Hot Air reported on Friday that a poll just released revealed that the subgroup most likely to oppose having children vaccinated against diseases such as the measles are millennials, the same age group that has been so fervent in their support of President Obama. The Hill adds that the so-called anti-vaccination movement has resulted in a measles epidemic that started at Disneyland of all places and has started to spread to afflict over a 100 children.
Saturday, January 31, 2015
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas wondered on Saturday in the pages of Breitbart whether or not President Obama was directly involved in the intervention by Obama campaign operatives in the Israeli elections for the purpose of deposing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is particularly interested in knowing whether American taxpayer money is being used to fund that campaign. Cruz suggests that given the history of Obama’s animosity toward Netanyahu, the answer to both questions is probably yes.
Officially, NASA has been charged with sending astronauts to Mars sometime in the 2030s. Toward that end, according to a Friday story in Universe Today, space agency engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center are looking at an old concept for interplanetary travel, nuclear thermal engines. However, some doubts have been expressed whether NASA will be granted the budget to develop such engines.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed on Friday that HBO will begin filming a six-hour miniseries based on the Stephen Ambrose book “Undaunted Courage” that told the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Casey Affleck will play Meriwether Lewis, and Matthias Schoenaerts will play William Clark, the two Army officers who led the Corps of Discovery that explored the American West in the first decade of the 19th Century. The project has been in the works for quite some time.
Friday, January 30, 2015
Hot Air reported Friday on the results of a Pew Poll taken about Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. The results are horrible for both the candidate in particular and the Democratic Party in general. While Clinton still leads a number of leading Republican candidates, the margin is in single digits. She does not poll above 50 percent in any matchup. Moreover, her favorable/unfavorable ratings have her under water.
The National Journal reported on Friday that 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced to a group of supporters in a conference call that he has decided to let the presidential cup pass from his lips. Romney’s decision to not run for a third time makes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush the front runner, such as it is, in the Republican race and the great moderate hope of the establishment wing of the party. That doesn’t mean that Romney thinks it should be so, according to Hot Air. Romney is having dinner with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the other great moderate hope.
As the National Journal reminds us, one of the parts of the president’s State of the Union speech that has been passed over, mainly because it was not controversial, was Obama’s initiative to jump-start research into a “precision medicine.” Precision medicine involves tailoring treatments to a patient’s genetic makeup, making them more effective. According to a Friday story in the Hill, the president will propose $215 million in new spending to develop more treatments.
What a difference an election makes. As the Washington Times reported, the Senate passed the Keystone XL pipeline authorization bill Thursday on a bipartisan basis Nine Democrats joined the Republicans in voting for the measure. After Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada had been deposed as Senate Majority Leader, the way was opened to passing legislation. The Republican majority even allowed amendments to be considered, though few passed. Actually moving legislation had been a rare occurrence during the first six years of the Obama administration.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Townhall reported on Thursday that Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, during a White House briefing, tried to suggest that the Taliban is not a terrorist group. They are, instead, an “armed insurgency,” according to the White House official. Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education, has not as of this writing commented.
When President Obama decided to “normalize” relations with Cuba, proposing the end the 50 year old economic embargo, the move set up a debate over how to best deal with the communist dictatorship residing 90 miles off of America’s shores. The debate has occurred even between Republicans, with Cuban-American Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio coming out against and libertarian-minded Sen. Rand Paul supporting the move. However, according to a Wednesday story in the Associated Press, Cuban dictator Raul Castro has a number of demands that seem designed more to humiliate Obama than to forge a sensible deal.
As the Hollywood Reporter revealed, “The Americans,” the FX series about a couple of deep-cover Soviet agents attempting to bring down the United States during the Reagan 1980s, started its third season on Wednesday night. The episode finds Philip and Elizabeth having to deal with the unique job pressures of being spies. In the meantime, Stan, their unwitting FBI neighbor, has some personal problems of his own involving his failed marriage and his Russian mistress he betrayed and who is now looking at execution for treason back in Moscow.
The Washington Examiner reported on Thursday that the Obama administration has decided to drop its scheme to tax 539 college savings accounts, a part of its “soak the rich” scheme that somehow hit the middle class. The administration claimed that it was “good policy” but had to be dropped in order to avoid a “distraction.” Indeed, Republicans had pounced on the scheme to loot the tax-free savings accounts that millions of American families depend upon to save for college.
According to a Wednesday story in Space Policy Online, both NASA’s commercial crew program and its space exploration program came under direct criticism in the annual report by the space agency’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP). The panel hit the commercial crew program for a lack of transparency that prevented it from offering an “informed opinion” on the safety of commercial spacecraft such the SpaceX Dragon and the Boeing CST-100. It also raised concerned about the “lack of a well-defined mission” for NASA’s space exploration program.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
According to the Mayo Clinic, peanut allegories are one of the more common food allergies, especially in children. Symptoms for people with the condition who are exposed to peanuts range from mild irritation to death by anaphylaxis shock. Some people with the allergy cannot tolerate even the tiniest amount of peanuts, even particles that can be breathed in. People with the condition are in constant peril of their lives. However, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Wednesday that a group of Australian researchers may have found a cure for peanut allergies.
According to a Monday story on NPR, the city of Seattle has just enacted one of the stranger recycling laws in the country. While many communities now provide a separate garbage bin for recycle materials, such as paper, plastic, and metal, Seattle, like San Francisco and Vancouver, also require a separate bin for compost material, such as food and yard waste. However, Seattle is undertaking to enforce this regulation in a bizarre way. If a regular garbage bin is found to have more than 10 percent of compostable waste, it will have a red ribbon of shame attached to it. Eventually, homeowners will be fined for violations.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I remember quite clearly the day the space shuttle Challenger exploded. I was driving back to my office from lunch when the news came over the radio. I almost drove off the road before I gathered myself, pulled over, and listened to the news. The rest of the day was trying to get some modicum of work done, while slipping away to watch the coverage on TV and the awful images of the Challenger becoming a fireball, over and over, like a rewind in a horrible dream.
A Tuesday investigative piece published in the Washington Free Beacon suggests a link between environmental groups campaigning against hydraulic fracking and Russian oil interests. In seems that a shadowy Bermudian company that has tied to Russian oil executives has funneled millions of dollars to environmentalists who are seeking to shut fracking operations down in the United States. This news suggests that environmentalists are working, perhaps unwittingly, as agents of the Russian government.
Deadline Hollywood reported on Monday that Millie Brady, who will also appear in the upcoming “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” has been cast in the role of Ayla for the pilot in the proposed Lifetime Channel series version of Jean Auel’s “Clan of the Cave Bear” book series. The series depicts the prehistoric adventures of an ancestor of modern humans, a girl named Ayla, who is orphaned and adopted by a clan of Neanderthal. The pilot is being produced by Ron Howard and Brian Glazer, among others.
Monday, January 26, 2015
One of the complaints the Obama administration has concerning Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech before a joint session of Congress is that it would tend to raise his profile in advance of upcoming elections in Israel. But, as Breitbart reported on Monday, a group of Obama campaign operatives have arrived in the Jewish state to defeat Netanyahu’s bid to remain prime minister. One can surmise that is what the unnamed Obama administration official, whom some have identified as Obama consigliere Valarie Jarrett, who said, “remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.”
According to a Monday story in Reuters, NASA and the space agency’s two commercial spaceflight partners, SpaceX and Boeing, have announced a schedule for the first American crewed spaceflights since the space shuttle last flew in 2011. SpaceX will fly an unpiloted test of its Dragon vehicle in 2016, to be followed by the first piloted flight in early 2017. Boeing will conduct an unpiloted flight of its CST-100 in April 2017 to be followed by a piloted flight in July 2017. The space agency hopes to start regularly scheduled commercial space flights to the International Space Station in December 2017.
The Google Lunar XPrize Foundation announced Monday that several of the competitors in the private moon race have been awarded milestone prizes totaling about $5.25 million. American teams Astrobotic and Moon Express and Indian team Team Indus were awarded landing prizes of $1 million each. Astrobotic, Japanese team Hakuto, and German team Part Time Scientists won mobility prizes of $500,000 each. Astrobotic, Moon Express, and Part Time Scientists won imaging prizes of $250,000 each.
The news that Allen Drury's novels are being reprinted can only be welcome, even though they were very much a product of the Cold War era during which they were written. Drury is best known for the first volume of his Washington series, “Advice and Consent,” which was made into a movie in the early 1960s. But one book that has not yet been reprinted, but ought to, is “The Throne of Saturn,” Drury’s science fiction space novel. The novel counts as alternate history now but was future history when it came out in 1970, the year after the first moon landing.
Sunday night, the three Republican senators most mentioned as possible presidential candidates met in a panel discussion covering various domestic and foreign policy issues, according to the Washington Post. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky met at a forum sponsored by Freedom Partners, a group run by the Koch brothers, moderated by ABC News’ Jonathon Karl. The forum was private but was live streamed for the media.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas has earned a singular honor once reserved for movie villains, according to a Friday story on Breitbart TV. Bill Maher laid into the possible Republican presidential candidates on his HBO political rant show. He had little good to say about any of them, but he reserved a special sort of ire, on the level of what he has used for Sarah Palin, for Cruz. Putting it simply, the bad boy of pay for view cable is deathly afraid of the junior senator from Texas.
According to the Washington Post, former Alaska governor, former vice presidential candidate, and current most powerful female politician on the planet Sarah Palin reiterated her statement that she was “seriously interested” in running for president in 2016 at the Saturday Iowa Freedom Summit. She does not feel compelled to officially announce anytime soon and has shown no signs of doing the preliminary work of ramping up a campaign. Palin’s hinting at a presidential run has pundits wondering why she really means.
The Iowa Freedom Summit, seen by many as the all but official kickoff of the Republican 2016 primary contest, took place on Saturday in Des Moines. Almost every conceivable Republican candidate, with the exception of Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul were in attendance. Hot Air suggested that the big winners of the event were Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Steven Palazzo of Mississippi, intends to push for NASA to return astronauts to the lunar surface, reports a Saturday story in the Hattiesburg American. Palazzo is the chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittee that oversees NASA. Palazzo’s stance is in direct conflict with President Obama’s stated policy of bypassing the moon in favor of sending astronauts to an asteroid and then Mars. As the Verge recently noted, Palazzo’s announcement represents rising Republican discontent against the Asteroid Redirect Mission and an impending push back toward the moon. The scientific community shares that discontent, believing that the ARM has no value either for the study of asteroids or as a precursor for a Mars mission.
Saturday, January 24, 2015
The A-10 Warthog was first deployed decades ago to help blunt a Soviet armored invasion of Europe. The ground attack aircraft never, thankfully had to fulfill that role. However, it has done excellent service in the wars the United States has fought, including Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to a Friday story in Investors’ Business Daily, the venerable attack plane has been quietly deployed in the current air campaign against ISIS and is so effective that the terrorists have learned to fear its onset. So, naturally, Obama’s Defense Department wants to scrap the A-10 in favor of the F-35, a newer plane that will not be ready for a ground attack role for some years.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida may not have officially announced for president, However, according to a Friday story in the Washington Times, he has told his staff to proceed as if her were running for president, a move that most in the media constitutes the next best thing. He has already hired a top Republican fundraiser named Anna Rogers, currently working for Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, for his political action committee. Rogers would be the financial director of Rubio’s campaign for the presidency if and when he officially decided to run.
Friday, January 23, 2015
It seems that the Obama State Department is getting into pitching movies. According to a Friday story in the Hill, Robert Papp, the State Department’s envoy to the Arctic, recently met with an executive at Disney to pitch an idea for a spinoff or perhaps a sequel to the smash hit animated film “Frozen.” Papp’s idea was to create a movie highlighting the effects of global warming or climate change in the Arctic, particularly the plight of polar bears as the ice cap continues to melt. Disney was decidedly cool to the idea.
Ben Shapiro’s Truth Revolt reported on Friday that the Obama administration is in full rage cycle over the scheduled visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the United States to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress. The meltdown has become so intense, that an unnamed Obama official made a bone-chilling threat against Netanyahu and, by implication, the State of Israel. “There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly, and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency and that there will be a price.”
Thursday, January 22, 2015
The United States Senate voted on Wednesday to approve an amendment to the Keystone XL Pipeline approval bill that made it a sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax, according to the Washington Post. The vote was 98 to one. Has the Senate finally come around to the notion of human-caused global warming? As it turns out, that is not quite the case.
The World Economic Forum occurring in Davos, held to discuss what its participants claim are vexing problems, has already been ridiculed for the large number of private planes that it has taken to bring the elites to the conference. But that little bit of hypocrisy is nothing compared to what CityMetric reported on Thursday. Former Vice President Al Gore and former Mexican President Felipe Calderon have proposed that global warming should be dealt with by banning all automobiles in urban areas. The scheme would mean spending $90 trillion to redesign all cities to make mass transit and walking viable.
Most Americans remember the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov, with its defective code, locked up screens, and crashing routines. The rollout was the crowning achievement of the worst public policy catastrophe in American history. Now, according to a Thursday story in the Daily Caller, the company responsible for the disaster, CGI Federal, has been given the opportunity to create another cybernetic disaster. The IRS has awarded the company a $4.5 million contract to create the Obamacare tax program.
Florida Today reported on Wednesday that Moon Express, a company developing private lunar landers, is about to sign a five-year lease of Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The company intends to use the site to prototype rapidly and test its line of lunar landers. It has already tested a lunar lander prototype at the former space shuttle runway in preparation for going for the Google Lunar X Prize. The deal will likely include a commitment from Space Florida, a state agency, to pay for some upgrades to SLC-36.
The National Journal noted on Wednesday that House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress. He made the invitation without consulting with or even informing the White House. The news has the Obama administration up in arms over the “breach of protocol” of the legislative branch dealing independently with a foreign leader. But, as the Washington Times suggests, the gambit is driven by bi-partisan discontent over President Obama’s Iran policy.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Rebekah Erler was one of the 26 designated guests of First Last Michelle Obama during Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. The president presented Erler as a woman who had written him of the economic struggles she and her husband endured starting with the financial meltdown of 2008 and continuing through most of the Obama presidency. Obama pointed her out as an inspiration of how ordinary Americans could overcome any adversary through sacrifice and hard work. However, as the Washington Free Beacon reported, the president failed to mention that Erler is “a former Democratic campaign operative, working as a field organizer for Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.”
President Obama’s State of the Union speech took just over an hour to deliver, including “spontaneous” standing ovations. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa gave the Republican response Tuesday night in just about nine minutes. While the president’s speech was at turns combative and cajoling, Ernst’s address was thought by the Hill to be “folksy” and by Yahoo News to have set an “affable tone.” The media consensus suggested that she did herself and the Republican Party some good.
President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address was noted for many things, including a shout out or two directed at NASA, a government agency that has been the subject of some controversy during his administration, according to a Tuesday post in Space Policy Online. Astronaut Scott Kelly, who is preparing for a year-long stay on the International Space Station, had the pride of place as one of First Lady Michelle Obama’s 26 invited guests. His mission is said to be a preparation for an expedition to Mars, the ultimate goal of the president’s space program as announced in 2010.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
On Monday, former Alaska governor, former vice presidential candidate, and current most powerful female politician on the planet Sarah Palin took to Facebook and let the critics of the smash box office success “American Sniper” have it with a will. “Hollywood leftists: while caressing shiny plastic trophies you exchange among one another while spitting on the graves of freedom fighters who allow you to do what you do, just realize the rest of America knows you're not fit to shine Chris Kyle's combat boots.” While Michael Moore and Seth Rogen were not mentioned by name, Palin was clearly aiming her ire at them.
One of the greatest natural disasters to occur in the ancient world was the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79 A.D. The eruption buried the city of Pompeii in ash, preserving the Roman town for almost 2,000 years before it was unearthed for the edification of archeologists and tourists. The nearby city of Herculaneum was flash burned by volcanic gas. An entire library of what is presumed to be works by ancient philosopher was turned to charred papyrus, unreadable and untouchable. That situation may change according to a Tuesday article by AFP.
SpaceX’s Elon Musk’s plan to build a space-based Internet network has gotten a possible big investor, according to a Monday story in the Wall Street Journal. Google is mulling investing $1 billion in the venture. Musk has predicted that launching the constellation of hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit will cost $10 billion and will take ten years. But, if he pulls it off, the system will cause a quantum leap in the speed and the efficiency of Internet services.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas is causing yet another group of people, in this case Hollywood producers, directors, and writers, conniptions. According to a Sunday story in the Hollywood Reporter, Cruz has been awarded one of this year’s “American Spirit Award” by the Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors. Typically the group, founded by Norman Lear and Aaron Spelling, among others, gives its award to a conservative and a liberal politician. The liberal awarded for this year is California Gov. Jerry Brown. Some of the more liberal members of the Caucus have objected and have even threatened to quit over Cruz’s selection.
The firestorm surrounding some on the Hollywood left’s attacks on the new Clint Eastwood film, “American Sniper,” and its main character, the late Chris Kyle, is proceeding apace. Seth Rogen, whose film, “The Interview,” occupied the news late last year, compared “American Sniper” to a fake Nazi propaganda film that was featured in “Inglorious Basterds” according to a Sunday story in Big Hollywood, The attack came on the heels of leftwing film maker Michael Moore’s calling all snipers in general, and by implication Kyle in particular, cowards. However, a push back is already beginning.
Critics of NASA have pointed out how bureaucratic and slow to innovate the space agency has been for so long, it has become something of a cliché. Businessweek published a piece on Monday that cited a new study that examines what is wrong with the way NASA manages its employees and has offered a couple of solutions to the problem. NASA, according to the study published in Space Policy by Loizos Heracleous, a professor of strategy and organization at Coventry (U.K.)-based Warwick Business School, and Steven Gonzalez, a deputy in the Strategic Opportunities & Partnership Development Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center, needs to adopt some practices that have long worked in the private sector.
Just over two months after taking one of the greatest political repudiations in modern American history, largely because of his redistributionist policies, President Obama intends to use the State of the Union Address to propose more of the same, according to a Monday story in the Hill. Obama will propose massive tax increases on higher income earners in order to pay for a variety of programs aimed at the middle class and the poor. Fox News reports that congressional Republicans are already pronouncing the idea dead on arrival.
The War is Boring blog reported on Saturday that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been obliged to cancel its nascent space program. This development means that former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s dream of being the first astronaut to be launched into space by Iran have been dashed. Ironically, Anousheh Ansari, who was obliged to flee to the United States from Iran to avoid religious oppression, remains the only Iranian-born space traveler. She did it by going to Texas, making her fortune in the electronics business, and paying for her trip to the International Space Station.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
USA Today reported on Sunday that the new Clint Eastwood film, “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL sharpshooter Chris Kyle, has opened with a $90 million first weekend. With Martin Luther King Day added in, the movie about the deadliest sniper in American military history will likely make $105 million. The numbers would be welcome for a summer or holiday blockbuster, not to mention a film that opened in the middle of January.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is apparently causing headaches for his fellow Republican senators once again by pushing what many consider a sensible policy at what some call an inopportune time, according to a Sunday story in the Washington Examiner. Instead of repealing Obamacare or curtailing immigration, Cruz is proposing an amendment to the Keystone XL Pipeline authorization bill that would lift the 39-year ban on crude oil exports. The question, which many Republican senators have, is this the right time and is Keystone XL the right vehicle?
The Associated Press reported on Friday that both NASA and NOAA have released a report claiming that 2014 was the hottest year since such records had been collected. This evaluation was instantly criticized by a number of climate scientists, claiming that the conclusions were misleading and based on flawed data. The report has heated up the climate change debate which has roiled both the scientific community and political circles for decades.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
At a recent meeting of NASA’s Advisory Council, the space agency’s Asteroid Redirect Mission came into some discussion. Recent news that the ARM may not involve redirecting an asteroid has caused the some doubts about the point of undertaking the project. However, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was having none of that. Space News’ Jeff Foust, who was also at the meeting, tweeted, “Bolden: there are people opposed to ARM because they want to go to Moon.”
According to a Friday story in the Washington Post, 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared at the meeting of the Republican National Committee in San Diego and made the case for a third go at the presidency. His speech touched on poverty, foreign policy, and his personal faith. George Will expressed some skepticism, however.
Friday, January 16, 2015
USA Today reported on Friday that the United States Supreme Court will take up the question of whether state bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional or not. Four cases, from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, will be combined and decided. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld bans on same-sex marriage in these states. Ten other states also ban same-sex marriage while 36 states allow it. The court is being compelled to rule on the issue of same-sex marriage because some appeals courts have struck down state bans and others have upheld them.
The idea that people across the political divide in the United States are locked in such rancor that no compromise is possible has become something of a cliché. However, according to a Friday story on Fox News, an exception has arisen in Florida thanks to a common cause. The Tea Party movement has combined forced with the environmental movement to push for a referendum to free the Sunshine State from the monopoly on solar energy enjoyed by electric utilities. The Green Tea Party, as the movement is being called, is one of the greatest examples of politics making strange bedfellows in a long time.
As Bloomberg reported on Thursday, Amazon.com has released 13 TV pilots for viewing on its website. People are invited to watch and then, based, on audience reaction, Amazon will select which if any will go to series. The proposed series range from sitcoms to a Civil War drama called “Point of Honor.” A standout pilot is “The Man in the High Castle” produced by Ridley Scott based on the novel by Philip K. Dick.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
As California prepares to embark on a high speed rail scheme that may link Los Angeles and San Francisco for the paltry sum of $100 billion, space and electric car tycoon Elon Musk is still pushing for what he considers a better idea, the Hyperloop. The Houston Chronicle reported on Wednesday that Musk has suggested that he will build a five-mile test track where students and companies will test pods that would travel along the system to see which will move the quickest and most efficiently. The track will likely be built in Texas, perhaps at the SpaceX test facility near McGregor.
A return to the moon is going to be an international effort. Cost sharing issues aside, the diplomatic advantages of including allies are too profound not to take on international partners. It goes without saying that such an effort is going to require some adroit diplomacy.
The idea that human caused global warming, caused by the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, is real and a problem has informed world politics for at least the past decade or so. However, according to a Thursday story on the CNN site, 57 percent of the respondents to a recent poll believe that global warming does not constitute a threat to their way of life. Only 50 percent believe that the phenomenon is real.
Unlike Neil deGrasse Tyson, celebrity astrophysicist and media personality Michio Kaku is usually not given to delving into politics. But, according to a Wednesday piece in Raw Story, he decided to make an exception on the Ed Show on MSNBC when he sounded the alarm on the appointment of Sen. Ted Cruz to head the Senate Science and Space subcommittee overseeing NASA. As with many people alarmed at Cruz, the motive was the issue of climate change.
Ron Paul may be retired from politics, but that does not mean that he has retired from influencing it. A case in point concerns an article by Paul Craig Roberts published on Wednesday on the Ron Paul Institute’s website with the title “Charlie Hebdo Shootings: False Flag?” That conspiracy theories would arise surrounding the most heinous terrorist outrage to happen in the western world in a long time is sadly inevitable. That such a theory would be posited by an organization run by the father of a mainstream presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul, is fascinating to say the least.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Responding, perhaps, to the continuing media hysteria surrounding his appointment to chair the Senate Science and Space Subcommittee, Sen. Ted Cruz opened his mind about his approach to space policy. He released a statement on Wednesday to The Hill in which he pledged to restore America space leadership and to address dependence on Russia for access to space. Cruz also sat down for an interview with the Houston Chronicle in which he expanded on his space policy approach, saying some things that should be pleasing to space enthusiasts, but offering few specifics.
Politico reported on Tuesday that John Podesta will shortly step down from his post as counselor to President Barack Obama and will take a high-level position in the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. Hot Air suggests that this means that Clinton will be forced to run for the third term of Obama, despite the president’s low approval ratings. However, it should be noted that Podesta also served as Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff. The fact of the matter is that Democrats with White House experience have worked either for Clinton or Obama, very often for both.
Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas may not have officially announced as a candidate for president, but he already sounds like one. According to a Tuesday story in Newsweek, Cruz aimed some barbs at the two top moderate Republican presidential candidates, Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. He made his remarks after delivering a 10-point plan to better the United States at the Heritage Foundation
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
As deliberations for the Keystone XL pipeline continue in the Senate, the new Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has allowed any amendments any senator might offer to be considered and voted on. Taking full advantage of that indulgence, the independent senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders has proposed one of the strangest amendments ever to make its way to the United States Senate. The amendment will state that it is the opinion of the Senate that human-caused global warming is real, according to a Tuesday story in the Hill.
Eventide Visuals announced on Monday that it is starting a new Kickstarter effort to raise $80,000 to complete post-production on its documentary “Fight for Space.” The company hopes to have the film ready for a limited theatrical release, digital distribution and broadcast on public television later in 2015. The film has been about three years in the making.
Some parts of the media seem to have gone into full-fledged panic mode at the news that Sen. Ted Cruz has been placed in charge of the Senate Science and Space Committee that oversees NASA. Typical was the Monday Huffington Post story with the lurid headline, “Ted Cruz, Longtime Foe Of NASA And Science, Will Oversee NASA And Science In New Congress.” Policy.Mic suggested that “Congress Just Gave One of the Most Important Science Jobs to a Senator Who Denies Science.”
Monday, January 12, 2015
The anti-terror march that took place on Sunday in Paris almost did not exclude two other world-leaders beside President Barack Obama, according to a Monday story in the Washington Free Beacon. French President Francois Hollande wanted to exclude Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because his presence would have diverted attention from the theme of French national unity the march was supposed to represent. For similar reasons, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was not invited either.
According to a Sunday post in Breitbart’s Big Hollywood, Harry Potter J.K. Rowling got into a twitter tiff with publisher Rupert Murdoch over the latter’s tweet about the responsibility of moderate Muslims to fight Islamist extremism. Murdock tweeted, “Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.” The tweet enraged Rowling, who responded, “I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I’ll auto-excommunicate.”
The Verge reported on Sunday that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas has been confirmed as chairman of the Senate Science and Space Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees NASA. The appointment has brought a sharp reaction from some quarters because of Cruz’s skepticism of “global warming.” Cruz had also clashed a year and a half ago with the then chairman Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida over the level of NASA’s authorization which exceeded the sequestration caps. On the other hand, as the Houston Chronicle once noted, Cruz is on record as stating that NASA leadership in space is “crucial.”
President Barack Obama is coming under increasing criticism for his no-show at the massive anti-terrorism, pro-free speech rally in Paris that took place on Sunday. While virtually every other world leader was in attendance including those of France, Germany, the Ukraine, Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority, not one major American official, not even Attorney General Eric Holder who flew out of Paris over the weekend, choose to show up. Sunday, Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, former vice presidential candidate, and current most powerful female politician on the planet, took to Facebook pm Sunday to demand why.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
Saturday brought the first episode of the new season of the long-running Discovery Channel show “Mythbusters.” The episode was the first since the show’s co-stars Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Torri Belleci were unceremoniously given the royal order of the boot. The show featured the two main stars, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, delving into pop culture once again and doing “The Simpsons” myths.
What do you call the largest mass rally in French history condemning terrorism and supporting free speech that includes leaders of France, Germany, the Ukraine, Israel, Jordan, and even the Palestinian Authority and not the leader of the United States? According to a Sunday story in the Washington Examiner, CNN’s Jake Tapper suggests that it an embarrassment. Eric Holder, the American Attorney General, came in the stead of President Obama, who was apparently otherwise occupied.
The affable Jay Leno may have been an unusual guest for Bill Maher’s caustic HBO rantfest, “Real Time.” But, he surprised everyone by suggested that Hillary Clinton was too old and tired to be president, according to a Friday story in the Daily Caller. He said, “And I like her. But she seems to be sort of, she seems very slow and very — I don’t see that fire, you know, that fire that I used to see, that I see in Elizabeth Warren.”
Saturday, January 10, 2015
The Washington Post noted on Friday that 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney has moved from not considering a third run for the presidency in 2016 to telling a group of big GOP donors that he wants to be president. As Hot Air opined, this move was once considered unlikely as it would complicate plans of the Republican establishment to deny the nomination to a Tea Party conservative such as Ted Cruz.
SpaceX reported on Saturday that the fifth launch of the cargo version of its Dragon spacecraft lifted off successfully at 4:47 a.m. EST from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Dragon is in Earth orbit headed for a rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station Monday morning where it will deliver more than 5,100 pounds of food and other supplies. Unfortunately, the attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on an unpiloted offshore platform ended in failure.
Friday, January 09, 2015
Despite the threat by President Obama to veto a congressional approval of the long-delayed Keystone XL Pipeline, two developments have buoyed the hopes of its supporters. CNN reported on Friday that the House voted in favor of the approval. The National Journal added that the Nebraska Supreme Court has struck down a lower court challenge to the project.
When President Obama first proposed visiting an asteroid in his now infamous 2010 speech at the Kennedy Space Center, many assumed that the mission would be a deep space mission to an Earth-approaching asteroid in its “native orbit” in voyage taking weeks. Then, NASA dropped the idea in 2013 favor of the Asteroid Redirect Mission in which a tiny asteroid would be diverted to lunar orbit to be visited by astronauts. Now, according to a Thursday story in Space News, the ARM might take place without redirecting an asteroid.
Having dealt with the economy, health care, and the threat of terrorism in his unique way, President Obama has turned his attention to the high cost of higher education. According to a Friday story in Real Clear Politics, the president a federal/state program that would provide a two-year community college program for anyone who wants it, tuition-free. President Obama has declined to reveal how he intends to pay for it or how he would cause such a program to be passed by the Republican Congress or approved by cash-strapped states, according to the National Journal.
IO9 reported on Thursday that actor Rod Taylor has died at the age of 84. Taylor is most famous for his roles in the 1960 movie ‘The Time Machine,” based on the H.G. Welles novel and the Alfred Hitchcock thriller “The Birds.” He most recently played Winston Churchill in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds.” Taylor also appeared in a number of TV series over his decades long career.
Wired reported on Thursday that NASA and Nissan have started a joint venture to develop self-driving cars. NASA’s Ames Research Center will participate in the effort, which will take place mainly in Silicon Valley at Nissan’s research center in Sunnyvale. The space agency and the car company will modify electric powered Nissan Leafs to make them autonomous as possible.
Thursday, January 08, 2015
As a gift to both science geeks and political pundits, the National Geographic Channel plans to give celebrity astrophysicist and media personality Neil deGrasse Tyson his own weekly late night talk show, according to a Wednesday story in the Hollywood Reporter. The show will be called “Star Talk” after Tyson’s widely viewed podcast. It will marry science and popular culture by featuring both scientists and celebrities from the entertainment world.
Greg Abbott has yet to be sworn into office as governor of Texas. However, he has already found an alarming trend in some local communities. Unless something is done, Abbot warned the Texas Policy Foundation, some local governments may turn the Lone Star State into California, with all the implications for intrusive, big government, according to the Houston Chronicle on Thursday. Local communities have passed restrictions on tree cutting, a ban on fracking, and bans on plastic bags at the supermarket. Abbott’s stance presents a conundrum, however, concerning two conflicting conservative values, small government vs. local control.
Space.com reported on Wednesday about a paper that will shortly be published by Ian Crawford, a professor of planetary science and astrobiology at Birkbeck College, London in the journal Progress in Physical Geography on the subject of lunar mining. Crawford comes to a number of interesting conclusions concerning the utilization of lunar resources. He does not believe that any one resource will be sufficiently valuable to drive a commercial lunar mining industry. Crawford is particularly skeptical on the utility of lunar helium 3 to fuel clean fusion energy.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, has decided to retire from the Senate after her term expires in 2016, according to a Thursday story on CNN. Boxer, age 74, is one of the most liberal members of the Senate. She claimed that neither her age nor what some has described as the “hyper-partisan atmosphere” in Washington contributed to her decision. She vowed to continue to support liberal candidates and causes. She will support Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and will fight to ensure that her seat remains in “progressive hands.”
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that a group of Islamist terrorists invaded the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, and murdered 10 of the staff, including the editor and two police officers. As of this writing, the terrorists are still at large in the midst of one of the largest manhunts in French history. The attack has raised questions of how western society, particularly the Obama administration, has dealt with the threat of Islamist terrorism.
“Covert Affairs,” which features the adventures of CIA super spy Annie Walker, has run on the USA Network for five seasons. The show stars Pipe Perabo as Walker and Christopher Gorham as the former special operative and now blind technician Auggie Anderson. The series took Walker and company around the world to battle threats to the national security of the United States. Sadly, “Covert Affairs” will not have a sixth season, according to a Tuesday story in Deadline Hollywood. USA has cancelled the series.
NASA announced on Tuesday that the Kepler Space Telescope has achieved something of a milestone by confirming 1,000 planets orbiting other stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Eight more planets were added to the total, three of which are surmised to be rocky, near Earth-sized worlds, two of which orbit in the “habitable zone” of their parent stars. The habitable zone is that distance from a star in which the temperature sustains liquid water, a prerequisite for life.
As Pajamas Media reported on Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner survived a mini-rebellion in which just over two dozen of the Republican caucus voted for someone else for speaker. Following the adage that if you strike at the King, make sure you kill him, Boehner began to exact retribution by stripping Reps. Daniel Webster and Richard Nugent, both of Florida of their seats on the House Rules Committee. The committee governs the legislative process in the House and is considered a prime spot for members to sit on.
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
The New York Times reported on Monday that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has softened his stance against same-sex marriage. His evolution may well be an acceptance of reality. State legislatures and the courts have been making same-sex marriage legal in the majority of states of the Union, most recently Bush’s state of Florida. The Texas Observer reported that lawyers for same-sex couples who seek to overturn Texas’ ban on same sex marriage believe that the Lone Star State will be next.
Political observers have openly wondered how President Obama would deal with the new, Republican-dominated Congress. To what extent would he use his veto pen? Will he try to compromise and cooperate with Congress on any issue? The Washington Examiner answered the question on Tuesday. White House spokesperson Josh Earnest announced that the president would veto any attempt to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Since Keystone enjoys broad, bi-partisan support, the threat calls into question the prospect of any cooperation between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
According to a Monday story in Medium, Dr. John Logsdon, considered the dean of space policy, addressed a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle. The author of a book on President Kennedy’s decision to go to the moon and an upcoming book on President Nixon’s post-Apollo space policy decisions had some good news and some bad news about NASA funding. The good news is that funding for the space agency is not likely to be slashed below its current $18 billion a year. The bad news is that it is not likely to go up much beyond that.
Monday, January 05, 2015
Powerline reported on Sunday about a revelation concerning the billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein that will at best embarrass former President Bill Clinton and at worse implicate him in a scandal that might doom the presidential aspirations of his wife, Hillary Clinton, before the 2016 campaign even starts. In relation to a civil action brought against Epstein by several of his underage female victims, the Smoking Gun reports that lawyers obtained Epstein’s phone directory which contained email addresses and 21 contact phone numbers for Clinton.
The global warming skeptic site, Whatsupwiththat, noted on Saturday that the Earth has entered the 19th year during which the Earth’s temperature has not risen. However, CO2 levels in the atmosphere have continued to increase, though not as much because tropical rainforests have absorbed roughly a third of the increase. Nevertheless, despite the fact that warming has not happened, many scientists insist the global warming continues apace and that it is settled science. How can global warming exist where warming has not happened?
The Washington Examiner reported on Sunday that the first piece of legislation to be considered in the new, Republican-dominated Congress, will be an approval of the long considered Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would take oil from Alberta tar sands, across the border between Canada and the United States, down to refineries in Texas. The measure is expected to pass the Senate and the House, but approval by President Obama remains uncertain.
Sunday, January 04, 2015
Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, former vice presidential candidate, current most powerful female politician on the planet, and social media warrior, got a lot of outrageous outrage over a picture she posted on Facebook of her son Trig standing on the family dog. On Saturday, Palin hit back at her critics, as Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds would say, twice as hard. She wrote, “Chill. At least Trig didn’t eat the dog.” She was, of course, referring to the admission by President Obama that he dined on dog when he lived in Indonesia.
In attempting to join the United Nations' International Criminal Court, the Palestinian Authority that runs the West Bank has signaled its intention to declare “lawfare” against the State of Israel. According to a Saturday story in Reuters, Israel is not prepared to take this threat laying down. In any case, as the Jerusalem Post suggests, the PA’s joining the ICC and using that body to prosecute Israelis of war crimes is a thing easier said than done.
Saturday, January 03, 2015
Neil deGrasse Tyson, the celebrity astrophysicist, media personality, and Twitter humorist, has struck again. In a Friday tweet, Tyson stumbled upon the perfect solution to preventing a reoccurrence of the Sony hack that has occupied the news in recent weeks. He tweeted, “Obama authorized North Korea sanctions over cyber hacking. Solution there, it seems to me, is to create unhackable systems.” Cyber security analysts the world over were seen smacking their foreheads with their palms and crying out, “Of course! It was right in front of us all along!”
As the Republican Congress eyes using reconciliation for yet another assault on Obamacare, the next train wreck caused by the Affordable Care Act is about to go off the rails. According to a Friday story in the Washington Examiner, 3 to 4 million Americans are about to be hammered by the IRS because their subsidies for insurance under the health care reform law were too high,
Outgoing Sen. Tom Coburn took a Parthian shot at NASA, in which he advocated the cancellation of both the International Space Station and the heavy-lift Space Launch System, in effect shutting down publicly funded human space flight in America. Coburn is getting some pushback in the letters to the editor section of the Wall Street Journal on Friday. Both NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and outgoing chairman of the Senate Science and Space Subcommittee took issue with Coburn’s assessment of the space agency.
Friday, January 02, 2015
Mario Cuomo, the three-term governor of New York and the father of the current governor, Andrew Cuomo, has died at the age of 82. An unabashed uber liberal in an age in which liberalism had already become discredited, most of the obituaries, such as the one the New York Times ran on Friday, were laudatory. He is being called a “liberal lion,” an appellation once applied to the late Senator Teddy Kennedy.
Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, former vice presidential candidate, and current most powerful female politician on the planet, did not take long to cause outrageous outrage. On Thursday, the first day of 2015, she posted a series of pictures on her Facebook pahe of her son Trig, who suffers from Down’s syndrome, encountering one of the family dogs laying between him and his desire to help his mom do the dishes. Trig simply turns and obstacle into an opportunity and uses the dog as a step stool. The dog, nonchalant, continued to lay on the kitchen floor, wagging his tail
The story of how Republican Rep. Steve Scalise may or may not have inadvertently spoken before a white supremacist 12 years when he was a Louisiana state senator has become the mother of all kerfuffles. Even though Scalise might not have spoken before the David Duke supported group, as Hot Air reported on Wednesday, Scalise apologized anyway. The mea culpa has not stopped the Democrats from cranking out the outrage machine. However, as the Washington Examiner’s Byron York reported on Thursday, the outrageous outrage has fallen flat.
According to a Wednesday story by the Catholic News Service, a recent study on religion and attitudes toward space exploration suggested that Jews, followers of Eastern religions, and Catholics tend to be more supportive of space exploration. However, evangelical Protestants tend to be least supportive of the idea of exploring space. The findings were recently presented by University of Dayton Joshua Ambrosius at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion conference in Indianapolis.
Thursday, January 01, 2015
In a Wednesday post, Hot Air reported on something a friend of Mitt Romney said about the 2012 presidential candidate’s desire to enter the 2016 race. It seems that if it looks like Jeb Bush is the frontrunner, Romney will sit the next race out. However, if Ted Cruz is on his way to the nomination, Romney will enter the race to save the Republican Party and the country from the conservative firebrand.
“Back to the Moon” by Travis S. Taylor and Les Johnson does for near future space travel what Tom Clancy’s novels used to do for near future war and terrorism. Too bad the near future the book describes has been jettisoned by President Obama.
It can be safely said that Wendy Davis, former Texas state senator, former candidate for governor, and former abortion rights superstar, is not prepared to go quietly into that good night. A case in point concerned an interview that was reported in the Washington Examiner on Wednesday in which she admitted that she supported an open carry firearms law in Texas solely as an election year ploy to get votes. She now regrets that decision.
Who is the better spy? Burn Notice’s Michael Westen or James Bond? On the surface, the comparison seems absurd. James Bond is in many ways a cartoon character, a man capable of superhuman feats, but who could not exist in the real world. After all, who ever heard of a secret agent of whom every bartender in the world knows how he prefers his vodka martinis.