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.