The talking point coming from Team Hillary regarding the reopening of the FBI investigation into the matter of Hillary Clinton’s email server is that obviously Bureau Director James Comey is a partisan hack who is trying to influence #Election 2016. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid even suggested that Comey may have violated the Hatch Act which prohibits government officials trying to influence politics in their official capacity. But Politico is reporting that White House Spokesman Josh Earnest stated that President Barack #Obama has full confidence in Director Comey and does not believe he is trying to influence the election.
Monday, October 31, 2016
Douglas Schoen, a political consultant, and pollster is an old friend of the Clintons, having worked for President Bill Clinton and #Hillary Clinton when she was still a United States senator. So it is big news, as RealClearPolitics reports, that Schoen announced on Fox News where he was on a political panel that he would no longer support Ms. Clinton president. The reason was the untenable position Clinton finds herself in because of the renewed FBI investigation into the matter of the unsecured email server.
Team Trump has rolled out a space policy proposal that orients NASA toward space exploration and science and emphasizes private/public partnerships. However, all The Hill Newspaper got out of it is what it considers a threat to cut the Earth science account, or as it artfully calls it the “climate budget.” But the blame for such a development, should it happen in a Trump administration, would fall at the door of President Barack Obama and his obsession with #Climate Change.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
King Ezekiel, a favorite from “#The Walking Dead” comic books, has finally shown up in the TV series. He is played by Khary Payton who, oddly enough, is not British.
In “The Well” the second episode of season seven of “#The Walking Dead” we run into Carol and Morgan again. Carol, weighed down by the weight of her sins, including causing the deaths of two children, one directly by shooting her in the back of the head, had fled Alexandria, likely to find the peace of death or at least the peace of aloneness. Fortunately for her, Morgan is not ready to let her go.
The story of the emails the FBI discovered on a laptop apparently shared by Huma Abedin, #Hillary Clinton’s friend, confident, and chief aide, and Anthony Weiner. Abedin’s estranged husband just veered into soap opera territory. One of the mysteries of the revelation is how the FBI was able to reopen the email investigation when Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department was refusing to sign off on a warrant. It turns out that the FBI doesn’t need a warrant. Weiner is fully cooperating with the Bureau in the manner of the emails.
John Kass, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, has a column out in which he calls on the Democrats to call on #Hillary Clinton to step aside and end her candidacy for the presidency of the United States, nine days out from the election. The plea is a sign of how much the political landscape has turned thanks to the drumbeat of bad news that has been afflicting Team Hillary.
In shows like “#The Walking Dead” the zombie apocalypse comes on so swiftly and unexpectedly that the military is helpless to stop it. Units of the armed forces are overwhelmed as hordes of the undead roam the landscape, slaughtering all within their path. But, as it turns out, the Pentagon has developed contingency plans for dealing with a zombie outbreak.
For some reason best known to experts in pop culture, the zombie apocalypse has become all the rage in TV shows like “#The Walking Dead.” The scenario involves dead people suddenly becoming animated and then roaming about biting and eating people, making them into zombies as well. Eventually, civilization breaks down, and isolated groups such as Rick and company struggle to survive. But is the zombie apocalypse, barring some supernatural agency, even possible?
On the surface, Negan, the latest living human to cause misery and death to our heroes on “#The Walking Dead,” fits the Psychology Today definition of a psychopath. He is violent and volatile, lacks the normal empathy that most people feel for others, but is also charming at times and entirely manipulative. But, as a leader of a group called the Saviors, he is like many of the people we regard as the great leaders of history. He enthusiastically uses terror as a means of statecraft.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
While Elon Musk wants to found a city of a million people on Mars, his main rival in the commercial #Space game, Jeff Bezos, would like to revive a space colony concept first popularized by Dr. Gerard O’Neill in the 1970s, according to Alan Boyle. An O’Neill space colony consists of a giant rotating cylinder in space with people living on the inside, getting power from 24/7 sunlight. O’Neill envisioned the first such colony being established at the L5 point, one of the five Lagrange points where the gravity of the Earth and the moon cancel out. L5 has easy access to both the Earth and the moon and could serve as a way station to deep space destinations such as Mars. The concept was actually studied by NASA at one time.
The ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll now shows #Hillary Clinton just two points ahead of #Donald Trump, 47 percent to 45 percent. The survey, which was taken before the bombshell announcement that the FBI was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s email server, represents a surge of support for Trump and a steady decline for Clinton. More Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are now likely voters for election 2016. The poll is within the margin of error.
National Geographic’s “Mars” miniseries has posted the first episode “Novo Mundo” as well as a prequel episode “Before Mars” on streaming services such as iTunes and the on demand section of individual cable networks. The series, at least at first viewing, looks like an infomercial for NASA’s Journey to Mars with a lot of background material from SpaceX’s Elon Musk and a few other Mars advocates such as Robert Zubrin. This is not necessarily a bad thing.
Friday, October 28, 2016
The New York Times is reporting that the new emails that have caused the FBI to reopen the investigation into the matter of #Hillary Clinton storing classified documents on an unsecured server were discovered on electronic devices belonging to former Congressman #Anthony Weiner, the estrange husband of Clinton aide and confidant Huma Abedin. The Bureau is investigating an illicit text message that Weiner sent to a 15-year-old girl living in North Carolina. The new emails are said to number in the thousands. Something severe must reside in those emails as the threshold is very high for the FBI reopening an investigation so soon before an election of a presidential candidate.
One of #Hillary Clinton’s proudest boasts has been that the FBI “cleared her” of wrongdoing concerning the storing of classified documents on her email server. The claim is only technically correct as FBI Director James Comey did not recommend an indictment but excoriated the presidential candidate for carelessness. Many outside observers and some inside the FBI noticed the whiff of corruption and the fix being in. The law does not recognize intent in this case.
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll that places Donald Trump just four points behind Hillary Clinton is rocking the presidential race. The same poll showed Trump 12 points behind just a few days ago. The question arises, why is Trump experiencing the last minute surge? Also, will the surge be enough to propel Trump to a come from behind win of the presidency?
Hillary Clinton has yet to become president of the United States, but she is already mulling over who she would like to be in her cabinet. According to the Washington Examiner, she has made the unusual choice of Vice President #Joe Biden to be secretary of state.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Bloomberg Technology predicts some of the benefits and consequences of a brave new world of driverless, electric powered cabs. Since rides in these vehicles will so cheap as to be competitive as buses and light rail, they might eliminate mass transit as we know it in large, urban centers. Why trudge to the bus stop and take an hour or two with several transfers to get to work when you can get picked up by your house and then whisked to your workplace inside a half an hour.
As How Stuff Works notes, industrial robots have been on the factory floor since about 1961. Since then robots have taken over a lot of the tedious, repetitive, and often dangerous tasks that human beings used to perform. The result of the advent of industrial robots has been a marked reduction in cost and an increase in productivity. The Brookings Institute reported that robots had sparked a revival of manufacturing in America, with fewer factories being outsourced to countries in Latin America and Asia. Manufacturing employment has even seen a small uptick from the depths of the Great Recession, rising to 12.3 million jobs by 2016. At the same time, 1.9 million industrial robots are estimated be in factories by 2017. But while productivity has skyrocketed, manufacturing employment has grown at a glacial pace.
One of the nightmares that the Republicans face in a prospective Hillary Clinton presidency is her avowed intention to pack the #Supreme Court with liberal justices who would then begin to roll back constitutional liberties to adhere to a left wing agenda. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas has a bright idea for how to deal with that threat. He proposes to refuse to confirm any Hillary appointees to the court. While the strategy relies on the Republicans keeping the Senate and the fury of the Democrats would be infinite, the idea is more insidious than imagined at first glance.
One of the more unusual political alliances of the current election cycle has been that between the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and former Speaker of the House #Newt Gingrich, himself a former presidential candidate. Gingrich has become a passionate surrogate for Trump in front of the camera and a policy idea man behind the scenes. The question arises, what role if any would he play in a hypothetical Trump administration? Every office from White House Chief of Staff to National Security Advisor. Apparently, we can add #NASA Administrator to that list.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
As Ars Technica noted recently, #NASA has started the first phase of its deep #Space habitat program, a sort of interim step to test out flight hardware to take place in the 2020s before people go to Mars in the decade following. An eclectic group of companies have been selected for the second phase, Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and NanoRacks. The companies will build ground based prototypes of their habitat designs. Phase Three would see the selectees winnowed down to two or even one design that would be flight ready and would be launched to cis-lunar space in the 2020s.
#Donald Trump has been barnstorming Florida, and a must-win state, for the past few days. Few pundits give him a chance of winning the general election currently. Perhaps with little to lose, Trump addressed a massive rally in Orlando and made a number of promises concerning NASA. Florida is considered a #Space state, owing to the presence of the Kennedy Space Center, on the central Florida Atlanta coast.
The last time Everett Schlegel saw his beloved Chicago Cubs play in the World Series, the year was 1945, and he was a young man returned from service in World War II, according to the Chicago Tribune. He recalls standing in line, still in uniform, when a police officer took him to the front at the box office. The clerk gave him four tickets and refused his offer to pay for them. His service had gotten him into games six and seven of the 1945 World Series when the Cubs did battle with the Detroit Tigers. The Cubs lost that year four games to three.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman in a TV series several decades ago, appeared on a recent episode of the CW’s “Supergirl” as a Hillary Clinton clone president of the United States to push for the Alien Amnesty Act of 2016, according to the Washington Times. The proposed bill is not designed to bring Hispanics who cross the Rio Grande late at night out of the shadows, but rather space aliens, including #Supergirl and her cousin Superman.
#Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential candidate, has started to repeat a line at campaign stops around the country, according to NBC News. “Come home.” In essence, he is asking wavering and disaffected Republicans and other conservatives to support the Republican ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence with the hope that enough will come to pull off a come from behind win.
The Washington Times is reporting that premiums for Obamacare health plans are about to increase an average of 25 percent for millions of Americans. Some will qualify for government subsidies that will cushion part of the growth. However, with more insurance companies withdrawing from the exchanges and deductibles going through the roof, the end of Obamacare seems nigh. People will start seeing how deeper they have to dig to pay for mandatory #Health care insurance on November 1, just a week before the election.
Monday, October 24, 2016
Evan McMullan is gaining a lot of strength in Utah, polling in first place ahead of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in individual matchups. Instapundit posts an email from Jim Bennett that suggests that the McMullan campaign is a plot to get Mitt Romney elected president four years after he ran and got beat by President Barack Obama.
The first episode of season seven of “The Walker Dead” aired and fans got to experience Negan, possibly the most terrifying villain since Hannibal Lector, in popular culture in his full glory. Viewers got to see one of the most aggravating yet compelling cliffhangers in recent #Television history resolved plus the most horrific breaking of a man, Rick since O’Brien made Winston Smith love Big Brother in the Room 101 scene in “1984.”
In the weeks following #SpaceX’s #Elon Musk’s announcement of his vision of a Mars colony, a debate has raged about everything from the technical details to the morality and even legality of the scheme. Musk had gone into great detail about the massive spaceships, called Interplanetary Transportation Systems, would take the colonists to the new world. But he was mostly silent about what they would do once they got to #Mars. According to the Los Angeles Times. Musk elaborated on what a Mars settlement would look like in a Reddit “ask me anything” conference.The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper
Sunday, October 23, 2016
While, despite what many of the pundits are saying, the outcome of the presidential election is in doubt, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas has hit the campaign trail, not to stump for Donald Trump, but to keep the United States Senate in #Republican hands. He intends to visit Colorado to attend rallies for Darryl Glenn, running for the Senate seat now held by Democrat Michael Bennet. Cruz has already visited Nevada to support Joe Heck, who is campaigning to fill the seat left open by Harry Reid.
The one tragic aspect of #Obamacare, both its ill-considered creation and its predictable collapse, is that it threatens to leave people who have chronic illnesses without any way to get the treatment they need. A Washington Examiner story relates the tale of Valerie Kincaid, a former school teacher who is about to lose her Obamacare plan thanks to the withdraw of its insurer from the Illinois exchange. The problem is that Kincaid has chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which has been kept under control by a team of oncologists at Northwest Memorial Hospital in Chicago. It is uncertain whether the stopgap measure that involves a Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO will allow Kincaid to still receive care from the medical team whom she had grown to trust with keeping her alive.
A story in the Washington Examiner discusses WikiLeaks revelations on Team Hillaru Clinton’s decision making process over the EPA’s Renewable Fuel standard, which mandates that a certain amount of #ethanol be blended in with gasoline. The RFS is seen as a subsidy for corn growers, especially in Iowa, the first in the nation caucus state. Therefore a presidential candidate’s position on the issue is seen as crucial for chances of winning that state.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Jonah Goldberg offered an interesting theory in the National Review recently when he suggested that Hillary Clinton would be a lame duck president from the moment she takes the oath of office. The reason is that the WikiLeaks revelations, which would have sunk her campaign were it not for the fact she is running against Donald Trump, will cripple her presidency by undermining her mandate and moral authority.
That #Election 2016 has gotten acrimonious was struck home by none other than Vice President #Joe Biden was at a Hillary Clinton rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa and declared that he would like to beat up #Donald Trump because of his boasts on that now infamous video. “No, I wish I were in high school so I could take him behind the gym, that's what I wish." The statement was not even found to be very alarming by the mainstream media. To be sure it did not approach Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton territory. But one wonders how the media would have reacted if Trump had offered to thump on Bill Clinton for his savaging of women.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Red State recently lamented that Sen Ted Cruz. R-Texas was not on the debate stage with Hillary Clinton when the question about the Supreme Court was asked by Chris Wallace. Cruz would have aced the question, mainly because he has successfully argued cases before the court as the solicitor general of the state of Texas. Cruz knows how the Supreme Court works intimately and has a handle on the stakes of the election.
As #Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, enters its death spiral. President Barack #Obama decided to go full “remain calm, all is well” mode and proposed a few tweaks that will surely fix the system and make it a deliverer of health care that it was meant to be. But then the president was more apt than he knew when he compared Obamacare to a Galaxy Note 7 #Smartphone.
More than 18 years have passed since two rocks headed to wipe out the Earth, “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact” filled theaters and made their respected studios a lot of money. So it was about time for a major network, in this case, CBS, to order up a 13 episode series about the same idea “Salvation” for next summer. But the concept, as related by Coming Soon, seems terribly curious.The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper
Thursday, October 20, 2016
According to ABC News, Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president, decided to revise and extend his remarks from the third presidential debate in which he declined to accept the results of the election in advance. He told a cheering crowd in Delaware, Ohio, "I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election -- if I win.” He went on to expound at length on the subject of voter fraud, including a WikiLeaks revelation that Hillary Clinton once opined that illegal aliens could vote if they have a driver’s license. In fact, it is illegal for any non-American citizen to vote whether they are legally in the country or not. He also referenced the Florida recount controversy, suggesting that he is not about to waive his right to a legal challenge under similar circumstances.
Lost in the media hoopla about Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the election in advance was an exchange early in the debate that started with the Supreme Court but ended up in the rancorous debate over abortion. Trump, who intends to appoint pro-life judges, maneuvered Hillary Clinton neatly into taking one of the most extreme pro-choice positions imaginable, supporting the right to an abortion up to the moment of natural birth with a procedure called partial birth or late term abortion. Even most committed advocates of a woman’s right to choose find the idea a bit queasy.
One of the tensest exchanges that took place on the night of the third presidential debate did not actually happen between the two presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The exchange took place between Fox News host Megyn Kelly and Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile on the question of Brazile’s feeding Hillary Clinton debate questions during a CNN town hall when the former worked for that network. Brazile played the Christian card to counter the question, according to the Washington Examiner.
One of the highlights (or lowlights depending on one’s point of view) of the third presidential debate was when the discussion wandered over to the 2nd Amendment. While Donald Trump vigorously defended the right to keep and bear arms, Hillary Clinton pretended to do the same, but then undermined her position by also claiming also to favor “common sense gun laws.” She made a particular howler when she said she opposed the Heller decision that overturned a ban on the private ownership of handguns in Washington D.C. She claimed that she opposed the decision and would see it overturned by the Supreme Court so that toddlers would be protected from firearm accidents. But the Washington Examiner fact checked her and found her excuse to be bogus.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Two policy advisors to #Donald Trump, former Congressman Robert Walker, and Peter Navarro, a business professor at the University of California at Irvine, presented a #Space policy document in the pages of Space News. While the article contained the usual fluff about the inspiration of exploration, it did contain a couple of significant policy proposals.
Most of the media is leading their stories about the third and final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with the statement by Trump that he wouldn’t necessarily accept the outcome of the election if he lost. “I will look at it at the time,” he said and promised to keep moderator Chris Wallace in suspense. Most of the media is spinning the statement as the ravings of a madman. Indeed, it would be if the outcome of the election is not close, say by five or so points.
The main takeaway from the third presidential debate was Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of the election regardless of the circumstances. Trump has some reason to be skittish, considering some of the revelations of vote fraud from the Project Veritas videos. The huffing and puffing by some on the left will be somewhat curious considering the outrage about the Florida recount in 2000.
One of the traditions of presidential debates, back when a pretense of civility was followed, was that the spouses of the candidates would greet one another and shake hands. This custom will not be observed during the third and final presidential debate. The New York Times is blaming, as it does all things bad that have happened in 2016, on Donald Trump.
The feeling among Team Hillary must be one of positive giddiness. Thanks to the great luck of facing the most dysfunctional Republican candidate possible, Hillary Clinton is poised to become the first woman president, a dream she had held for decades and for which she had paid much. But now is not the time for complacency. Election 2016 has had enough twists and turns that a last-minute reversal of fortune is possible.
Donald Trump enters the third and final presidential debate in the worst possible position that a major candidate can be in, thanks to a number of unforced errors. Fortunately, he can turn things around even less than three weeks before the election. All he has to do is to act presidential and keep on the attack against his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Leonardo diCaprio is set to produce a film version of the early 1990s cartoon series “Captain Planet and the Planeteers.” The series depicted five fresh-faced, clean-limbed young people from around the world who had been granted magic rings that, when brought together, summoned a super being known as Captain Planet who then did battle with a number of environmental harming super villains, each of which represented some separate ecological disaster. The series was a heavy-handed work of environmental agitprop with a decidedly anti-capitalist message.
According to Popular Mechanics, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have stumbled upon a process that turns CO2 into ethanol. The method used carbon and copper arranged into nanospikes the better to exert absolute control with few contaminants. The one-step process takes place at room temperature which means that it is energy efficient.
With the recent successful launch of China’s Shenzhou 11, taking two Chinese astronauts for a 30-day stay at the Tiangong-2 space station, the focus has been renewed on that country’s slow but steady space program. Eric Baculinao, writing for NBC News, suggests that #china is poised to challenge American leadership in space, just as the Soviets did in the 1960s. China has lots of ambition, including a space station, manned lunar expeditions, and even a space telescope with greater capabilities than the Hubble space telescope.
One of the sad aspects of #Election 2016 is the fact that groping women have become the main issue on the presidential level, crowding out corruption, ISIS, and Obamacare, because of accusations levied against Donald Trump. However, that issue has turned out to be a double-edged sword down ballot as Democrats desperately try to tie Republicans to Trump’s alleged misbehavior. During a Florida Senate debate, Democratic candidate Patrick Murphy decided to lash his opponent, incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio, to Trump. Rubio released a picture Murphy posted of himself fondling a woman’s breast on Facebook a few years ago.
Monday, October 17, 2016
Florida Today is reporting that #Donald Trump intends to tour the Kennedy #Space Center on October 24 and attend a roundtable discussion of aerospace industry leaders sponsored by the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast and Space Florida. A public rally will likely take place at a location off site as political campaigning is prohibited on a federal facility. Hillary Clinton has been invited to attend a roundtable as well but has so far not responded.
And a reading assignment for the Donald: Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?
ZME Science announced the latest event in the saga of the EM drive, the “impossible” engine that is alleged to produce thrust without propellant. Roger Shawyer, the British inventor of the drive, has just filed a patent with the British Intellectual Property office with a 2.0 version of the EM drive that he claims creates orders of magnitude greater thrust than the current version being tested at #NASA’s Eagleworks, among other places.
As the BBC noted, the latest Chinese manned space mission in three years, the #Shenzhou 11, blasted off with two astronauts, veteran Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong. The spacecraft is headed for the Tiangong-2 module for a 30-day mission to test technologies in preparation for a larger space station planned for the early 2020s. Thus the slow and steady Chinese space program made its next step to make #china a space power in its own right.
“#Killing Reagan,” the latest TV dramatization of the “Killing” series based on a book by Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly, was, on the whole, a respectful depiction of the greatest president of the 20th Century and the assassination attempt that almost ended him. The TV movie avoided many of the Hollywood clichés about Reagan. The president, played by Tim Matheson, who won the Cold War was depicted as a competent statesman who was madly in love with his wife, First Lady Nancy Reagan, played by Cynthia Nixon. Kyle More plays John Hinckley, the increasingly disturbed, obsessive would-be assassin, a pathetic loser who almost altered #history.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
What does “#Game of Thrones” teach us about #Election 2016. For one thing, as horrible as things are in the American political system, they can always be worse. At least the two primary parties have confined their assassinations to the character kind.
“Designated Survivor,” the TV thriller that stars Kiefer Sutherland as a low-level cabinet official who suddenly becomes president of the United States when a devastating terrorist attack takes out most of the federal government, has often been gripping #Television. Unfortunately, the show also has a tendency to jump the shark with outrageous scenarios and liberal agitprop. For example, the series depicts a racist Republican governor of Michigan declaring the president to be illegitimate and proceeding to round up Muslim Americans for no reason.
#Election 2016 experienced another strange turn when a Washington Post ABC News poll showed #Hillary Clinton with just a four-point lead over #Donald Trump among likely voters. The poll came out at a time when most pundits believed that the election was all but over because of the series of women who have come forward who claim that Trump had “inappropriately touched” them sometime in the past./P>
Saturday, October 15, 2016
The latest WikiLeaks revelation shows another difference between #Hillary Clinton’s public views, in this case on energy and the #Environment, as opposed to her private views on the issue as expressed to a secret meeting with a trade union group. Publically she is an environmentalist who wants to bring the big oil companies to heel and restrict fracking and pipeline construction. Privately she favors fracking and pipeline construction. "I want to defend repairing and building the pipelines we need to fuel our economy. I want to defend fracking under the right circumstances.” Clinton also opposes a carbon tax.
Friday, October 14, 2016
As if this election season is not weird enough, McClatchy is reporting that #Bernie Sanders, even though he has not been a presidential candidate for months, might actually win in his home state of Vermont. The reason for this is that Vermont is one of the few states of the union that allow write ins of any candidate no matter if they are running or not. The other states are Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Iowa and Oregon. Most other states allow write ins only if a candidate is officially registered.
The latest WikiLeaks revelations reveal that the 2008 #Hillary Clinton for president campaign poll tested a number of attacks against her then political rival Barack #Obama. Some of the proposed attacks were policy based, such as proposals for tax increases and even, oddly, Obama’s opposition to health care for babies who survived partial birth abortions.
With the recent chest thumping by President Barack Obama over the #NASA #Space program, especially the Journey to Mars, the Smithsonian Magazine provides a much-needed reality check. Most if not all of space successes of the past few years have their origins in the presidency of George W. Bush.
The polls and the pundits agree that Donald Trump is likely to lose the 2016 election. But like the mirror image of the Trump movement, the Bernie Sanders revolution, the populist uprising is likely to continue so long as people feel economic anxiety. The solution to both Trump and Sanders, according to a new piece in the Washington Free Beacon, is economic growth.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Tom Hanks is considered to be one of the most famous actors in Hollywood. He not only has played in a number of heroic roles, such as in “Apollo 13,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and, most recently, “Sully,” he has the reputation of being one of the nicest people working in the entertainment industry. So naturally when he condemned #Donald Trump for his statements in the now infamous sex talk tape, he carried some authority. “I’m offended as a man. I’m not offended as a husband or a father — I’m offended as a guy. That’s just not right.” However, Hank’s sense of moral outrage is somewhat selective.
On the surface, the selection of Bob Dylan for the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature seems bizarre beyond the limits of human understanding. Dylan is the first person to win the literature prize in decades who is widely known and admired. He is the first performing artist in history to win the coveted award.
Hot Air reports that someone at the Lifetime Network thought it might be a good idea to produce something called “The Young Hillary Diaries” as a web series. The premise is that young Hillary Rodham is running for class president at her high school in 1964 and is running into sexism and other obstacles. The idea seems like one that might care a lame “Saturday Night Live” skit but may be a stretch for any kind of series.
One thing is for certain. The past week in politics has proven to be as good for Evan McMullin as it has been horrible to Donald Trump and, to some extent, Hillary Clinton. The latest scandal to hit Team Trump involves two women who claimed they were inappropriately touched by the Donald many years ago, accompanied by Trump’s threat to sue for defamation. While Clinton is surging in the polls, Team Hillary has not gone unscathed. The WikiLeaks revelations show a group of people running the Clinton campaign who disdain many Americans, including Catholics, evangelicals, Hispanics, “rednecks,” and Bernie Sanders supporters. All of the sudden, the hitherto obscure conservative independent is starting to look pretty good.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
The modern #Democratic Party has had a long standing problem with religious Christians, especially Catholics and evangelicals. Most of the problem stems from the issue of abortion, which religious people view as the taking of human life and liberal Democrats believe is a woman’s right to sovereignty over her own body. So it should not be as any great surprise that one of the latest WikiLeaks revelations show Jennifer Palmieri, now the Clinton campaign's director of communications, mocking Catholics and evangelicals.
Hillary Clinton brought out a ghost from the past in the form of former vice president and presidential candidate Al Gore at a rally in Florida. The idea is that Gore will appeal to Millennials because of his hard-line stance on climate change. However, as the Washington Free Beacon reported, Gore dredged up old resentments from the 2000 campaign when he failed to steal the election during the infamous recount drama. He noted that he is the poster child for everyone’s vote counting. By the time the United States Supreme Court put an end to the shenanigans taking place in Florida, Gore was about 500 votes behind George W. Bush, the eventual winner. Subsequent media studies suggested that had the recount continued, Gore still would have lost.
Evan McMullin, an independent candidate for president, surged in the Deseret News Poll in Utah to third place, polling 18 percent just behind Hillary Clinton at 26 percent and Donald Trump at 22 percent. McMullin is in striking distance of pulling up an upset and actually taking Utah and its electoral votes. McMullin has garnered his first high-profile endorsements, including commentator Erick Erickson and former Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Donald Trump has rightly been pilloried for a sex talk tape that recently surfaced that showed him making crude and vulgar remarks about women. But Joy Behar of “The View” said something that likely shocked Trump and everyone else in the locker rooms he apparently haunts. She referred to the women Trump invited to the second presidential debate, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones and Kathy Shelton as “tramps.” Then Behar wished she had not done that.
As the Barack #Obama presidency inches ever closer to it long awaited but inevitable end, the president has been looking to his legacy in a series of op-ed pieces. The latest of these self-congratulatory articles highlight the Journey to Mars, NASA’s current program to send humans to the Red Planet and return them safely to the Earth.
One of the strangest revelations contained within the latest WikiLeaks documents concerns a series of emails from an Apollo moonwalker and a member of a punk rock band to #Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta on the subjects of #Space war and alien life. The late Edgar Mitchell and Tom DeLonge of Angels and Airwaves sought meetings with Podesta. The proposed meetings never took place.
The aerospace newspaper #Space News put a series of space policy questions to the two major presidential candidates, #Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Few if any specifics about what will happen under their respective administrations were contained in the answers, besides the usual pabulum, but Trump had an interesting process answer. The Republican candidate gave a variation of, “After taking office, we will have a comprehensive review of our plans for space, and will work with Congress to set both priorities and mission.Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?
Monday, October 10, 2016
The latest WikiLeaks release, which shows the coordination between the Barack Obama White House and Team #Hillary Clinton to sell the Iran nuclear weapons deal, has a couple of other arresting revelations, according to Jazz Shaw over at Hot Air. Hillary Clinton, in secret and highly paid speeches to Wall Street bankers, suggested that neither #Terrorism nor Vladimir Putin’s #Russia are much of a threat to the United States.
The day after #Hillary Clinton received a sound thrashing at the hands of Donald Trump at the second presidential debate, partly due to revelations by WikiLeaks, a second document dump occurred thanks to the organization headed by Julian Assange. According to the Washington Free Beacon, the latest leaked emails reveal unprecedented coordination between the #Obama White House and the Clinton campaign to advance talking points defending the #Iran nuclear weapons deal. Many of those talking points have turned out to be false and even flat out lies.
One of the most bizarre exchanges that took place during the second presidential debate started when Donald Trump tried to call Hillary Clinton to account for a statement made during one of the secret speeches to Wall Street bankers revealed by WikiLeaks. Clinton stated that a politician often has to have a private position on an issue that is different from a public one. Clinton responded by employing what many people are calling the “Abraham Lincoln Defense.”
One of the most electric moments during the second presidential debate occurred when Donald Trump promised to have his Attorney General appoint a special prosecutor to look into Hillary Clinton’s various alleged criminal acts, starting with the matter of the email server. On another occasion, he suggested that she would be in jail if he became president. The threat elicited wild cheering from the audience and a lot of hang-wringing from the chattering class at the spectacle of a presidential candidate threatening to put his political opponent in jail.
One of the keys to Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton at the second presidential debate was his employment of a unique form of battlefield preparation. Before the debate, he conducted a press conference in which four women who had been victimized by Bill and Hillary Clinton briefly told their stories. Then Trump seated the four women in the debate audience in full view of Clinton just a few rows away from Bill Clinton, who likely spent the 90 minutes in fear of his life.
Sunday, October 09, 2016
The bottom line is that during the second presidential debate, Donald Trump managed to live to fight another day. He made the public apology for the sex talk tape that everyone expected, and he seemed sincere. But then he pivoted to the necessity of fighting ISIS, taking a leaf from Mike Pence’s book, and then hit both Hillary Clinton and the moderator on the email server scandal. Trump made news by promising to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton and, if possible, put her in jail. The promise was the applauds line of the night and was, in the history of politics, unprecedented.
Could Team Hillary Clinton have overplayed the rollout of the now infamous Donald Trump sex talk tape? Jazz Shaw over at Hot Air suggests that this may be possible. But much depends on how Trump plays it at the second presidential debate.
Probably the unhappiest man in America in the wake of the release of the infamous Donald Trump sex talk tape is Sen. #Ted Cruz. R-Texas. Likely he placed a call to some of his old opposition research people from his presidential campaign and demanded to know where was the tape when it would have done the most good, say just before the New Hampshire primary? The sentiment is likely shared by all of the other #Republican candidates whom Trump left in his wake during the primary season.
When the tape of Donald Trump boasting of his prowess with women hit the airwaves, #Hillary Clinton, his rival for the presidency, tweeted, “This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president.” Of course, since we know from the WikiLeaks revelations that Clinton has a private as well as a public position on the issues, she probably danced a jig and cried out in exaltation like a little girl who just got her favorite Barbie doll for Christmas. After all, her campaign almost certainly leaked the tape to the media at the exact time that it would do the most damage.
Saturday, October 08, 2016
For an American voter with even a smidgeon of principles, #Election 2016 constitutes an impossible choice. Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, possesses every human flaw that can be imagined and, no doubt, ones hitherto unimaginable. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, is a criminal who has proven time and again that she will do anything to advance her power. In Game of Thrones terms, we are faced with a choice between Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister.
The other October Surprise, besides the audio recording that proved that Donald Trump is rude, crude, and socially unacceptable, was the release of excerpts of secret speeches #Hillary Clinton made to Wall Street bankers such as Goldman Sachs that show that she is not a woman of the people. The passages prove that Clinton is a candidate of Wall Street, willing to do its bidding, no matter what the desires of the rubes who vote for her.
In the ultimate October surprise, a tape has surfaced of Donald Trump in 2005 boasting of his prowess with women in terms too crude to be repeated in these pages. Social media suffered a meltdown. A number of #Republican office holders withdrew their endorsements and others expressed how utterly shocked they were. Hillary Clinton, accustomed to being around men who have misbehaved toward women, tweeted how shocked she was. #Donald Trump released a video in which he said something he has never said in public before “I apologize,” which demonstrates the seriousness of just what happened.
Friday, October 07, 2016
Arthur Herman over at the National Review notes a bit of rare economic good news. The Saudi effort to kill the #fracking boom by flooding the oil and gas market has failed. While some fracking companies have gone out of business, the rest, using new technology to cut costs, have grown stronger. For those people who lived through the energy crises of 1973 and 1979, the defeat of the oil sheiks constitutes sweet, sweet revenge. The development also promises to upend energy economies and the balance of power in the Middle East.
One of the loathsome side effects of the byzantine and corrupt American income tax system has been the proliferation of scams in which someone calls a taxpayer claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service demanding extra money. Many people are so terrified of the tax man that they will fork over immediately. The Wall Street Journal reports the welcome news that several of these tax scam call centers, located in India ironically, have been raided by local police and the employees arrested.
When the news broke that Hillary Clinton was recruiting #Al Gore to try to whip up enthusiasm among Millennials, the mockery came fast and furious. Gore was last youthful when he ran for president the first time in 1988. He is now a wizened old man ranting about global warming while flying around in private jets and living in a home with a carbon footprint of a small developing country. “South Park” even lampooned him as a crank yelling about the threat posed by “ManBearPig.”
One of the spins offered by supporters of President Barack Obama’s space policy is that the Second Augustine Committee concluded that President George W. Bush’s Constellation space exploration program was “not executable” for the budget that existed at the time. The Obama administration, with regret, canceled Constellation and eventually hammered out a compromise Journey to Mars program. But Paul Spudis, a planetary geologist who frequently writes on space policy, suggests that the fix was in from the beginning. Indeed, he points to a study from #NASA’s Johnson Spaceflight Center that might have gotten Constellation moving again, primarily by changing the design of the heavy-lift launch vehicle planned at the time.Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?
Thursday, October 06, 2016
When this writer found out that a British director has made a biop about Emily Dickinson, the famous 19 Century poet, he breathlessly called his wife, a fan of the Belle of Amherst, with the news. The woman gave a surprising answer.
#SpaceX CEO recently sketched out his vision of sending a million people to found a colony on Mars. Now #Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg has issued a response, suggesting that the first people to set foot on the Red Planet will ride rockets built, at least in part, by his company. Boeing is one of the contractors building the heavy-lift Space Launch System that is the center of NASA’s Journey to #Mars program. NASA plans envision humans on Mars by the 2030s. Musk has boasted that he will have people with astronaut boots on the Martian soil by 2025.The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper
In 2010 President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats used a parliamentary maneuver called budget reconciliation to ram Obamacare through Congress over the objections of the American people and the Republicans, with the consequences Americans are living with today. According to a piece in Politico, House Speaker Paul Ryan intends to use the same maneuver to repeal Obamacare should the Republicans retain both houses of Congress and Donald Trump be elected president. Eliminating the Affordable Care Act would be just the beginning.
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
For its first two seasons, the TV show “Madam Secretary,” was a joy to watch. Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, played by Tea Leoni, was a pragmatic diplomat with a touch of idealism who was more interested in solving problems than scoring ideological points. She was depicted as competent and more than a little bit brave. The show enjoyed a strong supporting cast with Keith Caradine as President Conrad Dalton, Zelko Ivanek as White House Chief of Staff Russell Jackson, and Tim Daley as husband Henry McCord, a professor of divinity and a part-time spy.
The Associated Press reports that Mohsen Bahrami, the head of #Iran’s #Space Agency, expressed interest in forging space cooperation ties with #NASA. The proposal would seem to be pretty brazen, considering the government of Iran’s hostility toward the United States, manifesting even to whipping up mobs to chant “Death to America!” and taking American citizens as hostage.
Blue Origin, the commercial rocket company owned by Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, fully expected the New Shepard launch vehicle to crash land onto the desert at its facility in Van Horn, Texas during the test of its launch escape system. But not only did the escape system work as planned, blasting the crew capsule from the rocket and then bringing it safely back to the ground via parachute, but the rocket managed to soft land on its own power as well.
No matter who is elected president in 2016, America may be headed back to the moon. The assessment is not so much based on the positions Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are taking on space policy, but on who is advising each candidate on that subject.Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?
As someone joked, the 2016 vice presidential debate was between a Republican who was adroit at discussing policy and a Democrat who did not need to go to prison. In the end, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence crushed Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. Kaine continued to attack a man who was not present, Donald Trump, interrupting Pence as he was calmly trying to explain various policy positions taken by the Trump/Pence ticket as well as launching jab after jab against Hillary Clinton. Pence refused to take the bait but instead came across as calm and unflappable. Kaine was not able to make any headway and lost badly.
Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Much has been made of Donald Trump’s tendency to go off message, much to his detriment. But, according to the Daily Caller, former President #Bill Clinton also has said things that his wife Hillary’s campaign likely finds alarming. At a rally in Athens, Georgia, a heckler yelled at Clinton about the 1994 Crime Bill which he supported and signed into law. Clinton, addressing the heckler directly, shouted back, “Hillary didn’t vote for the ’94 crime bill, even though Senator Sanders did.”
The latest blog post at the Planetary Society’s page relating how #Space policy became the mess that it is in the waning days of the Barack #Obama presidency describes how the heavy lift Space Launch System came to be. Many critics of the SLS claim that it was a plot by pork happy congressmen to keep people employed in their districts. In fact, the rise of the big rocket was an inevitable result of the ham-handed way the Obama White House canceled President George W. Bush’s Constellation space exploration program. Congress on both sides of the aisle lost all confidence in the White House and #NASA where it came to space policy. Hence, the mandate of a particular design for the SLS that left the space agency with no wiggle room to undermine the congressional mandate to build a heavy lift rocket.
Whether the first people to land on #Mars are part of a NASA-led exploration crew or the first wave of Elon Musk’s colonization effort, they are going to need to survive on the Red Planet for periods of time ranging from a month to forever. According to Popular Mechanics, #NASA is examining the problem of resource extraction on Mars. Minerals, water, and even gasses from the atmosphere will have to be mined and then turned into useful products. The first step for such an effort is a prototype mining rover called Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR).
Monday, October 03, 2016
Politico published the results of an interview with President Barack Obama in which he revealed the one factor that caused all the opposition to his majesty and his glory. The tea party and the Donald Trump candidacy has its origins in the vice presidential nomination of #Sarah Palin, according to the soon former president. #Obama lacks the introspection to realize his role in the creation of the current politico rancor, but nevertheless he is more right than he knows.
“Westworld,” a new series on #HBO, is based on the 1970s era movie by the same name that depicts a theme park that allows high paying guests to visit a wild west town and interact with android “hosts” who play townspeople, many of them familiar western characters. Guests can participate in narratives such as drinking, gambling, and being serviced by the sporting ladies at the local saloon or riding with a posse to catch a desperado. One guest, though, uses Westworld to slake his sadistic urges, committing murder and rape.
The New York Times has published an admission that should turn the election if the issues did not consist of who is the most decrepit human being running for president. The Times, analyzing the state of the affordable care act, also known as #Obamacare, in so many words admits that the law has failed and will need to be revisited by the next president. The difference of how each of the two major candidates would reform #Health care reform could not be starker.
Elon Musk’s plan to colonize #Mars has been criticized from a number of quarters, with some claiming that it is illegal, some saying that it is immoral. Robert Walker, writing in Science 2.0, suggests that Musk has the right idea but the wrong world. Walker argues that the moon is the more appropriate place to start a colony, at least in the near term.
Sunday, October 02, 2016
The disaster that consumed a SpaceX Falcon 9, an expensive Israeli communications satellite, and much of a launch pad took a bizarre turn in the Washington Post reported that a #SpaceX investigator tried to gain access to the roof of a building owned by a rival launch company ULA. The building is nearby to the launch pad and within its line of sight. The attempted visit was elicited by images from a video that showed a shadow then a white spot on the roof around the time of the accident.
A tape of some remarks Hillary Clinton made about #Bernie Sanders supporters to a group of wealthy campaign donors in February 2016 has Team Hillary scrambling to spin it away. Essentially, Clinton mocked Bernie fans as living in their parents’ basement, not able to get jobs, and dreaming the impossible dream of free health care and free college. The revelation comes at an awkward time as Clinton has been trying to get the support of people who preferred her primary opponent to stave off the Donald Trump onslaught.
Much is being made of the New York Times story that noted that Donald Trump took a $916 million loss in 1995 based on a purloined tax document. Based on interviews with tax experts, the Times concluded that Trump could have avoided paying federal income #taxes for the following 18 years. Team Hillary is already making hay out of the news, as expected, suggesting that Trump is evil and unpatriotic for not paying enough federal income taxes and a bad businessman for taking nearly a billion dollar loss in a single year.
Saturday, October 01, 2016
One of the nagging questions surrounding Elon Musk’s plan to start a Mars colony is what economic purpose would such a settlement serve? The original American colonies exported tobacco and furs to Europe, with the West India colonies producing sugar. But, at first glance, #Mars does not seem to have any unique products that would justify sending as many as a million human beings 100 million miles away to settle an inhospitable planet. But a recent article in Fortune seeks to answer that question. As it turns out, Mars has the advantage of proximity to a source of vast wealth.
One of the more aggravating aspects of American diplomacy has been the pretense that #Jerusalem is not, in fact, the capital of Israel, a stance taken to appease the Palestinians who claim that city as their capital. The position caused embarrassment to the #Obama administration when it choose to “correct” a copy of the president’s remarks that initially noted as taking place in “Jerusalem, #Israel” by striking out the word “Israel.” The move has caused a firestorm of criticism and anger from allies of the Jewish state in America.