Wednesday, April 30, 2003

And speaking of "back to the future" thinking, NASA is looking at the Apollo Command and Service modules as the basis of at first a Crew Rescue Vehicle and then a Crew Transfer Vehicle for ISS.

Rich Kolker points out that the team NASA has looking at this option is-well-interesting:
Aaron Cohen
Former Director NASA JSC; former Manager of the Command and Service Module in the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office; former Space Shuttle Orbiter Project Manager, responsible for design, development, production, and test flights,; former acting NASA Deputy Administrator.

Vance Brand
Apollo Soyuz (ASTP) and CDR for STS-5, STS41B, STS-35

Dale Meyers
Former V.P. and Program Manager- Apollo Command and Service Module, NAA/Rockwell; Former NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight; Former NASA Deputy Administrator

John Young
Gemini 3, Gemini 10 (CDR), Apollo 10, Apollo 16 (CDR), STS-1 (CDR), STS-9 (CDR)

Kenneth Szalai
Former Director, NASA Dryden; Chief Engineer NASA F-8 DFBW with Apollo GNC systems

Officially at least, NASA is not contemplating building a new space shuttle orbiter. That has not stop Boeing from thinking about how that might be done.

Of course if someone decided that a new orbiter was needed and was willing to pay the money, much of the tooling and a lot of structural spares left over from Endeavour are available.
The UN has rewarded Cuba for tossing a parcel of poets, writers, journalists, and human rights activists into their version of the Gulag by renaming that country to the UN Humans Rights Committee.
Glenn Reynolds has some thoughts about space settlements and then the not unrelated subject of Star Trek.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Thomas James of Marsblog, to whom I introduced the joys of Mongolian Barbeque this past Saturday, points the way toward this nightmare of the antinuclear luddites.
Randy Barnett suggests a way to punish Senate Democrats for their obstruction of Bush judicial appointees. This punishment consists of recess appointments, not of the actual nominees, but of several people who really dwell in the nightmares of liberals, starting with Robert Bork.

Monday, April 28, 2003

A miracle may be about to occur. A Bush judicial nominee is about to be approved by the Senate.
Hillary Clinton has turned in the manuscript of her book, which she called Living History. It is billed as a, "complete and candid" accounting of her years in the White House, from the health care debate to impeachment to the launching of her own political campaign in 2000.

The problem of course is that it will be neither. Besides, are we really interested in Hillary's take on health care, impeachment, and her own drive to become Goddess Emperess of the Universe? No, instead we want to know about all the bimbos Bill bagged in the White House, which one of them Hillary walked in on, and the aftermath of each incident. That is the only hope that Simon & Schuster has of recouping the eight million it shelled out for this dog.

I'm also disappointed that my idea for a title was not used. My Struggle Against the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Think on it.
NASA has entered into an interesting private/public partnership with a company that proposes to build a solar sail space vehicle.
Belgium is proposing to buy itself a world of pain for what it seems to be contemplating. Someone should now draw up a list of Belgium products to boycott. The French, after all when all is said and done, are just being obnoxious.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Speaking of books, Ori Trend provides a free price comparison on books at his FetchBook.Info. Check it out.
Now for a commercial message.

Mothers Day draws nigh and for moms who like to read, we can offer these:

Nocturne, the novel of suspense set in Venice as the Cold War draws to a climax. One critic called it, "The Manchurian Candidate meets Nick and Nora Charles."

Children of Apollo, the alternative history novel set against the backdrop of an Apollo program that never was, but could have been.

Buy them for all the moms in your life. (See covers on the left hand side)

Saturday, April 26, 2003

For all those folks who maintained that deposing Saddam was just a silly distraction from the War on Terror, we offer this.
The latest Dot Comer to take the plunge into space entrepreneurialism is Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.Com.

I wonder if one of the unforeseen effects of the Dot Com boom of the 1990s is to provide seed money for private space startups?
And for everyone's edification, here is what Newt actually said which has got the media, the State Department, and some unnamed White House officials all riled up.
Newt Gingrich told the truth about the State Department so naturally, instead of listening to what he actually said, everyone wants to shoot the messenger.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Ted Turner thinks Rupert Murdoch is a "warmonger" for promoting Fox's coverage of the War against Saddam. A bold statement, considering how much milage CNN got from the first war in Iraq.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Tim Robbins and others get a slapping for seeing the arrival of the Gestapo in the night and fog when anyone gets mad at something they said.
Tariq Aziz, formerly Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and spokesman for the Saddamite regime, is in our hands.
This guy in Utah is mad at Senator Santorum for dissing polygomy, which unlike adultery, incest, gay sex, etc, he claims is allowed by the Bible.
Chris Mathews proves once again why he is our favorite liberal. Unlike most people, he has the courage and the manhood to admit when he was wrong, in this instance about Iraq.
Back in the fifties the worse thing a liberal could be called was a communist. Then in the eighties the worse thing that a liberal could be called was-a liberal. Now John Kerry, Senator and would be President, has to suffer the ultimate insult of all.
A group of Romanians have taken their rightful place in the Friends of America Network.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

His campaign in a death spiral, Dick Gephardt decides on self inmolation (which liberals call a "bold stroke") by proposing something which incoporates two things Americans hate the most-raising taxes and socialized health care.
Frank Gaffney compares Newt Gingrich's thrashing of the State Department to Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech.
Project Prometheus, which promises to open up the Solar System by developing space based nuclear power and propulsion, is proceeding apace. However, there are some people who find the whole thing evil:
On May 3, a protest of "NASA Plutonium launches and warfare in space" is slated outside the gates of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Organized by the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space of Gainesville, Florida, the group wants to call attention to White House intentions to spend nearly $3 billion in the next five years to expand NASA's nuclear space program. Moreover, they argue that any military-run space laser project to control space requires onboard nuclear reactors too.

Also falling under the group's crosshairs are the soon-to-be-launched Mars Exploration Rovers. Each robot is equipped with Radioactive Heater Units (RHUs) to help machinery survive super-cold Martian nights.

In their view, not only are they a danger if they careen back to Earth due to a launch failure. Even if the robots succeed they'll be planting a loathsome nuclear seed on Mars.

"The Mars Rovers will explore the surface of the red planet doing soil identification that NASA hopes will ultimately lead to manned colonies on Mars to mine for uranium, cobalt, magnesium and water. NASA has said that the eventual mining colonies would be powered with nuclear reactors. When the day comes that space mining is profitable NASA intends to turn operations over to the aerospace industry," warns the protest group in a recent news release.

That's right. These people are warning us about colonies on Mars. The horror. The horror.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Slavery reparations, which is to say the payment of perhaps trillions of dollars by people who never owned slaves to people who were never slaves, is a scam pushed by some on the far left that is unlikely to ever become reality. That doesn't mean, however, that some are not willing to try to make a few bucks off of the concept.
Today is apparently Earth Day. I detect a distinct lack of excitement.
Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, has commited a cardinal sin in Washington, as is his way, by telling the truth about the State Department. The yelps of outrage from foggy bottem can still be heard but, curiously, not too many denials of Newt's accusations of incompetence and weakness.
Senator Santorum put his foot in it when he said that if gay sex were allowed, all sorts of perversions would also have to be allowed. Untrue, of course. Society has always drawn lines against certain behaviors and simply because the line is pushed back a little does not mean there is a slippery slope.
George Galloway, member of the British Parliament and opponent of the war against Saddam, was apparently well paid for his efforts by Saddam. I wonder how many other apologists for the probably dead tyrant were also paid off?
It will come as no surprise to most people that government bureaucrats bar the way to a truly private space launch industry.
Elon Musk is yet another visionary or madman (you be the judge) who proposes to change the history of the world by opening up the high frontier of space on his own dime.
Babylon 5 actor Jerry Doyle suggests that there is a new Hollywood blacklist-against conservatives.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Today is also the anniversary of the Battle of Jacinto, where a motley army of Texans defeated the murderous tyranny of Santa Anna and avenged the massacres of the Alamo and the Goliead.
I'm told that the American airline industry is on the point of collapse. Yet there seems to be one carrier that is doing just fine.
Buon natale, Roma!.
Here is some detailed information on Burt Rutan's private space ship.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

The Weekly Standard is kind enough to provide the text of the aweful remarks Bill Clinton made recently made to the Conference Board. Read them and remember that this man was President of the United States for eight years. Then embrace the horror.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Newt Gingrich will come out with his latest novel, Gettysburg in a couple of months. There's a very interesting testimonial at the book's Amazon site:
Gettysburg is a creative, clever, and fascinating 'what if?' novel that promises to excite and entertain America's legions of Civil War buffs. --James Carville

Very likely the nicest thing Carville has said about Newt-or indeed about any Republican who is not his wife.

The superb Burt Rutan proposes to change the history of the world and along the way upset the "business as usual" folks at NASA in ways they have yet to imagine.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Rand Simberg drops the hammer on the "business as usual" faction at NASA.
NASA Administrator O'Keefe had a sitdown with Space.Com recently. There are a couple of items I have questions about:
NASA has its sights on developing a new Orbital Space Plane, or OSP for short. It is a vehicle with a straightforward mission, O'Keefe emphasized.

"There are only three things we want to do with this beast. First and foremost, it has got to be an operational asset that carts people to and from the International Space Station, and that's it. If you want to put cargo on, it better fit in a shaving kit."

A second criteria, O'Keefe continued, is a vehicle that exhibits a far greater degree of maneuverability in space than the shuttle. Lastly, an OSP must, in time, have the capacity for flexibility of launch.

"Not launch on demand. But certainly closer than what we can do today, which is really quite cumbersome," O'Keefe said. While labeling the shuttle as "an engineering marvel," he added that the vehicle "is not a responsive asset to immediacy of circumstance," he said.

Well and good, though I'm very much against a space taxi being owned and run by NASA. NASA should not be in the space taxi business. NASA should be in the exploration and research business.

Also, what happens if there's a problem with the shuttle again? How are we going to lift cargo, aside from the Russian Progress? Why did NASA cancel the Alternate Access to Space Station program? On that score, the Space Frontier Foundation has some sharp words to say:
At the same moment NASA is making plans to possibly shut down the International Space Station due to its inability to re-supply the $70billion dollar facility, some managers at the agency are trying to gut a program that would solve the problem in years to come. Citing NASA plans to possibly de-staff the ISS due to its inability to ferry supplies to the orbiting facility, the Space Frontier Foundation is calling for NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe to re-start the agency's Alternate Access to Station (AAS) program as
soon as possible. Slowly being killed behind the scenes, the innovative $310 million dollar program would cost less than one shuttle flight, and was on track to kick start several low cost solutions to the very problem NASA says is causing them to consider shutting down their flagship project.

"Why would the agency shoot itself in the foot by canceling the best hope it has to get low cost freight delivery to and from the station?" asked the Foundation's Rick Tumlinson. "Why are they trying to do it without anyone noticing? And why now, when they desperately need it?"

The Foundation points out that in the long term the AAS program gives station managers a back-up for the Shuttle and Progress/Soyuz systems that threatens neither. The group believes NASA is making a major mistake that can still be corrected in time to save the ISS's long term future, and help create a whole new set of US space transportation options for different types of payloads.

"NASA managers with their own agendas must quit playing games with the taxpayer's money and get this program back on track before it's too late," said Tumlinson. "AAS offers a free enterprise means for NASA to buy low cost transportation to ISS that will save millions and, as the name implies, give them an alternative to the systems they use now." He continued: "If the agency has a funded, low cost possible solution to prevent the slow death of this huge project and doesn't use it, Mr O'Keefe and the White House will have to explain it to the American people. He needs to make a call now and do the right thing."

The AAS program, which had been allocated around 62.7 million for fiscal 2003, had already inspired several entrepreneurial US firms to begin developing low cost ways of delivering freight to the ISS. The Foundation believes it would have helped catalyze a new industry that over time could dramatically lower the cost of all space activities. Members of Congress are calling for NASA to reinstate AAS, which has widespread support outside of the agency, and to get the program back on track, in light of the Columbia tragedy.

Indeed. There still seems to be a bias against private enterprise at certain quarters of NASA where space flight is concerned.
O'Keefe also said something else I have an issue with:
"There's plenty of advocates out there for Mars, the Moon, Pluto … you've got them all. And the only thing that is common among all those [destinations] is that we can't get to any of them," O'Keefe said.

There are only two or three things, the space agency head contends, that motivates big goals as a national imperative: national security, economics, or expressions of sovereignty.

Nothing on the space horizon is apparent in this regard, O'Keefe added, that might foster a big destination goal.

"So rather than sit, sweat, fret, and argue about which one of those destination objectives everybody could get around … focus all that attention, time and effort into all the enabling technologies that would make any of those goals feasible in the future. That's the logic," O'Keefe concluded.

All of that is true whereas Mars and other distant destinations are concerned. But not the Moon. O'Keefe is just wrong about that one. Heavens, we went to the Moon over thirty years ago not only without nuclear propulsion, but without a lot of other easily adapted technologies available presently. We could start a return to the Moon project tomorrow, given funding and leadership. Such a project would serve not only to prospect for and to learn to utilize lunar natural resources, but would serve as a practice for more challenging missions to Mars and so on once Prometheus nuclear propulsion technology is available.

Baghdad Bob may be gone, but he is certainly not forgotten.
Meanwhile, according to the Field Poll, as quoted in the Washington Times Inside Politics section, President Bush would win California if the election were to be held today.
A Field poll of 695 registered voters found that 45 percent of Californians would support Mr. Bush, with 40 percent backing the Democratic Party nominee, Reuters reports.
In his 2000 victory, Mr. Bush attracted 41.6 percent of the vote in California, compared with 53.4 percent for Vice President Al Gore.

The Democrats believe that they recieved a good whipping in 2002 because they were insufficiently hostile toward President Bush. But in his efforts to make up for that, Tom Daschle may be cutting his own throat.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

In a fit of pique, Senate Democrats are wrecking serious harm on the American judicial system.
The Club for Growth will be avenged on those Republicans in Name Only who oppose tax cuts.
These "Grassroots Democrats" have an interesting answer to the question, "Why exchange the evil and mendacity we know for something whose horror is as yet unimaginable.
Meanwhile Tim Robbins whined about being criticized in the media, which is the way America tortures its political dissidents. Lucky for Tim we don't do it the way Castro (see below) does.
HBO has removed Oliver Stone's astonishing suck up documentary on Fidel Castro, deeming it embaressing to air such a thing which the Supreme Leader is shooting and otherwise persecuting dissidents.
CNN, the network which lied so regularly about Iraq and who knows about what else, is downgrading Crossfire by cutting it back to an hour and consigning it to late afternoons. Crossfire, in my opinion, has been going down hill ever since Tom Braden started having on air meldowns in the late 80s. CNN ought to fix it by getting rid of the two hateful Clintonista cohosts, Carville and Begala, and let Carlson and Novak cohost on their own. Who says you need a liberal to provide "balance?"

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

These folks want the Oscar for Best Documentary awarded to that fat fraud Michael Moore-well-revoked. They have the quaint notion that a documentary should not be fiction from first reel to last.
More evil taking place at the Clinton News Network.
Abu Abbas, the Palestinian terrorist who took over the cruise ship Achille Lauro over fifteen years ago and murdered a wheel chair bound gentleman named Leon Klinghoffer and dumped him into the sea, has been taken just outside Baghdad.
Stephen Moore has some even more outrageous facts about the tax code for your edification and outrage.
Speaking of the income tax, here are ten reasons why you should be even more angry about it.
Having defeated the Beast of Baghdad to bring freedom to Iraq, President Bush now proposes to do battle with the Democrats-and certain traitors in his own party-to bring a small measure of economic freedom to America. And it being April 15th, just in time too.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Saddam's psychopathic son Uday had an even creepier side.
There's a new race to the Moon. And it has some surprising participents.
Charlie Vick has an interesting idea. Rebuild the Saturn V with modern technology.
Dick Morris suggests that one casualty of the War Against Saddam is the Liberal Media.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

This group would like to make July 20th a "National Day of Commenoration." Interesting idea. But I would suggest that Apollo Day (as I would call it) should be a day to celebrate humankind's greatest feat.
Howard Dean continues to prove how to be an effective Democrat candidate while raving like a lunatic.
"I'm not a pacifist," Dean said. "We've removed a horrible dictator, but the price we're going to pay is down the road."

Dean warned that other countries could follow the U.S. approach of pre-emptive action when faced with a national security threat.

Like-say-Israel in 1967.

The Marines have found the files of Saddam's Secret Police. I wonder if a dossier on-say-Sean Penn is included.
This is all very nice, but I've been to England twice and have met none of these people. It doesn't seem fair that Homer Simpson should.

Friday, April 11, 2003

The madcap efforts of Senate RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) to stab President Bush in the back and possibly lose next year, as the economy continues to gasp along, continues apace. It's an amazing thing to witness. A handful of wilfull moderates are putting their own personal pique at being marginalized in an increasingly conservative Republican Party over the good of their party and of the country.

Something has to be done to reverse this outrage. I'm not certain what it is, but it has to happen.

Steve Moore echoes this sentiment.
Speaking of people who kept silent on Saddam's atrocities, I think that people like Scott Ritter who think that the imprisonment and torture of little children is somehow less horrible than-say-a war to liberate them are-well-despicable beyond words.
The History Channel is broadcasting a two hour documentary based on Jay Winik's book April, 1865. I'm looking forward to it, having read and loved the book.
And everyone else's worse nightmare.
Here is Pat Buchanun's worse nightmare.
Looks like we can never bekieve anything CNN says ever again.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

I guess Brian Sewell, who sullies the pages of the Evening Standard with what even he suggests is "vomit", will not be seeing Saving Private Lynch in any version.
Arnold Schwarzenegger vrs Condi Rice for Governor of California? It could happen.
Dick Morris suggests that President Bush is employing a masterful strategy which his former boss Mr. Clinton could never master. Telling the truth.
NBC is rushing to develop its version of Saving Private Lynch.
Here's the summary page for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Strangely enough, Ed Gernon's comparing the United States to Hitler's Germany turned out to be a career limiting move.
Despite President Bush's victories overseas and popularity at home, Democrats with the aid of a handful of willfull, Liberal Republicans seem hell bent on stabbing him in the back. Does McCain, Snow, et al want the economy to not recover? Are they so uneasy about being in power that they wish to lose it next year? But all evidence, it would seem so.
T.L. James gives the back of his hand to Spider Robinson, author of the rather amusing Callahan's Bar series, for being a complete idiot.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Meanwhile Gary Hartpence is on the verge of making the job of standup comics easier by joining the race for President. Monkey Business aside, this was the guy who wanted to get rid of large deck carriers in the 1980s.
Does John Kerry advocate the overthrow of democracy in America? Probably not, but one wouldn't know it by the way he speaks.
Done Deal reports that Warner Brothers has bought the rights to the classic Heinlein novel Have Spacesuit-Will Travel.
A lot of people expressed the belief that were the Allies to invade Iraq, the Arab Street would erupt in anger and, in the words of Chris Mathews, the Arabs would "hate us forever." It looks like the Baghdad Street has indeed erupted, but not it seems in anger.
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe has vowed to speed up the development of the Orbital Space Plane.
"You don't put all your eggs in one basket," O'Keefe said. "The orbital space planes could be launched as many times as needed to take more crew up. We could have a larger number of humans, larger than seven ... we could have two or more orbital space planes on the station at the same time."

All well and good, but in my opinion O'Keefe misses the point.

NASA's plans to accelerate the development of the Orbital Space Plane is the right solution to the wrong problem. While the United States needs other ways to send people into space besides the aging space shuttle fleet, building a new vehicle that will be owned and operated by NASA would miss an opportunity to address the real problem. That problem is that NASA has become a high tech trucking company rather than a cutting edge science and exploration agency, spending billions every year going around in circles when it could be opening up the high frontier of space.

NASA should go to the private sector to help solve its space access problems. It should facilitate the growth of a new launch industry by becoming a customer rather than an operator of space craft shuttling between Earth and low Earth orbit.

Having rid itself of the burden of operating such space craft, NASA could turn its full attention to exploration, science, and technology development. It could send explorers to actual places, like the Moon and Mars, rather than in circles. .

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

The Gurkhas are in Iraq and for them it is a return to a part of their epic history.
Over at the Space Policy Forum, Dr. Paul Spudis gives the back of his hand to the NASA Mitigation Group's NEO proposal (see below):
The latest entry in the "anywhere-BUT-the-Moon" human space architecture concept contest. I see that they lined up the usual suspects too.

There's nothing wrong with studying "impact mitigation" as an advanced concept, but it is not an adequate rationale for a combined human/robotic space program. Basically, you're asking Congress to spend upwards of $20B per year to prepare for a million-to-one catastrophe. Although they're always very generous with our money, this strains even their credulity level.

And what about exploring NEOs for resource utilization?
Only by putting the "resource utilization" goal first. Such a goal would have clearly delineated products and milestones -- the first ton of lunar oxygen produced or the first load of PGM delivered from an asteroid. If you make "impact mitigation" the principal rationale, you may have to wait decades before you have anything to show for it. BTW, this same reasoning is why I oppose installing the "search for life" as the NASA mission -- it's too easy to come up with NO answer (they'll never admit to a negative answer).

As it is, this proposal is nothing but a request for a blank check to visit as many NEOs as the asteroid community desires. Such a program is only tenuously connected to planetary defense and is actually more of a scientific entitlement program.

Newsmax.Com's Left Coast Report suggests that Sarah Michelle Geller (aka Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is being mentioned in Hollywood circles for the title role of "Saving Private Lynch."

Monday, April 07, 2003

Here's an interesting proposal to launch human and robotic expeditions to Near Earth Objects(i.e. asteroids and comets.)
It is a small leap to imagine an experiment to deflect a small near-Earth asteroid though the application of thrust from a NEP system (or an advanced SEP) fueled by an advanced power source.

How about one nickel-iron asteroid and one carbonaceous chondrite object to a stable high Earth orbit?
Dana Rohrabacher grasps the essential flaw of the Orbital Space Plane proposal and has an idea to address that flaw:
Further, the OSP should be commercially owned and operated not unlike the EELV. This contracting method has proven to be a logical and prudent approach, and it could further the goals of the second generation of human launch.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali" for his practice of killing thousands of Kurds with chemical weapons and first cousin to Saddam Hussein, now burns in Hell.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Looks like the 101st has stumbled upon some sarin nerve gas.
The British entered Basrah in triumph to the tune of Scotland the Brave on the pipes.
Despite the fact that they did not drive SUVs, people in the Middle Ages enjoyed warmer climates than we do now.
Drudge is reporting that publisher Simon and Shuster is discovering, to its regret, what it means to do a business deal with a Clinton:
Executives at publishing powerhouse SIMON AND SCHUSTER are dismayed over Hillary Clinton's failure to turn in a completed manuscript for her book, due out in August, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

The senator of the Empire State has already received a $2.85 million cash advance on her memoirs, from a total deal valued at more than $8 million.

"We must be off to the printer next month, but the manuscript isn't in yet!" said one SIMON AND SCHUSTER source last week. "Advance sales are lagging. And there is no title. Without a title it's been difficult to market."

Hillary's excuse is that she is too busy being a Senator. Yet her predecessor, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, wrote several books while in the Senate and so far as anyone knows was never late handing in a manuscript.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Canada is now a partner in India's lunar program.
The success of the new and improved Patriot anti missile missile is sending enemies of missile defense into a rage.
David Kopel exposes Michael Moore as the liar and fraud that he is.
Oui forces have entered Baghdad. When the Marines encountered some foreign jihadis, they gave them the cold steel.

Friday, April 04, 2003

John Kerry continues to dig himself into a hole, defiently defending his right to compare President Bush to Saddam Hussein as both being people requiring "regime change." Predictably, Kerry has played the "decorated war hero" card to try to get his critics to shut up. However, Kerry will not mention that he was not always proud of his service in Vietnam. He was a leader in the early seventies of something called Vietnam Veterans Against the War when he accused his fellow Vietnam vets of being war criminals in testimony before a Senate Committee. He also participated in an absurd bit of street theatre when he tossed what he claimed at the time were his medals over the Pentagon wall as a way to express his contempt for his military service. It came out later that those had not been his own medals at all, but someone elses. I suppose even then, Kerry was trying to have it both ways.
India's lunar exploration plans proceeds apace.
Michael Kelly was one of those rare treasures, an honest liberal who would never toe the line just because he was supposed to. Because of that he was one of the most potent scourages of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, even when being such caused him to be fired from the New Republic. Michael Kelly died in Iraq doing what he loved best, seeking the truth as he saw it.

Peggy Noonan offers an appreciation.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Smart 1, a European space probe which will orbit the Moon in three months to prospect for water.
A very brave Iraqi tells of his role in the story of Saving Private Lynch.
John Kerry should withdraw from the Presidential race and then resign from the Senate in shame and dishonor. He should do these things, not because his statement was seditious, but because it was so profoundly stupid and demented that the person uttering it should not be trusted with any office of public trust.
It looks like Private Lynch was not taken very easily. If the stories turn out to be true, I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see the first female recepient of the Medal of Honor.
Petty Officer Terry Noteboom, US Navy Reserve, passes along the following:
How To Simulate Being A Sailor

Buy a steel dumpster, paint it gray inside and out, and live in it for eight months.

Run all the pipes and wires in your house exposed on the walls.

Repaint your entire house every month.

Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of the bathtub and move the shower head to chest level. Adapt your shower so that it has a flexible hose, a push button spray head and is virtually impossible to use. When you take showers, make sure you turn off the water while you soap down.

Put lube oil in your humidifier and set it on high.

Once a week, blow compressed air up your chimney, making sure the wind carries the soot onto your neighbor's house. Ignore his complaints.

Once a month, take all major appliances apart and then reassemble them.

Raise the thresholds and lower the headers of your front and back doors,so that you either trip or bang your head every time you pass through them.

Disassemble and inspect your lawnmower every week.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, turn your water heater temperature up to 200 degrees. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, turn the water heater off. On Saturdays and Sundays tell your family they use too much water during the week, so no bathing will be allowed.

Raise your bed to within 6 inches of the ceiling, so you can't turn over without getting out and then getting back in.

Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Have your spouse whip open the curtain about 3 hours after you go to sleep, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and say "Sorry, wrong rack".

Make your family qualify to operate each appliance in your house - dishwasher operator, blender technician, etc.

Have your neighbor come over each day at 5 am, blow a whistle so loudHelen Keller could hear it, and shout "Reveille, reveille, all hands heave out and trice up".

Have your mother-in-law write down everything she's going to do the following day, then have her make you stand in your back yard at 6 a.m. while she reads it to you.

Submit a request chit to your father-in-law requesting permission to leaveyour house before 3 pm.

Empty all the garbage bins in your house and sweep the driveway threetimes a day, whether it needs it or not.

Have your neighbor collect all your mail for a month, read your magazines, and randomly lose every 5th item before delivering it to you.

Watch no TV except for movies played in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch, then show a different one.

When your children are in bed, run into their room with a megaphone shouting that your home is under attack and ordering them to their battle stations.(Now general quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle stations.)

Make your family menu a week ahead of time without consulting the pantry or refrigerator.

Post a menu on the kitchen door informing your family that they are having steak for dinner. Then make them wait in line for an hour. When they finally get to the kitchen, tell them you are out of steak, but they can have dried ham or hot dogs. Repeat daily until they
ignore the menu and just ask for hot dogs.

Have scrambled eggs for breakfast. These are the special Navy three layer eggs, the bottom layer is burned, the top layer is raw and, with luck, the middle layer is somewhat cooked.

Bake a cake. Prop up one side of the pan so the cake bakes unevenly. Spread icing real thick to level it off.

Get up every night around midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread. (midrats)

Set your alarm clock to go off at random during the night. At the alarm, jump up and dress as fast as you can, making sure to button your top shirt button and tuck your pants into your socks. Run out into the back yard and uncoil the garden hose.

Every week or so, throw your cat or dog in the pool and shout "Man overboard port side!" Rate your family members on how fast they respond.

Put the headphones from your stereo on your head, but don't plug them in.Hang a paper cup around your neck on a string.Stand in front of the stove, and speak into the paper cup "Stove manned and ready". After an hour or so, speak into the cup again "Stove secured." Roll up the headphones and paper cup and stow them in a shoebox.

For former surface warfare officers, select any ten pound weight, put straps on it and hang it around your neck. Drink at least five cups of bad coffee. Have your wife or girlfriend douse you with a bucket of ice cold water and then stand on any hard, cold surface for four hours. At random intervals mumble the phase "very well" to no one in particular.

Place a podium at the end of your driveway. Have your family stand watches at the podium, rotating at 4 hour intervals. This is best done when the weather is worst. January is a good time.

When there is a thunderstorm in your area, get a wobbly rocking chair, sit in it and rock as hard as you can until you become nauseous. Make sure to have a supply of stale crackers in your shirt pocket.

For former engineers: bring your lawn mower into the living room, and run it all day long.

Make coffee using eighteen scoops of budget priced coffee grounds per pot, and allow the pot to simmer for 5 hours before drinking. Add five drops of hydraulic oil to each pot of coffee to give it that special taste and surface sheen.

Have someone under the age of ten give you a haircut with sheep shears.

Sew the back pockets of your jeans on the front.

Every couple of weeks, dress up in your best clothes and go to the scummiest part of town. Find the most run down, trashiest bar, and drink beer until you are hammered. Then walk all the way home.

Take a two week vacation visiting the red light districts of Europe or the Far East, and call it "world travel".

Lock yourself and your family in the house for six weeks. Tell them that at the end of the 6th week you are going to take them to Disney World for "liberty". At the end of the 6th week, inform them the trip to Disney World has been canceled because they need to get ready for an inspection, and it will be another week before they can leave the house.

Well, at least there are no longer floggings and keel haulings.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

The Farside of Evil by Sylvia Louise Engdahl, the second space adventure about Engdahl's heroine Elana, is now republished for the first time in thirty years.
The War Against Saddam will be, when it is all over, an epic containing thousands of stories of valor. Most of those stories will remain only in the memory of those who participated in and witnessed them. Not so, of course, the rescue of Private First Class Jessica Lynch from an unspeakably brutal captivity at the hands of Iraqi Fedayeen terrorists. The operation will not likely shorten the war a single minute, but I have to salute it nevertheless as it is one more example of courage and training triumphing over savage barbarism.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

More exclusive news from the Curmudgeon.

Yet another tell all book from the Clinton era claims that in 1995, the Clinton administration made a secret agreement with the Russian Federation, the European Union, and Japan not to send human beings beyond low Earth orbit for a period of fifty years. This shocking claim will be made among others in a book to be published today entitled Tears of Apollo by a former White House insider.

When asked to comment, Clinton defenders point out that this secret treaty forstalls a "ruinous space race" or a "ill concieved space adventure" which would "siphon hundreds of billions of dollars away from healthcare, education, and the environment." Others expressed dismay that such an agreement would be made without public debate or, apparently, without Senate ratification.

Officials in the Bush administration hint, however, that the United States might withdraw from the secret treaty if at some point the White House decided it would be necessary to launch human exploration to the Moon or Mars. Sources within the Democratic Party and in certain European countries decried this announcement of "unilaterial American arrogance."

Other observers point out that China is not a party to the secret treaty and will be launching its first human space flight in the Fall.

The following is an exclusive to Cumudgeon's Corner for this day in April. Saddam Hussein had been apprehended and is now in allied hands. It appears that a special FBI strike force, in conjunction with Britain's MI6, located the Iraqi dictator in a secret hide away in the south of France. The FBI's Hostage Rescue Team landed on a secluded beach near the city of Nice and found Arafat, wearing nothing but a thing, in a clinch with a blond woman later identified as Sua Arafat, the wife of the Palestinian Authority President. Special Agent Starling, in charge of the operation, stated that Hussein had been secretly meeting the Palestinian First Lady, who has been living in France, periodically for the past three years.

As he was being hustled aboard the helicopter, Hussein was quoted as saying, "There's a war on? Damn! We don't get cable TV down here."