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.