Monday, February 28, 2011

Why liberals love trains.

Addendum: Rand Simberg echoes proper disdain for government financed high speed rail, but then gets very defensive about governement financed high speed space ships.
By the way, just to preempt any further commentary along these lines, comparisons between my opposition to government-subsidized high-speed rail and my support for smarter government spending on space transportation are spurious and idiotic.

Rand, as is his want, does not define what "smarter government spending on space transportation" would be like. It is surely not the current plan of, if we believe NASA administrator Charles Bolden, promising virtually unlimited subsidies until something flies. Nor does he say why the comparison between high speed rail spending and high speed space ship spending is "spurious and idiotic." It possible that the only reason that Rand opposes the one and favors the other is that he would prefer to go where the space ship is headed over where the train is. Fair enough, but we need to be honest about what kind of governement sponsered crony capitalism we favor.


Addendum 2: Obama Wants High-Speed Railroads and High-Speed Space Ships
Fake Bomb Planted at Houston City Hall
Is a Martian Future Possible Without Human Explorers?
One of the more egregious calumnies about the Constellation program is that it was an "attempt to relive Apollo" that had no value except to stoke the nostalgia of baby boomers who remember a time when people actually explored space with far too much fondness. Young people, who after all are the future, have better concerns than that. However, Michelle Longo, who was not alive 42 years ago, would be ok with something like Apollo for her generation.
For those of us younger than 42-years-old, the most prominent NASA memories we have are watching a beloved school teacher and six other crew memories explode only 73 seconds after takeoff, and watching the Columbia Shuttle disintegrate after a two-week mission. The younger generation’s vision of NASA is rooted in tragedy; as opposed to the 60s and 70s that yielded great scientific accomplishment and revered heroes like Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

We need to get back to those times when NASA was at the top of space exploration, when the American flag was billowing on the Moon, when phrases like “that was one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” had the ability to stun a nation. Cancelling the Constellation program is certainly not a giant leap for anyone, but rather a large step backward for everyone.

Yeah and verily.
Joule Unlimited Claims New Biodiesel Manufacturing Process
Teddy Kennedy FBI Documents Feature Prostitutes, Communists, and Soviet Spies
Judicial Watch has obtained some previously secret FBI documents that reveal a disquieting portrait of the late Teddy Kennedy, long-term senator, erstwhile presidential candidate, and last of the star-crossed Kennedys of his generation.
Polling Data Suggest that Government Shutdown Not the End of the World
Two new polls suggest that the politics of a government shutdown will not necessarily be of benefit for President Obama and the Democrats. This suggests that the best strategy would be to come to terms as soon as possible.
Frank Buckles, the Last of the World War I Doughboys, Has Passed On
Frank Buckles, the last World War I doughboy yet living, has now passed away at the age of 110. There are now no more living Americans who went "over there" to fight the Germans when America finally entered the First World War in 1917.
Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Libya
One country that may be greatly inconvenienced by the impending change of government in Libya is the Islamic Republic of Iran. It seems that Iran's Revolutionary Guards has been very active in Libya, in cooperation with Muammar Gaddafi.
Kirk Douglas Brought an Antique Grace and Wit to the Oscar Ceremony
One of the high points of an otherwise snooze-inducing Oscar ceremony was the unexpected appearance of Kirk Douglas, a legend out of Hollywood's past, to announce who would get the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Apparently the following, produced by an Israeli, is popular in the Arab world:

NASA's Robert Braun: No Americans Beyond Low Earth Orbit for a Decade
Libya is a Much Fought Over Land
The Battle of Sabratha, Libya -- Swords Against Guns
Generally when one brings a sword to a gun fight, it goes very badly for the man carrying the sword. But apparently 40 men carrying 2-foot scimitars gave a good account of themselves against pro Moammar Gadhafi troops in the Libyan town of Sabratha.
We Dare,' Erotic Video Game for the Wii, Rated for Kids 12 and Older
A new video game for the Nintendo Wii, called "We Dare," is causing quite a bit of consternation. It seems the game, which encourages everything from sexual spanking to lesbian sex and orgies is rated for ages 12 and up.
Michael Barone: Tea Party a Revolt Against Special Interests
Michael Barone, writing in the Washington Examiner, suggests the tea party revolt, with the 2010 elections just a prelude of things to come, is a reaction against special interests using connections with government to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayers.
Kathleen Parker, Sarah Palin and the End of a Media Career
Kathleen Parker is now out as a television personality at CNN. John Ziegler has a theory about why, besides being on a competitive time slot with the horrible Elliot Spitzer as a co-host. It seems she had struck at the Queen and failed to kill her.
Report: Newt Gingrich to Form Exploratory Committee for Presidential Run
The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting Newt Gingrich may be about to form an exploratory committee for his possible candidacy for President of the United States. This move would take place about March 8.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

NASA Earth Science Missions Eliminated by Obama Administration
Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert Announces for U.S. Senate
Senate Democrats Signal Budget Compromise
Senate Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have signaled they are amenable to a two-week extension of the continuing resolution that will include $4 billion in budget cuts.
Tolkien Estate Threatens Seller of a Button that Mentions the Name 'Tolkien'
Recently the Tolkien Estate has gone on a tear against novels it feels infringes on not only the copyright, but the name and likeness of the long-dead author. Now the censorship campaign has extended to buttons one gets at science fiction conventions.
Oil Drilling Fight Set to Break Out in the Wake of Middle East Turmoil
The turmoil in the Middle East, including the civil war in Libya, has sparked a spike in the price or oil, which has in turned caused a renewed call by congressional Republicans for more domestic oil and gas drilling.
Remembering Hollywood Commies
Wisconsin State Capitol to Be Cleared of Protestors for Massive Cleanup
The Wisconsin State Capitol Police have announced the protesters who have been encamped on the grounds of the state capitol in Madison must leave by Sunday to allow for a cleanup of the trash and debris left by the over weeklong protests.
Gingrich: Obama Violated the Constitution in Defense of Marriage Act Decision
Ever so gingerly, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich raised the "I word" when examining President Barack Obama's decision to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act against Constitutional challenges.

Friday, February 25, 2011

How Would a 2011 Government Shutdown Play Out?
Obama Administration Places Americans in Libya at Risk
Incompetence on the part of the Obama administration placed almost 200 Americans trapped in Libya at risk. In order to evacuate Americans from the war zone, the State Department chartered a ferry called the Maria Dolores.
'The Good Wife' Tea Partying, Sarah Palin-Loving Character Named McVeigh
"The Good Wife," a TV series about the estranged wife of a disgraced politician forced to go back into law practice in order to make ends meet, is raising eyebrows and hackles with the introduction of a Tea Partying, Sarah Palin-admiring character.

Addendum: David Forsmark says that, aside from the unfortunate name, Kurt McVeigh is an appealing character.
29 Teams Qualify for Google Lunar X Prize Moon Race
Poll: Most Texans Favor Curbs on Illegal Immigration
Study: Alaska Could Be Eighth Largest Oil Producer
A new study suggests that if the outer continental shelf of Alaska were to be opened up for oil and gas drilling, the state of Alaska would become the eighth largest producer of oil, exceeding Nigeria, Libya, Russia, and Norway.
Charlie Sheen's Rant Gets 'Two and a Half Men' Canceled for the Rest of the Season
Charlie Sheen has opened up a new front in an apparent quest to destroy himself with a series of on-air rants in which he attacked Chuck Lorre, the executive producer of Sheen's hit TV series "Two and a Half Men."
Sarah Palin Defended By ... Jerry Springer
Sarah Palin, who has often been the subject of left-wing scorn and hate, has found herself a rather unusual defender. Jerry Springer, the tabloid TV host and liberal politician, has admonished his fellow lefties about their attitude toward Palin.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NASA Space Shuttle Discovery STS-133 Launches for Her Final Mission
Saudi National Arrested in Lubbock on Terrorism Related Charges
Julian Assange Ordered Extradited to Sweden
Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, has been ordered by a British court to be extradited to Sweden to face questions surrounding an accusation of rape by one woman and sexual molestation by another.
A Blast from the future. Attorney General Mark Levin: Won't Enforce Roe v. Wade

Attorney General Mark Levin. That is even more delicious than President Sarah Palin.
'Justified' Season 2 Episode 3 'The I of the Storm'
"Justified" Season 2 Episode 3 "The I of the Storm" starts with what appears to be a church school bus driving down a country road. The people inside, including one of Boyd Crowder's old cronies, Dewey Crowe, do not seem like church folk.
Sarah Palin to Travel to India to Speak at the India Today Conclave
Sarah Palin is headed for India next month to attend the India Today Conclave in New Delhi to deliver the closing keynote address on the subject of "My Vision for America." All things considered, it is a splendid place for Palin to see and be seen at.
Obama Responds Limply to the Libya Crisis
sident Barack Obama, no doubt feeling the lashing he has been getting for his silence on Libya by Sarah Palin and others, has finally spoken out on the chaos descending on the North African country.
Judge Kessler Finds Obamacare Constitutional
Federal Judge Gladys Kessler, a Clinton appointee sitting on the US District Court for Washington DC, has thrown out a private lawsuit against the individual mandate in Obamacare Her reasoning was creative to say the least.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ET - The Sequel

Tommy Lee Jones for U.S. Senator from Texas
Bill Posey thrashes Obama for under funding NASA. Politifact rates Posey's criticism as "mostly true."
Seattle Restaurateur to TSA: 'We Don't Serve Your Kind Here'
A restaurant near the Seattle-Tacoma airport has taken the fight against the TSA's "enhanced pat downs" to a whole new level. TSA employees have been placed on a "no eat list." That is to say, they don't serve their kind there.
NASA's New Vision Statement Is Not so Visionary

Addendum: Paul Spudis waxes caustic and then offers this vision statement:
“To explore the universe with people and machines.”

It is, as he says, "Succinct – to the point – all-inclusive." But it does not sing.

Addendum 2: Rand Simberg has his own.
“To flower the universe with sapient life.”

A little too sweet and also misleading. The universe likely has plenty of non human sapient life.

How about "To spread human civilization throughout the universe?"
"The Heretic" is a play about the persecution of a global warming skeptic that is running in London to favorable reviews.
Harry Reid Calls for a Ban of Brothels in Nevada
The economic crisis has landed particularly hard on Nevada. So, when Senate Majority Harry Reid, Nevada's senior senator, addressed the Nevada State Legislature, the issue that was foremost on his mind was legal prostitution.
Oil Price Climb to Cause Political Headaches for President Obama
Obama Reverses Stance on Defense of Marriage Act
The Obama administration, after having defended the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, has decided to reverse itself and will now consider the Act unconstitutional. The Act remains on the books as challenges to it proceed through the courts.
Labor unions hurt American workers, state budgets
Time for School Choice in Wisconsin
Sarah Palin Speaks Out Forcefully on Libya
While the Obama administration continues to be somewhat mealy mouthed on the bloody chaos in Libya, Sarah Palin was very forthright in a recent post on her Facebook page. She showed how different a Palin presidency would approach situations like Libya.
Baby Joseph Maraachli Faces Death Without Dignity in a Canadian Hospital
The case of Joseph Maraachli, a baby dying in a Canadian hospital, should serve as an illustration of the bureaucratic horrors that a government health care system inflicts and which may be in America's future under Obamacare.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

11-Year-Old Boy Arrested for Drawing a Picture
Instances in which children are victimized by "zero tolerance" outrages at school have become all too common. The latest involved an 11-year-old boy in Arvada, Colo., called "Tim" who was arrested for drawing a stick figure picture some found alarming.
Iranian Warships Pass Through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean
Proposed Law Would Ban Infant Circumcisions in San Francisco
A self-described "human rights activist" is gathering signatures in San Francisco for a measure on the November ballot to ban circumcisions of infants. The measure very likely would run into freedom of religion objections if enacted.
Time to Establish a Libyan No-Fly Zone
Somali Pirates Murder Four Americans
Somali pirates have murdered four Americans whose yacht they had taken on the high seas. The pirates provoked a battle with a US Naval vessel, the USS Sterett, which had been shadowing the captured yacht and negotiating for the release of the hostages.
Mikhail Gorbachev Slams Vladimir Putin for Subverting Russian Democracy
What to Ask E.T.? Let's Make a Deal
Moammar Gadhafi Shouts Defiance While Libya Burns
Space Center Houston Seeks a Space Shuttle Orbiter
Republicans Have the Upper Hand in Wisconsin
Byron York is reporting that public opinion in Wisconsin seems to be firmly behind Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans on the budget fight and overwhelmingly so on the issue of Democrats fleeing the state.
'House' Season 7 Episode 13 'Two Stories'
In "House" Season 7 Episode 13 "Two Stories," the viewer gets to see a patient literally barf up part of his lung. One also sees House, under an assumed name; try to explain to a class of fifth graders what he does for a living.

Monday, February 21, 2011

If the Tolkien estate wins its legal tussle with Steve Hillard, that might mean that a lot of historic fiction would become illegal.
Rand Simberg has a page on his Competitive Space Task Force that he says has a number of human space flight myths which he expresses in briefly worded and thus misleading phrases:
Apollo Was About Space

Human Space Is About Science

HSF Crucial To National Security

Solid Infrastructure Critical To National Security

Existing Shuttle Infrastructure Necessary For Low Cost

NASA Must Design/Operate Own HSF Launchers

Only Governments Can Do HSF Safely

HSF Is Intrinsically Expensive

Shuttle Proved Reusable Launchers Not Feasible

These are not detailed descriptions of myths, but slogans or perhaps snarky comments. Some, like human space flight being crucial for national security, is not a myth but rather an arguable premise that I hold is a fact. Others would depend on qualifiers that Rand chooses not to use. For instance, HSF is intrinsically expensive--now. It may not be in the future. Also, Apollo was indeed about space--as well as national security, national prestige, and technology development.

Single phrase "myths" do not so much enlighten as they cause arguments that go nowhere and devolve rapidly into name calling. They are meant to obscure and obfuscate.

However, I'll play the game with some of my own. Here are some of the following myths about human space flight.

Commercial space flight is the equivalent of magic

The first destination to explore beyond Low Earth Orbit should be an asteroid

We don't need to go back to the Moon because Buzz has already been there

No matter what exploration architecture NASA might choose to send human explorers beyond Low Earth Orbit, it will be too expensive, too unsustainable, and doomed to fail

China will never be a space power

Neither will India

The first human explorer to return to the Moon will work for private industry

And one of my personal favorites...

Any attempt to return humans to the Moon constitutes a nostalgic attempt to relive Apollo.
US Navy Laser Prototype Breaks Record
A recent test of a free electron laser has hastened the day that ships of the United States Navy will be equipped with weapons that seem to be out of an episode of "Star Trek." The power of the laser has passed a significant milestone.
Wisconsin State Senate Could Move on Collective Bargaining Without Democrats -- GOP State Senator
A quirk in Wisconsin law suggests that the Republicans in the state Senate can strip the public sector unions of their collective bargaining powers even without the participation of the Democratic senators who fled the state.
Kathy Griffin to Play 'Sarah Palin Type' on 'Glee'
Recently, Kathy Griffin was booed by an audience of United States Marines at a USO show for some tasteless jokes that alleged Bristol Palin is "fat." This has apparently attracted the notice of the casting director of the TV show "Glee."
Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz Offers Compromise to Public Sector Unions
Moderate Wisconsin Republican state Senator Dale Schultz is offering a deal to teachers and other government bureaucrats that would allow collective bargaining rights to be set aside only temporarily, to be reinstated in 2013.
Libya Descends into Chaos, Obama Administration at a Loss
The Gaddafi regime's violent response to the popular uprising in Libya has plunged that unhappy country into blood. While the Western media is not permitted inside Libya, reports are leaking out of massacres and violent uprisings.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

George Soros Attacks Fox News, the Tea Party During CNN Interview
George Soros, the shadowy Hungarian-born billionaire who has financed a number of far left causes and organizations, rarely appears in the media. A recent interview by CNN's Fareed Zakaria demonstrated why.
Using Asteroids as Space Ships to Voyage to Mars
'Firefly' Picked Up by Science Channel, to Air with Commentary by Michio Kaku
The Science Channel has picked up the rights to the short lived but cult classic science fiction TV series, "Firefly," with the intention of airing the episodes along with science commentary by renowned physicist Dr. Michio Kaku.
Tea Party Rallies in Madison
The tea party held a rally on the grounds of the state capitol in Madison, Wis., that attracted thousands of participants in support of Gov. Scott Walker and his bill to curb the power of the public sector unions.
Wisconsin Doctors Handing Out Fake Sick Excuses to Striking Teachers
The Maclver Institute, a free market think tank in Wisconsin, has published a video from the heart of the uprising in Madison, Wis., of what appears to be doctors handing out fake excuse notes to teachers who have called in sick to attend the rally.
I find Rand Simberg's analogy of the Battle of Mad Town as Gettysburg but with the states rights folks as the good guys this time a little unconvincing, tortured, and ultimately depressing. For one thing, I think that the Tea Party is smart enough not to try Pickett's Charge. I have been on that ground and frankly I do not know what Marse Robert was thinking.

A better analogy would be recent events in Europe, particulary France and Greece, where people took to the streets in a fit of rage that the government welfare state gravy train had run dry. In the case of Wisconsin, though, the majority is on the side of cutting off and curbing the unions.

An even better analogy, therefore, might be Reagan's fight against PATCO and Maggie Thatcher's fight against the coal miners. In each case a popularly elected public official took on a union who had been demanding what they thought they were entitled to and won.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The first trailer for Apollo 18 is now up:

And here I thought it was stupid politics that has so far kept us back. I guess the Godless Red Chinese are in for a surprise...

'Apollo 18' Movie Raises Questions About Secret Missions to the Moon
Texas Mulling Water Conservation Tax Incentives for Land Owners
A new fantasy novel--starring J.R.R. Tolkien

Fantasy Novel Starring J.R.R. Tolkien Incurs Wrath of the Tolkien Estate
Author Stephen Hillard has written a novel entitled "Mirkwood" which appears to be a fantasy epic in which none other than J.R.R. Tolkien appears as a character. The
Tolkien estate is not amused and has issued a cease and desist letter.
Given the chance, Nathan Fillion would reprise the role of Captain Mal Reynolds in a heart beat.
Threats of Violence Rock Wisconsin Union Protests
The struggle over a budget repair bill in Wisconsin took an ominous turn Friday night as the Wisconsin State Assembly was forced to adjourn due to security concerns. Meanwhile fears for the safety of Gov. Scott Walker have been expressed.
'I Am Number Four' Film Review
One does not have to be a movie industry insider to know how "I am Number Four" was pitched. "It's like Twilight, only with aliens instead of vampires." Indeed it has just as much teenage angst as it does blaster fights.

Friday, February 18, 2011

House Votes to Defund Obamacare
The House of Representatives has voted to include several amendments in the continuing resolution that will fund the government from March until the end of the fiscal year to essentially defund health care reform, also known as Obamacare.
Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, Announces Retirement
The latest senator to announce his retirement from the United States Senate is Democrat Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico. That makes him the fourth Democrat, after Webb of Virginia, Lieberman of Connecticut, and Conrad of North Dakota, to retire.
NASA Commercial Space Operations to Be Located in Florida, Not Texas
Tea Party to Rally in Madison, Wis., in Support of Gov. Walker
The Tea Party is planning to join the fight in what has become known as "The Battle of Mad Town," in Madison, Wis., over a bill that would strip public sector unions of some of their collective bargaining power.
I got an interesting email from a gentleman identifying himself as Eitan Gorlin referencing a story I wrote about the claim Sarah Palin did not know Africa was a Continent.
Mark, Eitan Gorlin here, one of the two guys who created Martin Eisenstadt. Wanted to let you know that your comments concerning Sarah Palin and the Martin Eisenstadt "hoax" are completely and wholly inaccurate which by the way was one of the central points we were trying to make with our Eisenstadt adventure, that even the best intentioned journalists always seem to get something wrong. Martin Eisenstadt DID NOT spread the rumor that Sarah Palin didn't know that Africa is a continent. She really did say that. I refer you to "The Persecution of Sarah Palin", Mathew Continetti's book, in which he admits that Sarah Palin made those comments. Also, I refer you to this link ( where Sarah Palin herself essentially admits to making those comments in a classic non-denial denial. Plus, you're forgetting (or never knew, yet still wrote an article about it that many will assume as fact) that this leak was made to a specific individual, Carl Cameron of FOX. You don't think Carl Cameron, a true Republican insider, didn't know whether his source was a real person or not. So to st the record straight, our fake McCain advisor did not issue the leak. He simply took credit for it after the fact as it was made anonymously. If you are an honest journalist, you will correct this error. Thanks and good luck.

I have to stipulate that I find the story just a little bit dubious. Gorlin claims that his made up character was not the original source of the story, but in that case the source remains anonymous. The original New York Times does claim that a number of news organizations were taken in by the hoax and ran the story as a result.

The YouTube video the gentleman identifying himself as Eiten Gorlin references has been removed by the user, so I cannot verify that it showed what the emailer claimed that it showed.

What we have, therefore, is an old, unsubstantiated story about Sarah Palin among quite a few others, many of which have been proven false. So take the above email, as I do, with a grain of salt.

Addendum: Rich Lowery of National Review had a comment on the issue at the time.
I talked to Steve Biegun, the former Bush NSC aid who briefed Sarah Palin on foreign policy, and he considers the leaks against her on the international stuff “absurd.”

He says there’s no way she didn’t know Africa was a continent, and whoever is saying she didn’t must be distorting “a fumble of words.” He talked to her about all manner of issues relating to Africa, from failed states to the Sudan. She was aware from the beginning of the conflict in Darfur, which is followed closely in evangelical churches, and was aware of Clinton’s AIDS initiative. That basically makes it impossible that she thought all of Africa was a country.

That should clear things up.
Sarah Palin Takes on the Obama Birther, Secret Muslim Conspiracy Nuts
Sarah Palin came in for some praise from a very unusual source, that is to say The Washington Post, not known to be a fan of the Mama Grizzly. In a recent interview,Palin took on the people who believe odd things about President Barack Obama.
'Bones' Season 6 Episode 14 'The Bikini in the Soup'
The theme for "Bones" Season 6 Episode 14 "The Bikini in the Soup" might be called "love and its discontents." It is Valentine's Day and those who care about that sort of thing are keen to get this week's murder solved by night fall.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Signs of Incivility at the Union Rally in Madison, Wisconsin
An examination of some of the signs at theMadison, Wisconsin public employee union protest suggests that the drive for civility that started after the Tucson shooting has just about died out. Indeed, it was as if it had never been.
Virginia Tech Victims Lobby Against Texas Guns on Campus Bill
NASA's Budget Slashed to Hire Police

Addenedum: Rand Simberg provides a list of Republicans who voted for the measure.
Iranian/Israeli Naval Crisis in the Mediterranean Averted -- For Now
Wisconsin Senate Democrats Flee the State to Avoid Vote on Union-Opposed Budget Bill
The latest development in the Wisconsin State Employee uprising involves Democratic members of the state Senate fleeing the state capital of Madison in order to torpedo a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill.
Wisconsin's Scott Walker Takes on the Public Sector Unions
Madison, Wisc., is the scene of one of the most curious and off-putting protests in modern history. Thousands of state workers are rallying against measures up before the state legislature that would restrict their collective bargaining powers.
'Justified' Season 2 Episode 2 'The Life Inside'
In "Justified" Season 2 Episode 2 "The Life Inside," Ma Bennett explains to Loretta that her daddy had to go away for a while to heal and help run the operation down south. Daddy is really at the bottom of a hole covered in quick lime.
Nir Rosen Resigns, Apologizes for Lara Logan Sexual Assault Tweets
Nir Rosen has been forced to resign from his position as a fellow at NYU, which is surprising as one would have thought that his left-wing, anti-war credentials would have inoculated him from the consequences of making light of Lara Logan's sexual assault.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Privatize Public Broadcasting and Make Big Bird Get a Job
Florida Rejects Federal High Speed Rail Funds
President Barack Obama's $53 billion dollar high speed rail scheme is running into some opposition from an unexpected quarter. Some of the states that it would allegedly benefit are rejecting the funding.
Lisa Edelstein, Dr, Cuddy from 'House,' Cuts Coat Hanger Ad for MoveOn.Org
Lisa Edelstein, who plays Lisa Cuddy, the hospital administrator and mistress of the title character in the hit TV series "House," has become the second cast member of that series to dabble in radical politics by cutting a pro-abortion ad.
Berkeley Votes Down Guantanamo Detainee Measure
It seems that in an almost unprecedented attack of sanity, the Berkely city council has voted 4 to 1 not to invite recently freed Guantanamo detainees to live in the northern California city known best for its radical politics.
Unrest Spreads Throughout the Middle East, Rousing Concerns
Without a hint of irony, a well known supporter of state financed "commercial" space flight inveighs against state financed "commercial" high speed rail.
Lara Logan Attack Highlights Problem of Sexual Violence on Women in Egypt
Obama NASA Funding Request Gets Hostile Reception from Congress
Nir Rosen Makes Light of Lara Logan Sexual Assault
Nir Rosen, a liberal journalist and a New York University Center on Law and Security, trashed CBS News' Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan, recently the victim of a brutal sexual assault in Cairo during the recent uprising.
Borders Mega Bookstore Chain Files for Bankruptcy
Borders, the mega book store chain, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, having failed to get an agreement by publishers to restructure its over $500 million debt. It will close a third of its 674 stores across the United States.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords Undergoes Music Therapy, Continues to Progress
Stardust-NExT Returns First Pictures of Tempel 1 Comet
A Deal Between Obama and Republicans on Entitlements?
Lara Logan, CBS News Correspondent, Sexually Assaulted by Mob in Cairo
While covering the aftermath of Hosni Mubarak's removal as President of Egypt, Lara Logan, a CBS News correspondent, was sexually assaulted by a mob of men before being rescued by a group of women and a detachment of Egyptian soldiers.
'This American Life' Claims to Have Discovered Secret Coca Cola Recipe
Michelle Pfieffer, Helena Bonham Carter, to Be Approached to Appear in 'Dark Shadows'
Michelle Pfieffer is in talks to appear in Tim Burton's big screen adaptation of "Dark Shadows" as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the matriarch of the Collins family living in a mansion called Collinwood in Maine.
Egypt's Hosni Mubarak Ailing, According to Reports
Sheriff Joe Arpaio for United States Senate?
Since Senator John Kyl decided not to run for a new term in 2012, Republicans have been lining up to run for his seat. Even though Congressman Jeff Flake is the favored to win, another familiar name may throw his hat in the ring -- Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
'House' Season 7 Episode 12 'You Must Remember This'
In "House" Season 7 Episode 12 "You Must Remember This," the patient of the week is a young woman named Nadia who is working in a diner. She not only remembers everything, but has a tendency to collapse at inconvenient times.

Monday, February 14, 2011

King Street Patriots Receive Reagan Award at 2011 CPAC
Obama's NASA Budget Proposal for FY2012 -- Business as Usual
Jeff Foust writes about how NASA increasingly is embracing commercial crew as a panacea. Unfortunately the program of heavy government subsidies is unsustainable.

Lou Friedman actually manages to invoke Egypt to suggest that American leadership in space means more international cooperation.
$1.5 Trillion in New Taxes in Obama Budget Request, Says Americans for Tax Reform
The Americans for Tax Reform have examined President Obama's budget request for FY 2012 and have found tucked within the document a $1.5 trillion dollar tax increase over the next 10 years. Many ofAdChoices these tax increases have been rejected by previous Congresses.
The Real Reason for Obama's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Proposal
Obama to Propose Building Small, Modular Nuclear Power Plants in FY2012 Budget Proposal
Embedded in President Barack Obama's 2012 budget proposal will be a request to build what amounts to a small, modular nuclear reactor that could be mass-produced in a factory and quickly deployed and hooked up toAdChoices the power grid.
Burglars in Britain Can Sue Their Victims If They Get Hurt in the Commission of a Crime
It seems that people in Kent and Surrey in Great Britain are finding out they cannot be too proactive in trying to prevent burglaries from breaking into tool sheds and stealing their stuff. If the burglars are hurt, they might sue.
After Egypt, is Iran Next?
h the uprising in Egypt having, at least for the time being, come to a successful conclusion, some are speculating that the fall of Hosni Mubarak will inspire people in other Islamic countries to rise up. Iran is being touted as one example.
The Wall Street Journal is suggesting that Obama will cut funding on his commercial space scheme. Jeff Foust cautions that "cut back" depedends on from what. That has not stopped Clark Lindsey from reacting with outrageous outrage. And the entitlement mentality from the Internet Rocketeer Club continues.

My analysis, once the NASA budget comes out and there is time to digest, likely tomorrow.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ron Paul Wins Presidential Straw Poll at the 2011 CPAC
India Asked to Partner in NASA's Proposed 'MoonRise' Mission
Texas Gov. Perry Touts States Rights at the 2011 CPAC
Ron Paul Expelled from Young Americans for Freedom Advisory Board
Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative/libertarian group that William F. Buckley helped to found in 1960, has expelled Congressman Ron Paul from its board of advisers. The reasons for the expulsion were blunted worded.
Did President Bush Help Spark the Egyptian Freedom Revolution?
An obscure program that trained election monitors initiated by President George W. Bush is being touted as one of the sparks that ignited that Egyptian uprising that eventually toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
Sarah Palin Hits Back at Time Magazine for Christina Aguilera Story
Time Magazine reprinted the infamous false story in Us Magazine that stated that Sarah Palin had attacked Christina Aguilera for her botched performance of the national anthem at the Super Bowl and had called for her to be deported.
Romney Compares Obama to Herbert Hoover, Marie Antoinette at 2011 CPAC
Former Governor of Massachusetts and one-time Presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressed the 2011 CPAC meeting and managed to compare President Barack Obama to Herbert Hoover and French Queen Marie Antoinette.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Apparently a few years ago General George S. Patton came back from the dead and gave a talk about the War in Iraq:

How Does Egypt Stack Up Against Previous Popular Uprisings?
House Appropriators Propose Cutting NASA FY2011 Budget by $579 Million
The Media Attempt to Give Obama Credit for Egypt
Bill Maher: Obama 'Not a Christian'
Bill Maher on the most recent edition of HBO show "Real Time" offered President Barack Obama the gravest insult anyone had actually given. The irony is that Maher thought he was giving the President a compliment.
Tim Pawlenty Hits Obama Foreign Policy at 2011 CPAC Meeting
While Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney oriented their speeches at the 2011 CPAC meeting toward domestic policy, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty launched an attack on President Barack Obama's foreign policy.
Mitch Daniels Trys to Prove the 'Charisma of Competence' at the 2011 CPAC Meerting
Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, addressed the 2011 CPAC meeting in Washington in what has to be considered his national debut. George Will, in his introduction, touted him as having the "charisma of competence."
'Atlas Shrugged Part 1' Trailer Now Out
Fifty four years after the iconic book was published about forty years after serious talk began about bringing it to the small or big screen, "Atlas Shrugged" is coming to the big screen. At least, Part 1 of what promises to be a trilogy. to Close Dallas Distribution Center Over Sales Tax Dispute
'The Eagle' - A Film of Roman Britain
"The Eagle," starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, and Donald Sutherland, takes place in Roman Britain of the early first century AD. The movie is based on the 1954 novel "The Eagle of the Ninth" by Rosemary Sutcliff.

Friday, February 11, 2011

For your viewing pleasure, decades in the making, the first trailer of Atlas Shrugged Part 1.

Texas Gov. Perry, Democrats Fight Over Federal School Funding
Vintage Newt Gingrich at 2011 CPAC Meeting
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, touted by many as a likely presidential candidate in 2012, addressed the annual meeting of CPAC in a speech that was vintage Gingrich with its imaginative proposals and rhetorical shots.
Today is Sarah Palin's birthday. Oddly enough it is in the same month as those of Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan. Likely just a coincidence and certainly not an omen of things to come.

In any case, Happy Birthday, Governor,
Gabrielle Giffords for United States Senate?
John Kyle, United States senator from Arizona, has decided to retire after his current term. Ordinarily this would not be a problem for Republicans in red-state Arizona. But a wild card has been presented in the form of Gabrielle Giffords.
Rep. Ralph Hall Sours on Short-Term Prospects for NASA Space Exploration
Hosni Mubarak Steps Down as President of Egypt After 30 Years
Less than a day after he had announced that he was staying on as President of Egypt until the September elections, Hosni Mubarak has stepped down from that office, handing over power to what amounts to a military junta.
'Bones' Season 6 Episode 13 'The Daredevil in the Mold'
"Bones" Season 6 Episode 13 "The Daredevil in the Mold" begins with Booth and Sweets getting drunk together and talking about women. Sweets is getting up enough nerve to propose to Daisy and wants the advice of an older, wiser gentleman.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sarah Palin-Christina Aguilera Story Not Only Bogus Rumor About Former Governor
Hosni Mubarak Declines to Step Down as President of Egypt
Contrary to some speculation in the Western media and the hopes of Egyptian protesters gathered in Tahrir Square, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak addressed the country on television to announce that he would remain in office.
NASA's Bolden Touts Commercial Space at FAA Space Commercialization Conference

Addendum: Rand Simberg says that my analysis is "insanity", but then claims that he has not the time to explain why. Nice try, but it rather demonstrates the paucity of the arguments for people who cling to the notion that Obamaspace is "commercial."
Gabrielle Giffords Asks for Toast for Breakfast
DNI James Clapper: Muslim Brotherhood 'Largely Secular'
President Obama's Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, told a congressional committee that the Muslim Brotherhood, the Middle East's oldest terrorist organization, is "largely secular."
Bill Maher Calls Bill O'Reilly 'Unpatriotic' Over Obama Super Bowl Interview
Bill Maher is very unhappy with Bill O'Reilly over O'Reilly's Super Bowl interview with President Barack Obama. It seems that Maher believes O'Reilly was a little too aggressive, and therefore was not "patriotic."
Congressman Chris Lee Resigns Over Shirtless Photo Sent to Woman on Craigslist
The now-former Congressman Christopher Lee recently proved that there is very little some people will not do where there is sex or money involved. Add to that all the temptations the Internet has for the weak-minded, and trouble follows.
'Justified' Season 2 Episode 1 'The Moonshine War'
When we last left our intrepid heroes, Raylan, Boyd, and Ava were pinned down by a couple of hitters from the Miami Cartel who were after Raylan for that shooting that took place at the beginning of the series "Justified."

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Tried something new tonight while making a batch of spaghetti sauce. While the onions were carmalizing, I put two dates in with them. It gave the sauce an extra bit of sweetness.
Texas Gov. Perry Proposes Texas State Budget
Silvio Berlusconi Accused of Illegal Sex with Egyptian Night Club Dancer

Also How Does Silvio Berlusconi Compare to American Political Sex Scandals
Aaron Sorkin Hammered for Sarah Palin Obsession, Depiction of Women in 'Social Network'
Aaron Sorkin, the Hollywood screenwriter and producer, is being hammered by a variety of people for alleged misogyny, with a particular reference to a seeming obsession he has with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Patriot Act Extension Fails in House Vote
The House failed to pass an extension of three Patriot Act provisions under a special rule that fast-tracked the proposal but required a two-thirds majority vote. The House was seven votes short to passAdChoices the extension under the rule.

There is much that is true in the above video, but unfortunately it is also incomplete and misleading. It doesn't go into the root causes of the death of Constellation, which were largely political and had little to do with NASA's infamous reputation for sloth and inefficiency. Nor does it mention that many of the commercial space enterprises touted in the video are largely dependent on government contracts and subsidies. If the government money were to go away, a lot of these brave entrepreneurs would either go bankrupt or would find their activities sharply curtailed. There has just not been sufficient effort to develop private markets.

The big thing, the elephant in the room, that is missing is that the original idea of contracting out routine tasks like transportation to and from low Earth orbit while NASA concentrates on exploration and research was blown up by President Obama. What is left is a crony capitalism scheme that keeps a number of space firms afloat combined with a Potemkin space exploration program.

The brave new age of private space flight may or may not be nigh. But it is in serious danger of being delayed to the indefinite future due to Obama administration policy and political blunders.
House GOP Eyes Climate Change Research for Cuts, Funding for Human Space Flight
Jim Webb, Democratic Senator from Virginia, Declines to Run for a Second Term
Democratic Senator from Virginia Jim Webb has decided to not run for a second term, having found service in the United States Senate not all that fulfilling. That makes his seat even more likely a Republican pick up in 2012.
The Democratic Leadership Council Closes Its Doors
The Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist, business-friendly think tank, is closing its doors. The end of the DLC, which once provided intellectual backing for Democratic moderates, illustrates how the center cannot hold in the Democratic Party.
Larry the Cable Guy's 'Only in America' on the History Channel
Larry the Cable Guy, better known for being a fixture on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and in horrible Z-Grade movies, may be a strange choice for a History Channel host. But Larry's new show, "Only in America," shows that he can get er done.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Google Logo Celebrates Jules Verne's Birthday
Arabic Studies Proposal Causes Uproar in Mansfield, Texas
Joe Biden Rolls Out $53 Billion High Speed Rail Scheme
Following a theme purveyed by President Obama in his State of the Union address, Vice President Joe Biden announced a $53 billion/six-year initiative to build a high speed rail system in the United States.
Michael Moore Sues the Weinstein Brothers Over Unpaid Profits from 'Fahrenheit 9/11'
Ken Olsen, Founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, Dead at 84
Keith Olbermann Takes Job at Al Gore's 'Current TV'
NASA's Ares 1 to Be Reborn as the Liberty Commercial Launcher

'House' Season 7 Episode 11 'Family Practice'
In "House" Season 7 Episode 11 "Family Practice," the theme or the moral message or whatever is how far is one prepared to go in order to do the right thing. Some of the characters are going to have differing approaches to that question.
Sarah Palin Has Some Explaining to Do About GoProud, Says the American Principles Project
Sarah Palin has annoyed yet someone else. Usually that someone else is some disturbed liberal with psychological problems. But in this case that someone else is the American Principles Project, a social conservative group.
President Obama Lies to Bill O'Reilly About Raising Taxes
During his Super Bowl interview with Bill O'Reilly, President Barack Obama had an exchange with the No Spin Guy over wealth redistribution and taxes in which the President was a little less than truthful.
John Birmingham gives the view from Down Under about the Chinese threat and how her neighbors are responding.
There is a reason that India, which still struggles to feed and house hundreds of millions of its citizens, is building a 600-ship navy. Why Vietnam is making sustained efforts to draw closer to its former oppressor, Washington. Why Australia, which had such a hard time building and maintaining half a dozen conventional Collins Class submarines, is engaged in a mammoth national engineering challenge of designing, constructing and operating twice, or possibly even three times, that number of even more expensive and hyper-complex boats. And why one of the government's most senior strategic advisors has just advised them to forget that idea, and instead buy a dozen nuclear-powered hunter killer subs off the shelf from the US.

Because behind closed doors, they are all terrified of China. Not just wary, or suspicious, or hedging their bets against the peaceful rise the world's most powerful totalitarian state. But existentially terrified.

China haunts the nightmares of admirals and generals, prime ministers and presidents, from the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean to the surf breaks of Malibu.


Well, beyond the obvious answer that nobody likes the idea of having to deal with a new, difficult and potentially hostile peer competitor, the Chinese are doing exactly as we are. They are arming themselves. Not simply replacing the antiquated Cold War crap that still equips most of the PLA, but actively developing a force structure and weapons technology to engage and destroy the military forces of the US and its allies; anti-satellite weapons to rake our eyes out of space, infiltrator malware to crack open and degrade the data links on which modern militaries are becoming entirely dependent, missile swarms to overwhelm the defences of carrier battle groups, and long-range nuclear weapons to threaten the population centers of potential adversaries.

Monday, February 07, 2011

High Speed Rail in Texas Is a Solution in Search of a Problem
Europa Jupiter System Mission Finalist for Next Joint European/NASA Space Probe
A proposal for an Egyptian Tea Party.
Is Sarah Palin Reagan Reborn? Ron and Michael Reagan Weigh In
Who the next Ronald Reagan is and whether she wears heels, glasses, and a smile and comes from Alaska is the subject of much debate. Two people who should know first-hand, Ron and Michael Reagan, have rather opposite views of the matter.
Sarah Palin Supports GoProud's Attending the CPAC Meeting
Sarah Palin has weighed in on a controversy at this year's meeting of the Conservative Action Committee, or CPAC. It concerns the inclusion of a gay conservative group, GoProud, which has caused a number of other groups to boycott the meeting.
Lou Friedman suggests that NASA merge human space flight and science. This relies on the discredited notion that human space flight is solely about science.
X-47B Unmanned Stealth Bomber in First Test Flight
The X-47B, the prototype of an unmanned jet bomber being developed for the United States Navy, recently conducted its first test flight at Edwards Air Force Base in California. It represents a new era in naval aviation.
AOL Buys the Huffington Post for $315 Million
Arianna Huffington has become a much richer woman, thanks to having sold her online magazine, "The Huffington Post," for $315 million to AOL. Huffington will become, at least initially, a powerful editorialAdChoices force in Cyberspace.
Obama Spins in the Bill O'Reilly 'No Spin Zone'
President Barack Obama by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. Sadly, the President spun like a top in what is usually a no-spin zone and O'Reilly let him.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Ronald Reagan in Houston
Astrobotic Contracts with SpaceX for Falcon 9 Launch of Lunar Probe
The World Reagan Made
When Ronald Reagan took the oath of office just over 30 years ago, there were two world conditions that every analyst had come to believe had become permanent. Those were economic stagflation and the Cold War.
Sarah Palin on the Egypt Uprising
In an exclusive interview with The Brody File on the Christian Broadcast Network, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin opened her mind concerning the uprising in Egypt for the first time. Her take was beautiful in its simplicity.
Bush, Palin Charity Fundraisers Canceled Under Threat of Violence
The new tone of civility certainly does not seem to apply when it comes to conservatives, be they former Presidents or future Presidents. Both George W. Bush and Sarah Palin have been forced to cancel appearances under threat of violence.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Cynthia Stroum, Obama Donor, Quits as Ambassador to Luxembourg Under a Cloud
The appointment of Cynthia Stroum, a big Obama campaign donor, as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg was not considered all that unusual. Big donors are often given plum diplomatic posts in plush European capitals.
Food Liberation Army Takes Ronald McDonald Hostage
A Finnish group, calling itself the Food Liberation Army, has cut a public service announcement in which it is depicted as al-Qaida's terrorists who have kidnapped Ronald McDonald and are holding him as hostage.
Houston: The Snowstorm that Wasn't
President Reagan's Space Legacy; NASA's Space Station and Commercial Space

Addendum: Rand mentions correctly the Reagan era creation of the Office of Commercial Space Transportation as part of the Gipper's space legacy.

Of course he is still in denial about Obama era commercial space subsidies. The strange thing I'm pretty sure he wouldn't stand for it for high speed trains, another Obama obsession. But space is so much cooler than trains...
EPA to Regulate Milk Spills Just like Oil Spills
It appears that the Environmental Protection Agency, in a story too weird to be fiction, has decided to regulate milk in the same way it does oil. In effect, milk spills will be considered just as hazardous as oil spills.
Obama Trades British Nuclear Secrets to Russia in Return for START Treaty
According to the U.K. Telegraph, the latest WikiLeaks document leak reveals the Obama administration was so desperate to get a Russian agreement on the START Treaty that it traded away sensitive data on Britain's nuclear deterrence.
Sarah Palin Speaks at Young American's Foundation Banquet at the Reagan Ranch
The celebrations of President Ronald Reagan's centennial were kicked off by a keynote speech by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at a banquet held by the Young American's Foundation at the Reagan Ranch in California.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Eva Green to Play Angelique in Tim Burton's 'Dark Shadows'
Eva Green, best known for playing Vesper Lynd in the Daniel Craig Bond film "Casino Royale," has been cast as Angelique Bouchard in the Tim Burton's big-screen version of "Dark Shadows." Johnny Depp will play Barnabas Collins.
Paul Spudis takes us on a Journey to the Center of the Moon
Kenneth Cole Tweets About the Cairo Uprising and Then Wishes He Hadn't
Can NASA's Space Shuttles Be Kept Flying Until 2017?
Giffords' Husband, Mark Kelly, Returns to Shuttle Mission
Super Bowl Commercials Previewed
For those of us who are not particularly great fans of football, the Super Bowl has some entertainment value because of the commercials, for which businesses pay about $3 million a minute.
Jimmy Carter Sued for 'Palestine Peace Not Apartheid'
Former President Jimmy Carter and his publisher, Simon and Schuster, are being sued by a group of irate readers over his book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid" because the book was somewhat lessAdChoices than truthful about aspects of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
'Bones' Season 6 Episode 12 'The Sin in the Sisterhood'
"Bones" Season 6 Episode 12 "The Sin in the Sisterhood" starts with Booth and Brennan lost in a corn field somewhere in Virginia. If this is not creepy enough, they are in search of a crime scene of a skeleton made to look like a scarecrow.
Congress to Investigate Obama Health Care Waivers
Congressman Cliff Stearns (R Florida), the chairman of the subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is investigating the waivers being granted for one provision of health care reform.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Houston Experiences Power Outages, Rolling Blackouts During Winter Storm
Diane English Threatens to Bring Back 'Murphy Brown' to Do Battle with Sarah Palin
Television producer Diane English has a plan in case Sarah Palin runs for president. In that event, she will attempt to bring back her hit series "Murphy Brown," which ran in the late 1980s and for most of the 1990s.
Obama Administration Found in Contempt of Court for Gulf Oil Drilling Ban
The Obama administration has been found in contempt of court for continuing the Gulf oil drilling moratorium months after a federal judge struck it down. Judge Martin Feldman of New Orleans is signaling that he really meant it.
Wikileaks: Chinese Anti-Satellite Weapons Test Sparked Space Arms Race
According to the UK Telegraph, a test that took place in 2007 of a Chinese anti-satellite weapon sparked a similar test of a U.S. weapon as well as a tense exchange of views that included threats by the Bush administration to the Chinese government.

Jim Oberg disputes one aspect of the Telegraph article:

Actually, my own investigation persuaded me that the safety motivation for the USA-193 hit was authentic and that the media lemmings stampeded off to the left out of ignorant instinct, not intellect. See here:

Spring 2009 // 'New Atlantis' magazine Down in Flames -- Media ‘Space Experts’ Flub the Shoot-Down Story

08/01/2008 - IEEE Spectrum: U.S. Satellite Shootdown: The Inside Story By James Oberg

Five myths about the satellite smash-up

03/03/2008 - The Space Review: Sense, nonsense, and pretense about the destruction of USA 193
The Return of 'Beavis and Butt-head'
"Beavis and Butt-head," the famous cartoon about two brain-dead slacker teenagers that aired for 200 episodes during the 1990s on MTV, will be returning to television by this summer, it has been announced.
Was Gian Giacomo Caprotti the Model for Da Vinci's Mona Lisa?
Silvano Vincetti believes that he has found the identity of the model for Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Vincetti says that it is Gian Giacomo Caprotti, Da Vinci's apprentice and, it is said, lover.
The Spray on Skin Gun Heals Burns Within Hours or Days
A remarkable device called the spray on skin gun is featured in a YouTube video from an upcoming National Geographic TV special. The skin gun promises to be a boon to burn victims as much as penicillin was to people with infections.