Monday, January 31, 2011

NASA's Apollo 14 Mission 40 Years on -- Triumph Over Adversity
Florida Judge: Obamacare Unconstitutional
Federal Judge Robert Vinson, in a case that has pitted 26 states against the Obama administration, has ruled that the health care reform law is unconstitutional because the individual mandate violates the Commerce Clause.

Vinson Opinion.
John Barry, Film Music Composer, Dies at 77
John Birmingham, having seen the remake of True Grit, now wants to remake Zulu with Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, and "Arnie as some Dutch Guy." As long as it is not another PC excuse to slam the White Man, I say, "Yeah, baby, yeah!" Now who to play the Michael Caine role?
California Lawmaker Proposes 'Congress on Your Corner Day' to Honor Gabrielle Giffords
Henry Cavill is the New Superman
The new Superman, slated to star in the latest reboot of the famous franchise, is Henry Cavill, a British actor known best in the United States for his portrayal of Charles Brandon in the Showtime series "The Tudors."
Egyptians in Houston Protest for Democracy, Removal of Mubarak
Jeff Fousts notes that this time of year is a period of mourning for NASA, because of the Apollo Fire, and the Challenger and Columbia disasters. It is also, as Jeff notes, the one year anniversary of the advent of Obamaspace, which is turning out to be a disaster just as heavy.

Meanwhile, Lou Friedman says, all space politics is local.
Researcher Studies Way to Grow Meat in a Factory Rather Than a Farm
If a South Carolina scientist has his way, in the not-so-distant future, meat will no longer come from a cow or chicken, but rather from a vat of cultured cells in a similar way that yogurt and beer are produced.
Rasmussen: 46 Percent of Palin Supporters Could Go Third Party If She is Not the GOP Nominee
It has become conventional wisdom among certain parts of the punditry that the Republicans cannot win the presidency with Sarah Palin as their nominee. But a Rasmussen Poll suggests they cannot win without her.
House Republicans Mulling Plan to Privatize Medicare
One of the ways the House Republicans are contemplating cutting the federal budget while reforming entitlements is privatizing Medicare, replacing the open-ended benefits program with a voucher system, according to AP.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sarah Palin Addresses Safari Club on Conservation and the Second Amendment
Sarah Palin addressed the Safari Club International and, even though her remarks were closed to the media, by accounts she was well received by the hunters, fishermen, and outdoorsmen who paid a $100 each to attend her speech.
Egypt Uprising Affecting Tourism
How the continued civil unrest and chaos in Egypt is affecting tourism, a major industry in a country that had the pyramids, the Sphinx and the Valley of the Kings rather depends on who one asks.
Jordana Brewster to Star in TNT 'Dallas' Series
Jordana Brewster has been signed to play the character of Elena, the daughter of the cook at a ranch near Dallas called "South Fork" in a new series set to air on TNT based on a late 1970s/1980s/early 1990s TV show called "Dallas."
Chris Matthews goes berserk about Egypt. It is, apparently, all George W. Bush's fault.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Space Adventures Closer to Private 'Round the Moon Voyage
Omar Suleiman Named Egyptian Vice President
One of the more interesting decisions by Hosni Mubarak was to fill the hitherto vacant post of Egyptian Vice President with Omar Suleiman, the long term chief of Egyptian Intelligence and a diplomat without portfolio.
Has Texas Outsourced School Discipline to the Police?
Blind Man Drives Specially Equipped Car Unaided at the Daytona Motor Speedway
Mark Anthony Riccobono, a blind executive who directs technology, research, and education programs of the National Federation for the Blind, successfully drove down the Daytona Motor Speedway track in a specially equipped Ford Escape.
Line Inserted into Children's Theater Production of 'The Mikado' Calling for Sarah Palin's Death
In a recent production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado," performed at the Missoula's Children's Theater, a line was inserted that the two Victorian impresarios never wrote and likely would have never have approved of.
'The Mechanic' Starring Jason Statham
"The Mechanic" is a remake of a 1972 Charles Bronson film, this time starring Jason Statham as Arthur Bishop, an elite assassin for hire who prides himself in taking people out and making their deaths look like accidents.
Hosni Mubarak Seeks to Quell Egyptian Uprising
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sought to quell the uprising that has rocked the streets of Cairo for the past several days by taking a number of steps to at once appease and suppress the rioters. It may be too little too late.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Houston Religious Leaders Call for Immigration Reform
Nautilus X MMSEV Is More Outside-the-Box Space Thinking from NASA
Taylor Dinerman explains why Sputnik was a strategic blunder for the Soviets.
Is Egypt Barack Obama's Iran?
Are the violent protests in Egypt the beginning of Barack Obama's Iran? With tanks and Army troops battling protesters in the streets of Cairo as of this writing and the Obama administration dithering,the parallels are ominous.
TNT Apologizes for What Tracy Morgan Said About Sarah Palin
Hateful things have been said about Sarah Palin by various media personalities ever since she rose to national prominence. But nothing quite descends to the level that Tracy Morgan went on a recent episode of "Inside the NBA" on TNT.
'Bones' Season 6 Episode 11 'The Bullet in the Brain'
In "Bones" Season 6 Episode 11 "The Bullet in the Brain," the thoroughly evil and thoroughly mad woman known as "the Gravedigger" is being transported to the court house for an appeal of her death sentence.
Rand Paul Plans to Slash $500 Billion from the Federal Budget, Reform Social Security
Senator Rand Paul is not following the traditional "seen but not heard" stance of a freshman senator. He has introduced legislation to cut $500 billion from the federal budget this year and has announced a separate bill to overhaul Social Security.
Dennis Kucinich Sues House Cafeteria Over Olive Pit
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has entered the realm of frivolous lawsuits by filing a suit against the operators of a House member cafeteria at the Longworth House Office Building for serving veggie wraps with pitted olives.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

NASA's Day of Remembrance for Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia
Robert Redford's Historical Film 'Conspiracy' Takes Some Contemporary Political Shots
The trailer for the Robert Redford-directed historical drama "Conspiracy," about the trial of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination, focusing on Mary Surratt, is out. It appears that Mr. Redford cannot help but make a contemporary political point or two.
Rasmussen Poll: Public Negative on Obama State of the Union
President Barack Obama's call for more spending as an "investment" in fostering economic growth and job creation has fallen on deaf ears, according to a Rasmussen Poll. The results are not particularly surprising, considering the outcome of the last election.
Wal-Mart Abandons Store Plans Near Civil War Battle of the Wilderness
Social Security to Run Out of Money by 2037
Texas Senate Passes Voter Photo ID Law Amid Criticism
Boehner, Lieberman Move to Restore School Voucher Program to Washington D.C.
House Speaker John Boehner and Senator Joe Lieberman have answered President Obama's State of the Union call to fund education programs, but perhaps in a way he will not like. They propose to restore the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), which the Obama administration eliminated in 2009.
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie Makes Obama Birth Certificate Controversy Worse
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has been forced to admit failure in his quest to uncover President Obama's birth certificate. Hawaii privacy laws forbid the disclosure of such documents without consent, which is not forthcoming from Obama.
Sarah Palin on Obama's State of the Union 'WTF Moments'
Sarah Palin, in her capacity as Fox News analyst, was interviewed by Greta Van Susteren about President Obama's recent State of the Union Address. Palin had some blunt things to say about the speech and its message.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NASA's budget: How low can it go?
Will Egypt become Obama's Iran? There are plenty of western tourists and businessmen to take hostage if it comes to that.
Gabrielle Giffords Upgraded to 'Good' Condition, Moved to Houston Rehab Facility
The Media's Sarah Palin Obsession - by the Numbers
The pledge by the Washington Post's Dana Milbank to ignore Sarah Palin for the month of February has caused the Hollywood Reporter to run the numbers on the former Alaska governor on her mentions in the media.
Alright, I've poked fun at the birthers for a long time, but this has me curious.
The State of the Union: What Obama Got Right
What Are Solar Shingles and Why Were They Mentioned in the State of the Union?
President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address, laden heavily as it was with references to a "Sputnik Moment," as well as green jobs and high speed rail, has sparked some curiosity about solar shingles.
Paul Ryan Responds to the State of the Union
Congressman Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, delivered the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address, a thankless task that Ryan performed with calm, almost bleak competence.
The State of the Union, Barack Obama, and the 'Sputnik Moment'
When a modern politician invokes Sputnik, he is usually trying to concoct an excuse to execute unwise policy. In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama certainly did not exceed that expectation.
Michelle Bachmann Responds to the State of the Union Address
It is a commentary on our times that President Obama's State of the Union address merited two responses. The official Republican response was given by Congressman Paul Ryan. The Tea Party response was given by Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of the Union: Obama Still Wants Big -- and Boring -- Government
Joel Osteen, Pastor of Houston's Lakewood Church, Says Homosexuality is a Sin
Does the Moon Have Military Value?
Jesse Ventura Sues DHS, TSA for Intrusive Body Search at Airport
Jesse Venture, former wrestler, former film actor, former governor of Minnesota, and current conspiracy theorist, is suing both the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA for violating his constitutional rights during an airport pat down.
State of the Union: Obama to Propose Budget Freeze, Earmark Ban and New Spending
Mark Kelly, Gabrielle Giffords' Husband, Has a Decision to Make
Keith Olbermann for United States Senate?
A group of liberal activists and media fans have hit upon a new job for Keith Olbermann, the newly fired host of MSNBC's "Countdown." They would like to elect Olbermann to the Senate of the United States in Joe Lieberaman's seat in Connecticut.
'House' Season 7 Episode 10 'Carrot or Stick'
"House" Season 7 Episode 10 "Carrot or Stick" is all about motivation, or, rather, discipline. This is shown quite amply as a former Marine drill instructor named Driscoll attempts to impart a little Corps values in a group of wayward boys under his charge.
Rahm Emanuel Kicked Off Ballot for Mayor of Chicago
Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's former chief of staff and former congressman from Illinois, has hit a little snag on his way to becoming mayor of Chicago. It seems that a panel of the Illinois appellate court says he cannot run.
2010 83rd Oscars - and the Nominees Are
The 2010 83rd Oscar Nominations have been announced. The Best Picture nominations are an eclectic group indeed, including a historical drama, an animated feature, a western, a science fiction film, and a ballet horror movie (of a sort.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Casino Gambling Mulled to Help Close Texas State Budget Gap
Rand Simberg--birther?

I'm sure he'll deny it, as he usually does when he ventures too close to the fever swamps. While the comedy happening in Hawaii is entertaining, the conspiracy theory surrounding the President's place of birth does not past the laugh test. Besides, it doesn't matter because his mother was an American citizen, satisfying the common understanding of what a "natural born citizen" is. At worst Obama would have dual Kenyan/American citizenship at birth, as is common with American children born overseas. He would have had to pick one when he reached his majority, but there is no evidence that he ever renounced his American citizenship.
Wayne Hale Weighs in on NASA's Biggest Space Policy Problem
Remembering Christa McAuliffe -- Teacher in Space

Also The Challenger Seven Astronauts
Twenty five years ago, Yoyager 2 arrived at Uranus. Lou Friedman discusses intersteller travel. And Ken Murphy explains why the Earth-Moon L1 point, which is empty space, is the next logical destination for human explorers.
2010 Razzie Award Nominations Announced
The 2010 Razzie Award nominations have been announced. Unlike the Golden Globes, the Oscars, and every other film award, the Razzies celebrate the worst in cinema for the previous year.
Sam Donaldson Sings Ronald Reagan's Praises
The title of Sam Donaldson's memoirs as a White House reporter in the 1980s was "Hold on, Mr. President!" The front jacket of the now long out-of-print hardcover shows Donaldson confronting President Reagan, hand on his hip, scowling in that quintessential Sam Donaldson manner that made a lot of us throw things at the television 25 years ago.
Mitch McConnell: Obama to Propose Corporate Tax Cut in State of the Union
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that one of the proposals President Barack Obama will make during his upcoming State of the Union address will be to lower the corporate tax rate, currently the highest in the industrialized world.

Addenedum: Mitch McConnell's office adds this quote from the Senator:

"Well, he certainly has, rhetorically. I mean, the president obviously got the message from the November election. I think, you know, hiring Bill Daley, hiring the vice president, hiring Bruce Reed, this competitiveness appointment the other day of Jeff Immelt. All of this is an effort to -- to kind of retool the -- the image. Look, I think that's fine. He ran as a moderate. I'd like for him to govern as a moderate.

“Now look, what we're going to find out beginning next week is how much of this he really means. For example, I'm told he's going to come out for lowering the corporate tax rate. We have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world right now. It's not competitive. It doesn't help us create American jobs in America.

“To the extent he actually, Chris, wants to do some of these things, our answer is going to be yes. Trade -- trade agreements. He's talking about Korea. Well, what about Colombia and Panama? We need to do all three of them.

“These are the kinds of things that will create private sector jobs in America.”
Bill Maher Blasts Civil Speech, Gun Ownership
Bill Maher, the undisputed king of uncivil political discourse now that MSNBC has given Keith Olbermann the Royal order of the Boot, has a unique perspective on the Tucson shooting and the subjects of civil discourse and gun control.
Sarah Palin Celebrates Reagan the 'Life Guard'
Sarah Palin has an essay in USA Today in which she celebrates Ronald Reagan, the true greatest President of the last century, whose centennial we celebrate this year. She uses the metaphor of the life guard which, while not original, is apt.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hitler finds out that Olbermann got fired:

It looks like I am now an unpaid and unwitting space reporter for the Tehran Times. I'm not sure that there is anything my employers can do about it, but when the regime falls, I will want my reparations.
Texas Gov. Perry to Place Sonogram Abortion Bill on the Emergency Fast Track
Chantal has taken a can of Wolf Brand Chili and--well--kicked it up a notch or two or three.
Will Keith Olbermann Write Material for New Aaron Sorkin Project?
Inside TV is speculating Keith Olbermann's next gig may be that of TV comedy writer. It seems that Aaron Sorkin, creator of "The West Wing," among other things, is working with HBO on a series about a cable news show.
Julian Assange Lawyer Wants to Prosecute Sarah Palin
Robert Stary, the lawyer to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has developed a unique legal strategy to not so much defend his client as to distract attention from his client's alleged crimes. He is threatening to prosecute Sarah Palin.
Mitt Romney Wins New Hampshire GOP Straw Poll
In a sure sign that reporters are eager to start writing on the 2012 Presidential race, but have very little so far to write about, much is being made about Mitt Romney's plurality win of a straw at a meeting of New Hampshire Republicans.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Banned from the Super Bowl:

'Jesus Hates Obama' Commercial Rejected for Super Bowl
Fox has rejected a proposed ad from a conservative humor site, Jesus Hates Obama, which apparently sells T-shirts and other paraphernalia with the slogan upon it. There is some doubt as to whether the commercial was serious.
NASA Studying Using Lasers and Microwaves to Launch Satellites
Gabrielle Giffords Arrives in Houston for Treatment, Rehab
Report: Obama to Call for More Spending at State of the Union
If the report on the upcoming State of the Union address is accurate, one will have to hand it to President Barack Obama. He is not one to go with the political flow when it comes to his own policy proposals.
Report: Newt Gingrich is Running for President
In a signal that he intends to run for President in 2012, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is contacting old, political supporters in Georgia where he had been a Congressman for twenty years a preparation for a possible run.
Giuliani to Run for President 'If Palin Does'
Rudy Giuliani stated he will run for President if Sarah Palin runs. The theory is the former mayor of New York and 2008 candidate could position himself as the "Anti-Palin" in the race, gathering the support of moderate Republicans.
'Medium' Season 7 Episode 13 'Me Without You'
Medium" Season 7 Episode 13 "Me Without You" was the last episode of the long running series about Allison Dubois, the middle-aged mother of three, married to an aerospace engineer named Joe, who happened to be a psychic who fought crime.
Keith Olberman Quits or was Fired from MSNBC
Keith Olbermann, the madcap, but every entertaining personality of MSNBC whose show "Countdown" has provided so much material for those who bemoan the decline of journalism, has quit, been fired, or something from the network.
Anthony Hopkins may be in the first Alfred Hitchcock film in decades as Hitchcock.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Oh, this is so wrong. And I must have some:

As usual, the Orlando Sentinel is wrong about who is at fault for the chaos at NASA. The blame has to be placed squarely at the doorstep of the White House for (a) Cancelling Constellation, (B) Trying to replace it with a vaguely defined, unworkable, unsustainable pseudoprogram and (C) Walking away from the mess and not exercising leadership.
Texas Domestic Violence Registry Proposed
SpaceX Looks Ahead to Manned Dragon Flight
A Woman Falls in a Fountain While Texting
"A woman falls into a fountain while texting" sounds like the start of a joke one tells at a bar after the second or third pint of Guinness. But to Cathy Cruz Marrero, the woman in question, it is no joke. In fact, she intends to sue the mall where the fountain is.
Washington Post's Dana Milbank: 'Let's Destroy Sarah Palin by Ignoring Her'
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has declared the month of February "Palin Free," pledging not to mention Sarah Palin in any way. Milbank is urging his fellow members of the mainstream media to follow suit.
Berlusconi as Caligula? Wide of the mark, I say. More like Tiberius at Capri.
That story that George Lucas thinks the world is going to end in 2012--Just kidding.
'Bones' Season 6 Episode 10 'The Body in the Bag'
In "Bones" Season 6 Episode 10 "The Body in the Bag," a rather amorous fellow enters a swank New York apartment only to find a desiccated body in the shadow. One has to say that at least Janet Leigh was spared that indignity.
After Repeal, House Republicans Begin Assault on Obamacare in Earnest
The repeal of health care reform, also known as Obamacare, was accomplished with acrimonious debate, with bizarre claims about the Constitution and attacks that brought up the Nazis. But as Byron York writes, that is only the first step.
Will Some of the States Go Bankrupt?
Could some of the states with enormous budget deficits, such as New York, California, and Illinois, go bankrupt? What was once unthinkable is being quietly discussed. But the talk of bankruptcy may be more of a negotiating position than a serious idea.
General David Petreaus: The American Marlborough

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NASA's NanoSail-D Helps Promise Solar Sailing Ships
Steam Punk Palin?

The mind truly boggles.
Arianna Huffington to Joe Lieberman: 'I Sincerely Hope for the Sake of the Country that You Do Not Become Secretary of Defense'
On a recent episode of "Morning Joe," the show Joe Scarborough hosts on MSNBC, retiring Senator Joe Lieberman had a bizarre exchange with Arianna Huffington. The exchange proves that the left is still not over Iraqi WMDs.
Sarah Palin Testing the 2012 Election Waters in Iowa
A story in Real Clear Politics suggests that Sarah Palin, while not yet decided on a presidential run in 2012, is dipping her toe in to test the waters. Palin aides are quietly contacting Republican and Tea Party leaders in Iowa to gauge her level of support.
Gabrielle Giffords Will Rehab at Houston's Memorial Hermann TIRR
Kermit Gosnell, Philadelphia Abortion Doctor, Charged with Mass Murder
The House Votes to Repeal Health Care Reform; The End of the Beginning
The House has voted to repeal the health care reform law, also known as Obamacare, by a vote of 245 to 189, with only three Democrats joining the entire Republican caucus in favor. As Churchill once said, it is but the end of the beginning.
Anne Hathway Will Be the New Catwoman
Beating out a number of actresses, Anne Hathaway will be Selina Kyle, also known as the Catwoman, in the third installment of Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" series that takes a dark, morally ambiguous view of Batman.
Kennedy's Inaugural Address -- a Celebration of American Greatness and Exceptionalism
President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, delivered 50 years ago, is often remembered for just one phrase: "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
Wayne Hale bemoans the recent tendency to start on great rocket projects, only to stop before they are done.
I wish we could pick a plan and stick to it long enough to get it to work. Orbital Space Plane was a good plan, it could have worked. X-33/Venture Star was a good plan, it could have worked. X-38 was a GREAT idea that was just on the cusp of working. Even Constellation was a good plan, it could have worked.

OK, I expect a lot of email over that last one. SLI, NASP, they all had technical merit and given the right kind of management and support they could have become viable flying vehicles. Don’t write me any emails saying that they were unsustainable from the political/economic viewpoint. I get that. I’m speaking as an operator, an engineer, a manager. Those programs, those vehicles, could have worked. Any one of them. And we would be years down the road, and money ahead.

But we always stop.

Meanwhile, I have noticed that there is a debate going on about what kind of big rocket to build. There are a lot of bewildering and emotionally intense discussion about the use of solids, hydrogen versus kerosene, and the diameter of the core vehicle stage. I tell you at this point, I don’t care. I don’t have an opinion.

Just pick one. And see it through.

Decide whether you want elegant with minimal life cycle expense, or if you want quick and cheap to develop and who cares how ugly it looks. I don’t care. I don’t have an opinion.

Just pick one. And see it through.

Sadly that requires some leadership that has been lacking on various levels in recent years.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sony to Develop 'Sex on the Moon' About the Real-Life Theft of Moon Rocks
Steve Cohen Compares Republicans to Nazis in Health Care Repeal Debate
Godwin's Law states that the first person who brings up Hitler and/or the Nazis in an argument loses the same argument. That being the case, Congressman Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., lost whatever argument there was to keep Obamacare.
Victor Davis Hanson on The War on Sarah Palin.

Addendeum: Defended by Ann Coulter as only she can.
Brother of Lee Harvey Oswald Sues Fort Worth Funeral Home for Sale of Assasin's Coffin
It seems that there was actually some footage done of the now defunct project "Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Animated Series." Too bad it never got off the ground. I would have liked to have seen Buffy do battle with a dragon.

'Baby Doc' Duvalier Returns to Haiti, Faces Charges
340-Year-Old Lutheran Bible Found by Wisconsin School Teacher
NASA's James Hansen Calls for Chinese-Style Dictatorship to Deal with Global Warming
James Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and adjunct professor at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences of Columbia University, is embroiled in another controversy.
Health Care Reform Repeal -- the Numbers Game
As the debate over the repeal of health care reform, also known as Obamacare, continues in the House, a curious kind of numbers game is being played. Opponents of repeal are actually suggesting that repeal would add to the deficit.
Report: Senator Joe Lieberman to Retire
Politico is reporting that Joe Lieberman, the former Democrat and now Independent senator from Connecticut, has declined to run for reelection in 2012, making him the third senator after Kay Bailey Hutchison and Kent Conrad to retire.
Sheila Jackson Lee: Repealing Obamacare Unconstitutional
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, has a unique argument against the repeal of health care reform, also known as Obamacare. She believes that it would be unconstitutional.
How New Lunar Bases Will Work

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Outside-the-Box Thinking on the Future of the Space Program

Addendum: Paul Spudis offers a clarification.
Just a quick point: our paper only uses a 70 mT HLV (we do not specify inline or sidemount in the paper) to size our surface payloads and cost the architecture. We make the point in the paper that we don't have a launch vehicle preference.

As for my (separate) post on Shuttle side-mount, I was just pointing out that there IS a path forward for NASA that meets the time and budget constraints imposed by Congress. It is not necessarily my preferred solution, but it's not a bad one.
Rick Perry Sworn in for Third Term as Texas Governor
Seth Rogan says that George Lucas thinks that the world will end in 2012. Seriously.
.Gabrielle Giffords Responding Well to Skull Surgery
Recommendation to Close Houston Magnet Schools Concerns Parents, Administrators
Sarah Palin's Pac has started a three day money bomb to show Palin's enemies the cost of character assassination.
Dick Cheney: Obama Knows Bush Policies Were Correct
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who is recovering from heart surgery performed last summer and may be looking ahead at a heart transplant, has some back-handed praise for President Barack Obama.
Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota to Retire
Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota, has announced that he will not seek a new term in 2012, leaving his seat a possible pickup for the Republicans. Conrad is the second senator, after Kay Bailey Hutchison, to announce retirement.
Ehud Barak Bolts from Israeli Labor Party, Retains Post as Defense Minister
'House' Season 7 Episode 9 'Larger Than Life'
In "House" Season 7 Episode 9 "Larger than Life," the first episode of 2011 begins with a man saving a woman, suffering from an epileptic fit, from being crushed by a subway train. Then, the man sways and swoons in the middle of the tracks.
'Harry's Law' Season 1 Episode 1 'Pilot'
'Harry's Law," which premiered Monday night, is the latest quirky legal dramedy from David Kelly, the first since the conclusion of "Boston Legal." It stars Kathy Bates as an acerbic, world-weary patent lawyer in Cincinnati.
Sarah Palin on Hannity -- 'We Will Not Sit Down and Shut Up'
Sarah Palin appeared on Hannity Monday night for her first post-Tucson interview. She continued to approach the attacks that have been directed against her in true mama grizzly style, relentlessly and unapologetically.

Addendum: Ed Kock defends.
Jeff Foust makes an interesting point in a New Atlantis article.
The next administration may want to reconceive American space policy yet again, implementing another major policy shift. Such lapses in strategic continuity may be a regrettable but unavoidable consequence of our democratic system of government. But they also point to one of our nation’s great strengths — an ability to adjust our priorities and programs in the face of evolving technical, budgetary, competitive, and political realities. As frustrating as these strategic shifts can be for those of us who want to see indisputable progress in space, they are, oddly, part of what makes America’s space program distinctly American.

I can predict that there will certainly be a another major policy shift with the next President. The Obama space policy has yielded little but chaos which will waste money and time.
Why Does the Left Hate Sarah Palin?
Robert Zubrin proposes building a transorbital railroad that would consist of subsidizing a number of heavy lift (100 tons) and medium lift (20 tons) to Low Earth Orbit.
With such a huge amount of lift capability available to the public at low cost, both public and private initiatives of every kind could take flight. If NASA desired to send human expeditions to other worlds, all it would have to do would be to buy space on the transorbital railroad for its payloads. But private enterprises or foundations could use the transorbital railroad to launch their own lunar or Mars probes — or settlements — as well. Those who believe in solar-power satellites would have the opportunity to put their business plans into action. Those wishing to operate orbital space hotels would have the launch capacity necessary to make their concepts feasible. Those hoping to offer commercial orbital ferry service to transfer payloads from low-Earth orbit to geostationary orbit or beyond would be able to get their crafts aloft, and have plenty of customers. As such enterprises multiplied, a tax base would be created both on Earth and in space that would ultimately repay the government many times over for its transorbital railroad program costs.

This is good outside the box thinking, though it sort of steps lightly over some potential problems, such as human rating. And commercial heavy lift does not yet exist. But all in all Zubrin's idea has merit.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rand Simberg goes In Search of a Conservative Space Policy and finds Obamaspace, which confirms the suspicion that he doesn't understand conservatives. We take a dim view of crony capitalism, for one thing. Cancelling the return to the Moon was also hardly conservative either, as it smacks of retreat from space, ceding the high frontier to other countries. At the same time, Rand complains about the inevitable political chaos that has been created in the wake of the President's unwise decision that will shortly undermine what he claims to value.

By the way, a number of months ago I tried to clear up Rand's confusion as to why the Right disdains Obamaspace.
'Jus Mac and Cheese Company' Serves Macaroni and Cheese like No Other
"Jus Mac and Cheese Company" is in an unobtrusive building on the west side of Yale Drive in Houston's Heights Neighborhood between 26th and 27th street. So, if you drive too fast, you might miss it and mores the pity.
Jeff Foust asks Can NASA Develop a Heavy Lift Rocket? The answer seems to be, maybe, but Congress is certainly not helping.

Meanwhile Roger Handberg talks about Small ball or home runs: the changing ethos of US human spaceflight policy in which he uses a word I would see banned from discourse on space policy: sustainability. It is a code word for not doing much of anything.

Addendum: Rand Simberg has his usual harsh assessment.

It occurred to me yesterday that NASA is a lot like Cuba, with its perfectly preserved 1950s vintage cars. It’s frozen in time in the sixties and seventies.

Sigh. For someone who thinks that Obamaspace is the right policy, Rand sure is cranky about the inevitable effects.
The Prospects for Lunar Mining
Poll: Palin Helped Herself with Facebook 'Blood Libel' Speech
The developing meme coming out of the media, even outlets not considered liberally biased such as Fox News, is that Sarah Palin hurt herself with her eight-minute Facebook video in which she used the term "blood libel."
Sarah Palin praises Dr. Martin Luther King. We await the outrageous outrage that she dared to do this.
George Allen Planning Rematch with James Webb for Virginia Senate Seat
George Allen, former governor of and senator from Virginia, seems to be preparing for a rematch against James Webb, the man who beat him by 1 percent for his Senate seat in 2006. That will make the 2012 Virginia Senate race interesting indeed.
Palin as Inspiration for Violence Slander Nothing New
It seems that blaming Sarah Palin, the affable self-described hockey mom from Alaska, for inspiring violence with every word and gesture is not a new tactic on the Left. Robert Stacy McCain reports that it was first used over two years ago.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Mulling Return to Movies with 'With Wings of Eagles,' World War II Drama
Having concluded his term as governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering a return to motion pictures. However, since Schwarzenegger is 63, we have likely seen the last of Arnold as an action hero.
Reagan Son's Claims of Father's Alzheimer's as President Disputed
Ron Reagan, the youngest son of President Ronald Reagan, is set to claim that his father likely had Alzheimer's during his second term in office. This claim is hotly disputed by historians, journalists, and doctors.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I might add this to my lengthy list of publications, but it is not the sort of newssite one places on ones list. They seem to have pinched it from Yahoo News where it was first posted.
Space Adventures Inks New Space Tourism Deal with Russian Space Agency
Eric Fuller, Tucson Shooting Victim, Arrested for Death Threat Against Tea Party Spokesman
Eric Fuller, a victim of the Tucson Safeway Massacre, was arrested at a townhall meeting sponsored by ABC News for making what appeared to be a threat against the life of Trent Humphries, a Tucson Tea Party spokesman and for disorderly conduct.
An Appeciation of Susannah York, 1939-2011
Susannah York, the British actress who graced the large and small screen, as well as the stage, has died of bone marrow cancer just a couple of days after her seventy second birthday. Her career spanned nearly five decades.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Case Against the Case Against the Moon
NASA Discusses Plan to Attach Bigelow Inflatable Module to ISS
Oooh, kitty!
Seth Rogan's 'The Green Hornet' -- a Review
"The Green Hornet," starring Seth Rogan as another rich playboy who dons a mask and fights crime, is a rather odd retelling of the adventures of the masked hero which has been told over several decades on radio, TV, and film.
Bill Maher Did Not Get the Memo from Barack Obama
Friday night, Bill Maher, who uses words much in the same way Jared Loughner is suspected of using bullets, aired his one hour of hate programming, "Real Time", for the first time in 2011. He did not disappoint in creating outrageous outrage.

Friday, January 14, 2011

NASA's Human Space Exploration Framework Summary -- Is It 'Affordable?'

Addenedum: Paul Spudis gives the HSEF report the back of his hand.
NASA creates an unaffordable architecture (ESAS) to implement the VSE. The response by the new administration is to cancel the VSE and replace it with promises of more distant goals at some nebulous time in the far future. Congress directs the agency to build an HLV anyway, but the vehicle has no mission, so they pull out the specs of the last HLV America flew. NASA responds by saying they can’t do it on the money and schedule specified, even though they themselves have in hand a report that shows how it can be done. Moreover, the agency still claims it doesn’t know why anyone would want to go to the Moon, despite having been shown repeatedly that what we do there will create new space faring capability.

Addendum 2: So does Keith Cowing
Houston Stops 'Feed a Friend' Program that Provided Meals to Homeless
Destroying the Death Star on a winter's afternoon:

Snowy trench run from Aaron Dabelow on Vimeo.

Sarah Palin to Speak at Meeting of Safari International Club
Usually with a campaign of vilification such as being directed against Sarah Palin, the object of the campaign sooner or later lapses into embarrassed silence and tries to hide somewhere in order to make the abuse stop.
Climate Change Contributed to the Fall of Rome, Study Suggests
A new study in the journal Science suggests that climate change contributed not only to the fall of the Roman Empire but to the Black Death that took place in the 14th Century. This study is causing renewed interest in the subject in certain quarters.
Woolly Mammoth to Be Cloned by Japanese Scientist
It's not exactly something out of Jurassic Park -- more like Pleistocene Park -- as a Japanese scientist revives his idea to clone a Woolly Mammoth, based on a new technique that was used to produce a mouse from frozen cells about three years ago.
Dire Straits 'Money for Nothing' Banned in Canada
In another example of political correctness run amok, it seems that the 1980s rock band Dire Straits is now considered a homophobic, racist hate group in Canada, thanks to their classic song "Money for Nothing."

Addendum: Comments from the nephew of a friend who is a musician living in Canada.

"Many radio stations here are disregarding the ban. At least one station went so far as to play the song over and over for an hour straight. Same issues here as in the US, where one radically minded and motivated person can flip the cart. Thankfully, that can often wake the others of us up to rail against ridiculousness."

Glad to see that the spirit of rebellion lives north of the border.
House GOP Set to Defund NPR in Wake of Juan Williams Firing
The House Republicans are preparing to strip NPR of its federal funding. Unlike abortive attempts to deny funding to public broadcasting in the 1990s, prospects of success are brighter thanks to the budget deficit and the firing of Juan Williams.
John Dye, who played Andrew the Angel of Death on the TV series "Touched by an Angel" has himself died of heart failure at age 47.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Continuing the tiresome practise of rebooting old TV shows for the 21st Century, Charlies Angels. Unfortunately Drew Barrymore is producing, which likely means that the Angels will be giggly bimbos who don't carry guns and defy the laws of physics.

Addenedum: To be set in Miami. Better.
Sarah Palin Is Right About 'Blood Libel'
Many refuse to give up on manned moon missions
Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to Retire After Current Term
Denise Chow writes The Case Against the Moon: Why We Shouldn't Go Straight Back. It's an "On to Mars!" cause it's more exciting and therefore unpersuasive.
Senators, NASA at Odds over Heavy Lift Vehicle
President Obama Consoles Tucson, Calls for Civility
President Barack Obama journeyed to Tucson to perform the role of comforter in chief. He entered the local university's basketball arena to a capacity crowd and gave the best speech he has given since the campaign.
Sarah Palin Recieving 'Unprecedented Level' of Death Threats
An aide to Sarah Palin has acknowledged a predictable and bitterly ironic fallout of the controversy surrounding the Tucson Safeway Massacre. Death threats to Palin have risen to an "unprecedented level."
Media Research Center Compiles Death Wishes Against Conservatives by the Media
The Media Research Center has compiled a list of death wishes made against conservative figures over the years, not by the usual nutters that infest Twitter and other parts of the Internet, but by mainstream media figures.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Texas to Ban 'Synthetic Marijuana'
NASA's Congressionally Mandated Vehicle to Cost More and Take Longer

Addendum: Clearly the Senate thinks NASA is lying when it says it can't build the HLV for the budget, on the schedule, and with the design mandated.
Illinois Votes to Hike Income Taxes by 66 Percent
Illinois, the state that has given us both Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, has just voted to boost the state tax on income by 66 percent from 3 percent of gross income to 5 percent. The vote was 30-29 in the Illinois Senate and 60-57 in the Illinois House.
The Impact of Operation Desert Storm
Sarah Palin Attacked for Use of the Term 'Blood Libel'
It did not take long for what Sarah Palin has rightly termed the "lamestream media" to scream and leap at her eight-minute video response to the Tucson shooting controversy. They are focusing on her use of the term "blood libel."
Barack Obama to Speak at Tucson Memorial Service
Congressman James Clyburn: Bring Back Fairness Doctrine to Stop Future Tucsons
The latest Washington politician to try to use the Tucson Safeway Massacre for political advantage is Rep. James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina. Congressman Clyburn wants to bring back the so-called Fairness Doctrine.
Apollo Era Data Continues to Yield Moon's Secrets Decades Later
Obama Praises France as America's 'Greatest Ally,' Slighting Great Britain
On the occasion of a Washington visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, President Barack Obama suggested that France was America's "greatest ally," a gesture widely perceived as a deliberate slight against Great Britain.
Sarah Palin Makes Response to Tucson Massacre Controversy
ah Palin, who has been blamed by liberal pundits for somehow inspiring the Tucson Safeway Massacre, where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was severely wounded and six people were killed, has uploaded a lengthy response in video and in text.

Addendum: The incomperablle Charles Krauthammer smacks down the political opportunists.

Addenedum 2: Howard Kurtz says that Palin's use of the term "blood libel" is offensive to Jews. Apparently it was not offensive when Glenn Reynolds used the same phrase.
Latest trailer for Battle: Los Angeles:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Facts About Martin Luther King Jr.
Why torching that second Death Star so close to Endor was perhaps not the wisest of moves.

Texas Gov. Perry Moves to Ban 'Sanctuary Cities,' Protect Private Property
Robert Naiman, who is clearly demented, wonders If Palin Lived in Pakistan, Could She Face a Drone Strike?

I thought this kind of rhetoric was to be avoided. Bill Maher assures me that the Left never indulges in it.
Bill Maher, John Stewart Weigh in on Giffords Shooting
Two more television pundits on the left have weighed in on the Giffords shooting and who was actually to blame. John Stewart took the sane, high road by not trying to take political shots. Sadly, Bill Maher could not resist the temptation.
Have Bone Fragments Belonging to Amelia Earhart Been Found?
Mark Halperin -- Conservatives Should 'Turn the Other Cheek' when Accused of Inspiring Murder
Mark Halperin had bizarre advice to conservatives who are being attacked by liberals and blamed for the Tucson Safeway Massacre that took six lives and severely wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords: Turn the other cheek.
Clarence Dupnik, Arizona Sheriff, Blames Limbaugh for Giffords Shooting
Clarence Dupnik, the Arizona sheriff charged with investigating the Tucson Safeway massacre in which US Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords was severely wounded and six others killed, has a theory about who was really responsible.
400 Volunteer to Become Mars Colonists
Ever since "The Journal of Cosmology" first proposed that the first explorers to travel to Mars also be the first settlers to colonize the Red Planet, some 400 people have actually volunteered to leave Earth forever.
Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis to Star in 'The Hobbit' Films
According to the film site Coming Soon, both Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis will reprise their roles as Gandalf and Gollum respectively in a film version of "The Hobbit," now scheduled to begin shooting in New Zealand on Feb. 21, 2011.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tom Delay, Former House Majority Leader, Sentenced to Three Years in Prison
The Case for the Moon
John Birmingham asks the real burning question of our times. Vampire Dominion or Zombiepocalypse
Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin Respond to Giffords Shooting 'Blood Libel'
Having been attacked for somehow inspiring the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords during the Tucson Safeway Massacre, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin responded, Beck on his radio show on Monday, Palin in an e-mail to Beck.
Apparently reading the Constitution is the cause of the Giffords shooting.
Is the Giffords Shooting Obama's 'Oklahoma City Moment'?
Why are so many on the left screaming and leaping at Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and conservative "hate speech" as the real reason for the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords in the Tucson Safeway Massacre?
Michelle Malkin reminds of of ten years of liberal hate.
Taylor Dinerman discusses the Space Trilogy of C.S. Lewis. Dinerman, noting that Lewis opposed space exploration out of religious grounds, wonders how he would have reacted to the reading of Genesis by the crew of Apollo 8 and Buzz Aldrin's taking communion on the lunar surface. I would further point out how the inspiration of space travel turned at least two of the Apollo astronauts, Jim Irwin and Charlie Duke, to deep religious faith.
Building a human outpost at one of the Lagrange Points.
'Sarah Palin's Alaska' -- 'Gold Mining and Oil'/'Follow Me There'
In "Sarah Palin's Alaska:" "Gold Mining and Oil," the final adventure of the series starts with a trip to the port town of Valdez, where the Alaska Pipeline ends. Valdez was made infamous during the oil spill of over 20 years ago.

Addendum: The Palins and the Obama's going camping would be a hoot. Todd teaching Obama how to fish. Sarah and Michelle making s'mores around the campfire. Piper gamboling with Mala and Sasha. Granddad Charles Heath showing everyone his antler collection. It would be a great idea as a TV special to raise money for charity.

Alas, likely impractical. The Secret Service would have a fit about a political opponent of the President carrying a bear rifle in his presence.
Jared Loughner, Portrait of the Tuscon Safeway Shooter
The portrait of Jared Loughner, the accused Tucson Safeway Massacre shooter, is taking shape. Loughner, contrary to some pronouncements on and off the Internet, was not a right wing, Tea Partying acolyte of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.
Giffords Shooting Spurs Calls for Restrictions on Gun Rights, Freedom of Speech
The Tucson Safeway Massacre, where Jared Loughner shot and killed several people, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, and severely wounded Gabrielle Giffords, is causing an assault on civil rights from some members of Congress.

Addendum: The father of the nine year old girl slaim in the Tucson Safeway Massacre makes a plea for the preservation of political liberties. A classy man and a rare adult in this whole affair.
Oh for God's sakes, does the Westboro Baptist have any shame whatsoever?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Arizona Tragedy and the Politics of Blood Libel by the incomperable Glenn Reynolds.
Dick Winters, whose story was so well told in the HBO series "Band of Brothers", has passed.
Liberals Blame Sarah Palin, Tea Party for Giffords Shooting
An apparently mentally disturbed man opened fire on a crowd at a Tucson Safeway store and shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the head, filling five others, including a 9-year-old child and a federal judge.

Addendum: More on liberal hypocrisy.
Gabrielle Giffords Shooting to Be Felt in the Aerospace Community
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was severely wounded in the Tucson Safeway Massacre, has connections to the world of aerospace that are both personal and political.
Here is the trailer for "The Kennedys" miniseries that the History Channel apparently passed on in favor of fare like "Ancient Aliens."

Hopefully some other network will have the courage to air it.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Former Marine in Houston Fights Homeowners Association Over Flying American Flag
Contrary to some bloviating from the Internet Rocketeer Club, New Mexico Governor Martinez supports the New Mexico Space Port.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been shot. The gunman has been apprehended. His motives and Ms. Gifford's condition are at this time unknown.

Much more anon.

Addendum: Dead, among with six others. Prayers for her family.

Addendum 2: Still alive.

Addendum 3: The usual suspects are already taking political shots. For shame.
Sarah Palin: Obama Wants to 'Deliberately Weaken the Country' by Raising the Debt Limit
Sarah Palin was on the Laura Ingraham radio show recently and, after telegraphing that the usual suspects would get "wee weed up" about what she was about to say, accused the president of deliberately wanting to weaken the country by raising the debt limit.
'Season of the Witch' Starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman; a Review
"Season of the Witch" stars Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman as a pair of medieval knights, having tired of killing infidels in the Middle East of the 14th Century, return to Europe to find it ravaged by the Black Death, thus a frying pan into the fire situation.
It seems that Joel Surnow's warts and all Kennedys mini series will not be seen in the United States, at least for the time being. The obvious suspicion is that the History Channel caved into pressure to censor the miniseries from the Kennedy family and its allies.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Apollo Moonwalker Harrison Schmitt Nominated to Head New Mexico Department of Energy and Natural Resources
Newly elected New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has nominated Dr. Harrison Schmitt to head that state's Department of Energy and Natural Resources. That nomination has provoked outrage among New Mexico Democrats.
Romanian Witch Tax Protest Rages Along the Danube
Gene Sperling Appointed to Head National Economic Council
Wikileaks Reveals Fears of Chinese Military Buildup
According to the Australian paper the Brisbane Times, a US Embassy cable leaked by Wikileaks reveals that Australian intelligence has concluded that China is hiding the full extent of its military buildup, which poses a threat to regional stability.
Unemployment Rate Drops to 9.4 Percent
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting that the unemployment rate in the United States has dropped from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent. However, a casual look at the numbers shows that this is terrible newsAdChoices for the long term jobs picture.
Did John Edwards Propose to Rielle Hunter?
e New York Daily News is reporting that there is a story in the National Enquirer that John Edwards has proposed marriage to his mistress and the mother of his child, Rielle Hunter, mere weeks after his estranged wife, Elizabeth, died from cancer.
Harrison Schmitt, Apollo Moonwalker, lunar geologist, former United States Senator, has been chosen to be New Mexico's Secretary of Energy and Natural Resources and the Democrats are mad as Hell.

It seems that Dr. Schmitt is a global warming skeptic.

Addendum: More Outrageous outrage
Worlds oldest cat

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The various contestants in the Google Lunar XPrize have selected landing sites. Only one seems to be aiming for the South Pole, though.
Obama to Slash Defense Spending, Reduce Active Duty Troops
President Obama and Secretary of Defense Gates have decided to join in the fiscal austerity craze by slashing defense spending. Not only will $78 billion be cut from the Pentagon budget, but the number of active duty troops will be reduced.
The woman who gave Juan Williams the Royal Order of the Boot from NPR, has herself recieved that reward.
House Democrats to Restore Pelosi as Speaker in 2012
Having lost the House of Representatives in the greatest political defeat in decades, the remaining House Democrats are regrouping and have come up with a plan to recover and hopefully regain their majority in 2012.
Autism Vaccine Link Study Proven as a Fraud
The Great Lunar Land Deal Revisited
Nightrunner, the French Batman, is a Muslim
It seems that Batman, the Dark Knight, has started to franchise his brand. The Caped Crusader's choice for Batman in France is considered unusual and, for some, unsettling. He is a Frenchman who is also an Algerian Muslim.
Elizabeth Edwards Cut John Edwards from Her Will
Proving that revenge is a dish best served cold, Elizabeth Edwards demonstrated her true feelings for her philandering husband, former senator and vice presidential and presidential candidate John Edwards, by cutting him out of her will.
Steny Hoyer, Howard Dean Hate on the Tea Party
As John Boehner was sworn in as Speaker of the House and power shifted to the Republicans on Capitol Hill, two Democratic pols, the new Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and the ever irrepressible Howard Dean, lashed out at the Tea Party.
Jeff Foust is predicting that the Appropriators are going to assert more control over space policy from the Authorizors in Congress. Of course would be an improvement, from their standpoint, from having no control, which was the case the past two years.

In the menatime, the House Science and Technology Committee has become the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee which suggests a greater attention to space policy from the House Republicans.

Finally, I think Jeff may be wrong about the Senate being the guardians of the status quo. The status quo is not sustainable, as it is chaos. Also Bill Nelson is up for reelection next year and may be in a spot of trouble, hence a little more independence from the administration may be in order.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Wikileaks - War in Iraq justified.
Ahnold the villain in his own movie.
Notable Quotes by Robert Gibbs
Robert Gibbs, President Barack Obama's press secretary, is stepping down from his White House job. Pundits everywhere are in mourning. Gibbs often maladroit but always entertaining press briefings were golden sources of material.