Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Glenn Beck Debuts 'The Blaze' News Site
Glenn Beck, the somewhat mercurial radio talk show host and Fox News personality, has unveiled the latest part of his media empire, a news and commentary site known as "The Blaze." Beck recently conducted a 'Restoring Honor Rally' in Washington.
Miss George Bush yet? Apparently they do in Ohio.
The Friday before appearing at Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, Sarah Palin celebrated Sabbath with some Jewish friends. As Bill Kristol so tartly stated:
So evangelical Christian Sarah Palin spent Friday night with (mostly) observant Jews, along with various Christians, including some Amish. Then on Saturday she spoke at a rally hosted by a Mormon who went out of his way in his remarks to refer to the important role of "churches, synagogues and mosques" in American life.

Early Monday morning, as it happened, I received an e-mail from (Catholic convert) Newt Gingrich from Rome, asking for contact information for a (Jewish) scholar whose book on certain (not very religious) enlightenment thinkers he was reading.

Welcome to today's intolerant, divisive, close-minded, and just plain scary American conservatism.
Fox's Greta Carlson Jousts with Obama's Robert Gibbs About Who Won in Iraq (Video)
Sudden Closure of Houston's Angelika Film Center Angers Independent Film Fans
The Angelika Film Center, a downtown Houston Movie Theater, suddenly closed its doors on Sunday, causing outrage among independent film aficionados. Typical was the reaction of a Houston film blogger named Marian Luntz.

Addendum: Angelika hopes to make another run in Houston
I know of of an old AMC theater that has been closed for a couple of years just across the street from my house. It could do for some work, but one suspects it could be brought up and running without too much trouble.
NASA Tests Five Segmented Solid Rocket Engine (Video)

Addendum: NASA seems to be falling behind a shuttle derived heavy lifter with an initial capacity in the 90-100 tonne range with human rating "deferred to block II."
Obama Iraq Speech to Take Place Against Background of Embarrassment and Peril
President Obama is set to address the nation on what he will call the end of combat operations in Iraq. The address will be made against a background of profound embarrassment and peril for the President, who opposed the very policy that led us to this point.
Sebelius: Americans Need 'Reeducation' on Health Care Reform
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has uttered a gaffe so profound that one wonders what planet she is living on. Sebelius recently opined that Americans need "reeducation" concerning health care reform.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Genetic Link to Migraines Discovered; Drug Treatments Possible
Scientists have found the gene that seems to link to common forms of migraine headaches. This discovery in turn has led to hopes that new drugs can be developed to treat this often debilitating malady.
A commercial gateway to the Moon
Can the Democrats Support the Bush Tax Cuts While Running Against the Bush Tax Cuts?
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has noticed a curious cognitive dissonance on the part of the congressional Democrats. While running against George W. Bush as the author of the current economic crisis, they are contemplating extending the Bush tax cuts.
NASA studying 'Plymouth Rock' mission to an asteroid for the 2020s
Apparently Machete really is a racist movie.
ATK and NASA will shortly rest fire a five segmented solid rocket booster that would have been part of the Ares.
A Chinese satellite has rendezvoused with another, older satellite. Some are guessing that this is a test of a space weapon.
'Mad Men' Season 4 Episode 6 'Waldorf Stories'
"Mad Men" Season 4 Episode 6 "Waldorf Stories" start with Don and Peggy conducting a job interview with a sad little man, a relative of Roger's, who would like to work in advertising. It turns out to be a bit of a joke.
'True Blood' Season 3 Episode 11 'Fresh Blood'
In "True Blood" Season 3 Episode 11 "Fresh Blood," two lives are marked for destruction, V juice causes problems, one man goes insane but is redeemed by sex, and a couple takes their relationship to the next level.
Barack Obama Annnoyed at Birther, Secret Muslim Rumors
President Barack Obama sat down with MSNBC's Brian Williams on Sunday for an interview. One great takeaway from the Obama interview is that the president is clearly affronted that many of his fellow Americans think he is a foreigner and a Muslim.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Louisianans: Bush Better on Katrina Than Obama on the Oil Spill
A Public Policy Polling survey taken of residents of Louisiana suggests that President George W. Bush's handling of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe is more admired that President Barack Obama's handling of the BP oil leak five years later.
Glenn Beck 'Restoring Honor' Rally Part Religious Revival, Part Patriotic Gathering
Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" took place forty seven years to the day that Martin Luther King proclaimed "I have a Dream" in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, before a crowd estimated to be in excess of half a million people.
Thus endeth the Restoring Honor rally.
The benediction prayer invokes the reflection pool, both the physical and the divine. Prays for the troops.
Tells the story of John Newton, the slave ship captain who repented and composed "Amazing Grace." Then a piper plays the song, with those present singing.
It's what we do from here that matters.
Time to start the heart of America.
The black robed regiment is back.
Not a fear monger, but warning about the Iceberg.
One man can change the world. That man or woman is you.
Everyone has the capacity for greatness, just like Lincoln, the founders, the pioneers, and the crew of Apollo 11.
Quotes Gettysburg Address.
Talks of veterans of Vietnam, Korea.
Beck: America's scars can crush or redeem us. Invokes Lincoln, Washington, and King.
Rally video invokes the Moon landing, the Wright Brothers, the Founders, voyaging into the unknown.
Hallelujah. God bless America. Thank you.
More singing of patriotic hymns.
I too have a dream.
Fiscal and moral poverty, but faith, hope, and love not dead.
Honoring men and women "like Uncle Martin." Suggests that Dr. King would approve of Restoring Honor rally. One human family.
Alveda King on again with remembrances of "Uncle Martin."
Unity. Let's walk together in unity.
Angelica Tucker sings about rebuilding, not just the "buildings that were lost."
King: Need to rebuild America.
Beck introduces Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Beck: More invocation of Dr. King, quest for justice, content of character. Not black and white, but right and wrong.
The Medal for Charity goes to Jon Huntsman, founder of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, various other charities.
Beck: Charity is love, is pure, and foundation of America. Invokes Statue of Liberty poem, Declaration of Independence. Talks about personal acts of charity.
Pujols thanks Jesus Christ for opportunity.
Badge of Merit for Hope to be awarded to Albert Pujols, baseball player and community activist, head of foundation.
Hope is the parent of faith and charity. Hope is the eternal flame, but must be based on truth and honor.
Talks about women in King's ministry.
C. L. Jackson invokes King I Have a Dream rally.
America like a river that gives us life and without it we cannot exist.
Medal for Faith. Discussion of faith from 1775, the original battles of the Revolutionary War, to Martin Luther Lincoln, to 9/11 and the War on Terror. Faith lost, but can be restored.

Honor like a precious stone, a sweet wind, a warrior who keeps his word.

Medal for Faith goes to Pastor C. L. Jackson, member of Texas Board of Criminal Justice, heard ML King I have a Dream speech.
Restoring honor by restoring heroes.
Discusses the history of the Medal of Merit. Suggests a Badge of Merit for civilians, will award to three.
Beck says we must be individuals of faith, hope, and charity.
Concludes with invoking American spirit of self sacrifice and endurance. God bless America!
Talks of Air Force pilot Tom Kirk, a POW in Hanoi Hilton, along with John McCain.
Talks of Marine James Eddie Wright who lost hands at Fallujah, but led his unit to safety.
How Marcus Luttrell showed mercy to Afghan goat herder, then fought Taliban, then got mercy from other Afghan villages as sole survivor of battle.
Tells true stories of American warriors.
For men and women in the military, honor was never lost.
Speaking as the mother of a soldier, not a politician.
Restore America and restore her honor.
Invokes Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, other battle fields.
Honors the ordinary who do extraordinary, the men and women in the military.
Feels the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Standing at the crossroads of history, in the midst of great monuments to Washington and Lincoln.
Introduces Sarah Palin as "A mother of someone in the military."
Beck talks about visits to Mount Vernon, National Cathedral.
Beck asks people to text donations to Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
Deb Argel-Bastian talks about son, Captain Derek Argel, KIA Iraq.
Col. John Carney (Ret) speaks about the work of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which helps children of fallen special ops vets get educations.
Honors the military as most trusted in America.
Beck now talks about heroes.
A prayer now about how God has inspired American history.
Introduces direct descendants of Mayflower Pilgrims and Native Americans who greeted them.
Native Americans and Pilgrims "God's chosen people."
Relates America to the Hebrew exodus from Egypt.
Beck makes a joke that the media says there are over a thousand people there. Considerably more, I think. "Something beyond imagination is happening."
Glenn Beck takes the stage to the ovation of the crowd.
The Glenn Beck Restoring Honor Rally starts with a pledge of allegiance and a rendition of the National Anthem.
It looks like the EPA will not try to ban lead bullets after all.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Email and Its Discontents: Spam, Information, and the Nigerian Bank Scam
One of the great drudgeries of modern life is going through one's email. Email is a great way to communicate, both a blessing and a curse. It is strange that something that did not exist twenty years ago is now indispensable.
General Petraeus is an Enya fan and likes Celtic music.
How much does NASA spending stimulate the economy? The National Journal suggests no one knows but it appears that there is some stimulus, ranging from 14 to 1 to 2 to 1. Still better than most government programs. One wonders given the documentation why the Obama administration hasn't given more thought to using NASA as part of its spending stimulus program.
The final solution to the Palestinian Israeli conflict.
Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Honor' Rally - Some Helpful Hints (Video) and

Alevda King is Speaking at the Glenn Beck 'Restoring Honor' Rally
Is Black Rice the New Healthy Super Food?
A study released to the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) revealed that black rice, while cheaper than blueberries, "has more anthocyanin antioxidants, vitamin E antioxidants, less sugar and more fiber than blueberries."

Addendum: Black Rice Mango Pudding (Video)
'Futurama' Season 6 Episode 12 'Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences'
In "Futurama" Season 6 Episode 12 "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences," Lrrr, the giant green monster lord of terror and all-powerful conqueror, has a problem. His wife is really beginning to get on his nerves.
Republicans Trusted More that Democrats on Key Issues, Rasmussen Reports
Rasmussen is reporting the results of a survey that Republicans are beating Democrats on 10 key issues over which Party is most trusted to deal with them. That includes traditionally Democratic issues like education, health care, and social security.
'Burn Notice' Season 4 Episode 12 'Guilty as Charged'
In "Burn Notice" Season 4 Episode 12 "Guilty as Charged," Michael, Fi, and Sam start with three problems. First they have to lay hands on Barrett, the evil corporate CEO who finances wars and assassinations around the world.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why does NASA like cost plus contracts? Here is an explanation.
Despite top-down pressure on agencies not to use cost reimbursement contracts, they nonetheless remain popular in no small part because they allow agencies to skirt around funding uncertainties caused when Congress fails to approve annual spending bills by the start of the federal fiscal year. Under those conditions, it's far easier to start work with a cost reimbursement contract to which money can be added incrementally, than with a fixed price contract.
Season 9 of 'Family Guy' Preview
Bobby Bright Distances Himself from Nancy Pelosi by Joking About Her Death
Congressman Bobby Bright (D-Alabama) is likely one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, representing a nominally Republican district in the South. But Bright's joking about the death of Speaker Nancy Pelosi likely went too far.
Alan Simpson, of the National Debt Commission, Causes Outrage and Consternation
Recent comments by Alan Simpson, a former senator from Wyoming and current co-chair of President Obama's debt commission, are causing outrage and consternation from liberal and elder groups.
EPA Considering Banning Lead Bullets
The EPA is apparently considering banning ammunition made out of lead, the idea being that it is an environmental hazard. One cannot decide whether this is an end run around the Second Amendment, or just another example of environmental lunacy.
Bryan Glover, Tennessee Football Coach, Loses Job Over Anti-Obama Song
A football coach at the Grassland Middle School in Tennessee wrote a satirical song titled "If You're Holding a Hammer (Everything Looks Like a Nail)" and sent a link to it to everyone in his personal e-mail address book, including parents of students.
Glenn Beck's 'Restoring America's Honor' Rally Causes Controversy
Radio talk show host and Fox TV personality Glenn Beck is planning what he calls a rally to restore America's honor to take place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial this Saturday. And there is where the controversy lies for some people.
A little bit of might have been, who were some of the other actors considered for roles on Star Trek: Next Gen? Most interesting casting idea, Wesley Snipes as Geordie.
Jon Goff, in his own Middle School smart ass way, offers this bit of analysis.
This is all amusing, because the only reason Bolden was picked was because Congress thought he was going to be a shuttle-hugging lapdog for Congressional interests. That because he had been an astronaut, and had flown Nelson on the Shuttle that somehow he’d be easy to control to keep the pork flowing to their district. There were several other potential people for administrator who were probably more qualified, who “had skill in executing space exploration programs” (like say Steve Isakowitz), who were passed over explicitly because Congress didn’t want someone who knew what they were doing.

The problem is Congress (and most NASA fanboys) still don’t want an administrator who is actually innovative and knows what they’re doing. Because a NASA admin who knew what they were doing would do an even better job of pointing out how stupid it is to design an HLV *right now* when you don’t even know what the mission for it is, won’t have any hardware to use it, and will be stuck paying for it for decades to come. They want the status quo to continue so they can keep using NASA as a way to funnel benefits to their constituents at the nation’s expense.

Somewhat wide of the mark, of course.

Charles Bolden had two qualities that the Administration cherished.

The first was the ability to do as he was told. Bolden was not in the loop when the Obama space policy was formulated in secret, but he did salute like a good Marine and set out trying to implement it. Mind, sometimes he was a little too enthusiastic, such as when he offered his "mission to the Muslims" gaffe or when he used a little legal trickery to curtail Constellation when Congress specifically told him not to.

The second was that he had a personal relationship with Bill Nelson, so the Administration supposed that Bolden could sell Obamaspace to the Congress. That turned out to be a false hope indeed. The sad truth is that Don Draper could not have sold Obamaspace. Between canceling space exploration and using NASA as a cash cow for what used to be commercial space, but will now be wards of the state, the plan turned out to be a stench in the nostrils of just about everyone outside the Internet Rocketeer Club.

Instead of heralding a new age of "innovation", the Administration has placed NASA on autopilot, awaiting the next President to sort things out.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

OMG, this is perverted in so many ways.
Some people have been jumping up and down and pointing at a post about popular support or lack thereof of lunar exploration dating back to Apollo, likely with a view that this "proves" that any program of lunar exploration is a nonstarter. But it is only in one of the comments where one gets some perspective:
You are certainly right that most people have a poor understanding of how much money is spent on NASA and human spaceflight. This certainly has affected public perceptions. For example, A poll in 1997 indicated that Americans believed that NASA’s share of the federal budget was 20 percent. Had this been true, NASA’s budget in 1997 would have been $328 billion, whereas it was only about $14 billion. If NASA had that amount of money it would have been able to undertake a program to send humans to Mars.

That suggests that Americans are still woefully uninformed about the true cost of space exploration, including Apollo. Hyperventilation about how costly and "unsustainable" space exploration is in the blogosphere is certainly not helpful.

I would like to see a poll that has a before and after question, the after being after a question that asks how much the person being polled thinks NASA costs and a repeat of the question "Do you support increasing or decreasing NASA funding?" One suspects that the results would be illuminating.
Happy birthday Sean Connery
New York Imposes Sliced Bagel Tax
The latest outrage to be inflicted by a local or state government on its long-suffering citizens has been perpetrated on the people of New York State. New York has slapped an eight-cent tax on every "sliced or prepared bagel" consumed where it is purchased.
Jim Miekka is a Blind Marksman (Video)
Frank Sietzen asks, Should Congress Design the Next Big Booster?
"The Committee anticipates that in order to meet the specified vehicle capabilities and requirements, the most cost-effective and 'evolvable' design concept is likely to follow what is known as an 'in-line' vehicle design, with a large center tank structure with attached multiple liquid propulsion engines and, at a minimum, two solid rocket motors composed of at least four segments being attached to the tank structure to form the core, initial stage of the propulsion vehicle. The Committee will closely monitor NASA's early planning and design efforts to ensure compliance with the intent of this section."

Say what?

As near as I could find, this is the most specific instructions ever passed along to NASA as to the technical merits and specifics for a space vehicle configuration.

A commenter named Robert B. has a great answer:
Congress doesn't trust NASA's administrators to follow the will of Congress. The admins have proven that they will use the letter of the law to circumvent the intent of Congress. So Congress feels they need to be very specific about what they want done, to the point of being too specific. I don't blame Congress, but it's less than optimal I agree.

I think we need new NASA administrators once Congress has passed this budget. The current admins were picked in order to dismantle Constellation and move Obamaspace forward. Now that's over with, we need administrators who are skilled in executing a space exploration program, and that Congress can trust.
'Covert Affairs' Season 1 Episode 7 'Communications Breakdown'
"Covert Affairs" Season 1 Episode 7 "Communications Breakdown" is an Auggie-centric episode in which the show employs a time-honored device of bringing in a long lost person from a main cast member's past to make trouble.
Primary election roundup:

Possible Upset of Lisa Murkowski by Joe Miller in Alaska Primary

2010 Arizona Primary Results in John McCain Victory

Rick Scott, Kendrick Meek Win 2010 Florida Primary Election
Creepy Encounter Between Palins and 'Hawk' at Alaska Air Port (Video)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Danish Astronaut Prepares to Go into Space
Denmark, one of the countries where the bold Vikings first sailed from the trade, explore, and on accession raid their neighbors may well become the next to put a man in space. The project is not run by any government, nor even a commercial enterprise.
Iranian Regime Beginning to Crack Up
The imminent collapse of the Iranian regime has been predicted so often in the past few years, that one assumes the attitude of, "Let me know when they hang Ahmadinejad from the nearest minaret." But Michael Leeden does see some cracks developing.
Paul Spudis has some thoughts about what space travel costs too much (hint, not stupid NASA bureaucrats) and what can be done about it. Refreshing, original thinking as always that will be bitterly attacked by the Internet Rocketeer Club.

Addendum: As predicted, Clark Lindsey trots out a surprising number of straw men and fallacies to suggest that we can't possibly ever go back to the Moon until some mythic goal of Cheap Access to Space is obtained. Unfortunately cheap access to anywhere is not going to be likely until a market is created for regular service to and from that destination. The cost of space travel is determined by flight rate. The higher the flight rate, the more likely Paul's idea of automating space craft production makes sense.

For the Moon, that suggests a lunar settlement as a driver for space travel. And that means that there is no way around going through the bother and expense of setting up a lunar settlement before the cost of traveling to and from the Moon can come down. If we don't want to go through that bother and expense, we simply don't want to go back to the Moon--ever.
Nevada 2010 Senate race: Harry Reid in dogfight against Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle
2010 California governor's race pits political veteran Jerry Brown against political newcomer Meg Whitman
When You're Holding a Hammer (Everything Looks like a Nail) (Video)
'Star Wars' - the Silent Movie Version (Video)
Rand Simberg examines some of the commercial space craft contemplated for low Earth orbit flight, along with the Orion. Interesting that he thinks that SpaceX's Dragon (or perhaps a version thereof) could go beyond LEO.
The Great Vampire Menace, as Explained by Reverend Steve Newlin on 'True Blood'
How Obama Space Policy Supporters Do Not Get It
Bob Werb of the Space Frontier Foundation has written a piece that suggests Obama space supporters just don't understand the opposition to the Obama space policy. Instead of trying to understand, Werb chose instead to stereotype.
Will Barack Obama Run Again in 2012?
The 2010 midterm elections have not occurred yet, and already some are speculating whether President Barack Obama will run for a second term or not. The idea is primarily being pushed by right-wing bloggers and pundits -- for the time being.
Hitler Had Jewish, African Roots DNA Tests Suggest
Recent DNA tests of relatives of Adolf Hitler suggest that the Fuehrer of Nazi Germany, whose ideology was based on the primacy of "racial purity" and the existence of a master race and the extermination of "lesser races", had Jewish and African roots.
Clint Howard Stars in 'Where's My Congressman?'

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mad Men Asks "Who the Hell is Dr. Lyle Evans?"
One of the highlights of "Mad Men's" most recent episode, "'The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" occurred when Roger Sterling, in the midst of a racist rant against some Japanese clients, declared, "Why don't we bring Dr.Lyle Evans in here?"
China Traffic Jam Stretches Sixty Miles
In China, a traffic jam seems to have developed along G110, s highway from Beijing to Zhangjiakou. The sixty mile tie up started on August 14th and is expected to last until September 13th when some construction is scheduled to be completed.
The LA Times Wants to Blacklist Ernest Borgnine for Not Wanting to See 'Brokeback Mountain'
That people expressing politically incorrect views are subject to an unofficial blacklist in Hollywood has been an open secret for some years. The latest actor to be criticized, not for his acting talent, but for his taste in movies, is Ernest Borgnine.
Cheap 'plug and play' home solar unit being developed for $799-$3000
NASA prepares exploration exercise:
While the debate over the future of human space exploration simmers in Washington, dozens of NASA engineers, scientists and astronauts will gather on the lunar-like terrain of northern Arizona to field-test planetary rovers, a portable habitat, charging stations and geological tools under development for missions to a range of potential destinations, including near-Earth objects (NEOs) and Mars as well as the Moon.
Because it's there
'Mad Men' Season 4 Episode 5 'The Chrysanthemum and the Sword'
In "Mad Men" Season 4 Episode 5 "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword," the firm woos its first Japanese client. In the meantime, Sally Draper begins to experience her first flower of womanhood at age 10, much to the disgust of her mother.
'True Blood' Season 3 Episode 10 'I Smell a Rat'
n "True Blood" Season 3 Episode 10 "I Smell a Rat," we finally learn the source of Sookie's powers. She is, in the parlance of the Southern Vampire Universe, part Fae. There is another term for it that Tolkien fans are familiar with.
Philadelphia Charging Bloggers $300 'Business Privilege License'
Apparently, the city of Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was written and where America was born, wants to slap a $300 "business privilege license" for bloggers, whether they make money on their blogs or not.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

There seems to be some consternation that a Congressional staffer has tweeted what most of the world knows. NASA is being run by idiots. Saddest is the post in the comments section by Jim Muncy.
I've known Ken since 1995, when he was a congressional fellow for Rep. Dave Weldon from KSC.

Unfortunately, Ken is reflecting the general tone of many from my party in Congress: overall disgust with the President... just like many House Democrats demonstrated towards Bush43 from 2003 thru 2008.

Hell, I can barely read some of the comment streams in space blogs these days, because they devolve instantly to partisan/ideological strife. Space policy has become just another proxy for Obama vs. Palin, Pelosi vs. Boehner, etc...

When I had Ken's job until a decade ago, I was lucky enough to have the freedom to reach out to Democrats to try to build coalitions for good initiatives. In 1996 I even attended a fundraiser for George Brown, the Ranking Democrat on the committee, because I respected his passionate support for science and openness to commercial ideas.

President Obama is wrong about a lot of things, but he's still the President. And, in my view, by actually confronting the reality of Project Constellation's fiscal trajectory, the President has embraced many ideas that my party advocated as recently as Sean O'Keefe's tenure at NASA.

They are ideas that Ranking Member Hall, former Chairman Sensenbrenner, and others on the GOP side have supported frequently throughout their careers.

I once thought Ken supported them too. I guess I was wrong.

- Jim

There are a number of things just wide of the mark here.

First, when President Obama essentially throws a hand grenade into the civil space program, causing chaos, confusion, and acrimony, of course there is going to be resentment and finger pointing. But that seems to be bi-partisan, especially in the Congressional committees. Obamaspace is a fail of epic proportions.

Second, I wish people would stop about how wonderful the commercial initiative is. It is one thing to provide a little seed money to encourage the development of commercial launch systems, as in COTS, which most everyone supported. It is another thing to have the government as principle investor and sole customer of "commercial" launch systems. This is not capitalism as I know it. It is Asian style crony capitalism of the worse sort and the people who, like Muncy, support it will live to regret it,
Van Gogh Painting 'Poppy Flowers' Stolen, Recovered from Same Museum
Having a famous painting stolen from is certainly embarrassing. That the painting was "Poppy Flowers" by Vincent Van Gogh compounds the embarrassment. That the theft happened before with the same painting from the same museum suggests a problem.

Addendum: Still missing.
After President Obama tossed a hand grenade into the US civil space program, many people have bee scrambling to find ways to pick up the pieces and get things working again, Scott Spencer and Christopher C. Kraft JR. have interesting idea.
Our proposal is for the development of a modular, reusable Planetary Transport Vehicle (PTV) System for manned landings on the moon, Mars and asteroids. The modular components of the PTV spacecraft would be designed to fit in the cargo bay of the space shuttle to be flown to a spaceport at the International Space Station or a more efficient low Earth orbit location for assembly in Earth orbit.

Designed as an exo- atmospheric spacecraft, reusable PTV landers would operate successive missions entirely in space, traveling to the moon and Mars from the Earth orbit spaceport then returning to the spaceport to be serviced for the next mission. Shuttles and commercial spacecraft would ferry crews back and forth to the PTV spaceport in Earth orbit.

Eliminating the need to launch every moon or Mars lander from the surface of the Earth generates considerable savings in fuel. The reusable PTV also eliminates the expense of throwaway spacecraft and rocket boosters. Modular components of the PTV system create the opportunity to realize additional savings by encouraging funding and construction participation from our foreign-nation partners on the space station to share the costs of international planetary exploration.

As a reusable spacecraft, PTV landers will operate with a high degree of service-proven reliability. This will provide the proficiency and redundancy essential for the success of repeated landings on the moon and Mars.

The PTV spacecraft fleet, supported by the space shuttle assembly missions and the return to Earth of PTV modules when needed for repair, refurbishment or replacement, will also create a significant market for commercial spacecraft to ferry crews, supplies and fuel to the PTV spaceport in Earth orbit.

Given the modular simplicity of the PTV spacecraft landers, it is conceivable that our nation could mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with the resumption of lunar flights in 2019. An asteroid flight in 2025, establishing a permanent base on the moon to celebrate our nation's 250th birthday in 2026 and a mission to land on Mars by 2035 would be more feasible goals with the experience gained from utilizing the PTV spacecraft.

This is the course that our country should follow into space for the next decade to the moon, Mars and beyond.

There are quite a few details missing from this concept and certainly a few weak points, not the least of which is the expensive and bother of keeping the shuttle fleet flying. But the idea of keeping the space travel/landing parts of a ship in space is an interesting one. If ISS is not suitable for a space port, perhaps a commercial space port could be built instead. No doubt there are a number of other tweeks the concept will need.

Addendum: The Planetary Transport Vehicle: an idea for travel to the Moon and Mars (Part 1)

The Planetary Transport Vehicle: an idea for travel to the Moon and Mars (Part 2)

Note: The top two links are hosed due to some bug at the Examiner. Try This link for the time being until I get get it fixed.

Early Evening: Fixed.

Addendum 2: Clark Lindsey is being pretty delusional when he posts things like this:
That's a great idea and is exactly the sort of in-space technology development that the Administration's proposed plan aims for NASA to do.

Clark must have read some other Obama space policy, because I do not recall anything about space ports and planetary transports in it. Mind, I think (as I say in the analysis piece) the shuttle part is a non starter. But that might means a shuttle derived heavy lifter of some sort will still be needed. There needs to be some fleshing out of the idea before we come to any conclusions.
Firs fan review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A slutty, nerdy girl sings of her love/lust for Ray Bradbury. Warning: Very bad language.
Code Pink, pure evil.
Lori Garver: NASA Loves Heavy Lift, Resigned to Congressional Version of Space Program
Recently Lori Garver, the Deputy Director of NASA, sat down with the editorial board of the Huntsville Times to discuss the future of the space agency and to offer a post mortem on the attempt by the Obama administration to reinvent the space program.
Is 'The Expendables' Too Patriotic>
Sylvester Stallone is being obliged to defend his new hit movie, "The Expendables", from a curious charge from the LA Times. It seems that "The Expendables" is far too pro American to suit the mainstream media
Clues About 'Bones' New Season Revealed by Emily Deschanel, AKA Temperance Brennan
Recently Emily Deschanel, who plays Dr. Temperance Brennan on the hit TV series "Bones" about a forensic anthropologist who solves crimes while working at the fictional "Jeffersonian Institution" talked about the upcoming season.

Friday, August 20, 2010

NASA is Having a Song Contest
It's a NASA tradition to begin the space shuttle crew's wake period with a song, usually with lyrics having to do with space. To commemorate the winding down of the space shuttle program, NASA is conducting a Song Contest.
Saudi Man May Be Paralyzed by Court Order, Punishment for Paralyzing Man in Fight
A Saudi judge is weighing the possibility of inflicting an "eye for an eye" punishment on a Saudi man convicted of paralyzing another man in a cleaver attack. The judge is sending inquiries about medically severing the convicted man's spine.
'Burn Notice's' Matt Nix Discusses 'Blind Spot' Episode
Four leaders of the Planetary Society has sent a strange letter to House and Senate space leaders advocating Obamaspace and damning the various Congressional alternatives.

One wonders what these gentlemen are thinking about in supporting a program that smothers commercial space with government subsidies and eschews real space exploration. One suspects that there is a political agenda in play here that has little to do with space.
'Burn Notice' Season 4 Episode 11 'Blind Spot'
In "Burn Notice" Season 4 Episode 11 "Blind Spot," Michael and Jesse, having gotten the name of the Evil Rich Guy, played in the episode by Robert Patrick (Terminator 2, The X Files), who is behind the latest conspiracy now intend to reel him in.
'Futurama' Season 6 Episode 10 'The Prisoner of Benda'
"Futurama" Season 6 Episode 10 "The Prisoner of Benda" takes an old science fiction theme of introducing a new technology and then standing back to watch how people use it to screw themselves up.
Construction Worker Boycott of 9/11 Mosque
The debate over the 9/11, or Ground Zero, Mosque took another turn as a growing number of construction workers are taking a pledge not to work on the building of the mosque planned for a short distance away from where the World Trade Center once stood.
George W. Bush Welcomes Soldiers Home from the Wars at DFW (Video)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pulling a Tooth with a Rocket (Video)
From the fertile mind of Newt Gingrich, free cities, a way to fight terrorism, promote freedom, and buttress economic growth.
Ann Coulter Speech at HomoCon Shows Conservatives Turning More Gay-Friendly
The decision by Ann Coulter to speak to a group of conservative gays called GoProud at an event called HomoCon 2010 is revealing a certain nuanced view toward gays and gay rights by many conservatives, especially younger ones.
The Incredible Shrinking Moon

More from Paul Spudis.
Obama Endorsement Toxic to Democratic Candidates -- In Illinois as Well
Reid Wilson at Hotline On Call has concluded that President Barack Obama has become an impediment to Democratic incumbents who are desperately trying to stay in office against an undertow of voter outrage:
Obama is a Muslim, Say 18 Percent of Americans; 43 Percent Not Sure
A new Pew Poll shows that 18 percent of Americans hold the belief that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, up sharply from 11 percent in a similar poll taken in March 2009. More interesting, 43 percent of Americans are not sure of the President's religion.
The 19th Amendment, Sarah Palin, and Prospects for 2012
The 19th Amendment turned 90 on Wednesday, and none celebrated it more than Sarah Palin, who has endorsed a number of female candidates in this election cycle and is often mentioned herself as a potential President of the United States.
'Star Wars' Fans to NASA: 'Dude, Where's Our Hyper Drive?
Demonstrating the gap between how space travel is depicted in the movies and on TV and teh reality, at a recent "Star Wars" convention, "Star Wars" fans and filmmakers demanded of a number of NASA representatives when NASA will develop a hyper drive.
Howard Dean - Move 9/11 Mosque (Video)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Now there are six unmanned missions in China's lunar manifest.
What a heavy lift launcher, absolutely essential for any exploration beyond LEO, would look like.
Star Wars fans demand a hyper drive the better to explore the stars.

Obama will likely veto the idea because Luke, Han, and Leia, not to mention Captain Kirk, have already been there.
9/11 Families Speak Out Against the Ground Zero Mosque
Ann Althouse weighs in on the Avastin death panel.
9/11 Mosque Supporters Beg George W. Bush to Speak Out
The controversy surrounding the 9/11 Mosque has become so hot that proponents, who are being hurt by their support, are beginning to become desperate to find a solution. How desperate do you ask? Byron York provides an answer.
Nancy Pelosi Wants to Investigate 9/11 Mosque Opponents
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has weighed in on the 9/11 Mosque controversy in a decidedly chilling way. Pelosi told a San Francisco radio station that the opponents of the 9/11 Mosque need to be investigated.
Blagojevich Verdict: Guilty on One Count, Hung Jury on Other 23
Rod Blagojevich, the ex-governor of Illinois, has been found guilty of just one of the 24 counts of which he had been charged, making false statements. The maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
'Covert Affairs' Season 1 Episode 6 'Houses of the Holy'
In "Covert Affairs" Season 1 Episode 6 "Houses of the Holy," Annie Walker has her most perilous assignment yet. She has to spy on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Meanwhile, Auggie is directing his old unit in a smash-and-grab op.
Rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Destroyed on 9/11, Stymied by Bureaucrats
While the controversy concerning the 9/11 Mosque continues to rage unabated, a new scandal concerning St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, destroyed during the 9/11 attacks, has arisen. It seems to be a case of bureaucratic double standards.
Dick Armey and Jon Stewart Joust About the Tea Party (Video)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

China completes space station module Tiangong-1 planned for 2011 launch
Boston-Power to provide lithium ion batteries for NASA lunar robot
Tom Delay Free of Federal Investigation
HOUSTON — Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay's five year battle against ethics charges reached a new stage when he received word that a Justice Department investigation of his relationship with Jack Abramoff has concluded with no charges filed.
The Beloit College List for the Class of 2014
Beloit College has released its "Mindset List for the Class of 2014," which lists a number of cultural references for incoming freshmen at various colleges and universities. Some items on the list will disturb people over 20. Others will amuse.
OpenLuna wants to return to the Moon privately, even if Buzz Aldrin has already been there.
Emily's List Unloads on Sarah Palin
Emily's List is a radical feminist organization that raises money for radical feminist political candidates. Emily's List now has a new target for its ire. Is it an administration that wants women to die of agony from breast cancer? Of course not. It's Sarah Palin.
ATHLETE: NASA's Dancing Lunar Rover (Video)
John Birmingham's latest novel is out:

Harry Reid, at Sharron Angle's Urging, Opposes 9/11 Mosque
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has come out against the 9/11 Mosque, the most intelligent thing he has done since the Democrats took over Congress in 2006. The catch is that Reid did so only after his opponent, Sharron Angle, demanded it.
FDA to Withdraw Approval of Avastin for Breast Cancer
An impending decision by the Food and Drug Administration to rescind its earlier approval of the drug Avastin for women with advanced breast cancer has stoked fears that "death panels" -- once predicted by Sarah Palin -- have arrived under Obamacare.

Addendum: The Avastin Mugging.
Ray Bradbury is always entertaining. He is for space colonies, mad at Obama, but against cell phones and ebooks.
Will Obama be a one term President? He might last that long.
Bill Nelson is proposing tax breaks for commercial space firms by setting up enterprise zones in areas like the Kennedy Space Center. This is a decently good idea, albeit being proposed late in this Congress. It also doesn't seem to incorporate Dana Rohrabacher's "Zero G Zero Taxes" idea that would make space itself an enterprise zone.

Likely will not pass this year, but it might open the door for better legislation in the next Congress.
There are a number of takeaways from this Space News article about the Senate NASA bill and the heavy lift vehicle it proposes.

First, unlike the hyper ventilated blatherings of some the the Internet Rocketeer Club, the Senate is not "designing" a launch vehicle. It is setting down detailed requirements, just as any customer would for a new product.

Second, Muncy is likely right that the Senate bill is not allocating enough money to build a rocket that does everything the Senate wants it to do on the schedule the Senate desires. The HLV also seems, at least in its initial form, to be over powered to take people to LEO and under powered to take people beyond LEO.


Third, this is the inevitable result of what President Obama did to our space program. NASA has already designed a launch system to take people beyond LEO in the Ares family. All the Obama administration did was promise more studies for another launch system somewhere down the road.

A child could have informed the smart people advising the President that this would be unacceptable to the Congress. And lacking any other plan, Congress is now setting out, in its imperfect way, to develop one on their own.

Obama has the power to fix this. He could sit down with Congressional space leaders and hammer out some sort of sensible plan with a realistic budget. But he won't and what happens later will be on him.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Part one of a new biography of Robert Heinlein is out:
James J. Kilpatrick, Writer, Pundit, Media Star Dead at 89
James Jackson Kilpatrick was a media pundit pioneer, first to prominence in the 1950s, and then by the 1970s becoming a media super star in the pre cable news era. Kilpatrick has died of heart failure at the age of 89.
Nevada 2010 Senate Race: Harry Reid in Dogfight Against Tea Party Favorite Sharron Angle
Ronald Reagan Admonishes Obama, Democrats (Video)
Only in America
Hamas Endorses 9/11 Mosque
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a leader of the terrorist organization Hamas, has joined in the controversy over the 9/11 Mosque. It is the position of Hamas that the 9/11 Mosque be built, but not, as one might suspect, as a sign of tolerance and ecumenical good will.
Obama Gets the 'Steven Slater Treatment'
Melissa Bean, the Townhall, and the Big, Scary Guy (Video)
Is SpaceX's most important project not the Falcon family of launch vehicles, but rather the Merlin engines that propel them? Also, where now the British aerospace industry?
'True Blood' Season 3 Episode 9 'Everything is Broken'
The beginning of "True Blood" Season 3 Episode 9 "Everything is Broken" proves that, if there is anything greater than makeup sex, it is avoiding-getting-killed sex. Sookie is even kind of mellow about, once again, having to dispose of a body.
'Mad Men' Season 4 Episode 4 'The Rejected'
"Mad Men" Season 4 Episode 4 "The Rejected" contains a look at how advertising worked in the mid 1960s. Don and Roger are on a conference call with the folks from Lucky Strike going over the new restrictions on cigarette advertising.
Aarti Sequeira is 'The Next Food Network Star'
"The Next Food Network Star" is Aarti Sequeira, "a former CNN producer who later trained at The New School of Cooking in Los Angeles, experiments adventurously with Indian
flavors and incorporates them into American classics.
The Jon Stewart (Imperial) Stormtrooper Action Figure

That explains a lot.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

'Return of the Jedi' Missing Scene (Video)
Obama 'Clarification' Fails to Halt 9/11 Mosque Controversy
President Barack Obama is now attempting to "clarify" his remarks at a White House dinner on Friday in which he expressed approval of the so-called 9/11 Mosque planned for a site just a few hundred steps from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.
Will the way to connect with aliens not be science and math, but rather art and music?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Teddy Roosevelt and the Mama Grizzly (Video)
Robonaut 2 prepared to fly to International Space Station for NASA's STS 133
'The Expendables' Film Review
In describing "The Expendables", the retro, 1980s style action picture directed by, written by, and starring Sylvester Stallone, it is almost useless to try to describe the plot, which is threadbare in any case. That tends to get in the way of the fun stuff.
Barack Obama Endorses 9/11 Mosque
President Barack Obama specifically endorsed the 9/11 Mosque at a White House Iftar dinner (the meal enjoyed by Muslims after the sun sets during Ramadan). In so doing he choose "tolerance" over sensitivity to the victims of 9/11.

Addendum: Rand Simberg provides a great series of links expressing outrage over the President's cravenness.

Friday, August 13, 2010

An eight year old Mini Monet
'Burn Notice's' Matt Nix Discusses 'Hard Time' Episode
Let me get this straight. George W. Bush reads dozens of books in a year. Obama reads hardly any books. And yet Bush if the doofus and Obama the intellectual?
Alvin Greene, Democratic Senate Candidate, Indicted on Porn Charge
Alvin Greene, an unemployed military vet, has proved to be an embarrassment to the Democratic Party establishment ever since he unexpectedly won the nomination for US Senate in
South Carolina over a more mainstream politician.
2050: Journey to Southwest China the region formerly known as Afghanistan.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger Says the 'N Word,' Then Kind of Wishes She Hadn't
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a conservative radio talk show host who listens to peoples' problems and then either gives advice or berates them for being doofuses. Now Dr. Laura is in trouble for using one of the words you should not say ever on the air.
Levi Johnson is a Mouse (Video)
Israel as a space and satellite superpower
Harry Reid Tried to Ban 'Anchor Babies' in 1993
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been courting the Hispanic vote rather vigorously, even going so far as to suggest that no Hispanic could reasonably be a Republican. But now Reid has a problem, dating back from a bill he introduced in 1993.
Democrats Used to Love the WWE (Video)
'Futurama' Season 6 Episode 9 'A Clockwork Origin'
"Futurama" Season 6 Episode 9 "A Clockwork Origin" starts out as a tiresome polemic against rabid creationists. But then the first twist comes in the form of the leader of the 31st Century creationists in the form of an intelligent orangutan.
'Burn Notice' Season 4 Episode 10 'Hard Time'
In "Burn Notice" Season 4 Episode 10 "Hard Time," Michael met Simon for the first time in months in order to find out about the Bible code. Simon snarkily asked if Michael took solace in the Word of the Lord.
The New Hampshire Democrats want Sarah Palin Dead kerfuffle continues, but with a twist. State Rep. Timothy Horrigan is being forced to resign for wanting Sarah Palin to live, albeit it for a snarky reason.
"Well a dead Palin wd be even more dangerous than a live one...she is all about her myth & if she was dead she cldn't commit any more gaffes," Horrigan wrote.

Horrigon does seem to know a lot about gaffes.
Joe Donnelly Doesn't Work for the 'Washington Crowd'
And you though the B 17 was a flying fortress. I'm surprised that monster got off the ground 11 times before crashing.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Harry Reid Can't Understand 'How Anyone of Hispanic Heritage Could Be a Republican'
Senate majority leader Harry Reid finds himself in a pickle for a statement he made recently about Hispanics and Republicans at a campaign event. Reid is in a tight race with Sharron Angle for reelection.
Blaming Bush and Why it Won't Work
One of the curious gambits Barack Obama and other Democrats are trying to stave off the political calamity that now confronts them is to blame former President George W. Bush for the bad economy over a year a half after his leaving office.
Glenn Beck on Gay Marriage and Abortion (Video)
Star Trek vet Byron Fuller to develop 'Lotus Caves' lunar adventure by John Christopher for SyFy
Apparently there are only three asteroids that can be reached between 2020 and 2050 and all of them require heavy lift.
Report : Obama May Meet with Ahmadinejad
According to his National Security Adviser Jim Jones, President Barack Obama may actually be willing to meet with Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "if the regime
resumed negotiations over its nuclear programme," according to The Telegraph.
Michael Bennet Faces the Barack Obama Problem
Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), appointed to fill the term of Kenneth Salazar after he was appointed Secretary of the Interior, is wondering what to do about the main problem facing Democrats running in 2010: President Barack Obama.
Rand Simberg invokes the society depicted in Star Ship Troopers as a model for our times. There is a fatal flaw in Heinlein's imaginary society. Do we really want to restrict the franchise to government bureaucrats, even if they do include members of the military? Think about the spectacle of people voting themselves pay raises and other perks and the toiling masses, with no say in the matter, have to fork over to pay for it.
Alan Grayson - Robert Gibbs 'Bozo the Spokesman'
Jackie Evancho, Age 10, Does Honor to Puccini (Video)
Lt.Colonel Allen West Invokes Thermopylae
Khan ruling in Hell.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It looks like, along with the cell phone, the iPad was imagined on Star Trek long before it became reality.
Sarah Palin Wanted Dead by New Hampshire Democrats
It appears that a New Hampshire candidate for State Representative wants both Sarah Palin and Levi Johnson dead. Keith Halloran, a Democrat, expressed the wish that both
Palin and Johnson had been on the plane crash that killed Ted Stevens.

Addendum: Natch Greyes responds rather caustically, assuring one and all what he really meant, among quite a few things. The upshot is that Now Hampshire seems to have erred in its interpretation of Mr. Greyes' tweet and that he does not literally want Sarah Palin to die. On the other hand, Greyes seems not to know the history behind, "Remember the Alamo!"
"What human space exploration needs is a better story
Dan Rostenkowski, Reagan's Partner in Tax Policy, Dies at 82
Dan Rostenkowski, former long-term Congressman from Illinois and chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, has died at the age of 82. Rostenkowski's career featured much triumph, but eventually ended in felony conviction.
Ben Quayle - Obama 'Worst President in History' (Video)
Obama Spokesman Robert Gibbs Unloads on the Left
Robert Gibbs, the somewhat colorful Obama administration Press Secretary, sat down to an interview with The Hill newspaper recently. Gibbs had some caustic things to say about enemies of the Obama administration.
African Americans and space exploration
'Skyline' Alien Invasion Movie Coming Soon Trailer (Video)
Linda McMahon Wins GOP Connecticut Senate Primary
Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, has won the Republican nomination for Senate in the Connecticut primary to face the Democratic candidate, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
'Covert Affairs' Season 1 Episode 5 'Into the Light'
In "Covert Affairs" Season 1 Episode 5 "Into the Light," Annie Walker has to help take down an evil Sudanese arms dealer named Hassan Waleed. Annie also has to wrestle with the moral ambiguity of the spy game, as depicted on TV and in the movies.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ken Silber has some ideas about correcting one of the greatest flaws in Obamaspace and restart the task of getting American back to the Moon.
Rick Perry Greets President Obama in Texas, Recieves Imperious Response
When President Barack Obama visited Texas to attend some fund raisers, the Democratic candidate for Governor Bill White was nowhere to be found. But the current governor, Rick Perry, was on hand to greet the President.
SpaceX's Elon Musk Talks About Commercial Space (Video)
Levi Johnston to Run as Mayor of Wasilla as Basis for Reality Show
Levi Johnston, who has the dubious distinction of being the most notorious unwed father in the world, is running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, as part of a reality show that is being pitched to the networks.
A Gay Bar Next to the 9/11 Mosque? Also, the 9/11 Mosque May Never Be Built
The controversy over the 9/11 mosque continues to roil. Greg Gutfeld, host of Fox News' "Red Eye" is threatening to build a gay bar next to the mosque. Meanwhile, David Frum is suggesting that the mosque will never be built.

Addendum: Greg Gutfeld Discusses His 'Islamic Friendly' Gay Bar Proposal (Video)
Stephen Hawking -- Space Settlements Needed to Save Human Race
Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist, has repeated his warning that humanity needs to move out into space if it expects to secure its long-term survival. Hawking cites a number of threats that face humans while confined to a single planet.
Former Senator Ted Stevens Reportedly Killed in Alaska Plane Crash
Former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe on Board, Fate Currently Unknown

A plane has crashed in the Alaska wilderness near Dillingham bearing former Senator Ted Stevens and former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. Former senator Stevens did not survive.The fate of O'Keefe is unknown as of this writing.

Addendum: Sean O'Keefe and son Jonathon survives
Boy Scouts Boo Obama (Video)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Rand Simberg has another one of his fascinating posts that is one part Mike Griffin hatred, one part Constellation hatred, one part uncritical cult-like worship of Obamaspace. Here is a sample:
It’s real simple, Mike. The plan is to explore the solar system with human beings.

The problem is that there is no plans, aside some vague promises by Barack Obama of which all the world knows the worth of. The rest consists of the usual unsupported statements that passes for space policy analysis among the Internet Rocketeer Club.
Karl Rove Guest Hosts for Rush Limbaugh
Karl Rove, former adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, author, Wall Street Journal columnist, and TV and radio personality has added a new job to his resume—guest host on the Rush Limbaugh Show.
Sarah Palin Confronts Protester (Video)
New Jersey Family Judge Accepts 'Sharia Defense' to Excuse Spousal Rape
Apparently, a judge in New Jersey recently refused a woman's plea to take out a restraining order against her husband, despite the fact that the husband repeatedly engaged in nonconsensual sex with the woman. In other words, he raped her several times.
It looks like Africa would like it's own space agency, though actually launching things is not mentioned. Instead, "The African Union, has commenced a process that would lead to the setting up of a regional space agency.The agency, to be known as the African Space Agency, would focus on the development of common space policy for the continent.
Rand Simberg has somewhat modified his jihad against heavy lift.
As for whether I think that it is a challenge to my ongoing jihad against heavy lift, well, maybe. As I told Max Vozoff at lunch the other week, I’m not opposed to heavy lift in principle — I just think that it is unnecessary at the present time, and that it will be ghastly expensive if done using NASA legacy hardware and work force (and perhaps even ULA-legacy hardware, too, though that will be somewhat more affordable). If Elon can make it work economically, then more power to him, but I expect him to do it on a fixed-price contract that has to fairly compete with solutions not requiring it. For instance, if he wants to bid for propellant delivery, and thinks that he can beat the price at the depot of other bidders, go for it. I just don’t want the taxpayer to subsidize the development of what I consider an unneeded vehicle.

In other words, he'll tolerate it only if the right people do it in a way he approves of.
How to measure the popularity of space? One method seems to be to measure percentage of GDP. By that measure, India comes out on top as the country where space is most popular.
Jeff Foust expands on his coverage of Mike Griffin's speech before the Mars Society. As always, Griffin had some interesting things to say, especially on how the commercial space initiative is being mismanaged by the current regime. I predict a lot of hate and venom coming from the Internet Rocketeer Club and not a lot of sober analysis.
Patricia Neal: An Appreciation
The incomparable Patricia Neal has died at the age of 84, having survived an unhappy marriage, the deaths and injuries of some of her children, three strokes, and a number of tempestuous love affairs.
'Mad Men' Season 4 Episode 3 'The Good News'
"Mad Men" Season 4 Episode 3 "The Good News" begins with Joan having a tiff with Lane over some extra vacation time she desires, and with Don Draper preparing to fly off to Acapulco for some well-deserved R&R.
'True Blood' Season 3 Episode 8 'Night on the Sun'
"True Blood" Season 3 Episode 8 "Night on the Sun" begins exactly where the previous episode ended, with Sookie in the hospital bed screaming. After calming down a little, Sookie asks that she and Bill be given the room.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

RIP Patricia Neal

Addendum: Patricia Neal Attacks Gary Cooper with a Riding Crop in 'The Fountainhead' (Video)
Doctors, Nurses Murdered by the Taliban in Afghanistan for Helping the Sick and Injured
Just as with Iraq, a lot of people are wringing their hands about Afghanistan now, wondering why Americans are still there after nine years. The murders of ten Christian relief workers by the Taliban, including Dr. Tom Little, provide part of an answer.
Ted Olson and the Conservative Case for Same Sex Marriage
Will Obama Dump Biden, Chose Hillary Clinton to Run with Him in 2012?
According to Politico, President Obama is being urged by former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder to dump Vice President Joe Biden and chose someone else, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by preference, to be his running mate in 2012.
Another Brick in the Wall (Hey, Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone!)
Christopher Hitchens Confronts His Mortality

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Washington Post, of all things, makes a radical proposition. If we want to explore and settle space, we have to pay for it.

Addendum: As obtuse as ever, Rand Simberg just doesn't get it. Obamaspace was and is a plan for doing nothing and only picked and chose parts of the Augustine Report that suited.
Paul Spudis clears up some faulty reporting on lunar water in Nobody knows ….. how dry I am.
Ann Coulter to Headline Gay Conservative Fundraiser, 'Homocon 2010'
It seems that the irrepressible Ann Coulter is going to headline a fund raising event by a group called GoProud, a Gay Republican organization. The fund raising event is called, with perhaps a hint of political incorrectness, "Homocon 2010."
Christopher Hitchens Discusses Death, God, Prayer, and the Banality of Cancer
Black Tea Party Conservatives Vs. The Media (Video)
Returning to the role that made her famous on "V", Jane Badler as Queen Diana of the Lizard People.

Now if they can bring back Michael Ironside as Ham Tyler...

Friday, August 06, 2010

Google Lunar X Prize Gets Financial Boost from NASA (Video)
'Burn Notice's' Matt Nix Discusses 'Into the Storm' Episode
Mike Griffin, back when NASA did space exploration and not so much Muslim outreach, has dared to say the obvious about Obamaspace at a meeting of the Mars Society. Rand Simberg gets very caustic.

Addendum: So does Clark Lindsey, who also misses the point. The use of Orion as a ISS resupply vehicle was always contingent on the commercial companies not stepping up. Orion is primarily a deep space exploration spaceship. It may be expensive, but even more expensive would be not having a way to get to ISS if SpaceX, Boeing, et al run into problems.

Addendum 2: More from Jeff Foust.
The fundamental issue of the ongoing debate, he said, is this: “Does this nation want to have a real space program or not?” (“Yes!” at least one person in the audience shouted.) “A real space program goes somewhere, goes somewhere worthy, it does something worthy when it gets there. It does it in a timeframe that is of interest to normal human beings.” And, he added later, “we’re going to pay for it. We don’t decide that we’re going to do it on half of what people tell you is needed.”
British engineers create car that runs on human waste
Denzel Washington's 'Unstoppable' Trailer Now Out (Video)
Portland Authorities Shut Down Julia Murphy's (Age 7) Lemonade Stand
Running a lemonade stand is often a child's first introduction into the vagaries of business and commerce. But 7-year-old Julia Murphy of Oregon City, Oregon, also got a scar introduction to government regulation of business.

Addendum: Julie Murphy Gets an Apology for Lemonade Stand Shut Down (Video)
'Futurama' Season 6 Episode 8 'That Darn Katz'
In "Futurama" Season 6 Episode 8 "That Darn Katz," we discover what many people have suspected for centuries: Cats are really a super-intelligent race of aliens who have come to Earth and are up to no good.
'Burn Notice' Season 3 Episode 9 'Center of the Storm'
In "Burn Notice" Season 3 Episode 9 "Center of the Storm," the fore-mentioned storm arrives in Miami in the form of a hurricane. Of course, none of our intrepid heroes, not even Madeline, flees. They have and will brave even worse storms.
Christina Romer to Retire as Obama Chair of Council of Economic Advisers
Christina Romer will shortly be resigning from her position as the chair of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers to return to her old job as a Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkley.
2011 NASA authorization bill passed by full Senate

Thursday, August 05, 2010