Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Barack Obama tosses a hand grenade into the United States space program and now people are surprised that human space flight is now adrift with people arguing over what kind of hardware to build, wondering what missions to fly, and suggesting that maybe there won't be any more human space flight because of budget cuts. Jim Muncy, as usual, is particularly an exasperating personification of gassing ignorance.
The only reason I know about Gwar is that they occassionally show up on "Red Eye." I;m not sure that they are supposed to be space aliens or demons from the pit of Hell. In any case, they appear to sacrifice Sarah Palin on stage. One problem, even though "Palin" is disembowled and cut in half, she is still alive and seemingly not in much distress. Is the take away from this the idea that the Mama Grizzly is impossible to kill, even by creatures out of a horror movie?

Warning, it is kind of gross.

And just to show that Gwar are not partisan, here is Barack Obama being decapitated.

It looks like Jeffrey Donovan, aka Burn Notice's Michael Weston, will direct the prequel film about Sam Axe's last mission as a Navy Seal.
Here are more details about the Fox TV Studios-produced prequel. It is set in late 2005 and focuses on Sam Axe's (Campbell) last mission as a Navy SEAL. It begins after a faction of Colombian rebels makes trouble for the locally stationed military platoon, with Lieutenant Commander Axe being sent down to investigate. As the mission unfolds, Sam begins to uncover the dark secrets of the area, learning the truth about sacrifice, deception, and ultimately what’s worth fighting for.
Wikileaks Site Taken Down in Denial of Service Attack
The Wikileaks "Cablegate" site was hit by a massive denial of service attack that brought the site down for several hours Tuesday, forcing Wikileaks to redirect its main hosting site to a server rented from Amazon.com.
Is the End of Corn-Based Ethanol Subsides Nigh?
Perhaps as a sign that Tea Party ideas have won a cache going beyond just the election of favored candidates to public office, a bi-partisan group of senators has signed a letter calling for an end to ethanol subsidies.
Should Hillary Clinton Resign Because of Wikileaks?
.Jack Shafer, in an article at "Slate," is calling upon Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to resign her office. Shafer's theory is that Secretary
Clinton has been so compromised by the Wikileaks revelations that her effectiveness has been compromised.
Did the Tea Party hack Wikileaks?
Keith Olbermann: Bristol Palin is 'The Worst Person in the World!'
Keith Olbermann, the mad-cap on-air commentator for MSNBC, regularly names someone "the worst person in the world!" Usually this person is some righty who has ticked him off on some particular day. The latest WPITW is Bristol Palin.
Is Sarah Palin too dumb to be President? Only in the sense that every other Republican has been too dumb to be President, including Eisenhower and Reagan.
Two Iranian Nuclear Scientists Attacked by Unknown Assailants
The Iranian nuclear weapons program suffered another setback when two Iranian scientists became the targets of assassination. One, Majid Shahriari, was killed, and the other, Fereidoun Abbasi, was injured along with his wife.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fred Barnes says that the upcoming crop of GOP Presidential candidates, as opposed to the young lions in the Congress and the state houses, are a little dull--with one obvious exception.
Dwayne Day discusses an odd partnership between the Apollo program and the NRO in Black Apollo. Lou Friedman writes about the state of robotic exploration. Space colonization in three histories of the future by John Hickman. Largely because of the incompetence of the Obama administration in its trashing of NASA, the space agency faces an extended limbo.
Sarah Palin Admonishes Barack Obama on Wikileaks
In a post on her Facebook page, Sarah Palin admonishes Barack Obama for the latest Wikileaks disaster. The latest revelations involves some embarrassing and potentially harmful things that the U.S. State Department wanted to keep secret.
Speaking of Sarah Palin, We stood in line for three hours fifteen minutes at the Sarah Palin book signing. But it was worth it to look history in the face and touch her hand, along with the signed books.

She also said Chantal, my wife's name, was a lovely name. A woman of rare discernment.

We were also both interviewed in line for KPRC Channel 2 News. I will post if video of that is located.
'Dexter' Season 5 Episode 10 'In the Beginning'
.In "Dexter" Season 5 Episode 10 "In the Beginning" Dexter prepares for the final phase of his and Lumen's cat-and-mouse game with Jordan Chase, the murderous self-help guru who helps people rape and torture women to death.
'Sarah Palin's Alaska' -- 'Salmon Run'
On "Sarah Palin's Alaska," "Salmon Run" we see the extended family journey to Bristol Bay to do some salmon fishing. We also get to meet Track Palin, the eldest son, home from the War in Iraq and keen to take up a career as captain of his own boat.
'The Walking Dead' Season 1 Episode 5 'Wildfire'
In "The Walking Dead" Season 1 Episode 5 "Wildfire," the group of survivors is still reeling from the effects of the zombie attack. Andrea, for instance, is still on her knees, mourning her dead sister Amy.
Leslie Nielsen of 'Forbidden Planet', 'The Naked Gun,' 'Airplane!' Passes Away
e Nielsen has died at the age of 84 from complications of pneumonia. Nielsen is best known for his comic acting, something he arrived at in later years. But once he was better known for more serious roles.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

'America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag' by Sarah Palin - a Review
Sarah Palin's "America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag" is a love letter to the three things she seems to adore best; her family, God, and the United States of America (Alaska being an extra special place.)
One of the arguments against a Sarah Palin Presidential candidacy is that she is so controversial that she is bound to lose against Obama. However here is an argument that this is a feature and not a bug.
Nothing and no one brings out the worst in the Democratic Party, in the liberal media, entertainment and academic establishments, and in the left-wing blogosphere, as does Sarah Palin. Bringing out this worst may be the path to a lasting, generational conservative victory.

Maybe this is the battle which needs to be joined, once and for all.

Also Fear Factor: Sarah Palin and 2012
Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens Debate -- 'Is Religion a Force for Good?'
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and author Christopher Hitchens recentlyconducted a debate before an audience of 2700 in Toronto, Canada over the proposition: Is Religion a Force for Good?
Did Ma Bell Delay the Information Revolution by Decades?
Did a decision by AT&T to suppress an early version of a telephone answering machine in 1934 delay the onset of the information technology revolution by sixty years? If one believes a recent story in Gizmodo, that may well have been the case.
Taylor Dinerman warns of a ballistic missile threat against US Navy carriers.
Another conservative attack on Obamaspace
Since the last Apollo mission in the 1970s, our space exploration program has focused on low Earth orbit. The United States needs to get back into the business of looking farther into outer space. We need to develop a heavy lift launch capability. But NASA cannot do this job if the President’s foresight is so weak and unimaginative. President John F. Kennedy focused the nation on a bold vision that captured the American imagination. Obama would do well to follow his example.

A failure of vision has real costs. Much of the advancement and growth in the economy the past three decades have their roots in the space program. Transistors, circuit boards, computerization and miniaturization technologies were all advanced at unprecedented rates by the space program, not to mention the marketability of Tang or Ziploc bags. Ask yourself, what would have happened had Queen Isabella turned Christopher Columbus down and refused to fund exploration to find alternative trade routes to the East? What would have happened if Sir Francis Drake or Ferdinand Magellan had not been sent out to explore? What if President Thomas Jefferson had decided to save money rather than to send Lewis and Clark out to explore and chart North America?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It is a sad commentary on the quality of men in our era that Emma Watson is afraid that she is too rich to attract suitors. She's also beautiful and smart, which one supposes is also intimidating to some.
Children of Orion - Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, and Chapter 6.
Iceland Elects Assembly Made Up of Ordinary People to Write New Constitution
The small country of Iceland, having weathered an economic collapse two years ago, has decided to make a fresh start by rewriting its constitution. The twist is that the new Icelandic constitution will literally be a product of the popular will.
The Tea Party's Next Target -- Big Business
Having helped to engineer the mother of all "shellackings" against President Obama and Congressional Democrats, the Tea Party has acquired its next target. Tea Party activists proposed to go after big business.
How Stuxnet crippled the Iranian nuclear bomb program. Someone has a sense of humor.
There is one clue that was left in the code that may tell us all we need to know.

Embedded in different section of the code is another common computer language reference, but this one is misspelled. Instead of saying “DEADFOOT,” a term stolen from pilots meaning a failed engine, this one reads “DEADFOO7.”

Yes, OO7 has returned -- as a computer worm.

Stuxnet. Shaken, not stirred.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Virgin Galactic Responds to Study Alleging Environmental Impact of Space Tourism
Virgin Galactic, the nascent space tourism company that plans to send paying passengers on suborbital jaunts into space, has responded to a study that suggests space tourist flights would pollute the upper atmosphere.
Why America is exceptional. Should be required viewing by the Obama White House:

A Special White House Assistant for Reality -- Peggy Noonan's Great Idea
Peggy Noonan thinks that President Barack Obama needs a "Special Assistant for Reality" to tell him what the American people think about him and his policies. It is a good idea, but likely futile because Obama will not listen.
A discussion of Sarah Palin's thoughts on space in her new book is causing our friends in the Internet Rocketeer Club to go into full Palin Derangement mode. How dare she criticize Obamaspace! Who does that rube from Wasilla think she is?

Also, a media double standard concerning death threats against Bristol Palin and Willow Palin's unfortunate use of a word that should never be uttered, but rhymes with "maggot."
'The Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength' -- Raise Our Taxes!
While polling data suggest that most people in America by overwhelming margins support low taxes, a group of people calling themselves "The Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength" are calling for tax increases for "the rich."
Sarah Palin explains the "North Korea" gaffe which apparently not much of one since she corrected herself in the next sentence.
Sarah Palin Condemned for Murdering Animals for Food
One of the main reasons the elites hate Sarah Palin is not her conservatism, her folksy mannerisms, her mode of speech, her (for them) disconcerting comeliness, or even the fact that she did not go to an Ivy League school.
President Obama's Poll Numbers Bleak with Independents, Women, the Young, Whites
The Washington Examiner's Byron York relates poll statistics that are as awful as awful can be for President Barack Obama and his prospects of getting reelected. With one exception, President Obama has lost heavily among all demographics.
India as a space partner
Farming on other worlds

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ninjabread cookies
Is the IRS Targeting Pro-Israel Groups?
A Jewish group called "Z Street" is suing the IRS, claiming that its application for tax-exempt status is being held up on account of its support for the State of Israel. "Z Street" has introduced a letter it has acquired in federal court to back up this claim.
More on Lockheed Martin Proposes Orion Test Flight in 2013, Manned Mission to Moon or Asteroid in 2015
Lockheed Martin, which has already proposed sending NASA astronauts in an Orion spacecraft to the L2 point over the Lunar Farside, is planning a fairly aggressive test program for the Orion that includes an unmanned flight by 2013.
Sarah Palin continues to cause bizzare behavior on the part of some people. First, there is the animal rights wacko group that condemned the Palins for beating the heck out of halibut during the last episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska.

That sort of thing is to be expected from rabid people who don't understand where food comes from. But here is the latest establishment Republican, Mark McKinnon, who is begging the Mama Grizzly not to run.

It is not that she hasn't admirable qualities.
Did she face some tough slogging to reach her remarkable perch? Sure, you betcha. I admire her tenacity, her verve, her moxie, and her pluck. As she releases what’s sure to be another bestseller, America by Heart, I think it’s phenomenal how Palin has been able to leverage her moment in the spotlight. I marvel at her masterful manipulation of the media, and her ability to redirect the national debate with merely a tweet. Most of all, I like the way she defies conventional wisdom and does things her own way: She doesn’t retreat, she reloads. And without Palin and the Tea Party backing Republican candidates, I doubt the crimson tide would have risen so high Nov. 2.

Palin’s appeal completely befuddles metro-intellectuals. They scoff at her “experience,” holding the one-time city manager, mayor, oil and gas commission chair, governor, and vice presidential nominee to a different standard than candidate Obama. A marathon runner, mother of five, and grandmother to one, she has no qualms about smacking a slimy halibut—or an oil and gas company—upside the head. And don’t be fooled, underneath that “prom hair” is a brilliant populist.

Least you think that these are qualities that would make a great candidate or President, McKinnon would like to disabuse you of that notion.
Yet I find myself continually goaded into denigrating her, saying things like “she’s reached her sell-by date,” “her stock is going down,” and “if she’s smart, she won’t run for president.” And I was going to go on TV recently and say, “It’s rare you hear quantitative easing and Sarah Palin in the same sentence,” until I realized that she did a hell of a lot better job explaining the complex concept than I could.

Gee, someone who understands economics better than the Washington elites. Certainly not Presidential material here.
If Palin runs, I think the entire Republican primary process will be hijacked. With ardent fans and a rabid media, it will become Palin-palooza. A celebrity fest will follow with even more amplitude than the adulation and adoration that surrounded Barack Obama, who was so revered he was sometimes referred to in biblical proportions as “The One.” An all-consuming super nova, Palin will suck the oxygen out of every room, everywhere she goes. And one of two things will happen. Discerning conservative voters in early primary states will be offended by the circus-like atmosphere and the presumption that they could so easily fall for a “cult of personality.” And they will vote against her. And she will lose. Or, Republican voters will be completely swept up in the mania and nominate her as the GOP standard bearer to go up against President Obama. And she will lose—perhaps the only Republican nominee who could lose in 2012

Essentially the takeaway here is that the electorate is going to want boring. And Sarah Palin is anything but boring. And by not being boring, she will lose.

Somehow the logic escapes me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lockheed Martin is nothing if not ambitious.
Lockheed Martin aims to launch a 2013 test flight from Cape Canaveral that could lead to a U.S. astronaut mission to an asteroid or the moon by 2015.

The aerospace giant plans to loft a NASA Orion spacecraft atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket, which would blast off from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Flying unmanned, the Apollo-style capsule would be launched into a highly elliptical orbit about 5,000 miles from Earth.

With the Orion zooming along at 20,500 mph, the trajectory would "match the hostile deep space environment and scorching re-entry temperatures and dynamics that would be seen in a lunar or asteroid mission," said John Karas, vice president and general manager of human space flight for Lockheed Martin.

An expedition to an asteroid in 2015 would best President Barack Obama’s 2025 target by a decade.

The 2013 flight would enable NASA and Lockheed Martin to retire 75 percent of the technical risk involved with a lunar orbit or asteroid mission, officials said.

A tower-like launch abort system similar to those employed by Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft would be jettisoned.

Flight controllers would test spacecraft stability and attitude control as well as its ability to maneuver in orbit.

Debris shielding also would be tested along with the Orion’s new parachute landing system and recovery processes.

The Orion spacecraft would splash down in the Pacific Ocean within a five-square-mile area off the coast of San Diego.

NASA and Lockheed Martin are focusing on a new streamlined approach to Orion development since the cancellation of NASA’s Project Constellation return-to-the-moon program.

The idea that this is possible would perturb the White House, whom I believe deferred space exploration until to 2020s in order essentially to kill it.

Addendum: Andyu Pasztor seems to be just a tad confused about what is being proposed here. It is clear that using a Delta IV is an interim solution until the HLV is on line. One will hope that the new Congress will not be as confused.

For one thing, I'm pretty sure an HLV will be needed to get an Orion to lunar orbit not to mention a Earth approaching asteroid.

Addendum 2: Clark Lindsey also seems to be more than a little confused.
This is dangerous for the heavy lift launcher (HLV) project, also a Constellation carry-over in the authorization, because it might give the public the crazy idea that there already exists a launcher capable of doing what a NASA HLV will need to do in the next decade or two, which is to launch Orion.

Actually an Orion/Delta IV Heavy combo is more of a threat to the two government subsidized "commercial" space craft being created by Space X and Boeing than a NASA developed SD-HLV.
Here is the unofficial viral video for the upcoming film "Apollo 18":

Strange - Viral Video
Uploaded by dreadcentral. - Check out other Film & TV videos.

Meanwhile Aintitcool has the poster out. The caption: "There's a Reason We Haven't Gone Back to the Moon."

I guess the answer is neither political stupidity nor the fact Buzz has already been there.

Addendum: 'Apollo 18' Teaser Poster Released
.The film website Ainitcool has published the teaser poster for the upcoming film "Apollo 18," which is based on the premise that there was at least one secret Apollo mission to the Moon that found—something—on the lunar surface.
'Stargate Universe' Season 2 Episode 9 'Visitation'
In "Stargate Universe" Season 2 Episode 9 "Visitation," the Destiny pops out of faster-than-light drive to find the shuttle that had been left behind with a party of the crew who had chosen to remain on a planet to make new lives.
Ordinarily I could care less about "Dancing with the Stars." But the whole kerfuffle with Bristol Palin, the accusations of a tea party conspiracy, and the death threats drew my interest. In any case, the drama is over for another year. Congratulations to Jennifer Grey for winning, by the way.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kindle books can now be given as gifts.
Adam Savage does TSA airport security myths. Apparently the scanner saw his junk, but not the razor blades he was carrying.

Rand Simberg continues his jihad against heavy lift. The meat of the post is the comments section in which Rand dialogues with a person named Joe. It is a very revealing conversation, showing that Rand has not thought through a lot of things concerning Obamaspace.

Addendum: Rand persists in missing the point. The policy is bad largely because it comes from a President who cannot and does not want to make good policy. It ends space exploration and hobbles commercial space with government subsidies that will inevitably mean government rules and government caused corruption. That Rand and the other enablers of Obamaspace do not see that is maddening to anyone with eyes to see.
Lockheed Martin has come up with a plan to send an Orion to the L2 point, from where both the lunar farside and Earth will be visible. One of the main tasks for the astronauts will be to teleoperate robots at the lunar South Pole-Aitken basin to "practice doing the same thing on Mars."

Or, actually, prepare for a lunar base once the mistakes of Obamaspace are corrected and the Moon is back as a focus for initial exploration.

Addendum: NASA Mission to the Lunar Farside Proposed by Lockheed Martin
Technically, Lockheed Martin's idea of an expedition to the L2 point, the area where the Earth's and Moon's gravity more or less cancel one another out on the opposite side of the Moon from Earth, fits neatly into Obama's stated exploration strategy.
Bristol Palin Gets Death Threats for 'Dancing with the Stars'
Is seems that Palin Derangement Syndrome has now started to affect the eldest daughter of Sarah Palin, and for reasons that seem rather trivial. Bristol
Palin is receiving death threats for her continued appearance on "Dancing With the Stars."

Meanwhile, Palin Derangement Syndrome explained.
North Korean Bombardment of South Korean Island Elicits Tepid Response from Obama Administration
The 60-year-old Korean War, which is technically still on, since the official cessation of hostilities only ended with a truce, flared briefly again as North Korea bombarded a South Korean island with 200 artillery shells.
'House' Season 7 Episode 8 'Small Sacrifices'
At the start of "House" Season 7 Episode 8 "Small Sacrifices," a man is having himself nailed to a cross as an apparent extreme act of religious devotion. However, along with the usual agony this involves, he starts to vomit blood.
TSA Security Officials Feel Victimized by 'Verbal Abuse' from Airline Passengers
The controversy surrounding electronic strip search body scanners and enhanced pat downs has started to victimize a new group of people—the TSA security personnel who have been called upon to carry out the new procedures.
Obama Job Approval Below 40 Percent -- Zogby
The latest Zogby Poll suggests that the political troubles that have afflicted President Barack Obama, resulting in the "shellacking" of the 2010 midterm elections, have not only not abated, but have gotten seriously worse.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Outside-the-Box Budget Solutions: Privatize Government, Lease the Moon
Numerous solutions are floated every year on how the United States should deal with its growing deficit and budget woes. Some more recent and notable documents include the Paul Ryan Roadmap and the National Deficit Commission draft proposal. Here are two more out-of-the-box ideas on how to balance the budget.
Why Did Barbara Bush Diss Sarah Palin?
Barbara Bush, the wife of one President and the mother of another, seemed to diss Sarah Palin when she expressed the hope that former Governor Palin stay in Alaska and presumably not run for president.
Samuel Wolanyk, Airline Passenger, Strips to Show TSA that he has Nothing to Hide
Samuel Wolanyk decided to take civil disobedience against TSA security procedures to the next level when, having refused to go through the body scan, stripped to his underwear rather than undergo the "enhanced pat down."
Where first for space resources?

The Moon, in my view.
Lou Friedman has a rather bizzare rant about the cost of human space flight.
If I were a Tea Party enthusiast, I’d say it is time to take back human space flight from the politicians and make it once again for all humankind. But if I did that, I would be just as naive as those who think that we can accomplish space exploration without the government.

Friedman shows a certain ignorance about the Tea Party that is, alas, widely shared. He may not be aware that there were Tea Party protests, albeit in Texas and Florida, against Mr. Obama's cancellation of the Constellation space exploration program. The Tea Partiers who expressed themselves on the subject are quite comfortable about a vigorous, well funded program of space exploration.
My view is that if we space enthusiasts do not get our act together, humans will lose the space race to the robots. Human space flight will continue for a while (as it did following the space shuttle decision), but public support will drop if human exploration is carried out without grand purpose.

There is some truth to this, but it is strange coming from a former official of The Planetary Society, an organization once known (as Friedman notes) for its opposition to human space exploration. The Planetary Society also endorsed Obamaspace, by the way.
'Sarah Palin's Alaska - Just for the Halibut'
"Sarah Palin's Alaska- Just for the Halibut," besides being a bad, timeworn pun of a title, sets out to show Sarah Palin taking daughter Bristol on a couple of outings to get her mind off of what was then the latest drama concerning Levi Johnson.
'The Walking Dead' Season 1 Episode 4 'Vatos'
In "The Walking Dead" Season 1 Episode 4 "Vatos," a couple of disturbing developments occur. First, Rick and company find Merle (most of him) missing from the roof top where he had been handcuffed to a pipe.
'Dexter' Season 5 Episode 9 'Teenage Wasteland'
n "Dexter" Season 5 Episode 9 "Teenage Wasteland," Dexter and Lumen are hunting down evidence on Jordan Chase so that Mr. Tick Tock man can be the latest to suffer the wages of sin on Dexter's table.
While Hollywood still persists in not recognizing who the real enemies of civilization are, the video game industry gets it and has reaped huge financial rewards as a result.

Maybe some brave film maker will take notice and make a movie with a terrorist/commie body count in the at least four figures.
It is a little funny having someone who believes in demonic possession running down both "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" as somehow glamorizing evil. Father Thomas J. Euteneuer is more than a little wide of the mark. However it would be fascinating to hear his views on "True Blood."

Newt Gingrich, in 2008, had nothing but praise for Sarah Palin. This is ironic as Newt may well be contesting Sarah Palin for the GOP nomination in 2012. Still, what an interesting Palin for President campaign commercial this will be.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another response to Mona Charon's rather snooty put down of Sarah Palin.
'The Watchman's Rattle' by Rebecca Costa - Review
Paul Spudis offers an analysis of why he thinks Constellation failed. I have to disagree with this point:
As this was done subtly, no one (in either oversight branch) initially noticed that an unaffordable approach to lunar return was being developed. Moreover, because the agency was approaching lunar return as a “super Apollo” set of extended sorties, the architecture was incapable of accomplishing the basic objective of going to the Moon to learn how to live and work there.

Mike Griffin has responded to this criticism by pointing out that his architecture was designed with a budget that was promised to him by the Bush administration but never delivered. It is almost impossible to manage a program that has to fit into a budget that it constantly changing. The tendency is to downscale the project (hence deferring or eliminating the parts about learning to live and work on the Moon Paul complains about.)

Paul's idea that a space council might provide executive branch oversight of NASA and high profile space projects is a good one, especially if it provides not only communication from the top down, but also in the opposite direction. One wonders how things would have turned out if Mike Griffin could have made his concerns about being blindsided about what he was given to work with to decision makers who were both willing and able to address those concerns.
Is Senator Bill Nelson vulnerable because of insufficient opposition to Obamaspace?
Many of those callers urging him to run, he told TheDC, are urging him to run based on his support for programs at NASA.

“He [Nelson] has allowed NASA to be destroyed,” Haridopolos said. “That’s 20,000 jobs, let alone the more important component which is national security. That’s why, I think, people who have been long-time Bill Nelson supporters are calling people like me and saying we want you to challenge Bill Nelson because he’s not standing up for Florida.”
Pope Benedict Opens Door for Condom Use
Pope Benedict XVI has raised some eyebrows by suggesting that the use of condoms by male prostitutes to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases might be considered valid according the Catholic Church doctrine.
Sarah Palin's view on the American space program and Obama space policy revealed in her new book. It will not please the Internet Rocketeer Club.
Even the moon landing - evoked in both books but with starkly different intent - becomes a point of contention. Searching for the roots of his and his daughters' advance in American society, Obama hails courageous astronaut Neil Armstrong, who "made us brave enough to take our own big, bold strides." Palin recalls President John F. Kennedy's "confidence and brio" in launching the race to the moon, then chides Obama for wimping out on the space program.

It's even worse than that, she warns, quoting the head of NASA as saying that his agency's top goal was to reach out to Muslim nations "to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and math and engineering." Palin is aghast: "What? Holding hands and singing 'Kumbaya' with Muslim countries? What does that have to do with our once proud and pioneering space program?"

I do like that woman. She might make a fine President.
TSA Security Outrages Fall Heaviest on the Disabled
More examples of TSA security screening outrages keep rolling in. The stories seem to focus on people with medical conditions, who are being handled by TSA officials in ways that violate standards of common decency.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sarah Palin on Airport Security: 'Profile Away'
Sarah Palin has jumped into the current controversy over TSA airport security by calling for profiling passengers rather than to have them electronically strip searched or else frisked by security personnel over every inch of their bodies.
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1' Movie Review
These are dark times, no question, at the beginning of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow Part 1." One is expected to respond, "What was your first clue, Mr. Minister?" Only a politician can state the obvious so eloquently.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Charlie Bolden is certainly trying to make the Internet Rocketeer Club very angry.
NASA needs to fly an additional space shuttle mission to the international space station next year because development of privately owned rockets and spacecraft designed to ferry cargo to the orbiting outpost is likely to be delayed, according to the agency’s top official.

“We are hoping to fly a third shuttle mission in June, what everybody calls the launch-on-need mission … and that’s really needed to [buy down] the risk for the development time for commercial cargo,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told civil servants at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., during an all-hands address Nov. 16. “If there’s any delay in … delivery of commercial capability to take cargo to station, we could find ourselves in a situation as bad as having to de-man the station or take it down to three people, and we really don’t want to do that.”

Whether Bolden is saying that the commercial space companies will not get as much funding as expected or whether he is saying that they will not be able to perform on schedual at any price, one can already hear the exploding heads.
Stuxnet Computer Virus Designed to Sabatoge Iranian Nuclear Centifuges
It is beginning to be more and more apparent that the Stuxnet computer worm, which has caused all sorts of trouble for Iran's quest for the nuclear bomb, was designed specifically to sabotage nuclear centrifuges.
Mona Charon is the latest righty, female pundit to get all bitchy about Sarah Palin. You would think that Charon and Peggy Noonan would relish the success of a fellow woman conservative and not act like one of the Fashion Club, sniffing, "Who does she think he is?"

I wonder if it's living in the hot house political culture in New York that causes people to behave so.

Stacy Drake responds.
Daniel Day-Lewis will have the title role in Spielberg's Lincoln.
How the TSA Confiscated Nail Clippers from Soldiers (with Real Weapons) Flying Home from Afghanistan
Just when the behavior of TSA officials conducting airport security could not get more absurd, Erick Erickson of Red State relates the story of a plane full of soldiers coming home from Afghanistan and their adventures at the Indianapolis Airport.

Also, from the incomparable Iowahawk, "Comply with Me" the Music Video

Today is the 147th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Here is what I had to say about Mr. Lincoln's remarks a couple of years ago.
'Bones' Season 6 Episode 7 'The Babe in the Bar'
"Bones" Season 6 Episode 7 "The Babe in the Bar" begins with the discovery of the remains of a young woman in a giant chocolate bar. This development is very disconcerting, especially to Jimmy Walpert, the chocolate factory owner.
'Burn Notice' Season 4 Episode 14 'Hot Property'
As "Burn Notice" Season 4 Episode 14 "Hot Property" begins, Michael is still sore from being shot by Jesse and Jesse is still sore from being betrayed by Michael. Madeline is beginning to get irritated by this soreness, mom that she is.
Near death experiences have been explained as either actual visions of the after-life or else the reaction of brain chemicals to impending death. The interesting thing is that the experience of Colton appears not to have been induced by a near death and, if the account is to be taken at face value, cannot be explained by brain chemicals.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sarah Palin refudiates qualitative easing.
It looks like that the Japanese do not regard space as wasteful spending.
Ahmed Ghailani Acquitted on All but One Charge
The Obama administration's plan to try Guantanamo detainees in civilian courts took a likely fatal blow when confessed terrorist Ahmed Ghailani was acquitted of all of the more than 280 charges brought against him except for one.
'South Park' Season 14 Episode 14 'Creme Fraiche'
In "South Park" Season 14 Episode 14 "Crème Fraiche," the boys examine the growing problem of Food Network addiction. It seems that Randy, Stan's dad, has it something awful. He cannot get through the day without watching a pork loin being buttered.
Jay Rockefeller: Take Fox News, MSNBC Off the Air
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) wandered into a hearing on retransmission consent being chaired by Senator John Kerry in order to vent on what he feels is the poor level of political discourse on the airways.
Taylor Dinerman, as he has before, provides some cold, hard, and unpleasent reality about Obamaspace.
The Obama Administration's February 2010 proposal for NASA's future direction is mostly dead: if the administration's goal was to kill the Bush-era plan to return American to the Moon, it has been a success. If the President and his advisors' goal, however, was to chart a bold new direction for the US Space Agency, the proposal has been an abject failure.

The Earth's Moon has long been recognized as the critical control point, or "Gibralter Point," of the Solar System: for more than 200 years, the British controlled access to the Mediterranean from their base at Gibraltar; similarly, even an unarmed a base on the Moon would give a similar advantage to whichever nation owned it.

Although the Constellation plan was justified by the Bush administration on both scientific and economic grounds, more important were other, unspoken, strategic grounds: to put it plainly,: from the Moon one can control access to the other planets. Further, the Moon has been shown to contain critical resources, especially water.

The conclusion Dinerman gives us is sobering.
When President Obama proposed to cancel the Constellation Moon program last February, Senator Richard Shelby (R Alabama) claimed that this would be the beginning of a "Death March" for America's manned space program. Unfortunately he may have been right.

Addenedum: Rand Simberg says that it is time for Charlies Bolden to go. A sensible suggestion, if it also includes Lori Garver and quite a few other Obamanistas.

Rand makes the mistake he keeps making about Obamaspace, though.
•The incoherent rollout of President Barack Obama's new space policy in February, which he didn't seem to understand himself, resulting in hyperbolic mischaracterizations of it as "the end of U.S. human spaceflight."
•A lack of command and ability to articulate the policy in congressional hearings on the subject over the months since, allowing the program to be further mischaracterized as a "bailout" for commercial space companies, when in fact its predecessor was one for the traditional contractors on the failing Constellation program.

When the policy itself is incoherent, as Taylor Dinerman (see above) points out, then the message that sells it must inherently be incoherent. It is amazing that people like Rand, who is usually reliable about other aspects of Obama policy, become Obama Zombies when it comes to Obama space policy. Rand sounds a lot like Nancy Pelosi talking about health care reform; nothing wrong with the policy that good messaging won't fix.

In fact, along with Bolden, Garver, and all the rest, what is left of the Obama space policy needs to be scrapped and a new one put in its place. It should empower commercial space in a sensible, even handed manner, while focusinge exploration efforts on the Moon. Until that happens, America's space effort will remain adrift and listless.

And, by the way, it was Bolden himself who suggested that commercial space companies might need a bailout.
A Man From Uncle movie is probably inevitable. But George Clooney as Napoleon Solo? I suppose Brad Pitt has to be Illya Kuryakin. But then who will be Mr. Waverly?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mining On The Moon Is A Not-So-Distant Possibility
While lunar mining might some day be economically feasible for countries and companies, a Missouri University of Science and Technology researcher believes strongly that mining in space is essential to the very survival of our species.
Inside the Palin Inner Circle
John Birmingham gazes from his lofty perch across the Pacific to muse upon security theater in America.

Also Erin Chase describes her own sexual assault at the hands of a TSA bureaucrat.
Lisa Murkowski Defeats Joe Miller
It looks like Lisa Murkowski has pulled off a win in a remarkable feat. She not only defeated the official Republican nominee in a write-in campaign, but she also did it against a Tea Party-favorite, Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate.
Nancy Pelosi Elected as House Minority Leader
As many analysts expected, soon-to-be-former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was elected as House Minority Leader in the upcoming Congress, winning 150 to 43 for moderate opponent Heath Schuler of North Carolina.
Is Bristol Palin Being Kept on 'Dancing With the Stars' As Part of a Tea Party Plot?
A curious conspiracy theory has arisen among the legions of Sarah Palin haters. It seems that there is a shadowy cabal of Tea Party activists who keep voting for Bristol Palin in a plot to keep her in the running on "Dancing with the Stars."
New Leadership Project to Recruit Down Ballot Tea Party Candidates
Two organizations called "American Majority" and "American Majority Action" have launched a million-dollar campaign to identify and elect a farm team of Tea Party candidates to offices ranging from school boards to state legislatures.
'Stargate Universe' Season 2 Episode 8 'Malice'
"Stargate Universe" Season 2 Episode 8 "Malice" starts with the brutal murder of Ginn, or rather Amanda in Ginn's body. This also has the effect of killing Ginn in Amanda's body back on Earth. Consternation and rage ensue.
Comply with me

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dennis Wingo is calling for the enactment of Zero G/Zero Tax. Considering how the new Congress is going to feel about direct subsidies to commercial space firms, that is a sound idea.
Congressional Republicans to Investigate TSA Airport Security Practices
Byron York of the Washington Examiner is reporting that the new Republican-controlled House sees TSA overreach as a new issue to be investigated. Not only are millions of airline passengers being humiliated and degraded, security is not being enhanced.

Addendum: Minneapolis air port is considering switching to private screeners.

Addendum: picked up by Yahoo.News.
Shelly Ross sees hidden messages in Sarah Palin's Alaska. I think she is overanalysing, but is a neat parlor game.
Charlie Rangel Found Guilty of Multiple Ethics Violations
The day after Rep. Charlie Rangel stormed out of the meeting of a panel of the House Ethics Committee deliberating on his alleged ethics violations, the same panel found Rangel guilty of multiple breaches of House ethics rules.
John Tyner's 'Don't Touch My Junk!' New Cris De Coeur of the Put-Upon Airline Passenger
John Tyner may be an unlikely hero of the outraged and put-upon airline passenger. Certainly his admonition to the TSA security official, "Don't touch my junk," does not ring in the same way as "I regret I have but one life to give for my country."
Sarah Palin's 'Refudiate' Now 'Word of the Year' 2010 -- New American Oxford Dictionary
"Refudiate," a word that began as a likely typo in a tweet by Sarah Palin about the 9/11 mosque, has become the "word of the year," according to the New American Oxford English Dictionary, beating out a number of examples of computer-inspired jargon.
'House' Season 7 Episode 7 'A Pox on Our House'
In "House" Season 7 Episode 7 "A Pox on Our House," an 18th century tragedy involving a slave ship filled with unwilling and diseased passengers results in a 21st century tragedy involving a jar, a cut hand, and something resembling small pox.
Joan Johnson-Freese makes a very strange justification for President Obama canceling the Constellation space exploration program that does not fit known facts. First, she notes the anger with which it was greeted.
Reading comments posted in association with articles about President Obama canceling the Constellation program, the 2010 National Space Policy (NSP) and NASA’s subsequent attempts to regroup, I’m struck by the generalized, vitriolic rage voiced in many of them. President Obama is charged in hyperbolic language with ending the U.S. human space exploration program, and both disinterest about ramifications and often even malice are attributed to his actions. If the rage being expressed is actually frustration and fear associated with loss of Constellation-related jobs, it is understandable. It’s the same feelings exhibited by auto workers in Michigan when told by both presidential candidate Obama and McCain that their jobs weren’t coming back. More often, however, the rage is voiced as against the cancellation of a program dear to the heart of Americans, and against their will. That, unfortunately, is not entirely accurate.

Why is space exploration not dear to the heart of Americans?
The American people, like consumers, have choices regarding how their tax money is spent. That, proclaimed the winners, is what the recent election results reflected.

The problem is that Barack Obama promised during the 2008 campaign to support the goal of a return to the Moon by 2020. His election was not, therefore, an endorsement of reneging on that promise.
If the bipartisan support for human spaceflight were as strong as we space enthusiasts would like to believe, legislators would prioritize it over other programs. But nobody is predicting large increases in discretionary spending consequent to the election, and certainly not for space exploration.

The recent Congress was hardly responsive to the American people when it came to spending and legislation. It passed an eight hundred billion dollar stimulus package (a fraction of which would have put Constellation back on track) and a health care reform bill that the vast majority of the American people found anathema.

Indeed, it may be suggested that the recent 2010 election was a reaction against the spending priorities that Joan Johnson-Freese defends. With the National Debt Commission now suggesting the ending of government subsidies for commercial space, it has become increasingly apparent that Obama's ending of Constellation and reliance on a crony capitalism scheme to jump start a "commercial" space sector was not the responsible move at all. It was done, contrary to what the article suggests, out of ideology and not out of practical concerns for a budget deficit that the current administration exploded with its stimulus and social welfare spending.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Raise retirement age, flatten tax code, and cut discretionary spending
This is not a comprehensive view. Yahoo seriously wanted five hundred words or less.
Democrats Beg Obama Not to Run for Reelection
.Douglas E. Schoen and Patrick H. Caddell, two Democrats of the more independent streak, have some sobering and startling advice for President Barack Obama. If he wants to save his faltering presidency, he must promise not to run for a second term.
Sarah Palin's "refudiate" is now a real word according to the New Oxford American Dictionary. Is there nothing the Mama Grizzly cannot do?

Also, Sarah Palin's Alaska a ratings smash hit.

Addendum: Aint It Cool's Hercules gets all snippy about Sarah Palin and her show and starts a partisan firestorm.
South Park covers the growing problem of food network addiction.

Will the First Mars Explorers Be the First Mars Settlers?
A couple of scientists have written a scholarly paper suggesting that expeditions to Mars would be far cheaper and come sooner if they were to be one-way trips. The AP reports that the first Mars astronauts would stay there and never return.
'The Walking Dead' Season 1 Episode 3 'Tell It to the Frogs'
"The Walking Dead" Season 1 Episode 3 "Tell it to the Frogs" starts with the unfortunate but perhaps deserving Merle still handcuffed to that pipe on the Atlanta roof with the undead zombies trying to get at him.
'Dexter'; Season 5 Episode 8 'Take It!'
In "Dexter" Season 5 Episode 8 "Take It!," Dexter finds himself in the unaccustomed position of feeling normal in a crowd of chanting yahoos who are grooving on self-help guru ordan Chase's yammering about "primal urges."
'Sarah Palin's Alaska'; The Palin Family Goes Fishing, Crosses a Glacier, Goes Rock Climbing
If one had never heard of Sarah Palin as a politician and television commentator, "Sarah Palin's Alaska" would still be worthy as a travel documentary. I don't know what the series will do for Palin's political chances, but Alaska tourism is bound to soar.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sarah Palin's Economic Philosophy
Pro Capitalism and Anti Big Business

Reuters has published a story that opens up a preview of what the economic philosophy of a hypothetical Sarah Palin administration might be. The one sentence description is
that it is pro capitalism as opposed to pro big business.

This is not exactly a contradiction.
The Return of George W. Bush
Out: Worst President Evah. In: We Miss Your George Bush

President Barack Obama must be a very unhappy man. Having suffered a "shellacking" at the polls early this November, he returns from a mostly failed trip to Asia to find George W. Bush basking in prominence and new found respect.
Wayne Hale suggests that this commercial friendly NASA that we have been reliably informed that the Obama administration has created isn't all that commercial friendly.
Now NASA has released a draft (dated Oct. 8, 2010) of its requirements CCT-REQ-1130 ISS Crew Transportation and Services Requirements. I’d like for you to read it but it is behind NASA’s IT firewall and you must have an ID and password to access it. I have read it and I’m disappointed. The document runs a mind-numbing 260 pages of densely spaced requirements. Most disappointing, on pages 7 to 11 is a table of 74 additional requirements documents which must be followed, in whole or in part. Taken all together, there are thousands of requirement statements referenced in this document. And for every one NASA will require a potential commercial space flight provider to document, prove, and verify with massive amounts of paperwork and/or electronic forms. This, folks is the old way of doing business. This is one of the major reasons why spaceflight is as costly as it is.

NASA at its highest leadership level has committed to try to allow commercial space flight providers a great deal of flexibility and cost control. There are ways to do this which will not compromise safety in design or operation. But having NASA civil servants as the arbiters of whether or not thousands of requirements have been satisfied is not the way to accomplish neither safety nor cost efficiency.

So whether Commercial Space Flight gets $6 billion or $3 billion or $50 million, the entire effort is on the way to a train wreck.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

'Skyline': The Most Inept Alien Invasion Film Since 'Plan 9 from Outer Space'
The premise for "Skyline" was certainly promising enough. Make a movie that is one part "Cloverfield" and one part "Independence Day" and tell the story of an alien invasion from the point of view of Angelino apartment dwellers.
Obama's 2012 Re-election Prospects Complicated by Changed Electoral Map
The electoral state map will complicate President Barack Obama's bid for reelection in 2012, according to a story in the Politico. The conventional wisdom is that Election 2012 will more resemble 2004 or 2000 than 2008.
Brian Riedl has some helpful suggestions to the deficit commission for further budget cuts.

Friday, November 12, 2010

TSA Body Scanners, Pat Downs Sparking Airliner Passenger Revolt
New security procedures at airports in the wake of the foiled attempt to blow up an airliner in the skies over Detroit last Christmas have both airline pilots and passengers in open revolt. The alternative is to either submit to body scans or a physical pat down.
Burn Notice's Matt Nix Discusses 'Eyes Open' Episode
Another global warming myth debunked.
Middle School Student Forced to Take Down Flag on Bicycle on School Grounds

Addendum: Looks like Cory will be allowed to fly Old Glory on school grounds after all.
The Liberal War on Science
Including NASA and Space Exploration

Back during the halcyon days of the Bush administration, liberals took note of Republican positions on embryonic stem cell research and global warming and declared that the GOP was waging a "war on science" which would end when they took power.
Battle: Los Angeles Trailer (Video)
'Bones' Season 6 Episode 6 'The Shallow in the Deep'
In "Bones" Season 6 Episode 6 "The Shallow in the Deep," the remains of a slave ship called the "Amelia Rose" are discovered with the remains of its cargo, a group of slaves being transported from Maryland to New Orleans just before the Civil War.
'Burn Notice' Season 4 Episode 13 'Eyes Open'
"Burn Notice" Season 4 Episode 13 "Eyes Open" starts with Michael in the hospital after being shot and in a car crash in the previous episode, very much the worse for wear. "Where am I?" he asks. "Miami," Fi tells him, repeating the line from the pilot.
Warning Labels for Voting Democrat

Thursday, November 11, 2010

National Endowment for the Humanities Sponsors Revisionist History Conference
"United States Aggressor in World War II"

According to the blog "Powerline" the National Endowment for the Humanities sponsored a conference that featured disturbing and extreme revisionist views on the history of World War II, painting America as the aggressor and Japan as the victim.
FDA to Require Pictures of Dead and Sick People on Cigarette Packs
Apparently unconvinced that the words "This product will cause cancer and will kill you" placed on a pack of cigarettes is not plain enough, the FDA is prepared to go further and require graphic pictures of dead people be placed on cigarette products.
Old conventional wisdom: Sarah Palin, brainless bimbo.

New conventional wisdom: Sarah Palin, financial genius.
Understandably, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation is unhappy with the deficit commission's draft recommendation to zero out the commercial space flight subsidies. It seems that massive government spending is the only way to create a commercial spaceflight industry. If you can't recognize the contradiction in that last statement, then you are not alone.
TV Viewing Habits of Republicans and Democrats Differ
It seems that the television viewing habits of Republicans and Democrats differ, according to a study by Experian Simmons. Republicans prefer more family-oriented fare and sitcoms, while Democrats like edgier dramas.
'South Park' Season 14 Episode 13 'Coon Vs. Coon and Friends'
In "South Park" Season 14 Episode 13 "Coon Vs. Coon and Friends," Mysterion, aka Kenny, wrestles with the implication of the fact that he cannot die. In the meantime, the Coon, aka Eric Cartman, continues to wreak havoc with Cthulhu.
Axelrod: Obama White House to Cave on Bush Tax Cuts, Hold Fast on Health Care Reform
In an interview with the Huffington Post, White House adviser David Axelrod suggested that the Obama administration is willing to cave on extending the Bush tax cuts for all Americans, not just ones the White House considers "middle class."
On Veterans' Day. Our appreciation for those who place their bodies between war's desolation and the rest of us is beyond calculation. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

'The Eagle' Coming Soon Trailer (Video)
'The Simpsons' Predict 9/11 and Other Silliness (Video)
I was just reading the draft document issued by the co chairs of the National Deficit Commission. More on that anon, but I cannot wait to relate this recommendation:
Eliminate funding for commercial spaceflight. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to spend $6 billion over the next five years to spur the development of American commercial spaceflight. This subsidy to the private sector is costly, and while commercial spaceflight is a worthy goal, it is unclear why the federal government should be subsidizing the training of the potential crews of such flights. Eliminating this program would save $1.2 billion in 2015.

The sound you are hearing is that of the Internet Rocketeer Club's heads exploding.

Addendum: National Deficit Commission Issues Draft Document
The two co-chairs of the National Deficit Commission, Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, have released what they call a draft plan to the 18-member commission. The proposals are profound, serious, and politically risky.


National Deficit Commission: Eliminate Commercial Space Subsidies
One of the more tiresome debates over space policy has been over President Obama's scheme to provide almost $6 billion in subsidies to commercial space companies. The National Deficit Commission would like this money cut from the federal budget.

Addendum 2: Clark Lindsey is unhappy.
Addendum 3: So is Rand Simberg.
Addendum 4: Jeff Foust thinks that commercial space advocates have not made their case. The problem is that Bowles and Simpson accept that commercial space is a good thing, but do not accept that massive government subsidies are a way to jump start it.

Addendum 5: It looks like Rand Simberg is making the mistake of arguing against the recommendation to zero out the commercial space subsidy by arguing that commercial space flight is a good thing. What Rand and others should be trying to argue is that the subsidy is a good thing. Failing that, they should be thinking about alternative ways to support commercial space flight. My suggestion is passing the Zero Gravity/Zero Taxes plan.
Iain Murray and Rand Simberg attempt another full throated defense of Obamaspace and, as with all the other full throated defenses, fail badly. There is nothing new with this one. Apollo bad. Constellation worse. Commercial great (though what is so Commercial about massive government subsidies in Obamaspace is not explained), Republicans all hypocrites for wanting to explore space.

The article has the unappetizing air of desperation that comes of trying to defend the indefensible. It makes one wonder what is it about space policy that makes alleged libertarians check their principles at the door and come out in favor of state capitalism and corporate welfare and, in effect, ceding the High Frontier to foreign powers.
'Stargate Universe' Season 2 Episode 7 'The Greater Good'
In "Stargate Universe" Season 2 Episode 7 "The Greater Good," Colonel Young is not only having trouble sleeping, but also getting out of bed in the morning, thus making him late for important meetings. Not done for a leader.
Mysterious California 'Missile Launch' -- Really an Airliner Contrail?
A photograph and a video of what was said to be the plume of a missile launch off the coast of California near Los Angeles is likely just the contrail of a jet airliner as seen against the sunset sky, suggests the technology blog Smart Planet.

Addendum: More from Jim Oberg.
Happy birthday, US Marines. Semper fi!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Iran wants to put a man on the Moon by 2025. Unlikely, to say the least, but it is funny that even crazy Muslims have better space ambitions than the current President.
Because of the deficit situation, Robert Zimmerman has pronounced the space program dead. That means both exploration and commercial subsidies. There are a few problems with his analysis.

First, it is based on assumptions. There is not one source cited that suggests that NASA is specifically on the chopping block, certain not to the extent that Zimmerman suggests. As a result the article is just speculative.

Second, the assumptions that Zimmerman makes are a bit suspect. Specifically Zimmerman assumes that most of the Congress and the public agree with the hot house, insular opinion of what I call the Internet Rocketeer Club that most of NASA consists of pork (defined as "spending I do not like.")

The problem is that most people think what NASA does is pretty neat. Flying people into space is, after all, awesome. This opinion is reflected in the most part with the Congress.

That is not to say that there might not be some trimming here or there. But the utter destruction of the government space program is a crazy idea.
Perfect politician: Parts of Reagan, Bush, McCain, Palin and Romney
Three questions for Barack Obama and John Boehner
Alec Baldwin for Congress?
The National Journal is reporting that Alec Baldwin, currently playing a media mogul in the hit show "30 Rock," is mulling a run for Congress. Baldwin would be in a long line of actors who switched to politics.
Clifford McMurray rails against the procurement system he says makes NASA hardware so expensive. Then he sets out to do something that is likely impossible, which is to make NASA projects politician proof.
George W. Bush Defends Waterboarding Terrorists
'Three People Were Waterboarded and I Believe that Decision Saved Lives.'

Former President George W. Bush has published his memoirs, "Decision Points," and is doing the rounds of media interviews. The waterboarding of three captured terrorists has come up in the interviews.
Burn Notice's Jeffrey Donovan Drops Hints of Up Coming Episodes (Video)
'House' Season 7 Episode 6 'Office Politics'
In "House" Season 7 Episode 6 "Office Politics," Cuddy finally puts her foot down and forces House to hire a female for his team. In this case, she is Martha Masters, a prodigy med student who graduated from high school at 15.

Monday, November 08, 2010

It looks like Michael Mann, one of the purveyors of the global warming hoax, is getting ready to play Alger Hiss if there are hearings in the upcoming Republican House. One can see that the global warming people are still yelling, "Denier! Denier!" at people who disagree that we're all going to burn up because we're addicted to air conditioning and automobiles.

'I'm a Denier' Lampoons the Global Warming Hoax (Video)
Sarah Palin Warns the Federal Reserve on Quantitative Easing
Sarah Palin is looking askance at the latest scheme by the Federal Reserve to try to jump start the economy by buying between $600 billion to $1 trillion worth of bonds in order to pump money into the banking system.
Will Barack Obama's Hubris Result in Nemesis in 2012?
A story in Politico suggests that not only have President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats sharpened their knives for the leader of their party, but also Obama is isolated from most American political institutions and is ill-prepared for 2012.
The International Space Station as Seen from Space (Video)
'Dexter' Season 5 Episode 7 'Circle Us'
In "Dexter" Season 5 Episode 7 "Circle Us," a man is at the dump site with a group of laborers. The drums filled with dead women in formaldehyde are loaded up in the back of a pickup truck. Evidently, someone is trying to cover tracks.
'Sherlock' Season 1 Episode 3 'The Great Game'
In "Sherlock" Season 1 Episode 3 "The Great Game," we find out the answer to a question that a lot of Holmes fans have been wondering. What if the solution to a case required Holmes to have some knowledge of astronomy?
'The Walking Dead' Season 1 Episode 2 'Guts'
In "The Walking Dead" Season 1 Episode 2 "Guts," Rick's former partner and soon-to-be-former wife slip out of camp for a little bit of outdoors sex, showing an excess of one kind of guts, seeing that this makes them vulnerable.
Climate change and suborbital spaceflight. Like any study based on modeling results depend on assumptions.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Looks like a "found footage" movie (in the style of "The Blair Witch Project") is well into production about the secret flight of Apollo 18. It looks like they found something up there.

Addendum: Hollywood Prepares to Voyage to the Moon
Three Lunar Expedition Projects in Development

President Barack Obama may not be interested in voyages to the Moon because, as he famously put it, Buzz Aldrin has already been there. But a number of voyage to the Moon film projects in development suggest that Hollywood is interested.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Paul Spudis looks upon the midterms and has some helpful suggestions on how to fix the space program.

Also Permafrost, Snow Cones, and Fairy Castles
If I Were Joe Biden
Clint Howard in 'The Last Lame Duckling'
What if President Hillary Clinton?
Obama in India
Probably not since the days of the Pharaohs or the more ludicrous Roman Emperors has a head of state travelled in such pomp and expensive grandeur as the President of the United States of America.

While lesser mortals – the Pope, Queen Elizabeth and so on – are usually happy to let their hosts handle most of the security and transport arrangements when they venture beyond their home shores, the United States creates a mini-America on the move to ensure that nothing is left to chance.

That is wide of the mark. I suspect that Hadrian or Trajan had a smaller entourage then does The One. I am reminded of Cleopatra entering Rome in the movie.
Jill Clayburgh, of 'Silver Streak' and 'An Unmarried Woman', Dies at 66
Jill Clayburgh has died at the age of 66 after a 21 year battle with leukemia. It hardly seems possible. Clayburgh was an actress who flowered in the 1970s and then, for reasons that passed understanding, faded away into TV guest role twilight.
'Megamind' -- Starring Will Ferrell, Tina Fey and Brad Pitt -- Steals from Superhero Mythology
"Megamind" is one of those delightful animated films that has enough action and slapstick to keep the rug rats occupied, but also enough drama, character, and in jokes to entertain the adults. One can compare it favorably to "The Incredibles."
Senator Elect Marco Rubio Throws Down the Gauntlet (Video)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Rand Simberg gives the Republicans their marching orders on space policy. He tells them to "act like conservatives" which apparently means to give up on that silly idea of space exploration--something about it no longer being the 1960s--and turn NASA into a conduit for corporate welfare for "commercial" space companies.

Rand also uses the tiresome excuse that there is little wrong with Obamaspace than bad messaging. Sorry, it doesn't wash for Obamacare and certainly doesn't for Obamaspace.

Somehow I don't think conservatives are going to take instruction from someone who can write things like that. I'm not sure what is going to happen, though I suspect that it will be different than the conventional wisdom of GOPers going through the NASA budget like Tamerlaine through Damascus.
MSNBC Suspends Keith Olbermann Indefinitely and Without Pay
The Huffington Post is reporting that MSNBC is suspending commentator Keith Olbermann indefinitely and without pay for contributing money to three Democratic candidates in this election cycle without permission and against NBC ethics standards.

Addendum: Farewell to Keith Olbermann (Video)
Nancy Pelosi to Run for House Minority Leader
Contrary to expectation, and likely common sense as well, soon-to-be-former Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced that she will not only remain a member of the House, but will run for House Minority Leader in the new Congress.
Peggy Noonan Goes After Sarah Palin
In her Wall Street Journal column that was an otherwise insightful look at the 2010 midterm elections, Peggy Noonan summoned her inner Maureen Dowd, sharpened her claws, and went after Sarah Palin.
'Bones' Season 6 Episode 5 'The Bones that Weren't'
With baseball out of the way, "Bones" Season 6 Episode 5 "The Bones that Weren't" started with a skateboarder rolling and leaping through all sorts of urban obstacles only to be brought up short by a skull sticking out of a sidewalk.
Sean Connery Nude Painting Unearthed in Selkirk, Scotland
In a development that will no doubt set both the art world and the cinema world ablaze, a nude painting of a very young Sean Connery has been discovered in Scotland among the works of Rab Webster in Selkirk.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Will Barack Obama get a primary opponent in 2012?
Having presided over a shellacking at the hands of the voters, President Barack Obama not only has to look forward to at least two years of dealing with resurgent Republicans, but also a challenge from his left flank as he runs for re-election in two years.
Sarah Palin's take on the midterms.
San Francisco Bans Happy Meals (Video)
'South Park' Season 14 Episode 12 'The Rise of Mysterion'
In "South Park" Season 14 Episode 12 "Mysterion Rises," we see Coon and Friends, minus the Coon, selling lemon bars at a table near the local mall to raise money for the victims of the Gulf Monster Catastrophe.
President Obama Confronts the Midterm Election Results
When President Barack Obama went out to confront the press, visibly irritated that he even had to do that, he acknowledged the obvious. He and the Democratic Party got a "shellacking" in the 2010 midterm elections. That is putting it mildly.
Sarah Palin and the Bear Roar in Triumph (Video)
Marcia Smith has written the latest in a myriad of "Oh no! The evil Republicans are going to hack NASA to death! Run for your lives!" I'm just a little skeptical.

First, while that might happen if there is an across the board budget cut, across the board is about the dumbest way to deal with the deficit there is. A better way to get to a hundred billion will be to start canceling entire programs, which would have a cascading effect in the out years. Mind within NASA, being a global warming skeptic myself, I would be cool with cutting back some of the Earth science programs. Also the extra shuttle flight, while perhaps nice to have, would not be seriously missed. I would spend that money on getting Project M running.

Second, it is also entirely possible that NASA will get lumped with national security accounts, DOD and Homeland Security and such. That was the McCain plan.

Mind, there are going to be some serious changes--again. The House committees are going to be under new management.