist on planet Earth could correct my mistake. Well, we are talking about the Twilight Zone here.

A likely story IMHO.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Saint John McCain has decided to support Democrat efforts to strip protection from law suits for vaccine manufacturers in the Homeland Defense Bill.
McCain, long an opponent of using legislation to satisfy special interests, said he would support the Democratic amendment.

Of course, by opposing these provisions, McCain is-in effect-supporting another special interest. Trial lawyers.
Mace Neufeld proposes to produce a film about the Battle of Mazar E Sharif, which involved the first cavalry charge the US Army conducted in the 21st Century, the first I suspect in a hundred years.

Monday, November 18, 2002

Jason Riley thinks he knows the one man who can send Osama to Hell permenently.
Thomas L. James tells us what he likes-and does not like-about the Commision on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry's recommendations.
Morgan Freeman may have at last found a big studio to help him make the film version of Rendeavouz with Rama.
The Commision on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry has issued its final report. The nine recommendations in the report:
1. The United States boldly pioneer new frontiers in aerospace technology, commerce, and exploration.

2. Transformation of the U.S. air transportation system be a national priority.

3. The United States create a space imperative.

4. The nation adopt a policy that invigorates and sustains the aerospace industrial base.

5. The federal government establish a national aerospace policy and promote aerospace by creating a government-wide management structure.

6. U.S. and multilateral regulations and policies be reformed to enable the movement of products and capital across international borders on a fully competitive basis and establish a level playing field for U.S. industry in the global marketplace.

7. A new business model be designed to promote a healthy and growing U.S. aerospace industry.

8. The nation immediately reverse the decline in and promote the growth of a scientifically and technologically trained U.S. aerospace workforce.

9. The federal government significantly increase its investment in basic aerospace research in order to enhance U.S. national security, enable breakthrough capabilities, and foster an efficient, secure, and safe aerospace transportation system.

More anon when we have read and digested the thing.

George Stephanapoulos may not be far behind. I told you all that he was a bad choice for This Week. My suggestion is to give it to George Will, one of the few people on TV who is interesting to listen to.
Looks like MSNBC is giving Phil Donahue the axe.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Someone is having a little fun at the expense of NASA. Thanks to David Finday over at the space policy news group for pointing this one out.
The Democrats persist in drinking the kool aid, this time by keeping one of the most hapless DNC Chairmen in history. Some free advice, my Democrat friends. When a leader leads you to disaster, get rid of them.
We saw, of course, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and found it to be just as wonderful as the first film and indeed as the books. For all those who haven't seen it yet, we suggest staying through the ending credits.

And, we give the back of our hand to all of those who think Harry is the devil incarnant. Get a life, you fools.

Friday, November 15, 2002

David Frum, one of Canada's better quality exports to the United States, counts the hidden costs of Al Gore's proposal for a Canadian style health care system. They include unncessary pain, suffering, and death. So if Al Gore is the nominee in 2004, perhaps we can legitimently say that Democrats want you to die in agony,.
Al Gore is the latest Democrat to drink the kool aid.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Priscella Owen, one of the Bush judicial nominees to be borked by the Democrats, will be the first to get a second chance now that the GOP has the Senate.
Nancy Pelosi, the Boudicca of extreme left wing Democrat politics, is now officially House Minority Leader. Let the games begin.
Clone Wars: The Animated Series.
George Will says that the Democrat Party is the party of recycling; recycled campaigns, recycled ideas, recycled Senators, and even recycled vendettas.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

A Basement Full of Books is a neat site where one can buy books directly from their authors.
Done Deal is reporting yet another Crusades movie, called Warriors of God, focusing on Richard Lion Heart and Saladin.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

The official Children of Apollo Wall Calendar is now available, along with other fine products, at the Children of Apollo Store. And of course the novel, Children of Apollo makes an excellent Holliday gift.
According to Done Deal, Halle Berry's charecter in Die Another Day will have her own spin off movie.
The development of the orbital space plane might be a leap in the art of space travel, but only if it is commercially operated and available for commercial as well as NASA markets.

Monday, November 11, 2002

One of the unsung victories of last Tuesday, Oregon voted down by 4 to 1 a measure to institute a state wide socialistic health care system.
Here's an interesting piece on the TV series John Doe, one of the best dramas you might not have seen.
Howard McCurdy suggests that we may see a big, new space initiative from GW Bush around-say-2004. He suggests that Presidents facing reelection tend to propose new space projects, citing as examples Nixon and the space shuttle in 1972 and Reagan and the space station in 1984. It might be more accurate to say that Republican Presidents tend to do this, partly because they tend to run against Democrats who oppose space spending. McGovern in 1972 and Mondale in 1984. Democrats who are up for reelection, Carter in 1980, Clinton in 1996, and even LBJ in 1968, tend to ignore space issues.

Actually, if we believe Paul Spudis that we could have people on the Moon in five years, it might be politically smart for Dubya to make an announcement next year, say a few weeks after Iraq is liberated. That places a return to the Moon in 2008, just in time for Bush's successor to crow about it while running for election.
Jonah Goldberg casts an ammused eye upon our neurotic neighbors to the north.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Tom Daschle and Democrats who think as he does seem to resemble the Bourbons after the fall of Napoleon. They have forgotten nothing and have learned nothing.
George Will observes that opponents of school choice are now resorting to using laws which stemmed from 19th Century anti-Catholic bigotry. Those laws may soon be overturned by the Supreme Court,

Saturday, November 09, 2002

I've added some books on what I call the American Iliad on the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Site. Check them out. More will be added as time permits.

Friday, November 08, 2002

David Hogberg points out that the oldy by goody, scaring seniors about social security, failed last Tuesday.
Rumor has it, according to Fox's Tony Snow, that Tom Daschle may not run when he's up again in 2004.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Rand Simberg has an interesting take on how the take over of Congress might affect space policy.

I believe him to be wrong, by the way, in suggesting that expeditions to the Moon and beyond constitute a "fantasy." The sudden talk about such things is no accident, but rather is the Bush Administration's attempt to get the discussion going in public previous to making key decisions. I believe that the younger Bush has concluded that one of the mistakes the elder Bush made was to suddenly spring the idea of sending humans beyond LEO from out of the blue, allowing opponents to systematicly pick it apart.

Refocusing NASA to cutting edge space exploration does two things. First, it gets NASA out of the spacetrucking business. Coupling a new program of exploration with privitizating the space shuttle and the space station throws open space travel to and from LEO to private sector competition.

Second, the sort of program being talked about is a potentially huge market for a commercial launch industry. NASA seems to be more comfortable with assembling lunar and interplanetary space craft out of small pieces than with building a super heavy lift vehicle like the Saturn V. This is in some ways a throw back to the Earth Orbit Rendeavouz concept first proposed by Von Braun. It also is an enormous opportunity for private launch companies for launch contracts. Assembling spacecraft, as well as crew rotation and resupply of the space station, building a space based missile defense system, and building a space based air traffic control system could combined be the air mail delivery of the 21st Century that jump starts a private laiunch industry which in turn would bring down the cost of space travel, opening up not only Low Earth Orbit, but beyond, to the rest of us.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Looks like Dick Gephardt is a casualty of last night's victory. He will step down as House Minority Leader. He will likely be replaced by Nancy Pelosi, a hard left winger who opposed war with Iraq.
I should hope, but knowing liberals would not expect, that we would have no more talk about GW Bush as the dim, doofus, clueless fratboy. If Clinton was the Napoleon of politics, surely the President is the Wellington. And boy did he inflict upon the Democrats a masterfull Waterloo. 2002 will go down in history, along with 1994 and 1980, as years when the electorate repudiated liberalism and all of its works.

More important, the people rejected the Clinton-Daschle-McAuliffe style of slash and burn, cheating, win at all cost politics. Not that the Democrats have a clue of that. My suspician is that they'll conclude that they haven't been liberal enough. This will make 2004 very entertaining as we'll see candidates compete with one another over who can be the most radical left. My suggestion to the Dems is if they choose to go that route, go ahead and nominate Al Sharpton and get it over with.
Dick Morris, who predicted GOP losses for 2002, says that-well-yes Bush won last night, but he'd better watch out for 2004.
I woke up this morning to find out that after all it wasn't a dream. And the icing on the sweetest of victories-Mondale lost in Minnesotta.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Looks like a GOP romp. House, Senate, all. It is a glorious victory and President Bush bestrides the land like a colossus.
Glenn Reynolds has passed along a message about Andre Norton, the classic S-F writer. I urge everyone to read it and act accordingly.
NASA's efforts to get control of the costs of the International Space Station appear to have been met with complete success. This is a vital first step toward other things, like pushing beyond Low Earth Orbit.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Aintitcool is reporting that Alex Kingston ("ER") will play the title role in BOUDICA about the long-ago British queen who led a bloody rebellion against the Roman occupation.
Just saw the Coleman-Mondale debate and here are some initial impressions. A Lot of people expected Mondale to be old and tired. Instead he was old and cranky, assuming a patronizing tone, rolling out all of the liberal oldies but goodies that he feels have served him well over the years. Coleman was very calm and competent, having none of Mondale's treating him like a little boy.

I'm not sure that independents in Minnesotta, of the sort who elected Jesse the Body as Governor, will be very impressed by either Mondale's tone or his substance. I give the debate to Coleman on points.
Check out the following Alternative History book page. The site also has links to straight S-F and Fantasy.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Here's an idea for real cheap access to space.
More tales of Democrat cheaters, including another gay bashing charge.
Paolo Uluvi has some interesting information about China's plans for the Moon-and beyond.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Looks like Walter Mondale is ducking debate opportunities. That's too bad, because I for one would ask a few questions of him.

(1) Mr. Vice President. During the 1980s, when you ran for President, you advocated accomedation with the Soviet Union, cutting defense spending, and opposed SDI. Since President Reagan, who beat you thoroughly in 1984, did the opposite of those things, causing the Soviet Union to fall, were you wrong in your stance on national security issues? Follow up: Would you follow the same stance you did in the 1980s concerning the Soviet Union in the 21st Century with Iraq, North Korea, and other rogue nations?

(2) Mr. Vice President, what leval of taxation do you believe is appropriate to maintain the sort of government services you favor? Which taxes would you raise and what amount of revenues would you expect?

(3) Mr. Vice President, you are well known as a fervent opponent of human space flight. Would you support the cancellation of the space shuttle and space station programs? Would you oppose efforts now being talked about to send humans beyond Low Earth Orbit? Would you oppose efforts to commercialize space flight, such as privitizing the shuttle and/or facilitating private launch vehicles?

(4) Mr. Vice President, you have opposed efforts to privitize in whole or in part social security in order to take advantage of the historically higher yeilds of the stock and bond markets. Since the ratio to workers to retirees continues to drop, thus putting stress on the social security system, it would seem that two other alternatives present themselves: cutting benefits or raising FICA taxes. Which do you support and to what extent?

(5) Mr. Vice President, North Korea is openly building both nuclear weapons and missiles which will be capable of bombarding cities in the United States. Since you oppose missile defense, how do you propose to deal with this threat?
George W. Bush and the Republicans continue to outsmart the Democrats. The GOP will certainly hold the House and I think have a more than even chance of taking the Senate, a remarkable feat for a midterm election. There are two reasons for this. GW Bush has become the perfect personification of a Prince, being one part lion and one part fox. The second reason is that the Democrats have become arrogant, stupid, and-if not altogether evil-mendacious and venile. They continue to underestimate the man from Crawford. I predict they will continue to do so, even if the GOP sweeps next Tuesday.

But fortunately for liberal Democrats, there is a place where they are the ones who are smart and noble and their opposition dumb and crazy. Unfortunately that place is a TV show, The West Wing which has become the vessel for the demented fantasies of it's creator and stars. It is also tanking in the ratings. That's because The West Wing has less to do about real politics Star Trek does to the real apace program. One thing good about Star Trek, though.It is set in the future, so one can still reasonably hope that one day we will explore those strange new worlds, and so on and so on.
Hollywood has optioned a pair of books about Napoleon for a possible film. Oddly enough, Stanley Kubrick tried for decades to get an epic about the Corsican Ogre off the ground with no success.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Peggy Noonan channels Paul Wellstone from the next world and the message he has to send is not a happy one for the people who used his casket as a political podium.
Here's an excerpt from Mondale's acceptence speech which should frighten every supporter of space exploration:
I think I know how to start being effective on the first day in the Senate. I've been there. I know the rules. I helped shape them.... Under the rules, when I return, if the voters will let me, I will become part of the leadership on the first day because I'm a former vice president [emphasis added].

Mondale, while in the Senate and afterwards, was a fervent enemy of human space flight. If he wins and gets a leadership post, he'll be in a strong position to try to block the administration's efforts to send humans beyond Low Earth Orbit, as well as efforts to start a commercial launch industry.

Sylvia Engdahl, the author of, among other books, the wonderful, highly recommended Enchantress from the Stars has a page with quotes from various people upon the question: Why we must settle the high frontier of space?
That kindly, elder statesman Walter Mondale has begun his campaign with a will. Here is the text of an anti Coleman ad, thanks to Matt Drudge:
It sent thousands of good paying Minnesota jobs to China and Mexico.

Free trade has led to 36 bankruptcies in the steel industry alone.

And where was Norm Coleman when 1200 jobs were lost at LTV steel mining in Aurora because of the illegal dumping of steel?

And by the way, ask Norm Coleman about Lawson Software and Consceco Financial, two corporations that received millions in public subsidies while he was mayor of St. Paul.

These corporations have already laid off a total of 745 workers since Norm subsidized them. Don't let Norm Coleman do to Minnesota what he did to St. Paul.

Call Norm Coleman and tell him that before he makes any more campaign promises about creating jobs, he should start protecting the ones we already have.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Relatively cheap space flights for the rest of us are in the near future.
NASA Deputy Administrator Fred Gregory is emerging as the man who is pushing NASA to send people beyond Low Earth Orbit.
Considering the widespread cluelessness which has caused Jim Oberg to have to write a book proving men walked on the Moon (see below), this quiz is offered.
If you really want to go fast, antimatter is surely the way to go.
NASA has commissioned famed space writer and policy analyst Jim Oberg to write a book proving once and for all that men really did land on the Moon.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Guess who is suing Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
Democrats "mourn" the passing of Paul Wellstone. Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for providing this image of liberal "grief."
Rumor has it that Christopher Lee (AKA Saruman) will replacethe late Richard Harris in his role as the venerable headmaster of Hogwarts in future Harry Potter films.
Rand Simberg hits them again with yet another examination of modern political silliness applied to the world situation of sixty years ago.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Jerry Carter takes note of all of the Clintonistas who have been or will be whipped in this election and concludes that 2002, like 1994, will be a repudication of the previous POTUS.
George Will gives the Frogs the back of his hand.
Fox News is reporting that a private, Republican poll has Coleman down by two points of Mondale. That is better than Coleman was doing in the last poll against the late Senator Wellstone.
Is it just me, or does the constant, unrelenting adulation of the late Senator Paul Wellstone becoming as embaressingly excessive as that which accompanied the death of Princess Diana? Yes, I understand that he was a nice fellow, beloved by all, even his political enemies. But I really don't need to be told this constantly for days.

And I detect a cynical aspect to this orgy of mourning. It now seems that it is disrespectful of the memory of the late Senator to support his opponent or to even point out the record of Wellstone's heir presumptive, Walter Mondale. That seemed to be the message James Carville was giving on Meet the Press when he tore into Newt Gingrich for pointing out that Mondale was (omigod!) in favor of raising taxes. That's an attack, you see, and not to be allowed. In fact, I think that Democrats think that everyone even thinking of voting for Coleman for Senator should just stay home and not vote out of respect for the late Senator Wellstone.
A federal judge has ordered some documents unsealed which suggests that Governor of California Gray Davis may have been involved in a bribery scheme.
Changes are in store for how NASA intends to wrestle with the problem of access to space.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

It looks more and more as if the Democrats are going to task Walter Mondale to replace the late Paul Wellstone as their candidate for the US Senate in Minnesota. There are two reasons that Mondale is the choice. First, Democrats think that he'll win. Second, unlike younger, more independent minded pols like Tim Penny, Mondale is reliably liberal. And therein lies the problem.

While Wellstone's liberalism stemmed from the radical politics of the 1960s, Mondale's brand stems from more ancient roots, dating back to the New Deal. It is not too much to say that Mondale is a dinosaur whose ideas have very little relevence in the 21st Century. Indeed, Mondale was a dinosaur in 1984, when President Reagan whipped him from one end of the country to the other. He has not been a Senator from Minnesota since 1977, a quarter of a century ago.

The worse thing about Mondale is his unrelenting, unbending opposition to the exploration of space. This opposition was dramatized in the wonderful HBO series on the Apollo Program when Mondale pops up as a charector making political hay after the Apollo Fire. While he did not openly oppose the Apollo Program, it being a done deal by the time he entered the Senate, Mondale's views on human space flight were no secret, even then. After Apollo 11 he helped to lead fights against any and all efforts to expand human presence in space. The crippling of the human space program can in part be laid at his door.

Why such opposition? An analysis of Mondale's speaches and writings would lead one to believe that the once and possibly future Senator believes that federal funds spent on space exploration should better be spent on social programs. Indeed this is the view which had largely pervailed until recently, despite clear evidence of the utter failure of the sort of welfare spending which Mondale has championed and the utility of space exploration to improve the human condition here on Earth. How much Mondale's stated beliefs stemmed from personal conviction and how much stemmed from political calculation can be examined in an incident described in a book about the Challenger disaster, Prescription for Disaster by Joseph Trento published in 1987.The book describes an incident which took place during the Congressional hearings in the wake of the Apollo Fire when then Senator Mondale was accusing then NASA Administrator James Webb of covering up the findings of a document on the Fire called the Phillips Report, which at the time of the accusation Webb had never heard of. Webb went to Mondale's office for a meeting.
A Webb aid remembers him (Webb) asking Mondale, "In all due humility, Senator, what have we done wrong? Why are you so down on us?" Webb wanted to know why Mondale was upset and what he could do to rectify the situation. He and other visitors from NASA were standing in front of Mondale's desk. The Senator leaned back in his chair and instructed Webb, "I intend to ride this for every nickle's worth of political power I can get out of it. I don't give a hoot in hell about the space program or your future," a NASA official with Webb recalls Mondale saying.

It is amazing to me that a United States Senator would use the tragic deaths of three astronaut heroes as a means to enhance his own political position. It is beyond belief that the same Senator would boast openly about this cynical and cold blooded act of political expediency. It is bad enough that Mondale would stand in the way of human expansion into space and cry halt. It is horrible that he would do so out of a quest for political power.

This is the man Minnesota Democrats propose to chose to be their candidate for the Senate.

Friday, October 25, 2002

In another tragedy unsullied by political considerations, Richard Harris has died. This will make seeing Harry Potter next month a bitter sweet experience indeed.
Senator Paul Wellstone is dead. The best that can be said of him is that his ideas stemmed from deeply held princibles, unsullied by political strategy or any kind of personal quirk. Unfortunately those princibles were at best pernicious, at worse dangerous. He advocated socialism at home and appeasement abroad. His death is surely a tragedy for the man and his friends, however.

Now, of course, arises the question of what happens next. Here's my scenario. The Democrats decline to choose a new candidate, hoping that a big sympathy win for the dead Wellstone will persuade Governor Jesse "the body" Ventura to choose a good liberal Democrat to serve out his term; a Humphrey or a Mondale kid for instance. Instead Governor Ventura picks his soul mate (presuming that he is not elected governor) Tim Penny, a former Democrat and fiscal conservative. Then let the howling begin.

Update: Fox is raising the name of one Walter F. Mondale as a replacement for Wellstone. This is a possibility which fills me with fear and loathing. Mondale has been one of the most virulent opponents of space exploration in the history of the United States.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

According to Done Deal, there will be a sequal to the classic 1972 film, The Candidate, about a young, idealistic, liberal candidate for the Senate who has his soul sucked from him by his handlers and consultants. Robert Redford will reprise his role as Bill McKay (For a Better Way!) and will also produce and direct.
The Tarot Card Snipers may now be in custedy.
Update: Looks like they got them. Oddly enough, all of the TV profilers got it wrong. Instead of a lone, white racist gun nut in the vein of Tim McVeigh, we have two black, Muslim, anti American Al Qaeda wannabes.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

More rumblings about Red China's designs on the Moon.
John Corry thinks that Paul Krugman is even worse than Maureen Dowd.
The Village Voice, a rag best known for it's depraved personals ads, inveighs against the export of free market capitalism to the Moon. Thanks to Paul Spudis for pointing out this-er-lunacy.
A lifelong Democrat lawyer accuses head of the Democrat National Commitee, Terry McAuliffe of mail fraud.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Mike Taylor who withdrew from his race for a US Senate seat in Montana after a gay bashing attack ad run by his Democrat opponent, has decided to jump back in.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Now here is something for you biblical archeology folks to chew over.
John McCain is having another meltdown, this time over the fight to declare Campaign Finance Reform unconstitutional.
Rush thinks that Maureen Dowd gargles with bourbon. I disagree. Only everclear could explain Sunday's column.
There's a poll which shows Bill Simon, the unluckiest candidate in history, is actually ahead of Gray Davis, the worse governor in history.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Cooky Oberg points out a coming crisis in the graying of the aerospace industry. Note, though, to all those engineering students enterting college. This could be an opportunity to get secure jobs for years to come as your elders retire.
The campaigns in Texas by Democrats Tony Sanchez for Governor and Ron Kirk for Senate seem to be imploding.
It is bad enough when Maureen Dowd tries to channel Dorothy Parker. Now she is channeling Dorothy Parker while on mind altering substances.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Ron Kirk is playing the race card again. He has accused his Republican opponent for a Texas US Senate seat John Cornyn of racism. Why? Cornyn has suggested that Kirk's associating with rappers who sing songs advocating violence against police officers is-well-wrong.
A NASA task force has recommended a series of options which include, among others, the complete privitization of the space shuttle fleet. This is a good sign that NASA understands the need to get out from under the space shuttle burden in order to devote itself to cutting edge reaearch and exploration.
Now some Mexicans are demanding a certain kind of reparations. That would be the entire American Southwest, including California and Texas.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Paul Spudis and Bob Zubrin debated over which world to settle first, the Moon or Mars. By the account, the Moon won on points.
According to NewsMax, Reagan's War by Peter Schweizer, an account of how President Reagan won the Cold War and buried the Soviet Empire, has some interesting revelations about certain Democrats, including this year's Nobel Peace Price winner.
Soviet diplomatic accounts and material from the archives show that in January 1984 former President Jimmy Carter dropped by Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin's residence for a private meeting.

Carter expressed his concern about and opposition to Reagan's defense buildup. He boldly told Dobrynin that Moscow would be better off with someone else in the White House. If Reagan won, he warned, "There would not be a single agreement on arms control, especially on nuclear arms, as long as Reagan remained in power."

Using the Russians to influence the presidential election was nothing new for Carter.

Schweizer reveals Russian documents that show that in the waning days of the 1980 campaign, the Carter White House dispatched businessman Armand Hammer to the Soviet Embassy.

Hammer was a longtime Soviet-phile, and he explained to the Soviet ambassador that Carter was "clearly alarmed" at the prospect of losing to Reagan.

Hammer pleaded with the Russians for help. He asked if the Kremlin could expand Jewish emigration to bolster Carter's standing in the polls.

"Carter won't forget that service if he is elected," Hammer told Dobrynin.

Carter was not the only Democrat to make clear to the Russians where their loyalty lay. As the election neared in 1984, Dobrynin recalls meetings with Speaker of the House Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill.

O'Neill told Dobrynin that no effort should be spared to prevent "that demagogue Reagan" from being re-elected.

Soviet documents report that O'Neill told Dobrynin: "If that happens, Reagan will give vent to his primitive instincts and give us a lot of trouble, probably, put us on the verge of a major armed conflict. He is a dangerous man."

Bob Novak doubts that Senator Lincoln Chafee will pull a Jeffords should the GOP pick up one Senate seat.
CNN has a neat story about John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace and the quest for the X Prize.
Derek Bell of the Chieftens, to my mind one of the greatest Irish harpers since O'Carolan, has died.
Speaking of little gag gifts bequeethed by Bill Clinton to his successor, North Korea is after all building nukes. Bill Clinton assured us that his 1994 agreement with North Korea would mean this would not happen.
Senator Bill Nelson, who should and probably does know better, lamblasted the Bush administration for "wrecking" the space station. Actually, that was done by Bill Clinton by leaving a five billion dollar hole in the ISS program, which Bush is trying to fix.
Uchronia, the web's leading source on alternate or counterfactual history, reports that Newt Gingrich and Bill Forstchen have contracted for two alternate history civil war novels. The first will be Gettysburg: Lee's Greatest Victory. The second may be called Grant Comes East.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Bart Sibrel, the conspiracy nut who thinks man never landed on the Moon and recently had a close encounter with Buzz Aldrin's fist, got a wonderous send up on Wendsday night's The Daily Show on the Comedy Channel.
Dick Gephardt has added to Democrat confusion about the economy by proposing a stimulus package which no other Democrat wants to support, even though the package is the typical Democrat wish list of spending increases and "targeted" tax cuts. Daschle thinks that there's nothing wrong that can't be solved with hiking the minimun wage and extending unemployment insurance.

Here's a modest proposal for stimulating the economy. Eliminate taxes on capital gains, interest, and dividends.
Geraldo, who has been spending time signing autographs near the crime scenes of the Tarot Card Sniper (and on some unusual places too) has been bundled quietly and quickly off to Bali.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Dr. David Criswell provides more economic justifications for a return to the Moon.
The people of Iran want freedom. And I predict that one day soon they're going to get it too, no matter what the experts on CNN say.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Saddam Hussein is running for a new seven year term as President of Iraq. I predict he will be reelected by a landslide.
Here are some economic arguements for going back to the Moon which Chris would have appreciated.
Today is the day Americans observe Columbus Day, though techincally it was 510 years ago Saturday when the man from Genoa first made landfall on the island of San Salvadore and changed the course of history forever. When I was a boy, Columbus was celebrated as a hero; "In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety Two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue..." But, as with many other of history's heroes, the politically correct left have tried to demonize Columbus. No more is he the intrepid Admiral of the Ocean Sea who sailed west trying to find Asia, and instead finding America. Now he is depicted as a cruel, fanatical European who sailed all those miles for the sole purpose of dispoiling and oppressing the American Indian.

The 500th anniversary of Columbus's feat was all but ruined by these people. What should have been a celebration of exploration and of the voyage which eventually led to the formation of the United States upon the shores of the New World, had turned into an orgy of protest and white European bashing by professional victems' groups. Yet, I experienced something ten years ago which gave me a bit of hope.

As part of the celebration, replicas of Columbus' ships, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, sailed up and down the coasts of America for visitors to appreciate. When the little fleet docked at Galveston, my wife and I dutifully drove down to see the ships. We waited in the rain for hours as the massive crowd wound its way into the area where the ships were docked. There were no protestors. There were just people who, I have to imagined, appreciated the glory of what had happened five hundred years before, waiting patiently to do honor in some way to that man from Genoa who dared the unknown depths centuries before. Despite what the left and the politically correct think, the people get it.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

The new Disney version of Alamo now has a director, and since it is set to start filming in January, it's in a nick of time too. Now the film needs a cast. They're trying to get Bill Bob Thorton to play Crockett.
So how is it that the Democrats increasingly feel the need to cheat?
Stephen Ambrose has died, and mores the pity. He was a writer who eschewed the politically correct approach of deconstructing "myths" of history. Instead he celebrated the heroic, whether it came from those ordinary dog faced soldiers who brought down Hitler's Fortress Europe, or the explorers Lewis and Clark who crossed an unknown continent with undaunted courage. He could even find glory in the robber barons who build the first transcontinental railroad.

I would have loved to have seen his take on-say-the Apollo Program.

He will be missed.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Paul Spudis passes this along for what will have to be the clash of the century:
Anybody going to WSC is invited to drop by for the fun:

Dear Colleague:

You are hereby invited to the AIAA Space Colonization Technical Committee's "Great Space Debate" on

"Where Should Humans Go Next in Space: the Moon or Mars?"

Dr. Paul Spudis and Dr. Robert Zubrin will debate the merits of each position.

All are welcome to attend the free debate that will be held in the 500-seat Ballroom B in the Brown Convention Center, in Houston on Thursday, October 17th from 1 to 2 pm.

Please come, take a ballot, and vote on the position of your choice at the end of the debate. A PDF flyer describing the debate is attached; please print it out, copy it and spread the word to the aerospace community. Please note that the date, time, location, for the debate will not be available in the World Space Congress activities lists.

Space Colonization Technical Committee
Eric Rice, Chairman

Dr. Eric E. Rice
President and CEO

The Norwegians have awarded the most incompetent President in US history with a Nobel Peace Prize. I have to agree with Professor Reynolds that the greater shame is that once again the contributions of Sir Arthur C. Clarke are being ignored.
Predictably the crimes of the Tarot Card Sniper are causing yelps for more gun control. Even more predictably the yelps are coming from a Kennedy who is in the process of losing an election.
The ratings for the once popular West Wing seem to have collapsed. Perhaps the absurd fantasy of a perfect, liberal President is beginning to grate.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Reader Steve Johnson passes along a guide for men for dealing with women, based on a point system:


You make the bed.............................................. +1

You make the bed, but forget to add the decorative pillows..... 0

You throw the bedspread over rumpled sheets................... -1

You leave the toilet seat up..................................-5

You replace the toilet paper roll when it is empty............. 0

When the toilet paper roll is barren, you resort to Kleenex... -1

When the Kleenex runs out you use the next bathroom........... -2

You go out to buy her extra-light panty liners with wings..... +5

In the snow .................................................. +8

But return with beer.......................................... -5

And no liners................................................ -25

You check out a suspicious noise at night...................... 0

You check out a suspicious noise and it is nothing............. 0

You check out a suspicious noise and it is something.......... +5

You pummel it with a six iron................................ +10

It's her cat................................................. -40

You stay by her side the entire party.......................... 0

You stay by her side for a while, then leave to chat with a College drinking buddy.............. -2

Named Tiffany................................................. -4

Tiffany is a dancer.......................................... -10

With breast implants......................................... -18


You remember her birthday...................................... 0

You buy a card and flowers..................................... 0

You take her out to dinner..................................... 0

You take her out to dinner and it's not a sports bar.......... +1

Okay, it is a sports bar...................................... -2

And it's all-you-can-eat night................................ -3

It's a sports bar, it's all-you-can-eat night, and your face is painted the colors of your favorite team..................-10


Go with a pal.............................................. 0

The pal is happily married.................................... +1

The pal is single............................................. -7

He drives a Ferrari.......................................... -10

With a personalized license plate (GR8NBED).................. -15


You take her to a movie...................................... +2

You take her to a movie she likes............................ +4

You take her to a movie you hate............................. +6

You take her to a movie you like............................. -2

It's called Death Cop 3...................................... -3

Which features Cyborgs that eat humans....................... -9

You lied and said it was a foreign film about orphans.......-15


You develop a noticeable pot belly............................. -15

You develop a noticeable potbelly &exercise to get rid of it....................... +10

You develop a noticeable pot belly and resort to loose jeans and baggy Hawaiian shirts.................... -30

You say, "It doesn't matter, you have one too."............... -800


She asks, "Does this dress make me look fat?"

You hesitate in responding.................................... -10

You reply, "Where?"........................................... -35

You reply, "No, I think it's your ass"....................... -100

Any other response............................................ -20

Dr. David Criswell's ideas for lunar based solar power stations will recieve an airing at the World Space Congress now meeting in Houston.
John Fund suggests that it is alright to be homophobic if you are a good liberal Democrat and it is necessary to knock an opponent out of a Senate race.
A surprise best seller in France is L'obsession anti-américaine by Jean-Francois Revel. The premise of the book is that European anti-Americanism is a balm for European low self esteem.
Done Deal is reporting that the trend of recycling old TV shows to the movies is contining with a big screen version of Dallas, the old prime time soap opera about the oil bidness (as we say in Texas) and sex. No script yet, but how much you want to bet that J.R. has to save Ewing Oil from some kind of Enron like melt down while sleeping with an intern?

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

The World Space Conference begins Thursday in Houston. Current plans to send humans beyond Low Earth Orbit will be rolled out for consideration and debate.
Those of us who prefer science to hysteria have often had fun pointing out that those who warn of global warning used to warn of the new ice age back in the 1970s. Now an environmentalist in Massachuttes has decided to go back to the ice age as the horrible thing that will happen unless we give up our SUVs and air conditioning.
Bob Tyrrell compares Pat Leahy to a Soviet commissar.
Terrorism expert Yossef Bodansky has come out with a new book on Middle Eastern terrorism entitled The High Cost of Peace: How Washington's Middle East Policy Left America Vulnerable to Terrorism. Among the disturping revelations:

In April 2002, as the U.S. was trying to negotiate a cease-fire between the Palestinians and the Israelis, Yasser Arafat tried to blow up Secretary of State Colin Powell's entire convoy, including Shimon Peres, while on its way to the peace negotiations.

Also In his book, Bodansky says Clinton betrayed pro-American Syrians who sought to oust the reviled, terroristic, drug-dealing Assad regime. Bodansky writes that dozens of Sunni officers in mid-1999 wanted to overthrow Assad and bring Damascus into the modern world with economic development and a representative government. They asked the U.S. for help. The U.S. Embassy requested a list of the coup leaders and details of the plan. "Naively, the Syrians complied," Bodansky writes. Then "the Clinton administration decided to save Assad." It squealed, and a purge resulted in Syria. "Washington betrayed an intended coup that was supposed to be pro-American against a regime that was on the United States' own terrorism and drug-trafficking lists," the author summarizes.

Dr. Robert Jastrow expounds on the history of space exploration.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Dick Morris accuses the New York Times of engaging in push polling. Gee, isn't that what partisan politicians do and not "unbiased" newspapers?
There's a contest asking people to submit the first words the first human on Mars should speak.

Here're my contributions. Historic:
In the spirit of Leif Erikson, of Columbus, of Magellan, of Cook, and Armstrong, I set foot upon this distant shore across the airless sea, upon this empty land soon to be filled with the laughter and tears of the children of the Earth.

I'm sure we made a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

There are also categories for most original, five words or less, and quotes out of contex.
Dave Konig writes about the political orientation which dare not speak its name. At least in Hollywood and Broadway.
One of my earliest experiences with the indignant ire of the New York Show-Business Liberal came in the mid-80s. I was young and skinny and performing with a sketch comedy troupe. One night, after a particularly successful show, we retired to the local bar to get drunk and tell each other how great we were (this is also what young, skinny actors do after a lousy show). I was flirting with one of the young, skinny actresses in the troupe and she was flirting with me. The sly innuendo and double entendres were flying briskly until she innocently asked for my thoughts on President Reagan (the question was along the lines of, "Do you think he's evil and malevolent, or the other way around?") I responded just as innocently, "Well, he was awfully good in King's Row. That was the end of the flirtation, the end of the evening, and eventually the end of the troupe.

Perhaps show business conservatives should form a pressure group. PETOC People for the Ethical Treatment of Conservatives. They might start by picketing Barbara Streisand's next fund raiser.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Atlantis is finally aloft. The images from the camera atop the external tank were pretty cool.
The US Supremes have declined to restore the rule of law in New Jersey. It's now up to the voters to do so, if they wish.
Baghdad Jim McDermott has accused President Bush of plotting to become an Emperor. Seriously.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Wonderfull things can happen when science rather than hysteria drives environmental policy.

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Aint It Cool is now reporting that the story previously reported about M. Night's next project being about an Ouiji board is false.
NASA is considering divesting itself of both the space shuttle and the International Space Station. It's not quite the model I called for (comercialization), but it does free NASA for cutting edge research and exploration.
The fallout of New Jersey is already having an effect. Some supporters of Cynthia McKinney have run to court demanding that her defeat in the primary be overturned. The reason? That Republican crossover votes violated the rights of black voters. Of course, I'm not sure that it is a civil right to be represented in the Congress by a bigoted idiot. Even so, I wish we had thought about this ten years ago. I'm pretty sure that the election of Bill Clinton as President must have violated some of my rights. Certainly his Presidency was an afront to any notion of morality and common sense.

Friday, October 04, 2002

Liberals have accused Republicans of wanting to kill old people and starve children for years. Now there's a cartoon which actually depicts President Bush doing the former. Well, I think turn about is fair play. How about a cartoon depicting Jim McDermott consorting with Saddam Hussein, or Dick Gephardt robbing small businessmen, or Bill Clinton doing all sorts of horrible things, from assaulting women, to taking payoffs from Red Chinese arms dealers?

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Forty-five years ago today was one of those days which history marks as a turning point, when everything afterwards would be different than everything before. The reason for that was a soccer ball shaped satellite called Sputnik, which the Soviet Union launched into Earth orbit. Such a thing, while dreamed about for generations, had never been done before. And the implications of that feat sent shock waves throughout the world that in many ways we are still feeling.

October the 4th, 1957, was the official start of the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the United States. The prize, articulated at the time, was nothing less than which side in the Cold War would own the future. The side in the Cold War that controlled space, could dictate terms on Earth.

But by the time that the prize was won, by the United States on July 20th, 1969, it was unclear to many people what had been won. Certainly the Soviet Union did not immediately implode; twenty years would pass, and only after the election of a President who had the vision of a victory over communism, before that would happen. And many people, by the time of Apollo 11, wondered if the United States, beset by a Vietnam quagmire abroad, and civil strife at home, had won anything worth the effort and treasure at all. Indeed some people, such as Rand Simberg, view the space race as a kind of useless distraction that was bound to fail in its promise to open up the high frontier of space to the inhabitants of Earth.

The problem with that view is that it stems from a misconception of how the Space Race played itself out. Most people assume that with the first Moon landing, the United States won and the Soviet Union lost, and the next thirty or so years consisted of wheel spinning. But it is my view that neither side won the Space Race. Both sides gave up before the race was even finished. The Soviet Union gave up, having been demoralized by not being the first to land a man on the Moon. The United States gave up, having been demoralized by the horrors of the Sixties. I say this because most people make the mistake of believing that the prize of the Space Race was the first Moon landing. But as James Lee Kaufman points out in his Selling Outer Space: Kennedy, The Media, and Funding for Project Apollo, 1961-63, Apollo was sold to the American people as the first act in a drama which would be nothing less than the recreation of the winning of the American West in the heavens. The implication was that just as the great powers of the past, Spain, Portugal, France, and Britain, competed to see who would be the supreme super power by settling the Americas, the United States and the Soviet Union would compete by settling the Moon, Mars, and other places in outer space.

It was not historically inevitable that the two super powers would have both quit the Space Race before it was won. I discuss a scenario in which the Space Race continues to its conclusion in my alternate history novel, Children of Apollo, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever fine books are sold (shameless plug). In my view, had the United States pressed its advantage after Apollo, two things would have happened. First, forced to compete lest they “go to sleep by the light of a capitalist Moon”, the power of the Soviet Union would have been broken earlier. Second, by this year 2002, the United States would have become a true, space faring nation, with settlements on the Moon and Mars. This would have made not only possible, but necessary the commercial space industry which many people today dream about. We would now be debating the costs and benefits of sending expeditions to the Outer Planets, rather than how to pick up after Apollo 17 (whose anniversary is in two months) and return to the Moon.

Ironically we may be on the verge of another space race. The last of the great tyrannies, Communist China, is preparing to launch its first manned space flight. Chinese leaders talk openly of settlements on the Moon and flights to Mars. We may once again be faced with a contest over who will own the future, the country that oppresses dissidents and runs over protestors with tanks, or the country which champions freedom and capitalism. Which side will win will depend on decisions we will soon be asked to make. One hopes this time we choose more wisely than we have in the past.

Fox is reporting that David Bonior and Jim McDermott are lying when they claim to be Vietnam veterans. While both served in the military during the Vietnam War, neither one of them got closer to the theatre of operations than California.
Bill Sammon offers off an account on the War on Terror with a view from the Commander in Chief in Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism from Inside the Bush White House.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

It looks like yet another rogue State Supreme Court, this time in New Jersey, is willing to ignore the law in order to give Democrats a political advantage. More on this farce anon.
I just heard Dick Morris say that the Republicans are going to pick up three seats in the Senate. Prepare to weep, Babs.
The House has passed HR 5303, the Pete Conrad Astronomy Awards Act which is designed to encourage amateur astronomers to discover Earth approaching asteroids. It's not quite what I've proposed, but it's a good start. Now contact your Senators and ask them to pass HR 5303.
President Bush has outmanuevered Tom Daschle yet again by wresting a resolution from the House which pretty much gives him all he wants.
The next film by M. Night Shyamalan will feature an Ouiji board and a guy who is a little too much in love with death. M. Night is a genius film maker, who can do suspense with very little if any gore involved. While I had problems with Signs, mainly for the holes in the situation and plot, I'm looking forward to this next effort.
There are more rumblings about a return to the Moon, and not just at NASA.

A lot of people have taken shots at Sean O'Keefe, the current NASA administrator, for being a "bean counter", devoid of any vision of space exploration. I think this may be unfair. If NASA is to undertake a new effort of human exploration beyond LEO, then someone like O'Keefe was needed to get NASA's house in order after thirty years of neglect and dysfunctionality.

The exciting thing is that when we do each out beyond LEO, NASA will have partners in the private sector. Companies like SpaceDev and Transorbital are poised to participate in what may be the greatest era of high adventure since the discovery of the Americas.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

John Corry gives his take on the week when the Democrats imploded.
Here's the fake quote from Shakespear's Julius Caesar which fooled Babs Streisand and others:
Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.

Oddly enough it is not in blank verse and doesn't even scan very well. You would think that someone who has acted these past thirty or so years would know better.
The New Jersey Democrat machine has picked Frank Pallone to replace their loser candidate, Torricelli, for the Senate. If the New Jersey courts follow the law, the Dems might as well have chosen Tony Soprano for all the good it will do them.

Addendum. Pallone has withdrawn his name from consideration. Now the New Jersey Dems are wooing former Senator Frank Lautenberg. This is so much fun.

Monday, September 30, 2002

It was an awe inspiring spectacle permerated with maudlin self absorption and naked partisanship. To hear Torricelli cry his crocedile tears and pat himself on the back, one would have never thought that he had been driven from politicals in disgrace and ignominy. At one point he actually complained that he lacked Bill Clinton's "strength" (that is to say, sociopathology) for riding out the scandal he had brought upon himself.

Now the New Jersey Democrat machine has to find a way to circumnavigate the law and pick a replacement on the ballot. If I understand the legal talking heads, stickly speaking it is too late for them to legally do so, meaning that the Torch, in flaming out, has forfetted the race. But, being Democrats, I suspect that boys in Trenton are not going to let a silly thing like the law stand in their way in their quest to keep the Democrats' clammy hands in control of the Senate. The resulting mess, I predict, will make Florida pale in comparison.