Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Carnival of Space is now up.
Dirty Harry: The Musical? The mind boggles.
George Obama Arrested for Marijuana Possession
George Obama, the Kenyan born half brother of President Barack Obama, has been arrested on charges of marijuana possession. George Obama is being held at a Nairobi police station and is expected to have a court appearance on Monday.
Obama, Tax Evasion, and Double Standards
For an administration enamored with raising taxes, the Obama administration is replete with people who don't pay theirs. Treasury Secretary Geithner and Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle are examples.
It looks like Barack Obama wants to slash military spending in the middle of the War on Terror, all the while pushing for his trillion dollars stimulus boondoggle.
Taken Film Review
Taken, an action thriller starring Liam Neeson as a retired secret operative, is a politically incorrect jewel of a movie that proves that, in the middle of the War on Terror, Hollywood can depict Muslims as villains.
As we and others predicted, the Iranians are regarding Obama's offer to negotiate as as sign of weakness.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Super Bowl Commercials Previewed
The economic downturn has not greatly affected the sale of Super Bowl ads, which run about $100,000 a second. While some companies, such as Victoria's Secret, General Motors and FedEx, are bowing out, others are going full bore.
Looks like lunar comsats and GPSsats will constitute a good commercial opportunity, if we don't turn our back on the Moon.
George Abbey, Neal Lane, and John Muratore have a new new white paper that is filled with idiotic suggestions, not the least of which is drinking the anti Ares 1 koolaid. It would eschew exploration beyond LEO to turning NASA into an environmental and energy agency. There is also no mention of encouraging commercial space.

This may constitute George Abbey's revenge for getting fired as JSC Director on behalf of the Bush admistration. It's rather pathetic and petty, IMHO, and potentially dangerous if the Obama administration actually pays heed to it.
Are You With Obama or With Rush?
A liberal group, United for Change, has decided to run radio ads attacking Congressional Republicans upon the theme of, "Are you with Obama or are you with Rush?" Rush Limbaugh must be pinching himself.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama Stimulus Package Passed by House
The Obama stimulus package has passed the House by a vote of 244 to 188, without every Republican and eleven Democrats voting against. Republicans, who have claimed that the stimulus package is laden with pork, have found other flaws.
The Bacon Explosion: Bad for One's Health, Tastes Great
How is it that the Bacon Explosion, a dish that looks as mouth wateringly delicious as it is artery clogging harmful to one's health, has become so popular on the Internet? Possibly because it is a relatively cheap, guilty pleasure that can feed a lot of people.
Obama Letter to Iran to Open Diplomatic Initiative
As part of President Obama's pledge to meet with terrorist nations like Iran in negotiations, the State Department is working on a draft of a letter to be sent to the Iranian government that will promise that the US will not seek to overthrow it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is teh green energy component of the stimulus package green pork?
The economic stimulus package, which is actually a government stimulus package, has passed the House, but with no Republican votes.
Apparenty Obama has told the Russians that the missile defense system being built in Eastern Europe is now on hold before he actually told the Defense Department or the Europeans. Talk about unilaterial appeasement.
Anti-Rush Limbaugh Petition Launched by Democrats
As the nearly trillion-dollar Obama stimulus package winds its way through Congress, the DCCC has launched an online petition to express outrage at Rush Limbaugh for hoping that President Obama will fail.
PETA Plant Sex Commercial Banned from Super Bowl
A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) commercial touting the Viagra-like (from its perspective) qualities of vegetables has been banned from the Super Bowl for being too explicit. One wonders how this can be.
Apparently the recession has not hurt the nascent space tourism industry.
Remembering Challenger

Addendum: Remembering Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia
January has been the cruelest month for the US space program. On January 27th, 1966, the Apollo Fire killed three astronauts during a ground test. On January 28th, 1986 the space shuttle Challenger exploded on launch killing her crew.

February 1st, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke up on reentry over the skies of Texas.
Barack Obama Talks to Al Arabiya
President Barack Obama gave his first television interview to the Arabic language network, Al Arabiya, to explain Middle Eastern policy. This in and of itself was not a bad thing. But some of the things President Obama had to say were unsettling.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Democrats are mad as Hell at Rush Limbaugh for publicly hoping that President Obama should fail. They are inviting everyone to express their true feelings about Rush's words, which they promise to share with Rush. I have done so, though I think not in the way the Dems would like.
Allen Sinai has a stimulus plan that does not raise the deficit so much as a penny.
Sarah Palin Launches SarahPac
Confirming that she intends to remain a force in national politics, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, the former Vice Presidential candidate, has established her own political action committee, dubbed SarahPac.
GI Joe Movie Discussed by Stephen Sommers
Recently Stephen Sommers, the director of the wildly successful Mummy films and Van Helsing, discussed his approach to his new project, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, due to come out this summer.
RIP John Updike
Chris Jones muses on the proposition why we should not end the manned space program while watching the launch of the shuttle Endeavour.
Obama Imposes Energy and Environmental Regulations
President Barack Obama, in his zeal to remake the world, has demonstrated how governments can work at cross purposes with itself. Obama has signed executive orders imposing strick emissions and mileage standards on the automobile companies.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The history of war since 1941 as told with food...

Hint, hamburgers represent the United States.
10 More Hollywood Cliches that must die. Except, I kind of like number 8...
Rod Blagojevich on The View
Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich, who is currently in the process of being thrown out of office by the Illinois State Senate, is certainly not a guy to go quietly into that good night. Rod Blagojevich appeared on The View.
William Kristol Departs the New York Times
William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard and a frequent guest on various programs on Fox News, has graced the op-ed page of the New York Times with opinions and insights not usually seen by the Time's readers for the past year.


Also, Bill Kristol challenges Matt Damon to a debate.
David Huntsman gives Barack Obama his marching orders for the sort of people he would like to lead NASA. Stokes McMillian hopes that Obama will be another JFK. Maybe, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Taylor Dinerman discusses India's nascent missile defense system.
Is Resveratrol the Fountain of Youth?
Is resveratrol the molecular component of what could be a modern fountain of youth? A growing number of medical researchers seem to think so and tests on both animals and humans seem to bear that idea out. Confirmation is years away, however.
Obama to Seek Space Weapons Ban
Following a campaign promise, the Barack Obama administration plans to seek a total ban on space weapons. In so doing, Barack Obama is going down the largely discredited path of national defense by arms control treaty.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Paul Spudis writes about Apollo and I think falls into a sour grapes inspired trap that has tended to distort thinking about the Apollo era space program:
Apollo was not about the Moon, or even about space. It took place in space and ultimately, on the Moon. But Apollo was a battle in the Cold War. John Kennedy did not say, “Go to the Moon and press onwards to the planets.” He challenged America to show the superiority of its economic and political system by landing a man on the Moon and returning him to Earth “before this decade is out.” The key objective was not going to the Moon – it was to beat the Soviets to the Moon. This objective was attained with profound consequences, critical to our Cold War victory to a degree still not fully appreciated.

That was true, so far as it goes, but it is not the entire story.

Many years ago James Kauffman published a work on the selling of Apollo entitled Selling Outer Space: Kennedy, the Media, and Funding for Project Apollo, 1961-1963 (Studies Rhetoric & Communicati). Apollo, according to Kauffman, was sold not so much as a narrow tactic to beat the Soviets, but as a way to open the frontier of space, using the metaphor of the Western frontier. Whatever Kennedy and his advisers thought in private, publicly Apollo's purpose was to start a new age of space exploration, not just go to the Moon, beat the Soviets, and then quit.

If the gentle reader doubts that, then we have these words from John Kennedy's own mouth:
We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours. There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again.

There is nothing there about a brief foray to the Moon and then stop. JFK, at least in this speech, clearly considered the space program to be open ended. Just to ram the point home, he went on to say:
But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon -- We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we're willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.

Notice not one mention of the Soviet Union or the Cold War. JFK was clearly selling Apollo as something worthy in and of itself and as just the start of a grander vision.

The reasons for Apollo's premature end had more to do with the politics of the early 1970s than "We beat the Godless Soviets, now let's go home." There was a convergence of a desire by liberal Democrats in Congress to boost spending on social programs at the expense of both space and defense and the desire of the Nixon administration to cut federal spending in general and their reluctance to take on the Congress on social spending.

The whole "We beat the Godless Soviets, now let's go home" explanation also doesn't make sense for another reason. The Soviet Union didn't fall for another twenty years after Apollo. If beating the Soviets to the Moon hurt them, which I think it did, then ramming home the advantage by pressing on in space would have made sense. Nizon didn't recognize the opportunity and Congress would have been against it in any case.

Still, with a little finesse, something different might have happened. Perhaps someone should write a book about it...
Kirsten Gillibrand is Tracy Flick - Maureen Dowd
The irrepressible Maureen Dowd is not very happy with the selection of Kirsten Gillibrand as US Senator from New York by Governor David Patterson. In what is supposed to be an insult, Ms. Dowd compared Kirsten Gillibrand to Tracy Flick.
Barack Obama is Afraid of Rush Limbaugh
President Barack Obama has discovered that there is one man who is unmoved by his (Obama's) awesomeness and this fact has evidentially unnerved him. How else to explain why Obama suggested that Republicans not listen to Rush Limbaugh?
Apparently it ran in the family. Junius Brutus Booth, father of the Lincoln assasin John Wilkes Boooth, threatened the life of President Andrew Jackson. The interesting thing is, it was not illegal at the time to do so.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shooting the Moon.
The UFO at the Obama Inauguration
The Internet is abuzz about a video shot by CNN that appears to spot a UFO hovering over the Washington Mall near the Washington Monument during the Barack Obama Inauguration. The UFO has been described as a large bird.
Barack Obama to Republicans "I Won"
After listening to a critique of the nearly nine hundred billion dollars stimulus package from Republican Congressional leaders, along with some helpful suggestions on how to fix it, Barack Obama had a two word answer.
Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans - a Review
Sherrif Joe Arpaio is more than willing to have the Gitmo detainees as guests of his special prison camp. The thought of terrorists being forced to wear pink is a lovely thought, but one suspects that the left and the Europeans will think it some kind of human rights violation.
What should Hollywood conservatives do? Make movies people want to see, for one.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Though he doesn't know it, yet, Barack Obama has made Rush Limbaugh's decade. And likely the next as well.
What if Africans has enslaved Europeans?

A review here.

Addendum: Jim Oberg mentions to me the following, long out of print, allegory of Chinese enslaving North Americans.
Tom Hanks apologizes for calling Mormon supporters of Prop 8 "unAmerican." That showed class (what other Hollywood person has ever apologized for anything?) and I think it is equally classy to accept the apology as given.
John Cornyn, one of my Senators, seems to get the idea that the job of an opposition party is to--well--oppose.
Natalie Dylan is now claiming that she's selling he virginity as part of a sociological experiment. Strange. I thought it was for the money.
Kirsten Gillibrand Appointed to US Senate from New York
Hours after Caroline Kennedy took herself out of the running for US Senator from New York, New York Governor Dave Patterson has named Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand for the US Senate Seat. The Kennedy family and liberals are outraged.
Burn Notice is Back
The second half of Burn Notice's second season has started and already speculation has ensued about what will happen in the popular TV spy series' third season. In the meantime, Michael Weston, the fired super spy, is having his usual problems.
Obama Executive Orders Overturn Bush Anti-Terrorism Strategy
President Barack Obama has signed a series of executive orders that have the effect of dismantling former President George W. Bush's mechanism for fighting the War on Terror. In so doing, President Obama fulfills a campaign promise.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rush Limbaugh Makes an Offer Edison Middle School Should Not Refuse
Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio talk show host and political commentator, has caused some controversy at a Green Bay, Wisconsin, Middle School over his comments during the Barack Obama Inauguration speech.
A doctor in Gaza is suggesting that Hamas is lying about the death toll in the recent war.
Physician at Gaza's Shifa Hospital tells Italian newspaper number of dead in Israeli offensive 'stands at no more than 500 or 600, most of them youths recruited to Hamas' ranks'. Senior Palestinian Health Ministry official denies claims, IDF estimate on 1,200 casualties in Strip remains unchanged.
It seems that Caroline Kennedy has bith a tax problem and a nanny problem which means she will not become a United States Senator. Oh, well, but one supposes there is always the Obama cabinet for which neither problem seems to be an impediment.
The Academy Award Nominations: What Got Snubbed
The 2009 Academy Award Oscar nominations were interesting not so much about what got the nominations and in what got snubbed. Two popular and critically acclaimed films, The Dark Knight and Gran Torino, were all but shut out.
Review of Lost Season 5 Premier
Lost is one of those delightful shows that doesn't fit into a neat category. One wonders how the series concept was pitched to begin with. An airliner filled with people crashes on a desert island. Strange things start to happen. "Sure, let's green light it."
Josef Mengele and "The Land of the Twins"
According to a story in the British newspaper, The Telegraph, escaped Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele was passing the time in South America by performing genetic experiments on German settlers in a small town in Brazil.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rush Limbaugh Stands Against Barack Obama
Rush Limbaugh, the famous conservative talk radio commentator, typifies the reaction to many Americans to the accession of Barack Obama to the Presidency. Rush Limbaugh is not impressed and has mocked Barack Obama from day one.
Star Trek Barbie dolls
Obama Seeks Delay in Guantanamo Prosecutions
One of the first acts of Barack Obama as President has been to order military prosecutors to request a 120-day delay of prosecution of some of the detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison. Military judges are expected to rule on the request soon.
Finding more uses for the Ares V. Proposed payloads include massive space telescopes and nuclear propelled space probes to places like Neptune and Titan.

One of the complaints one hears is that Ares V, which would launch lunar expeditions perhaps twice a year, would be expensive to operate. But, keeping in mind that the greater the launch rate the smaller the launch cost, adding these kinds of unmanned missions would answer that argument rather neatly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A breakthrough in the production of carbon nanotubes may make space elevators more practicable.

So long as Barack Obama is hell bent on spending money building highways and bridges, how about a highway to the heavens?
Bruce Gagnon is always good for a belly laugh for his unselfconscious self parody of a loony lefty. No more so than here:
In Obama's opening words he talked about the early vision of our "founding fathers". He intends to remain loyal to the rich white men who dreamed of their own empire - one that would challenge England's global power. An empire that would push the Native Americans from their land, ravage the Earth for its natural resources, and move overseas to terrorize and colonize people in Hawaii, the Philippines, Guam, Latin America, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and ultimately the moon in the sky.

There are people on "the moon in the sky" waiting to be colonized and terrorized? Who knew?
NASA's concept lunar rover goes through its paces under the eyes of President Obama

Plus, outgoing NASA Administrator Mike Griffin suggests that the Chinese could pull off a circumlunar mission as early as 2015.
Ten Cinema Cliches that Must Die
PresidentGeorge Bush's Legacy
As George Bush departs into history, the question arises about what his legacy will be. Former President George Bush's enemies in the media and elsewhere have already rendered judgment. They say George Bush was a failed President.

Historians, though, are likely to render a different judgment.
Barack Obama's Inaugural Speech -- An Analysis
If the first inaugural address of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan had the soaring grandeur of a Beethoven symphony, Barack Obama's inaugural address had the smallness of something pinked out on a tinny piano in a honky tonk.
The Shivering Gore Ice Sculpture
When people such as Al Gore, former Vice President and Nobel Laureate, pontificate about global warming one can react seriously or even angrily. Fairbanks businessman Craig Compeau chose to react humorously and artistically.
Jill Biden: Secretary of State Joe Biden?
It seems that Joe Biden is not the only Biden who is capable of uttering a gaffe. Joe Biden's wife, Jill Biden, suggested on a recent appearance by the Bidens on the Oprah Winfrey Show that Joe Biden had been offered his choice of Vice President or Secretary of State.
Barack Obama Becomes President of the United States
By the time most people read this, Barack Obama will be President Barack Obama. Barack Obama will have spoken the thirty five words of the swearing in oath that will seal the judgment of the voters last November.

There are a number of ways one can think of this development.
Those Al Qaeda terrorists in Algeria may have been killed by a bungled attempt to create either a biological or chemical WMD.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dirk Benedict, the original Starbuck, dumps all over the new Battlestar Galactica and stumbled, I think, into error. The current Battlestar may be bleaker than the one Benedict played in, but I think more realistic. The characters (male and female despite what Benedict perceives) are more flawed, but hardly less heroic for all that.

On the other hand, he has my complete sympathy for this:
Starbuck was meant to be a lovable rogue. It was best for the show, best for the character and the best that I could do. The Suits didn’t think so. “One more cigar and he’s fired,” they told Glen Larson, the creator of the show. “We want Starbuck to appeal to the female audience for crying out loud.” You see, the Suits knew women were turned off by men who smoked cigars, especially young men. How they “knew” this was never revealed. And they didn’t stop there. “If Dirk doesn’t quit playing every scene with a girl like he wants to get her in bed, he’s fired.” This was, well, it was blatant heterosexuality, treating women like “sex objects.” I thought it was flirting. Never mind, they wouldn’t have it. I wouldn’t have it any other way, or rather Starbuck wouldn’t. So we persevered, Starbuck and I. The show, as the saying goes, went on and the rest is history for, lo and behold, women from all over the world sent me boxes of cigars, phone numbers, dinner requests, and marriage proposals.

And that explains a lot.
Ed Morrissey has more on the story about the Black Death getting Medieval on Al Qaeda.
The poll for the Worst Political Movie of the past fifty years is up. My vote is for the Joan Allen howler, The Contender.
Bush has commuted the sentences of Ramos and Compean and about time too.
Robert E. Lee's Birthday is January 19th
One of the great ironies of history is that January 19th, which this year is being celebrated as Martin Luther King's Birthday, is also the birthday of Robert E. Lee. Robert E. Lee's Birthday is still celebrated in some parts of the South.
Obama Inauguration to Cost $170 Million
According to a story by ABC News, part of the Barack Obama Inauguration is being financed by bailed out Wall Street Executives. Apparently seven million dollars have been kicked in by the finance industry's executives and employees.
Barack Obama is not President yet and will never be King, but already a school district is punishing students who speak ill of the Leader.
Defiance Film Review
Defiance is one of those many astonishing but true stories, and there are many of them, about the Nazi Holocaust. It stars Daniel Craig, Lev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell as three Jewish brothers named Bielski who work a miracle in the vast forests of Belarussia.
Taylor Dinerman takes a dim view of the kind of contract protest as is being filed by Planet Space. David Webber touts "change you can believe in for space hardware procurement. Frank Stratford proposes a Mars constortium.
Just in time for MLK Day, twenty black Science Fiction Icons.
Joss Whedon gives some advice on screenwriting.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Is the Black Death decimating Al Qaeda in Algeria?
Jim Hanson Gives Barack Obama Four Years to Save the Planet
Dr. Jim Hanson, the climate scientist employed by NASA who has advised Al Gore and has ties to political power brokers such as George Soros, has sent a letter to Barack Obama informing him that he has four years to save the planet.
George Will reconsiders George W. Bush and finds him, on the balance, a good President.
The Worst Political Movies of the Past Fifty Years

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Marty McFly's Grim Future. The world of 2015 with hover boards and the Japanese ruling the world is not that far away, by the way.
Paul Spudis reports on radar mapping the Moon with the Mini-SAR instrument on the Chandrayaan 1 luna probe.
Moon the movie. Apparently it's getting some good buzz at Sundance and will likely be released for Summer 2009 or later.
Jeff Foust asks where is the Gration nomination for NASA Administrator? The Obama folks seem to be stumbling in some of their cabinent picks, with several ethically challanged picks who are likely to cause problems down the road. As for who will be NASA Administrator, at this point who knows? I would not even be surprised if Mike Griffin gets a call, saying, "All is forgiven, will you come back?"
A long discussion upon the question, is Serenity a conservative movie? Some of the comments are laugh out loud funny in their demonstration of how liberals have no clue as to what conservatives believe. My favorite one is the statement that Serenity is not a conservative movie because Zoe is a bad ass, butt kicking black woman in an inter-racical marriage and conservatives, being all bigots, don't like that.

My own opinion is, with all due respect to Joss Whedon who is a Hollywood liberal, yes Serenity is a conservative movie. It is as big a polemic against liberal do gooders trying to remake society and people and a celebration of individual initiative and courage as has ever made it to the big screen.
More celebrations of Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino, from Ed Morrissey and Lionel Chetwynd and Roger Simon.
Battlestar Galactica Begins Its Final Ten Episodes
Battlestar Galactica started its last ten episodes Friday night after having not so much subverted but blown to atoms the premise of the show, which was of the "rag tag fugitive fleet" attempting to find the "shining planet called Earth."
Oh, this is not good. Roland Emmerich to do a film, version of The Foundation.

Addendum: Rand Sumberg has some fun. The truth, of course, is that no one has ever seen me in a blind panic.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth, American Artist, Dies at 91
Andrew Wyeth, a painter of the American Realism school, has died at the age of 91. Andrew Wyeth's art career spanned almost seventy years and was often more popular with the American public than with critics, the latter who disdained his realistic style.
Like most conservatives, I find Tom Hanks to be my favorite Hollywood liberal. He is usually not very alarming when expressing political views (and when the subject is space, I tend to be in agreement.)Besides he's a great actor, having played Jim Lovell and other heroes, like Captain Harper in Saving Private Ryan. But this is not cool. It just goes to show how toxic the whole Prop 8 issue is if even Tom Hanks can say things like that.

For the record, I'm in favor of same sex marriage being legal and would have voted against Prop 8 if I had been a resident of California. But I don't think that proponents of Prop 8 are "Un-American", just mistaken. Tom Hanks should know better than most people that you don't change hearts and minds by insulting people.

Addendum: The point is made in certain quarters: Why just pick on Mormons? African Americans and Hispanics also voted in the majority for Prop 8 but, aside a couple of ugly incidents at rallies, no one is pointing a finger at them.
President Bush's Farewell Address
Thursday night, President George W. Bush delivered his farewell address to the nation he has served for the past eight years. The farewell speech was not only a celebration, of sorts, of his administration, but of his country.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Michael Yon May Sue Michael Moore
Michael Yon, the famed independent war correspondent whose Internet dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan have earned him the title of the "Ernie Pyle of our time" may take documentary film maker Michael Moore to court over copyright infringement.
Apparently the stimulus package has about four hundred million in climate research money for NASA, but nothing for exploration, commercial space, or closing the space flight gap.

Addendum: Jim Muncy has this to say in comments:
C'mon, folks... the President-Elect made it clear that climate change and the underlying science would be a top national priority for his Administration throughout the campaign, and he was elected. Are you saying that NASA should *not* work on such a national priority, or that -- as occured during the Clinton Administration -- the Obama Administration should simply take that money out of the hide of the rest of NASA, including human spaceflight and exploration?

Oddly enough, according to a Gallup Poll taken last year, of the problems facing the United States, the environment, including "climate change", rated just one percent.

The answer to Muncy's question is that not only is it not a national priority, but NASA should have nothing to do with it. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, should be handling climate research.
Sexting: A New Way for Teenagers to get Into Trouble
One of the problems with modern technology is that it provides teenagers with a new way to get into trouble, something many have done with great alacrity over the ages. No more greater illustration of this is the practice of "sexting."
"Prop 8 Maps" Outs Supporters of Proposition 8
Prop 8 Maps is a project that uses Google Maps and the public list of donors who contributed money to Proposition 8 in San Francisco to provide a map pinpointing the addresses of the donors throughout San Francisco.
Ricardo Montalban Passes On
Ricardo Montalban, an actor with a decades long career, but who was best known as Mr. Rourke, the mysterious owner of Fantasy Island, and Khan Noonien Singh, the best known of the Star Trek villains, died at the age of 88.
Stacy Bartley has sent me a list of greats works of SF/Fantasy with what should have been their real titles. Beware, some bad language is used.
More on the Direct concept. Note, though, this:
Some veterans of NASA, such as former associate administrator Scott Pace, say that many young NASA engineers lack experience with developing new hardware. Instead, they have experience only in conducting research or in operating hardware that already exists. This, Pace says, adds to the “naivet√©” of those who feel their solutions are unheeded. “There were lots of these technical fights during Apollo,” he notes. “What is different now is the modern communications and computational power on people’s desktops. People can come up with plausible-seeming analysis and design in ways they couldn’t during the 1960s and 1970s.”
Much has been said about how President Bush has "alienated" the world, by which the critics tend to mean Western Europe. In China, a country of over a billion people, George W. Bush remains wildly popular.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Battle of the Launches
Here we go again! Everyone wants change. So, why not change our minds about how NASA gets to the International Space Station (ISS), the moon and beyond. Second guessing is the national pastime in Washington, DC. Not only do we second guess NASA decisions, but we do it often, we do it early and we do it late. It is a whole of career thing. In fact, there are some who make it a career.

They are the Professional Second Guessers. Some are very smart, educated and have good ideas. Some have too much time on their hands and like to make life difficult for government agencies and officials, and anybody else who is handy. Those with good ideas need to get them to NASA early in the process and leave NASA to evaluate them. Those with too much time should get a life. You know who you are.
This year marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope. But there was another astronomer, an Englishman named Thomas Harriot, who used a telescope to observe the heavens even before Galileo.
A prequel movie for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in which the origin of Captain Nemo and his submarine is explain? Interesting idea, but Will Smith?
Senator Bill Nelson is not happy about the possible selection of Scott Gration as NASA Administrator. Pete Worden, however, supports him.

Also this:
Sources close to the Obama transition, however, said Gration helped write the seven-page space policy paper the Obama campaign released in the August supporting the goal of sending humans to the Moon by 2020 and calling for narrowing the gap between the retirement of the space shuttle and the first flight of its successor system. The paper stood out as the most comprehensive policy statement on NASA released by a major presidential candidate in recent history.


That position paper can be read here.
Israel's version of SNL has some fun at the BBC's expense:
Laura Ingraham interviews Natalie Dylan, whose virginity is now worth up to 3.7 million dollars.
Ricardo Montalban RIP
More on Patrick McGoohan of The Prisoner Passes On
Patrick McGoohan, best known for his role as Number 6 in the cult classic TV series The Prisoner and as King Edward I of England in Mel Gibson's Braveheart, has died after a brief, undisclosed illness.
Ms Curmugeon discusses a new device that could help both the blind and deaf navigate called the ECane.
George Will Has Barack Obama Over for Dinner
George Will had an unusual guest Tuesday night at his 1.9 million dollar home in Chevv Chase, Maryland, near Washington D.C. The long term conservative columnist hosted none other than President Elect Barack Obama, a committed liberal, for dinner.
Osama Bin Laden Calls for Jihad Against Israel
A man claiming to be Osama Bin Laden has posted a new audio recording to various Islamist web sites calling for a jihad or holy war to stop the Israeli offensive in Gaza. The authenticity of the recording has yet to be determined.
The Republican Study Committee has an alternative to the stimulus package.
We’re proposing a permanent 5% cut in personal income tax rates.
We’re cutting taxes on businesses from 35% to 25% so they are better seated to invest and create jobs.
We want to alleviate debt for future generations – by avoiding a trillion dollar spending spree
Our bill will contain NO pork and NO earmarks

More here.
Patrick McGoohan, RIP
More on Scott Gration to Be NASA Administrator, Report Suggests
Retired Major General Scott Gration has reportedly been picked to be NASA Administrator. Gration's experience in space matters consists of a year as a White House fellow working for then Deputy Administrator Hans Mark in the early 1980s.


Addendum: Is Gration to be a short term caretaker until the real NASA administrator is named. problems with Chris Scolese being Acting Administrator after Mike Griffin leaves suggests that possibility.
Jim Pinkerton suggests spending stimulus money on space exploration.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tom Donnelly suggests that so long as we're spending a lot of money on a stimulus package, how about spending some of it on something useful, say the US military.
Someone named Major General Scott Gration, someone whose name and space was hitherto never mentioned in connection with space is now being mentioned as NASA administrator. This possibility has Rand Simberg in a blind panic, which may or may not be a recommendation. General Gration seems to think that Obama is America's Nelson Mandela, which does not speak with of his temperament or judgment.

Addendum: Nevertheless, according to Space.Com, General Gration has been offered the job as NASA Administrator. This should be interesting.

Since everyone else is doing ill informed speculation, I might as well join it. General Gration would seem to be a better pick for something having to do with Africa, where he has some considerable experience, than as head of NASA. The two assets he has are some experience running large organizations and close ties to the President to be. But he has almost zero space experience, which is not necessarily a disadvantage (see Jim Webb and Sean O'Keefe). His opinions on the exploration initiative, commercial space, and other space issues are unknown.

One suspects, though, that space policy will be made above General Gration's pay grade and his job will be to salute and implement whatever is decreed.

Addendum 2: Then there is this.
The most mystical believer in Obamaism whom I met was Scott Gration, the retired Air Force major-general—a burly, friendly, artifice-less guy who assured me that he had only recently begun to wear a tie regularly. I went to see him over the summer at his house in Nutley, New Jersey. An American flag flies from a flagpole on the lawn. Gration, who grew up in Africa as the son of American missionaries, and who flew two hundred and seventy-four combat missions over Iraq, used to be a registered Republican, but he became a Democrat after spending time with Obama, especially during a trip to Africa in 2006. Perhaps because his background isn’t conventionally liberal, he is more open than the other top Obama advisers in expressing a soaring optimism about the possibility of a less arrogant, more co√∂perative, more empathetic America leading the world in confronting its most intractable problems. “We’ve screwed up,” he told me. “We don’t really fix these things.” He mentioned the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, the Israel-Palestine dispute, and the tension between Russia and Georgia. “What I’d hope we learn from that is: ‘Yep, we’ve got to fix the basic issues here.’ ” He went on, “What doesn’t work, in Gration’s mind, is forcing a solution. Create an environment, give people the opportunity to air their differences, and see if they can come together. We don’t tell them what the solution is, but we do have an obligation—let’s get people in here, find out the needs, see if you can come up with a plan. Don’t try to freeze conflicts!”

Gration was impatient with the idea that conflict is the natural state of the world, to be managed rather than resolved. “People are more alike than their cultures and religions,” he said. “When Obama talks about global citizens, it’s the same framework. You see, religion and culture—they’re the way people communicate their values. They want stability, order, education. This is just humanness. Then you add on your religion, your culture—that’s how you execute it.” His implication was that if we can get past the religious and cultural identities that serve as host organisms for conflict, and deal with people at the level of their humanity and their basic needs, then we can make real progress—especially if Obama personally holds an office that permits him to set the tone and lead the effort.

One can see why this guy may not be suited for a State Department post. This kind of Utopianism can spill a lot of blood if given a position of trust.
Kelsey Grammer as Thomas Moore in A Man for All Seasons. Now, while the play tended to sugar coat Saint Thomas, who had religious dissenters burned at the stake, the the thought of Kelsey Grammer giving the "silence implies consent" speech is just too perfect.
The selection of John Holdren as White House Science Advisor has been celebrated in certain quarters as a return to due consideration of science and reason to Washington. However this suggests that it really means the advent of total lunacy.
Holdren’s gloom and doom prophecies are bad enough, but he compounds his folly by advocating radical, morally dubious remedies for his crackpot apocalyptic theories. For example, Holdren has advocated government funded sterilization programs and the “de-development” of industrialized economies to ward off “ecocide.” And he has complained that “people are the bane of a rational energy policy,” by which he meant that his energy-rationing schemes to prevent “climate disruption” are politically unpopular.

Government funded sterilization? De-development of industrialized economies? It seems that Holdren believes in a curious combination of fascism and ludditeism. He certainly does not need to be in any position of trust. Personally I think he belongs in an asylum and not the White House.
Death by Stoning in Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran have executed two men for the crime of adultery by having them buried to the waist and then having stones thrown at them until they died. A third man, an Afghan national, escaped by digging himself out.
Bailout the Game.
Top Thirty Politically Incorrect Movie Characters. Space fans take note of Number 25:
25. Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal) in October Sky*. Why: Because Red Russia's launch of the Sputnik satellite was no laughing matter. This is based on a true story. Enter: Homer, the patriotic student and his penchant for rockery. Liberals can sniff at his West Virginian family's prayers, and union-bashing dad, but even they'll concede that it takes some guts for a young Southern man to take on Red Moscow's scientists. (Oh, and look out for the union thug who bashes up his stepson.)

Homer Hickam is the real life author of a number of books, including Rocket Boys, upon which October Sky is based.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Natalie Dylan's Virginity Now Worth $2.5 Million
Natalie Dylan, a twenty two year old women's study student, is not the first woman to try to auction off her virginity for money. But Natalie Dylan, which is a pseudonym, appears to be the most successful so far in running up the bidding.
What if Orson Welles were alive today and was inclined to have a little fun at the expense of the Islamofascists.
It would take the shape of a ten minute press conference, filmed with the greatest CGI - the “Transformers” kind we take for granted, but the stuff that the militants in the mountains of Pakistan would take for real.

The press conference would be called by Mohammed. Because no one knows what the prophet looks like, he could be played by Morgan Freeman. That guy really commands respect. But if he’s busy narrating, we could get Don Cheadle. We’d need to “grey” him up some, though.

After descending from the heavens on a fireball, Mohammed would land, dust himself off and recite a simple statement, which I’ve written here:

“Hello, in case you don’t know me, I’m Mohammed. I’m glad you could all make it here. Before I take questions I would like to make a prepared statement. First, I am absolutely sorry about 9/11. And I deeply apologize for my followers taking the stuff I wrote literally. I mean, I really didn’t expect them to fly planes into buildings. Okay, now I’d like to direct my next comment to my followers, specifically. KNOCK IT OFF. You idiots are making it really hard for me to give a damn about your salvation. Frankly, you’re an embarrassment. That is all. Now, for questions! Helen - always great to see you.”
Ann Coulter on the View
Ann Coulter was on The View on Monday and the resulting almost nine minutes was what one might expect. The segment on Ann Coulter's new book, Guilty, was about twenty percent substance, eighty percent yelling and posturing.
New Version of The Joy of Sex Published
A new, revised version of The Joy of Sex has been published for the 21st Century. Besides some graphical revisions, the new The Joy of Sex covers some topics unknown in 1972, when the first version was published.

24 Season Seven Begins
24 Season 7, Episode 1 starts with Jack Bauer, former agent for CTU, being tortured. He is not, oddly enough, in the hands of Al Qaeda, Serbian nationalists, corporate mercenaries, or even the Godless Red Chinese again. Jack Bauer's enemy is far worse.
Jeff Foust analyzes Micke Griffin's defense of Constellation and who might replace him at NASA. Joan Vernikos and Kathleen M. Connell demands "change" at NASA. Michael Huang examines a five year delay of Constellation and other space budget issues. David Mindell answers Jim Oberg about "The Future of Human Space Flight" report.
It seems that Barack Obama's pick for Global Warming Czarina is not only a socialist, not uncommon in a Democrat administration, but has ties to organizations with the word "socialist" in them.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

NASA's plan to drive a prototype lunar rover in the inaugural parade has caused a minor kerfuffle.
The last time I asked folks at NASA HQ on the 9th floor about this they told me that Armed Services Inaugural Committee parade rules specifically forbid anyone in the parade from stopping in front of the President's reviewing stand, much less getting out and walking toward the President. Nor had NASA HQ approved JSC's plans. As for stepping out and doing a Buzz Aldrin re-enanctment, this sort of "flags and footprints" stunt is more likely to turn off Obama folks than get them excited. What would really resonate with them is if a bunch of children hopped out of the rover or walked along side it. That said, if the JSC folks did what they seem to think they were doing, that would be a rather cool thing to see. But I am not someone who needs convincing as to the merit of continuing the VSE in a new Administration. Others are.

Of course there will be millions watching on TV, a minor consideration to be sure.

As for Keith's idea of school children, it's the sort of thing that makes one reach for the whisky bottle because it is so vapid and trite. Perhaps the school kids can sing that horrible praise song to Obama as they march next to the lunar rover. That would really be impressive.
Rand Simberg has a new interesting line of attack on the Ares rockets. It is to say that it is a travesty and then to call upon its proponents to prove that it isn't. It is an old rhetorical trick to get ones opponent into an argument in which they have to prove a negative (i.e. Ares isn't a travesty.)

The funny thing about this is that no one seems to have proven that any of the alternatives, EELV, EELV derived, Direct, multiple launch, in orbit refueling, or even the one I did as an April Fool's joke last year, reviving Timberwind, are better or even viable.
Prince Harry Says a Bad Word
His Royal Highness Prince Harry, who is currently serving as an officer in the British Army, has gotten himself into trouble again. He was heard near a live mic, calling a Pakistani officer named Ahmed a "Paki." Consternation has ensued.


Addendum: John Birmingham suspects that Prince Harry really would like to be sucked back to the 1940s by a malfunctioning wormhole about now.
Terrafugia Transition Flying Car to be Flight Tested
The Terrafugia Transition, touted as a concept version of what is hoped to be the first production model flying car, is set for flight testing next month. If successful, the production Terrafugia Transition should be in show rooms in eighteen months.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

USS George H. W. Bush Commissioned
The USS George H. W. Bush CVN 77 and the last of the Nimitz class aircraft carriers was commissioned at the Norfolk naval base Saturday as the ship's namesake, former President George H. W. Bush, looked on.
Gran Torino Film Review
Gran Torino is a movie about a man, Walt Kowalski, played with alacrity by Clint Eastwood, who has spent too long being disappointed by just about everything. We see him first, grim faced, at his wife's funeral.
Dennis Wingo has some thoughts on the question of Why Space? Why Now?
In ending, space has one further benefit, wealth. It is the wealth of material resources that will help to fund the future. Nations, like companies and families can only prosper when the bank account is positive. We have had a national negative balance on our checking account for a very long time and it is only a matter of time before those checks start bouncing. It is far past time that we start looking at bringing wealth back to our nation and space and its benefits is the greatest single source of wealth around. Recently the World Wildlife Federation proclaimed that it would take the equivalent of two more earth's to provide for the nine billion people that will live on the earth by 2050. Fortunately, with the dozens of Moon, millions of asteroids, and the inexhaustible energy from the Sun, we have more than enough for all.
Stargate Universe to Premier in Summer 2009
As Stargate Atlantis ends its five season run, the SciFi Channel is making preparations for a third Stargate series, Stargate Universe. There are also a new Stargate SG1 and a Stargate Atlantis direct to DVD film being developed to be shot simultaneously.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Here follows my own brief recommendations to the National Academies Space Studies Board
The goal of the US civil space program should be nothing less than the expansion of the human species throughout the Solar System. Such an expansion would expand commercial and scientific opportunities, enhance national security, and ensure the long term survival of the human species.

The way to accomplish this task, given a realistic budget and time frame, is to leverage the current NASA exploration program to enable commercial development. This can be accomplished in a number of ways.

(1) Institute a “Lunar COTS” program to enable commercial resupply and crew transfers to and from the planned lunar base.
(2) Acquire needed services for the lunar base, including food, water, air, energy, and other goods and services from commercial vendors. Encourage insitu utilization when possible.
(3) Establish a legal framework for private property on celestial bodies, starting with the Moon.
(4) Plan for the lunar base from the beginning to expand to a lunar settlement, with its own local government and laws.
(5) Repeat for Mars and other destinations in due course.

In addition encourage commercial space development through tax and other fiscal incentives, prizes, and funding the development of high risk/high reward technologies.
This post over at NASA Watch on the "Direct" alternative being pushed by some people is not only very illuminating, but awfully funny in a sad way. It seems that the only thing people with alternative architectures can agree on is that Ares sucks. When it comes to what replaces it, then the knives come out from all sides.

And people wonder why this analyst does not take the Internet kerfuffle over Ares seriously. Except, of course, the Obama administration may well allow itself to be talked into the idea than an alternative is "cheaper" and therefore mandate it without taking the effort to find out whether that is true or not. It has happened before
Ten things Bush got right
Paul Spudis has some good advice on space policy.
John Brennan Gets Counterterrorismn Post
John Brennan, once thought to be top of the short list for Barack Obama's Director of the CIA, has instead been chosen as head of counter terrorism for the National Security Council. John Brennan has long experience in counter terrorism.
Rod Blagojevich Impeached by Illinois House
Governor Rod Blagojevich has been impeached by the Illinois State House by a vote of 141 to 1. The matter now goes to the Illinois State Senate where a trial to officially remove Blagojevich from office is expected to take three weeks.
'How Obama Got Elected' Interviews Sarah Palin
John Zeigler, the Internet documentary film maker who created the website How Obama Got Elected, is starting a new project. How Obama Got Elected is producing a documentary about media coverage of the 2008 election.
Obama and Spiderman Team Up
Barack Obama can add comic book hero to his resume, thanks to a brief appearance in a special issue of Spiderman. Barack Obama, on his way to the inauguration, has a brief adventure with Spiderman himself. There are also some jokes at Joe Biden's expense.
Fahid Mohammed Ali Msalam and Sheikh Ahmed Salem Swedan, the al-Qaeda leaders indicted for the two 1998 embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya now burn in Hell.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Once upon a time, the French were epic explorers.
Considering the sympathy that Pat Buchanan has for the Third Reich, one wonders if this latest howler is not meant as a compliment.
It seems that the Obama team is considering Charles Kennel, an Earth Scientist, as NASA Administrator. This would fit in with the idea of OBama turning NASA into an environmental agency. It also suggests that NASA's main mandate, space exploration, will suffer, as will commercialization.

It is entirely possible that a lot of the people who have been vilifying Mike Griffin will sooner or later find themselves looking back on his tenure with nostalgia.
Mike Griffin provides a spirited defense of Constellation. Rand Simber and Clark Lindsey have the usual responses.
Obama Speech Defends Stimulus Plan
President Elect Barack Obama made a speech on his proposed stimulus package at George Mason University today. His message is that things are bad, will probably get worse, and will almost certainly get really bad if we don't pass the stimulus package.
NY Man Wants Donated Kidney Back in Divorce Settlement
Back in 2001, the wife of New York doctor Richard Batista needed a kidney transplant. Dr. Richard Batista proved to be a match to his wife, Dawnell, so he duly offered up one of his own kidneys. Almost eight years later, Dr. Batista wants his kidney back.
A Bailout for Porn
The thought occurs that things must be really bad if the porn industry needs a bailout. Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild producer Joe Francis are hitting up Congress for a five billion dollar-er-stimulus package.
How to understand the Middle EastL
What happens when a fly falls into a coffee cup?

The Italian - throws the cup, breaks it, and walks away in a fit of rage.
The German - carefully washes the cup, sterilizes it and makes a new cup of
coffee.
The Frenchman - takes out the fly, and drinks the coffee.
The Chinese - eats the fly and throws away the coffee.
The Russian - Drinks the coffee with the fly, since it was extra with no
charge.
The Israeli - sells the coffee to the Frenchman, the fly to the Chinese,
drinks tea and uses the extra money to invent a device that prevents flies from
falling into coffee.
The Palestinian - blames the Israeli for the fly falling in his coffee,
protests the act of aggression to the UN, takes a loan from the European Union to
buy a new cup of coffee, uses the money to purchase explosives and then blows
up the coffee house where the Italian, the Frenchman, the Chinese, the German
and the Russian are all trying to explain to the Israeli that he should give
away his cup of tea to the Palestinian.
Gene Kranz sticks up for both Constellation and Mike Griffin.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

This tid bit has appeared in various comments sections about Charles Bolden, who is presumed by many to be the front runner for NASA Administrator under Obama.
According to their lobby registrations, retired astronauts Daniel Barry, Franklin Chang-Diaz , Thomas Jones , retired Marine Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden , retired Navy Capt. Daniel Bursch and retired Air Force Col. John Blaha will help ATK Thiokol "with an education campaign on the design considerations of the next generation NASA launch vehicles, in particular the shuttle-derived concepts through visits with members of Congress and other key decision makers.

Translated that means Bolden is a supporter of the hated Ares rocket and is thus not likely to approve of any of the cherished changes the Internet Rocketeer Club has been agitating for.
Nancy Killefer Named Chief Performance Officer for US Government
Barack Obama has chosen Nancy Killefer, a former Clinton era Treasury Department official, to be the nation's "Chief Performance Officer," tasked with making the federal government run more efficienty. Her task is going to be a huge one.
Ann Coulter on the Today Show
Ann Coulter appeared on the Today Show, her "life time ban" having been shortened to a single day. Ann Coulter spent just shy of ten minutes jousting verbally with host Matt Lauer, who took on a tone of more sorrow than in anger.
A Nazi-Hamas connection at a protest rally in For Lauderdale.
Sanjay Gupta Tapped as Surgeon General
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Barack Obama's designee for Surgeon General , is famous for two things. First, he is currently CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent. Second, he once smacked down Michael Moore for the inaccuracies that were in Sicko.
Why George Lucas should retire.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Piloting space craft with brain waves.
Barack Obama may try to appease Hugo Chavez.
One thing in favor of Sanjay Gupta's appointment as Surgeon General, Paul Krugman does not like him. The Weekly Standard, on the other hand, likes him a lot.
The Orlando Sentinel continues to beat up on Mike Griffin.
Some of his closest friends and supporters, including his wife, Rebecca Griffin, and former astronaut Scot Horowitz, launched a campaign to try to convince the incoming administration to keep Griffin, a veteran rocket scientist. The sometimes heavy-handed effort ranged from soliciting members of Congress during the last space shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center, to a much publicized on-line petition and even an e-mail from Rebecca urging that her husband be retained.

But Beltway insiders say the effort backfired and even some of Griffin’s most ardent supporters on the Hill, like Florida’s senior senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, saw the lobbying as craven.

Considering he quality of the Sentinel's previous reporting on Griffin, "craven" may be debatable. "Unwise" may be a more accurate term. Of course the notion that Obama was going to ask Griffin to stay on but now won't because of the petition is certainly a silly one.

The Sentinel has a short list of replacements.
Maj. Gen. Charles Frank "Charlie" Bolden, Jr. is a 63-year-old retired U.S. Marine Corps officer who served from 1981 to 1994 as an astronaut. A 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he became a Marine aviator and test pilot. After his time with NASA, he became deputy commandant of midshipmen at the naval academy.

An African American, he is perhaps best known by millions as the virtual host of the Shuttle Launch Experience attraction at Kennedy Space Center.

Other names out there include, Scott Hubbard of Stanford University, a member of the Columbia Accident Investigating Board and leader of the re-examination of the Vision for Space Exploration; Wesley Huntress at the Geophysical Laboratory at the Carnegie Institute; Dr. Sally Ride, America's first female astronaut; and Dr. Alan Stern, a planetary scientist who once worked at NASA running robotic missions to other planets.

And this little tid bit:
The current head of Obama’s transition team, Lori Garver, is hoping to be deputy administrator.

Fascinating.

Addendum: There isn't much to disagree with Rand Simberg's evaluation of the Sentinel short list, though if the criteria for liking Alan Stern is that he likes commercial space, then why not keep Griffin on that basis? Griffin has not just talked to talk, but walked the walk and little if any thanks he's gotten on that basis.

And if it were up to me, Lori Garver would not be given any position of trust at NASA. It's not just her tendency to sacrifice the greater good for her ambition, but her disastrous tenure as Executive Director of the National Space Society suggests a conspicuous lack of management skills. It is true that she's very knowledgeable about space policy issues, but that is not enough.

Addendum 2: If Ed Wright is correct about Bolden and George Abbey, then he is indeed bad news.

Addendum 3: More from Jeff Foust.
Roland Burris Turned Away by the US Senate
Roland Burris, Rod Blagojevich's designated junior Senator from Illinois, went up to the US Capital and, in a carefully choreographed media circus, attempted to take his place in the Senate. As expected, Roland Burris was refused.
Ann Coulter is "Guilty"
Ann Coulter has a new book out, entitled Guilty, about how liberals pretend to be victims while victimizing others. NBC accommodated her by booking her on the Today Show, yanking her invitation, then reportedly banned her for life from the network.



Addendum: Looks like NBC wised up and lifted the "life time ban" after a mere day.
Leon Panetta Chosen as CIA Director
Barack Obama has chosen Leon Panetta, a Washington insider and ally of the Clintons, to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Leon Panetta, while having a long Washington resume, has no experience or training in intelligence gathering.
Big Hollywood, a site covering tinseltown and conservatives (an odd mix, but there it is) has launched.

More on Big Hollywood Makes Its Debut
James Hanson, NASA's mercurial environmental scientist, has suggested to Barack Obama that Australia is destroying the Earth.

Monday, January 05, 2009

I wonder if George W. Bush will get credit for oower gas prices

I know. A rhetorical question.
The latest news on regrowing teeth. Looks like the days of dentures are numbered.
One thing that Obama's nomination of Leon Panetta as Director of the CIA proves is that he is capable of anything. Heck, Robert Park could wind up being administrator of NASA. Park is as innocent of involvement in space policy as Panetta is of intelligence gathering.
Hmm. This sounds a lot like Hamlet with a sex change operation.
Ron Paul continues to mak eme comfortable with the fact that I am not a libertarian.
Assoud the Jihad Rabbit has been mortally wounded by the Israelis in Gaza. Oh the humanity.
Ann Coulter banned for life from NBC. There will be much more about this anon.

Addendum: Apparently it's because Coulter is actually critical of Barack Obama.
"We are just not interested in anyone so highly critical of President-elect Obama, right now," a TODAY insider reveals. "It's such a downer. It's just not the time, and it's not what our audience wants, either."

Now I think I speak for most Americans when I point out that I found the media's attacks on Sarah Palin more than a little tiresome. However that didn't stop them from making the attacks. The media has been liberally biased since before I have been alive. I suppose we should give them points for now admitting it.
Confederate Submarine Hunley Continues to Fascinate
Over eight years after she was raised from her watery grave, the Civil War submarine, CSS Hunley, is still presenting a mystery. Researchers are still not certain why she never returned from her mission against a blockading Union fleet.
It looks like Nancy Pelosi has decided that there is too much democracy going on in the House and has decided to change all that by abolishing the Gingrich reforms. Fascism is an appropriate word for what is going on here.
Is Iran beginning to crack up?
a greenhouse gas on livestock?
Is Jeb Bush the Next Bush?
Could Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida, be the third President Bush? At this point it seems unlikely. The second President Bush, George W Bush, departs from office with historically low poll numbers. The United States has too much Bush fatigue.
Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979
Taylor Dinerman contemplates COTS the Next Generation. One idea:
The next generation of COTS could be designed to facilitate the movement of people and goods throughout the Earth-Moon system (cislunar space). If NASA was to choose this option the major contracts would only be signed sometime in the middle of the decade after next—say, 2024—after the proposed lunar outpost was established. In the meantime the agency and industry could concentrate on technology development and maturation.

I seem to remember the idea of a lunar COTS cropping up before, a couple of years ago in fact.
Jim Oberg critiques the MIT Future of Human Space Flight report.
First, it falls for the classic wish-fulfillment fantasy that playing nice together in space—forming partnerships on significant space projects—can actually compel terrestrial nations to become more friendly to each other despite deep-seated conflicting goals. Second, the report promotes the view that the cost of large space projects can only be afforded if they are shared by an international alliance—contrary to all experience, including that of the ISS, that splitting national responsibilities for integrated projects makes them more expensive, not less. And thirdly, it promotes a dangerously diversionary and dead-ended theory for the root cause of space disasters such as the loss of the shuttle Columbia and its crew: that there was just not enough money, a factor that can easily be fixed by budgetary largesse. Using such views as foundations for policy decisions in the coming years can only result in more waste, more losses, and a lot more tears.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

India's rather ambitious space plans continue to take shape. The one thing I find remarkable is that in living memory, just over forty years ago, the United States was obliged to send a fleet in grain ships to India to keep the country from falling into mass famine. Now India is become a space faring nation. That just goes to show how history can provide funny turns.
Sorry Gen Xers and Yers, but we baby boomers may be around for a long time.
Barack Obama as the political version of Jim Carrey. Also six hundred thousand of the three million new jobs Obama has promised will be government jobs.
Barack Obama is not yet President and has already had his first cabinet resignation, though one might more properly call Bill Richardson's pulling out a cabinet abortion. It's too bad as Richardson is a big booster of space commercialization and such a voice is needed within the nascent Obama administration.

More from Jeff Foust. Meanwhile the wheels on the bus go thump thump thump.
Gaza City Fighting Intensifies
The Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip entered its second day, with Israeli ground forces fighting with Hamas terrorists in and around Gaza City, the largest population center in the Gaza Strip. But Israeli strategists have another problem.

The problem's name is Barack Obama, who becomes President of the United States on January 20th.
Buckypaper: A 21st Century Material
Buckypaper may seem like a cute name for something, but it holds the promise for the next great leap in composite material technology. Buckypaper may allow for everything from lightweight ultra strong automboles and air planes to super efficient computers.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Looks like Jimmy Carter is as terrible a home builder as he was a President.
Victor Davis Hanson compares Gaza under Hamas to Mordor from The Lord of the Rings.
An Islamo Fascist Mullah seriously wants to start a jihad in space.
Mark Steyn discusses Hamas rocket scientists.
Abu Zakaria Al-Jamal Killed in Israeli Air Strike
Abu Zakaria al-Jamal, a senior leader of the terrorist group Hamas, was killed when Israeli war planes bombed his house overnight. Abu Zakaria al-Jamal, along with Nizar Rayan, are casualties of a new tactic by Israeli of targeting Abu Zakaria Al-Jamal Killed in Israeli Air Strikeas leaders' homes.
The Operative as the next Dr. Who? Interesting if true.

Addendum: The new Doctor is Matt Smith

Addendum: More.
Doubt Movie Review
Doubt, a film by John Patrick Shanley from his stage play of the same name, can be classified under the genre Catholic memoir, like Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All or Agnes of God, when in something bad happens.

Friday, January 02, 2009

An excellent article on the state of book publishing in the 21st Century.
So the traditional filters are disappearing. Readers can’t find new authors they like among the glut of “bad karaoke” books. New authors often can’t find a publisher, and often can’t find an audience even if they find a publisher. Traditional publishers no longer reliably find fresh talent and increasingly rely on marketing rather than talented writers. That shrinks the market by making books less attractive to younger readers.
Pascal's Wager and Global Warming
People who believe in man-made global warming are supporting their argument on the basis of a new kind of Pascal's Wager. Pascal's Wager was originally proposed by the 17th Century French philosopher Pascal's Wager and Global WarmingBlaise Pascal concerning the existence of God.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Israeli Defense Forces now have a blog.
The idea of using an upgraded EELV to launch Orion is, of course, not new. But interesting is that the Obama people have accepted the idea that there is a space race with the Chinese back to the Moon.

Addendum: Keith Cowing has a good point.
There are several things getting mixed up in this story. EELVs are not the Pentagon's rockets. They were developed (partially) with DoD money so as to assure that the DoD had viable commercial launch options. But they have always been sold on a commercial basis (currently by by ULA) for use by both DOD and non-DoD customers alike. NASA's New Horizons and MRO were launched on one (Atlas) as have been a number of commercial communications satellites on both Atlas V and Delta IV EELVs.

The Obama Administration may well be thinking of pairing up NASA and DoD to compete with China, but that is a different issue than using EELVs which you can buy today from the ULA catalog.
Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" for 2008