Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mr. President, you have another cabinet nominee with a tax problem?
Stem cells to treat stroke patients.
And now a fusion Renaissance?
Venice is having a go at algae biofuel.
The Chinese have developed a ballistic missile designed to take out carriers.
Sarah Palin: Obama's New Enemy of the People
The attempt by the Obama administration to make Rush Limbaugh an enemy of the people, in the style of 1984's Emmanuel Goldstein has failed. So, casting around for a new devil to excite their base with, the Obama people have hit on Sarah Palin.
Andy Hallett, Angel's Lorne, Passes Away at Thirty Three
Andy Hallett, best known for playing Lorne or "the Host", a gentle, music loving green demon on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off series Angel, has died of heart failure. Andy Hallett was just thirty three.
Lucy Lawless as the owner of a gladiator school in a new series. Also a Romanb military epic Eagle of the Ninth.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Apparently Glenn Beck took a tire iron to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and beat him senseless.
Beck interviewed Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on his March 30 broadcast. But, the radio and TV host took the opportunity to tell Blumenthal what he thought of his investigation into the bonuses received by American International Group (AIG) executives - whose company received federal bailout money.

"Look, you know what you have done, know what you have done?" Beck said. "You have - you are an insult to George Washington, sir. George Washington made it very clear that we are a respecter of laws, not of men. For your own political gain, you have decided to go after these people at AIG because it is a popular thing."
The latest Serenity graphic novel will be of the backstory of the egnimatic Shepherd Book.
Andrew Klavan: Take the Limbaugh Challenge
Andrew Klavan is a writer of suspense thrillers and motion picture screen plays. His novel, True Crime, was made into a film, which Klaven wrote and Clint Eastwood directed and starred in. Andrew Klavan is also a conservative who is not afraid to speak out.
Paul Spudis reports on some preliminary results of the first Mini-SAR mapping cycle.
Another reason why the Palestinian government is comprised of barbarians and worse.
You see, last week this youth orchestra played a little concert. It so happened that in the audience of this little concert were some Israeli Holocaust survivors. But once the girls got home and the Palestinian Authority found out these Muslim girls happened to play a concert at which a few elderly Jews attended, why the PA immediately disbanded the orchestra and told its conductor that she was no longer allowed to make music ever again.
Obama's Appeasement of North Korea
Defense Secretary Robert Gates indicated in an interview on Fox News Sunday that the Obama administration is not prepared to do anything to prevent the coming launch of a North Korean ballistic missile capable of reaching Alaska or Hawaii.
The Brassage and Other Medically Dubious Clothing
The Brassage is the latest in what appears to be a series of products that makes medically dubious claims. According to its manufacturer, the Brassage has "massaging lumps" that "stimulate lymphatic flow" thus helping to flush toxins and prevent breast cancer.
GM CEO Rick Wagoner Forced Out by Obama
GM's Chief Executive Rick Wagoner has been forced to resign by the Obama administration as one price for accepting bailout money. While not without precedence, this development may be part of a trend of government power over the private sector.
Fox Nation Launched by Fox News
The Fox News has launched a new web site called Fox Nation, which contains a combination of news, opinion, and social networking. When registration begins in two months, participants will be invited to debate issues with one another and post comments.
Dwayne Day mourns the passing of space journalism in the mainstream media.

Addendum: Keith Cowing has a tart response, but Jim Oberg, himself a space journalist of considerable skill and experience, has the best critique.
Dwayne Day mourns the passing of space journalism in the mainstream media.
In Is the Chinese manned space program a military program?, some remarkable claims are made.
It is true that the military is running the manned program, but it does not naturally mean the program itself is military.

And here:
Most importantly, so far China is still on the right track with Deng Xiaoping’s warning almost 20 years ago that China has to focus on economic development instead of military buildup.

That rather contrasts with this story about the very real Chinese military buildup.
Two pieces this week on Space Review about commercial space and the economic crisis. Satellites, launches, and the recession and Can space tourism survive the economic downturn?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Looks like Al Gore could not be bothered to participate in Earth Hour.
Ashley Biden Caught on Tape Using Cocaine?
In the age of video, YouTube, and the Internet, celebrities are, from time to time, caught doing something foolish and are exposed for the entire world to see. The latest to fall prey to this is the adult daughter of the Vice President, Ashley Biden.
Three Mile Island Thirty Years On
Thirty years ago, the accident at the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania inflicted a crippling blow on the nuclear power industry in America for a generation. Now nuclear power is getting a new look.
Obama, Lobbyists, and Freedom of Speech
A directive from President Barack Obama barring officials charged with doling out stimulus money from talking with lobbyists has free speech advocates worried, The directive is very likely in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Turning Off Lights for Earth Hour 2009
Earth Hour is a strange ritual promulgated by the World Wildlife Fund that involves people turning out the lights for one hour on the last Saturday in March at 8:30 PM to call attention to global warming.
Welfare for Terrorists
Some bureaucratic thinking can seem so absurd that one wonders how an adult human being can engage in it. A case in point was the confirmation by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair about plans for some of the Guantanamo detainees.
Justine Lai has painted portraits of herself having sex with every one of the Presidents of the United States.
John Birmingham give the Prime Directive a good smacking.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tesla Model S Electric Powered Luxury Sedan Rolled Out
Tesla Motors, which has already sold just three hundred of its high end, electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster, is preparing to roll out its next electric powered automobile, the Tesla Model S, a luxury sedan that comes in at $49,900 with a $7,500 tax rebate.
The Republican Road to Recovery
Proponents of President Barack Obama's various spending plans, including his FY 2010 budget, answer Republican critics by accusing them of having no alternatives. The Republicans started to answer that criticism with a document called the Republican Road to Recovery.
Freeman Dyson: Climate Change Denier.
A garden on the Moon.
A movie about the exploits of the USS Essex in the War of 1812. And about time too.
It looks like the name Freedom Tower is just so passe.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Obama's Online Town Hall
President Barack Obama conducted an online town hall, covered at WhiteHouse.gov and broadcast, to one extent or another, by the major cable news networks. People were invited to ask the President questions over the Internet.
The TOTUS reveals the previously undisclosed illegal lycan crisis.
Volcker Task Force Formed to Reform Tax Code
President Barack Obama has formed a panel designed to look at ways to revise the United States tax code, a laudable goal. The panel will be headed by Paul Volcker and will include Republicans like Martin Feldstein and Democrats such as Laura Tyson.
'South Park: Margaritaville' Takes on Economy
South Park's latest episode, Margaritaville, takes on the economy, the subject of which has been a vexing topic of controversy and consternation. Of course South Park deals with the dismal science in a way that only South Park can.
ADL: Pat Oliphant Cartoon 'Anti-Semitic'
Pat Oliphant, an influential and often funny political cartoonist, has been accused by the Anti Defamation League of drawing and publishing an anti-Semitic cartoon criticizing the Israeli attack on Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.
Joel Surnow is shopping a ten hour miniseires about the Kennedy family that will certainly not be a love letter. Something that starts with daddy Joe's bootlegging and ends with some of the more sordid antics of the current generation would be at once entertaining and a hard sale for liberal Hollywood.
Did the Canadian health care system kill Natasha Richardson?
Drug testing for welfare recipients. Sounds reasonable to me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mark Carreau, the long time space corespondent for the Houston Chronicle, has been given the boot.
Obama's Second White House Press Conference
President Barack Obama held the second prime time press conference of his Presidency and improved on his performance over the first press conference. For one thing Obama kept his answers relatively brief.
The Overseas Contingency Operation on Terror
When a government decides to become weasel-like in fighting a war, it sometimes prefers to not even call it that. Thus Obama's Office of Management and Budget would prefer that we should be engaged in an Overseas Contingency Operation.
Obama Blames Bush for Deficits
When President Barack Obama faces a difficult question about—for example—the deficit, he engages in a time honored tactic. Obama blames his predecessor, in his case President George W. Bush, for the problems he "inherited."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tom Hanks to play both a toy and an astronaut in the same movie.

Addendum. More on Tom Hanks Develops Major Matt Mason Film
Tom Hanks, famous for his roles as an astronaut in Apollo 13 and as a toy in the Toy Story series, is going to get to play both an astronaut and a toy in a film under developed by Universal based on the 1960s action figure, Major Matt Mason.
The Mayor of Sydney bans "cruel food."
By Harry Turtledove, We Haven’t Got There Yet. Shakespeare meets, in a manner of speaking, Tom Stoppard.
George Will: Obama Government 'Capricious and Increasingly Anti-Constitutional'
George Will, the venerable syndicated newspaper columnist and TV commentator, believes that he has found the true "toxic assets" that are wrecking the economy. Unfortunately the American people elected them, according to George Will.
The Graphic Novel Reporter makes its debut.
Zogby: Obama Job Approval at 50%
The Boston Herald is reporting that the Zogby Poll is showing Barack Obama's job approval ratings at about 50 percent. Zogby's recent record has not been very good and other polls, such as Rasmussen, show Obama's job approval as somewhat higher.
Obama's Grassroots Campaign a Bust
One of the strategies the Obama administration is using to help pass its various spending and bailout plans is to gin up grassroots support to put pressure on the Congress. So far, though, that effort appears to be a bust, according to McClatchy Newspapers.
Barney Frank Calls Antonin Scalia a Homophobe
Representative Barney Frank, the highest profile gay man in public life in America, politics/2009/03/23/rep-frank-calls-justice-scalia-homophobe/">called Justice Antonin Scalia a "homophobe" during an interview with a gay online news agency, 365Gay.com.
Canadian Sex Acts a Tie-In to How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother is one of the more charming sitcoms on TV about a quintet of young professionals living in New York. A recent episode concerned, in part, a web site called Canadian Sex Acts, which of course actually exists.
The short list for Obama's NASA Administrator now consists, apparently, of no one. I guess that they shouldn't have gotten rid of Michael Griffin so quickly.

Monday, March 23, 2009

More hypocrisy on alternative energy, this time from Senator Feinstein.
Space Station Module Colbert. The joke is on Colbert, though. Module 3 is ISS's toilet, for all intents and purposes.
Bacon cereal
The BigDog Robot: Rise of the Machines
BigDog is the latest of the US military's combat robots now being tested in Afghanistan. BigDog is a four-legged vehicle designed to carry equipment for American soldiers in rough terrain. It is three-and-a-third feet long and two-and-a-third feet tall.
Was Obama Punch Drunk on 60 Minutes?
President Barack Obama's interview on 60 Minutes has been noted for the President's uncontrolled outbursts of laughter and chuckling while discussing the current economic crisis with CBS reporter Steve Kroft.
Barack Obama Insults the French
Another day, another diplomatic incident caused by the Obama administration. France is the latest ally to be insulted by President Obama. It seems that President Obama, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro, sent a letter to the President of France.

Addendum: The Christian Science Monitor suggests that the letter was deliberately sent to Chirac.
The recent article on "Space Cadets" has inspired Ferris Valyn to write Liberals, space activists, and the Great Orange Satan. The "Great Orange Satan" is the Daily Kos, which some have referred to as a hate site for some of its over the top posting.

Ferris makes another stab at tryin to get "progressives" (that is to say liberals) to see reason on space. There are a number of points made that need answering.
The traditional refrain of liberal opposition is based on a combination of hippie mythos and certain members of the Democratic Party—people like Senators William Proxmire and Walter Mondale. Both were either critical of, or moved money away from, NASA. However, hippie culture is generally viewed as reaching its zenith in the late 60s and early 70s, and both Proxmire and Mondale have not been active in politics for many years (indeed, William Proxmire died in 2005).

The hippies cut their hair, put on suits, and got jobs. But a lot of them still maintained some of the anti technology bias they learned when they were young and the world was new.

Proxmire does burn in Hell and Mondale is in his dotage, but there are people like them that have taken their place. Barney Frank and David Obey come to mind.

Ferris on Obama
Some attributed this change in policy to Obama merely being opportunistic, and wanting to win Florida. But if this was just a blatant attempt to get votes, a question presents itself: why would Obama propose such a developed policy? Why consider such space-specific questions that are unlikely to resonate with anyone outside the truly committed space activist community?

Well, but why not? The policy is not all that developed, consisting as it does of basically endorsing the Bush policy, plus more money for science, aeronautics, and so on. Besides, the impression is that Senator Bill Nelson had greater influence on space policy theses days than does the POTUS.

Now there are the five points Ferris cites
Embrace climate change. This has been a signature issue for NASA, and given the dangers we face, NASA can play a powerful role.

Which climate change is that? The actual cooling that scientists have noted or the global warming that is still in the fevered imaginations of liberals.
Embrace its potential as catalysis for commercial spaceflight. Many within the space community are aware of the emerging entrepreneurial space industry, and Mr. Whitesides noted how NASA could substantially help to advance the industry.

Yeah, but SpaceX better not award their executives any bonuses, or Obama will come after them. I have to seriously doubt the administration's entire comitment to free market capitalism.
Embrace international collaboration. Space projects can be large scale, and spreading the risk among various governments can help us deal with these risks and costs.

This is a code phrase for cooperation with China. Besides there are costs associated with cooperating with several government bureaucracies.
Space militarization (and more specifically weaponization) is not a good thing.

It is certainly is a bad thing if the Chinese do it and we do not.
Dealing with the energy issue. Key to the issue of climate change is coming up with new, renewable forms of energy. NASA, and space, can help, ranging from acting as a technological incubator, up to things like space solar power.

Space solar power, certainly, and 3He from the Moon. But let's not turn NASA into a hobby horse for every trendy technological fad.

And finally, an all true too statement.
Finally, the liberal space community lacks coherency and organization. Yes, it is true that liberals are supporters of organized labor, and one could expect that it would be successful in organizing itself. However, Will Rogers’ famous quote—“I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.”—is the reality.

Dean Cheng discusses Sino American space cooperation. The following jumped out at me.
The recent incident involving a US Navy vessel south of Hainan will only exacerbate concerns and raise doubts about the desirability of extensive cooperation.

That is putting it rather mildly.
Ten Bizarre Ways to Die

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Barack OBama Answers Dick Cheney
President Barack Obama was on Sixty Minutes Sunday, adopting a more serious mien than he did during Wednesday's appearance on Jay Leno. President Obama answered former Vice President Dick Cheney's criticisms on his terrorism policy.
Hillary the Movie A Test Case for Free Speech
A documentary film called Hillary the Movie is now the subject of a Supreme Court free speech case testing the McCain Feingold Campaign Finance Reform law provisions against campaign ads. The ruling will affect free speech in America for decades to come.
Good news. A trio of Bristish global warming explorers were rescued from the middle of the Arctic where they were trapped by the cold weather.
John Birmingham is very amused at Obama's faux pas concerning the gift of the DVDs that don't play to the British Prime Minister. Apparently the Australia PM is going to visit this week and Brimo is soliciting gift ideas to give to Obama. The pet dingo is my favorite.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Obama Starts a Trade War With Mexico
Almost unnoticed against a backdrop of juicier scandals, the Obama administration has decided to violate a provision of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and start a trade war with Mexico.
Did Vladimir Putin Confront Ronald Reagan in Red Square?
An interesting and strange controversy has ensued because of a strange photograph from the late 1980s that shows then President Ronald Reagan and, it is alleged, then KGB major and future Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a photo taken in Moscow.
The Conclusion of Battlestar Galactica
The final episode of Battlestar Galactica, Ron Moore's epic reimaging of the 1970s science fiction TV show, began with a crescendo of violence and death and ended with a slow, quiet resolution that inspired awe and left some questions.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Rejects Obama Peace Move
The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, dismissedPresident Barack Obama's video outreach to the people and government of Iran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei does not see any real change in US policy toward Iran.
Will the new Star Trek movie inspire a new Star Trek TV series? Another question, will Star Trek actually be around in some form or another in the 23rd Century?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ferris Valyn gives Senator Bill Nelson his marching orders. He would be better to write Barack Obama to tell him to grow a pair and nominate whomever he wants as NASA admistrator.
Top Ten Gaffes nu Obama and Biden (so far.)
Obama's Lack of Seriousness on Terrorism
A couple of developments seem to illustrate the growing lack of seriousness in the Obama administration when it comes to dealing with terrorists. One development comes out of the Justice Department, the other out Homeland Security Department.In an interview with the German newspaper DerObama's Lack of Seriousness on Terrorism Spieger,
Barack Obama Offers Friendship to Iran
Just in time for the Persian New Year, President Barack Obama taped a video message extending the hand of friendship to the government and people of Iran. It was a gambit that is not likely to be received well and not only in Iran.
Amitai Etzioni is rather bored by the very idea of sny kind of space exploration and demands that Barack Obama doe something about it.
Obama on the Tonight Show With Jay Leno
President Barack Obama took time out from the war on terror and an economic crisis to yuck it up with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. An exchange that happened toward the end of Obama's interview with Leno likely made him wish he hadn't.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Obama's Teleprompter Has a Blog
President Barack Obama's unprecedented reliance on the teleprompter has already been noted. However the story has morphed into a kind of joke over who is actually President, Barack Obama or the teleprompter, which now has its own blog.
Barack Obama's $500,000 Book Deal
President Barack Obama, already a successful author, signed a five hundred thousand dollar book deal just five days before being sworn into office as President of the United States. The deal was for a children's version of Dreams from My Father.
Charles Rangel and the AIG Bonus Tax
Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Charles Rangel, has gotten behind legislation to take away 91 percent of the AIG bonus money. Previously, Charles Rangel had been against the idea.
South Park Episode 'The Coon' and the Absurdity of Super Heroes
The second episode of the current season of South Park, The Coon, was another riff on pop culture. The Coon was based on a graphic novel adaptation, The Spirit, a film noir type film about an obsessed super hero that bombed at the box office.
AIG Bonuses, Barney Frank, and the Return of Persecution Politics
If there is anything that is more unsavory than the bonuses awarded to AIG executives with federal bailout money, it is the behavior of certain politicians as a result of the scandal. Senator Charles Grassley is already on record suggesting honorable suicide.

Now Congressman Barney Frank, during a hearing of his committee on the subject of the AIG bonuses, demanded of AIG Chairman and CEO Edward Liddy the names of those executives who received bonuses. Liddy demurred, pointed out that these executives are receiving death threats. One ofAIG Bonuses, Barney Frank, and the Return of Persecution Politics those threats, which Liddy read to the committee, referenced garroting by piano wire, a favorite mode of execution during the later days of Nazi Germany

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Natasha Richardson RIP
Al Gore was right. The debate on climate change is over. Only thing, there is no man made global warming.
Travel to England on a Budget
NASA Administrator Mae Jemiseon? The mind positively boggles.
Travel to Italy on a Budget
The incomperable Shep Smith goes after Congress with a two by fpur:
ACORN to Help with the 2010 Census
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform or ACORN has been signed on as a partner in the 2010 national census. ACORN will help to hire temporary workers that will be needed to take a count of the people of the United States.
AIG Bonuses: What Did Obama Know and when Did He Know It?
The bonuses being paid out to AIG executives, apparently with government bailout money, is causing outrage and consternation across the political spectrum. The AIG bonus kerfuffle is illustrating one of the dangers of willy nilly bailing out ailing firms.
Senator Chris Dodd in Political Trouble
Chris Dodd, the long-serving senior Senator from Connecticut now in his fifth term, is in political trouble. Most polls show that Chris Dodd's job approval has plummeted and that he is in danger of losing his next bid for reelection in 2010.
The Narscissism Test and the Mirror Effect
Doctors Drew Pinsky and S. Mark Young, professors of entertainment business at the University of Southern California and authors of The Mirror Effect, have developed a test called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory or narcissism test.
Harlan Ellison is suing Paramount over residuals for City on the Edge of Forever, his classic Star Trek episode. It should be entertaining, at least, and I have every sympathy. But Ellison expands the envelope of ego by comparing himself to Gandhi. Paramount is not quite the British Empire and Ellison--well--is not known for nonviolence, at least rhetorically.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Senator Charles Grassley: 'AIG Execs Should Resign or Commit Suicide'
The public rage over the bonuses awarded to AIG executives, paid for with public bailout money, has heated up in recent days. While orchestrated by the Obama administration, the outrage is widespread and bi-partisan.
Obama Chicken Fingers and Obama Sushi
Obama mania may have been tempered somewhat in the United States by the experience of President Obama, but it seems to be going strong enough overseas for President Obama's name to be still potent as a marketing tool.

Obama t shirts, Obama soap on a rope, and even Obama thong underwear are available. But perhaps the most bizarre Obama marketing phenomenon to develop has been Obama Chicken Fingers and Obama Sushi.
'Brothers at War': A Film of the Iraq War
Hollywood has not been very forthcoming making honest movies about the War on Terror, especially the War in Iraq. An independent documentary film called Brothers at War may be about to change all of that.
For your St. Patrick's Day pleasure, Celtic Woman...
I just finished a fun little book about a World War II destroyer that suddenly finds itself in an alternate universe where evolved dinosaurs and lemurs are fighting one another for survival. I'll be reading the rest of the series in due course:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Watchmen as a Mormon parable?
It appears that Russia is developing a Moon rocket.
Another survey> about public attitudes toward space.
Most Americans are interested in the space program (60%) but
an alarming number have no interest at all (19%). Interest is
particularly soft among women.

On the positive side, large majorities feel that the space
program is important to national security (71%), contributes to
national pride (79%), and inspires young people to study math
and science (82%).

Half of the public feel that the space program has not directly
improved their lives in any way. Those who do, however, cite
technological developments and knowledge about the universe.

Most believe that the U.S. continues to explore space in order to
maintain our status as an international leader or because it is
human nature to explore.

The majority of Americans (60%) reject the idea that the space
program is a waste of taxpayer money. They are not
convinced, however, that more funding is needed.

A plurality feel that a manned mission to Mars should be the
next major mission, but there is some sentiment that this
should not be pursued during the current economic

Many Americans would prefer see the space program’s
resources used to help solve terrestrial problems rather than
extraterrestrial ones for the time being.
Is Barack Obama Incompetent?
Michael Goodwin, writing for the New York Daily News, is reporting that a new word is being bandied about in whispers in Washington in relation to President Barack Obama. That word is "competence" or in Obama's case the lack thereof.
Jackie Mason and Laura Ingraham Cause Controversy
Jackie Mason, a Jewish comedian, and Laura Ingraham, a conservative talk show host, are each a in a little trouble for something each of them said. The two controversies prove that, even when speech gets personal, it is still free, but it can also be answered.
Cincinnati Tea Party Protest Biggest Yet
The biggest New American Tea Party protest rally yet took place at Fountain Square in Cincinnati on Sunday. Police estimated the crowd to number about 5000 people, which may make the Tea Party protest the biggest in Cincinnati since the Vietnam War.
A Fashion Robot will not obsess over weight, engage in back stabbing and back biting games with other fashion robots, pout, pehave snootily, or--especially--be the feature of stupid reality shows.
Ben Shapiro goes after a couple of wastes of protoplasm, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher,
Paul Spudis muses on Science and Cathedral Building.

Can anyone who has observed controversies like the global warming issue doubt that Paul Spudis is right about science having some characteristics of a religion?

I would expand on Paul's thesis just a little. A believer in God might imagine that a purpose of space exploration is to understand and appreciate the universe He created (and by "created", we don't really mean the account in Genisis, but what science understands of how the universe came into being and evolved.) Indeed, one might argue that doing this is not only the purpose of space exploration, but the ultimate purpose of human beings.
'Kings,' Starring Ian McShane, Premiers on NBC
Kings, which premiered on NBC Sunday, is one of those rarest of TV series to air on one of the original networks. Kings is a retelling of the story of King David, set in an alternate, modern reality. Kings is thus original and also based on some of the oldest material written.
Jeff Foust looks at the relationship between the government and the private sector in space. Nader Elhefnawy offers a critique of what he calls Space Cadet Politics. This one should be read by everyone, especially space cadets. Taylor Dinerman discusses Chandrayaan 2 and the evolution of India’s space program.

Addendum: Clark Lindsey and Rand Simberg respond to the space cadet article.

I think Professor Elhefnawy's point was that a lot of people he calls "space cadets" tend to wax wroth in such a way that they tend to turn people off. I have found this to be true, by the way, and it tends to make the job of explaining the promise of a space future all the harder.

Mind, Professor Elhefnawy does tend to overstate his case, as Clark and Rand are quick to point out, but not by much, IMHO.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

RIP Ron Silver

Addendum: Actor/Activist Ron Silver Passes On
Ron Silver was one of those Hollywood political activists whom one had to admire for his courage, unlike others who too often preen about their own courage, but really just follow the political consensus of the movie and TV industry.
Dick Cheney Answers Barack Obama on CNN
Former Vice President Dick Cheney has taken time off from his retirement and working on his memoirs to answer some of the blame being placed on the Bush administration for the current economic crisis by the Obama White House.
Astronaut Tom Jones Gives Advice to Obama on Space Policy
As President Barack Obama's administration grinds along, he is not without advice for space policy, often neglected, but very important. Former astronaut and current journalist and commentator Tom Jones is the latest to weigh in.
Barack Obama's Quest for a NASA Administrator
President Barack Obama has been having problems staffing his government and has had a number of embarrassments of nominees who have had to withdraw for various reasons, some having to do with nonpayment of taxes.

No greater illustration of President Obama's continuing woes can be seen than his quest to find a new NASA administrator.
Apparently Barack Obama is, after all, in favor of a middle class tax increase on health benefits after all.
Apparently when President Obama is presented to Her Majesty the Queen, he will not have a collection of DVDs to gift her with.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

If Picasso had painted Obama.
A vending machine that prepares and cooks pizza.
Glenn Beck Launches the 912 Project
Glenn Beck, the Fox News and talk radio personality, has unveiled something he calls the 912 Project. The name is obviously a play on the day after 9/11, but also refers to what Glenn Beck called the "9 Principles" and the "12 Values."
Obama's Poll Numbers Dropping
It is an axiom in politics that those who live by high approval numbers run the risk of dying by low approval numbers. President Barack Obama may soon face that danger, indicated by new poll numbers reported by Douglas Schoen and Scott Rasmussen.
Enhancements Added to Google Mars
A little more than a month after its initial release, Google has rolled out some enhancements to its Google Mars feature of its Google Earth application. The enhancements make the virtual exploration of Mars all the more enjoyable.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Looks like Steve Isakowitz is out as NASA administrator courtesy of Bill Nelson and Kay Hutchison.
Key to Nelson's argument was Isakowitz' role in the DOE’s decision to pull funding for the FutureGen clean coal plant. The Illinois project was a public-private initiative to build the world’s first near-zero emissions coal-fueled power plant. But DOE projected that it was way over budget -- costs had doubled to $1.8 billion, 70 percent of which would have been paid by taxpayers -- and backed out in January 2008, angering FutureGen’s supporters. During hearings last year, Isakowitz took a lot of flak for the decision.

It was later found out that DOE had made a $500 million "mathematical error" in its calculations used to cancel FutureGen. Senate Democrats saw the mistake as an example of Bush administration "political mathematics" to create an excuse to end the project. Nelson and others said that Isakowitz, as CFO, was somehow "complicit" in that.

Charlie Bolden now goes to the top of the list.
Jon Stewart vs. Jim Cramer on the Daily Show
Jim Cramer, the somewhat hyper CNBC financial commentator, was on The Daily Show Thursday in what should have been a healthy smack down with host Jon Stewart over what a TV commentator actually does. It was instead something more degrading.
Smoking Everywhere's 'E-Cigarettes' -- Safe as Well as Fun?
An e-cigarette or e-cig is being touted by one of its manufacturers, Smoking Everywhere, as the first pure "safe" cigarette. The Food and Drug Administration is not so sure, labeling the electronic cigarette as an "unapproved new drug."
Obama to Charge Veterans for Service Related Health Care?
The Obama administration has worked a miracle by proposing a change in veteran's health care policy that combines incompetence with offensiveness. The proposal is to charge veterans' private insurance for treatment of injuries related to their service.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It has gotten really, really bad. Bob Tyrrell misses Bull Clinton.
Retired astronaut Tom Jones has some sensible suggestions on space policy for Barack Obama.
More on Barack Obama's Sense of Drift on Space Policy
In response to a question by a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, President Barack Obama has made a statement about his plans for NASA that has sown confusion and just a little bit of concern among supporters of the US space program.
The Going John Galt Movement
An interesting idea of resisting the Obama administration seems to be spreading, via the Internet. The resistance tactic is called Going John Galt, inspired by the iconic hero of Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged, which depicted a strike of the productive.
South Park Episode 'The Ring' Targets Pop Culture of Past and Present
South Park has returned for its thirteenth season. The title of Wednesday's episode was The Ring. South Park's new targets included the latest boy band, the Jonas Brothers, Disney, purity rings, Mickey Mouse, and prepubescent sex.
Kari Byron of Mythbusters fame is now busting myths for two.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just about a week after confirming NASA's return to the Moon program, Barack Obama had this to say.
The space shuttle program has yielded some extraordinary scientific discoveries, but I think it's fair to say that there's been a sense of drift to our space program over the last several years. We need to restore that sense of excitement and interest that existed around the space program. Shaping a mission for NASA that is appropriate for the 21st century is going to be one of the biggest tasks of my new NASA director. Once we have that vision, then I think that it’s going to be much easier to build support for expanding our space efforts.

What is he talking about?

Jeff Foust is puzzled as well.
More speculation about a Chinese humans to the Moon program.
James Carville "I Certainly Hope He Doesn't Succeed"
Some years ago, James Carville, one of the architects of Bill Clinton's 1992 electoral victory, was holding forth, along with pollster Stanley Greenberg, to a group of Washington reporters. James Carville said something that is now considered treasonous.
Camille Paglia's Advice for Barack Obama
Camille Paglia, writing in Salon, has some advice for President Barack Obama which seems counter intuitive. Camille Paglia suggests that Obama, who has had trouble staffing up the government, start cutting heads and firing people.
Courtney Stadd has been indicted. I don't know him personally, but from what I know of him, the accusation seems unlikely. One wonders, in fact, if there's a political vendetta from someone at the root of the action?

Just as an added note, Stadd might want to leave off the references to the woman being flogged in Saudi Arabia and Thomas Moore. It seems a little melodramatic, seeing that flogging really, really hurts (and could be fatal for a woman of that age) and Moore was beheaded. And it's Thomas Cromwell, not Oliver.
Apparently the Orlando Sentinel is upset with Senator Bill Nelson for not grabbing enough money for NASA in the stimulus bill. Jeff Foust suggests that the Sentinel is being too harsh with Nelson, who did get some money.

Mind, while I'm sympathetic, this emphasis on preserving jobs in the state instead of advancing the interests of the United States is a little irksome. Retiring the shuttle and going back to the Moon is in the best long term interests of both the United States and NASA, despite the pain it may cause in the meantime.

One suggestion. How about providing incentives for commercial space development along the space coast?
Will Obama End School Choice in Washington D.C.?
A provision in the omnibus spending bill, now wending its way through Congress, would strip federal funding of a successful school voucher program in the District of Columbia. At stake is the fate of 1,700 poor students who benefit from the program.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Give President Obama a grade
The United States Senate votes against poor DC kids. More.
Card Check Legislation Introduced in Congress
The Orwellian named Employee Free Choice Act, better known as Card Check, has been introduced in both houses of Congress. The intent of the legislation is to open more businesses of unionization, thus increasing the power of a key Democratic constituency.
The Great Ann Coulter vs. Bill Maher Debate
Ann Coulter, best-selling author, TV personality, and conservative warrior princess met on the stage of Radio City Music Hall with Bill Maher, host of HBO's Real Time and far left snark machine, to debate the issues of the day.
Ulysses S. Grant VI Discovers Last Lincoln Photograph
Ulysses Grant VI, the direct descendant of the more famous Civil War General and US President Ulysses S. Grant, believes that he has found the last photograph ever taken of Abraham Lincoln in his ancestor's private album.
Castle, Starring Nathan Fillion, Premieres on ABC TV
Castle, a comedy/murder mystery series starring Firefly's Nathan Fillion as the title character, a celebrity mystery writer, and Stana Katic as a New York City police detective, premiered Monday night on ABC.
Rush Limbaugh vs. Barack Obama
Supporters of President Barack Obama have been having sport with Rush Limbaugh, the famous radio talk show host, for repeatedly saying that he, Limbaugh, wants Obama to fail. Wanting the President of the United States to fail is now, it seems, treason.
James Madison, is seems, also wanted Barack Obama to fail two centuries or so before the fact.
Harry Knowles loved Sam Rockwell's Moon about a Helium 3 miner. Warning. Bad language and anti capitalist sentiments are expressed.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Alan Boyle's piece on the stem cell decision and the unseemly chest thumping going on at the Obama White House about the "return of scientific integrity" to government had this chilling bit:
Chris Mooney, author of "The Republican War on Science," said the memo breaks new ground by putting the White House's top science adviser in charge of guaranteeing scientific integrity at every federal agency. "It sounds like the people in the Cabinet will need to talk to him like an equal," Mooney said.

It's bad enough that Obama and his enablers in the media are still promulgating the myth of the "Republican War on Science", but the idea of John Holdren as tribune for scientific integrity is truly a frightening one. Holdren, as many may remember, was the friend of Paul Elrich and the hysteric who advocated mass sterilization and "de-industrialization" of technologically advanced societies. Holdren was also infamous for his command for climate change skeptics to shut up. So much for free scientific inquiry. Talking about an inmate running the asylum...
John Milius Between the Lines
John Milius, the director of such classics such as Red Dawn, The Wind and the Lion, and Conan the Barbarian, has written some of the best lines in modern film. Yet, because of his political beliefs he is somewhat underappreciated.
Obama Approves Embryonic Stem Cell Research
President Barack Obama has signed an executive order overturning the August, 2001 ban on federal funding for certain kinds of embryonic stem cell research. How one feels about the decision depends on how one feels about when human life begins.
Is Barack Obama a Socialist?
President Barack Obama is very sensitive about being called a socialist. Obama is so sensitive, in fact, that he called the New York Times from the Oval Office to clarify his previous answer to the question as to whether or not he is a socialist.
The Cynic's Sanctuary
Dwayne Day has a couple of interesting premises in his Phasing Dragon.
First, if the Chinese are working on a space station, it follows that they cannot also be contemplating a lunar program.
Second, if the Chhinese are not going to land a man on the Moon in 2010, they will not do so on any, later date.
North Korea to Test-Fire Long Range Missile
Tensions in Northeast Asia suddenly spiked when North Korea threatened a "counterstrike" against any country that attempts to shoot down a long range missile that it plans to test launch. North Korea calls the planned test launch a satellite test.

Plus: A space launch vehicle by any other name…
Jeff Foust asks Is the US serious about space policy?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Alec Baldwin, supply sider?
The launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter draws nigh.
Barack Obama "Overwhelmed" by Economic Crisis
Why did the Obama administration bungle the protocol for the state visit of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown? The Sunday Telegraph is suggesting an explanation that is bone chilling in its implications.
SNL: "The Rock Obama"
Saturday Night Live's most recent episode, hosted by Dwayne Johnson formerly known as "the Rock", attempted a little Barack Obama satire in a skit suggesting that when Obama gets angry he turns into "The Rock Obama", played Dwayne Johnson in black face.

Note, a commenter points out that Dwayne Johnson is part African Canadian, but I still maintain that his face was darkened through makeup a bit for the skit.
Apparently the Fullerton, California Tea Party was a huge success and had the biggest attendence yet.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Watchmen Film Review
It might be easy to dismiss Watchmen as some kind of kitschy 1980s polemic against Reagan and the dimly remembered threat of nuclear war people used to be afraid of dressed up as an alternate history super hero comic book. Watchmen is more than that, fortunately.
Barack Obama, the ICC, and American Citizens
The British newspaper The Telegraph is reporting that President Barack Obama is preparing to subject the United States to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. This possibility is making quite a number of Americans nervous and even outraged.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Kepler has launched successfully.

Addendum: More on Kepler Planet-Hunting Space Telescope Launches
The Kepler planet hunting space telescope has successfully launched from the Kennedy Space Center on board a Delta II rocket. When Kepler is settled in low Earth orbit it will spend three and a half years looking for Earth sized planets.
Looks like that Pluto is still a planet, at least in the state of Illinois.
'Burn Notice' Season Two Finale (Spoilers Included)
The second season finale of Burn Notice ended (literally) with a bang, which included a number of gun fights, a auto smashing car chase or two, several explosions, and a body count. The latter was distressing, to say the least, to super spy Michael Weston.

Beware. Spoilers abound below.
Barack Obama's Teleprompter Addiction
President Barack Obama's reliance on a teleprompter, which apparently travels with him at all times, is causing different reactions from different people. Some are calling Obama's reliance on a teleprompter an "addiction." Others insist that the kerfuffle is silly.
What Does Barack Obama Have Against Great Britain?
Does President Barack Obama harbor anti British feelings. Not just one, but three diplomatic slights inflicted upon America's oldest ally, would seem to indicate so. Or they might have been caused by Barack Obama's extreme narcissism.
Apparently a bill in Congress that would force all health care providers to provide abortions, may cause Catholic hospitals to close or engage in civil disobedience.
It looks like Obama is still having staffing problems for his governent Sanjay Gupta has now declined the offer to be Surgeon General.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Michelle Obama as Lady Macbeth who hates the English to boot?
Her broad-brush view of history associates Brits with the wicked white global hegemony responsible for the slave trade. Never mind that a white, Tory Englishman - William Wilberforce - brought the slave trade to an end. Judging by her record, Michelle does not make room for such subtle nuance.

Of course it was the Portuguese who started the African slave trade.
The Anchoress suggests that Rush and Obama debate to benefit a school voucher charity.
Jon Stewart Rants on CNBC, Rick Santelli
Ever since George W. Bush left the Presidency, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart has had difficulty finding someone to hate on. It now seems that Jon Stewart has found both a person and institution to occupy the first seven minutes of his show.
Chas Freeman Causes Embarrassment for Obama Administration
National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair has appointed Chas Freeman to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council. The Chas Freeman appointment is causing a huge embarrassment to the Obama administration.
Stephen Colbert: "Tell NASA to Name Space Station Node After Me"
NASA is soliciting the public for names for the Node 3 module for the International Space Station. So far the choices are Venture, Earthrise, Serenity, Legacy, and anything else. TV comic host Stephen Colbert has his own suggestion.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Harry Potter--Zionist propaganda. Who knew?
The Stimulus Logo and New Deal Nostalgia
The Obama administration has created a stimulus logo that will be the official government stamp of approval for all recovery projects funded by the stimulus package. Its design is somewhat evocative of the socialist realism symbols of the 1930s New Deal.
Amazon Kindle Books Available for iPhones
Amazon's vast collection of electronic books, hitherto readable only on its Kindle device, is now available for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch. The greatest innovation appears to be the ability to read the same book both on the Kindle reading device and the iPhone.
Russia Rejects Obama's Iran Gambit
Russian President Dimitry Medvedev responded to US President Barack Obama's offer to trade East European missile defense for help in curbing Iranian nuclear ambitions. Russia is interested in ending the missile defense program, but without linking it to Iran.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Mike Griffin, the once and future NASA administrator? I would take this rumor with a grain of salt.
Obama's Russian Gambit on Iran
The crisis created by Iran's nuclear program continues to vex the Obama administration. The purely diplomatic approach appears not to be working, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has privately admitted. And that leaves—what?
Asteroid 2009 DD45 Misses Earth
A small asteroid, designated 2009 DD45, passed the Earth at a distance of 46,000 miles, a near miss in terms of cosmic distances. Though asteroid 2009 DD45 was just about two hundred feet long, it might have impacted with the force of a nuclear blast.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Michael Steele Picks a Fight with Rush Limbaugh
Chairman of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele has angered quite a few people in the Republican Party by some harsh words he uttered about Rush Limbaugh during an interview on CNN.
Happy Casimir Pulaski Day 2009
What are the Prospects for Green Jobs?
According to CNN, there seems to be growing interest in people training for and apply for "green jobs," roughly defined as those jobs needed to support the nascent renewable energy industry. There are, of course, some caveats.
Obama's Big Push for National Health Care
Back in the early 1990s, the then Clinton Administration proposed a national system that would give every American access to health care. But as Americans came to realize the implications of a national health are bureaucracy, they wound up rejecting it.

Proving that there are no ideas that are so bad that they can't be revived at some point, President Barack Obama is proposing to allocated $635 billion over the next ten years to what he calls "health care reform" but what is actually a down payment for a nationalObama's Big Push for National Health Care health care system on the model of Canada and Great Britain.
Music that Makes You Dumb?
Is there "music that makes you dumb?" According to a CalTech grad student named Virgil Griffith there is. Griffith has conducted a somewhat unscientific study comparing music preferences of college students on Facebook with SAT scores.
Paul Ryan has alternative to Barack Obama's New Deal 2.0.
Dwayne Day remembers Silent Running, one of the most morally objectionable science fiction movies ever made.
The Kepler telescope designed to find other Earth like worlds is scheduled to launch this Friday. Jeff Foust discusses the search for other Earths.
Taylor Dinerman muses on the subject of space weapons and soft power.
Adrian Brown examines both the technical reasons and the budgetary reasons behind the delay of the Mars Science Laboratory.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

We haven't heard from George W. Bush lately. That is about to change.
Part two of a defense of human space flight by Paul Spudis.
Chang'e 1, China's first lunar probe, has impacted the Moon, thus ending its 16 month mission.
Paul Harvey - the Rest of the Story is Now Concluded
Paul Harvey, the venerable radio pioneer broadcaster, died at the age of 90 on February 28th, 2009. It can be safely said that there was no one like Paul Harvey on the air ways before and there will likely be no one like Paul Harvey afterwards.
Rush Limbaugh's Speech Before CPAC
Rush Limbaugh, the popular and controversial radio talk show host, delivered the headliner speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. on Saturday. The overflow crowd greeted him with great enthusiasm.
Obama Is Not Spock
Maureen Dowd's latest column had the predictable expressions of both Bush Derangement Syndrome and Obama Worship Disorder. But at the end Ms. Dowd's screed had an incredible claim. Barack Obama is Mr. Spock.

Addendum Or is he?