Random thoughts on politics, current events, popular culture, and whatever else interests me.
Mark R. Whittington is a writer residing in Houston, Texas. He is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel of suspense Nocturne which he coauthored with his wife, Chantal, The Children of Apollo trilogy, The Last Moonwalker and Other Stories, Gabriella’s War, The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper, and Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?
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Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Colin Kaepernick to start in the preseason finale pitting San Francisco against San Diego
The NFL announced that Colin Kaepernick, the second string quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Is going to start in that team’s final preseason game against San Diego on September 1. The decision may seem to be a dangerous one since Kaepernick has created lots of outrage for his refusal to stand for the #National Anthem out of alleged ire at the way the United States treats minorities. On the other hand, the game is likely to be one of the most watched in preseason history just out of curiosity for how the fans will react. Will they boo Kaepernick as he takes the field?
Rick Perry is not going to challenge Ted Cruz for the Senate
#Rick Perry is not going to primary Ted Cruz in two years if one believes a recent story in Red State. For one the former governor of Texas is going to compete on “Dancing with the Stars,” an odd choice for a politician who is getting ready to try to knock off a sitting senator whom he has previously endorsed for president. For another thing, Perry has expressed disinterest in joining the Senate. He enjoys running things in an executive position, not engaging in the kind of give and take and compromising that is the lot of a senator.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Report: NASA scientists to publish an EM drive paper in a peer reviewed journal
According to a piece in the International Business Times UK, a team at NASA’s Eagle Works, a lab at the Johnson Spaceflight Center, has a paper on the so-called EM drive accepted for publication in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Journal of Propulsion and Power. The story cites Dr. Jose Rodal as a source for the news. The report has yet to be confirmed by either the AIAA or #NASA. If the statement is verified, that means that one of the most controversial developments in aerospace technology has passed peer review with profound implications for #Space travel.
Barbra Streisand threatens to move to Australia (or Canada) if Donald Trump is elected
#Barbra Streisand is one of those performing artists who have entertained tens of millions of people for decades with her singing and acting who then proceeds to undermine themselves by expressing off the wall political opinions. Her latest, according to Breitbart, was when she told Michael Usher on ’60 Minutes’ that she would move to Australia or Canada if Donald Trump is elected president.
Gene Wilder's career was defined by his work with Mel Brooks
In this election year of 2016, filled with so many annoying people that they constitute an argue for space colonies as a means to get away from them, it is sometimes hard to remember that other people have brought nothing but joy to life. #Gene Wilder, the famous comic actor, who died from the complications of Alzheimer’s was one such person. His collaboration with the great film director #Mel Brooks in three films helped to define his career as a man who could bring a smile and a belly laugh with equal alacrity.
Monday, August 29, 2016
Is the signal from HD 164595 from a natural source or is it from ET?
Scientists who monitor the heavens in search of signs of extraterrestrial civilizations are excited because of a signal coming from a star system called HD 164595. The star is much like our sun and resides in the constellation Hercules, according to Geek Wire, and resides 94.4 light years away. The signal might be artificial in origin, which is to say a call from ET.
What if Ted Cruz was the Republican nominee for president part 2?
Ted Cruz first found out about the latest Anthony Weiner fiasco while he was campaigning in California with his running mate, Carly Fiorina. Initially, the Republican ticket had been taking some time off campaigning to raise some money on the West Coast. But a shock poll showed the GOP within striking distance of the #Hillary Clinton/Elizabeth Warren Democratic ticket. So they scheduled campaign rallies in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and at a venue in the Central Valley where farmers were hurting because of water rationing due to the delta smelt.
Huma Abedin has had enough of her husband Anthony Weiner's sexting antics
Huma Abedin, one of the chief consiglieri for Hillary Clinton, the first female president in waiting, has decided that she has had enough of her husband’s sexting antics and has decided to separate from him. The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was the revelation that the former congressman and mayoral candidate was texting pictures of his manhood to a woman while their four-year-old son slept beside him. Thus, Weiner, aka “Carlos Danger,” proved that he is an even creepier political celebrity than Bill Clinton, the prospective first dude.
Clinton supporter calls Donald Trump a 'psychopath'
A lot of reasons exist for why Donald Trump should not be president, ranging from his temperament to his lack of experience and basic knowledge of the issues. But many of his opponents have started to jump the shark when describing the mercurial presidential candidate. For example, David Plouffe, a former consigliere for President Obama called Trump a “#psychopath,” according to Politico.
Why the Barack and Michelle Obama date movie failed
The #Hollywood Reporter noted that “Southside with You,” the movie that depicted the first date of Barack and Michelle #Obama in 1989 Chicago, opened to sparse box office, making just over $3 million and placing 14th overall in the weekend rankings. However, since the budget for the biop was just $1.5 million, the movie is going to make a profit.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
University of Chicago strikes a blow for free speech
In an era where college campuses are hotbeds of unrest where some students are demanding that they be shielded from opinions they feel uncomfortable about, the University of Chicago is taking a unique stance on the issue, according to the New York Times. The University has issued a letter to incoming freshmen that constitutes a catch-all, final trigger warning. UC will not tolerate intellectual “safe spaces” and will not disinvite speakers just because their views might prove to be uncomfortable to some in the student body.
Donald Trump hits back at Hillary Clinton, linking her to former Klansman Robert Byrd
When #Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of hobnobbing with racists and other assorted unsavory folks, she was following the standard Democratic playbook for hitting Republicans. She might not have expected that Trump, who often brags about his skill as a counterpuncher, would hit back. CNN mentioned that Trump while campaigning in Iowa, pointed out that Sen. Robert Byrd, long-time Democratic politician, and Klansman was Clinton’s mentor.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
NBC News asks Where the Candidates Stand on NASA and Space Exploration?
An idea for Trump and Clinton to consider,
Why does Ann Coulter hate Ted Cruz but still loves Donald Trump
Business Insider noted that Ann Coulter, the noted author and television bomb thrower, laid into Ted Cruz recently as an “opportunist.” Around the same time, Coulter was engaged in a nightmare scenario as her new book praising Donald Trump came out just around the time that Trump had started to seemingly backslide on illegal immigration. Cruz, it should be noted, has continued to take a hard line on the immigration issue.
Donald Trump is hiring Bush and Romney insiders to run his transition team
The news from Politico that Donald Trump has hired some Bush and Romney people to run his transition could be reassuring or aggravating depending on your point of view. The news is reassuring because such people have experience running things in government. But the news can also be aggravating if you are a die-hard Trumpist because individuals in a presidential transition often move on to become political appointees in the new administration.
Friday, August 26, 2016
If Hillary Clinton is such a progressive why did a KKK Grand Dragon endorse her?
When #Hillary Clinton made her fiery address linking Donald Trump to racist, white supremacists, and other assorted riff-raff, she likely did not have KKK Grand Dragon Will Quigg in mind, largely because Quigg has endorsed her. The question arises, why would a leader in the venerable racist organization endorse the progressive candidate who does not support deporting all of the illegal immigrants? Why would he not support Trump, whom Clinton assures us is being buoyed by racists to whom he gives a wink and a nod?
'Southside With You' commands us to worship the young Barack and Michelle Obama
Barack Obama is not yet out of the White House, but already #Hollywood is trying to cement his status as a world-historical figure, a great man who will be studied and worshiped by school children forever more. The task is going to be a tough one. By every measure, the #Obama presidency is a failure, leaving in its wake economic malaise at home and bloody chaos above. The current election has left Americans angrier and more bitterly divided than at any time since the 1960s. In any case, “Southside With You” has opened in theaters and it is such a reverential mess that even the New York Times finds fault with it.
Obamacare may be the issue that saves Republican control of the Senate
Even though the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is receiving the most attention, the House and #Senate races are also important for #Election 2016. The House is likely to remain firmly in Republican control no matter what happens in the presidential election. However, control of the Senate is in doubt. Republicans are defending twice as many seats as Democrats. The Democrats have to win four seats to regain control if Hillary Clinton is elected president, but five if Donald Trump is elected, the reason being that the vice president breaks ties in a 50/50 Senate. Politico reports that Obamacare, as it has been in the past, is the fly in the ointment where control of Congress is concerned.
In 'Is that a Gun in Your Pocket?' Texas women go on a sex strike to get rid of firearms
Thousands of years ago, the great Athenian playwright Aristophanes produced "Lysistrata" which told the story of how Greek women decided to withhold sex from their men until they made peace and stop the Peloponnesian War. It is considered an insightful comedy, touching on relations between the sexes in a male dominated society. Fast forward 2,500 years and we have “Is that a Gun in Your Pocket?” an upcoming movie set in the small town of Rockford, Texas. An accidental discharge of a firearm at a local school causes the women of the town to band together and decide to withhold sex until all the men choose to give up their guns. Hilarity and bawdiness ensue.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Hillary Clinton plays a whole deck of race cards against Donald Trump
Eight years after Bill Clinton complained that then-Sen Barack Obama complained that “He played the race card on me” Hillary Clinton dealt a whole deck’s worth on #Donald Trump. In a speech in Nevada and a newly released video, Clinton attempted to connect Trump with the Ku Klux Klan and a number of other “hate groups.” The Trump campaign responded in both sorrow and anger, suggesting that Team Clinton is getting more than a tad desperate.
What if Proxima Centauri b really habitable?
As previously reported, scientists have confirmed that a rocky, Earth-sized world is orbiting Proxima Centauri within the “habitable zone” where liquid water exists. Despite the hyperventilating in some parts of the media, the planet, called, for now, Proxima Centauri b, is by no means confirmed as bearing life or even being capable of having life. That information has to wait for further observation, starting with the James Webb #Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2018.
Team Ted Cruz crows 'I told you so!' as Donald Trump backs away from mass deportation
While Donald Trump is backing away just a little from his plan to deport all 11 million or so illegal aliens thought to reside in the United States, some of the former members of Ted Cruz’s campaign for the presidency are saying “I told you so” Politico reported. Cruz had tried to warn voters back during the primaries that Trump didn’t mean it when he suggested that a “deportation force” would sweep through the country, snatch up illegal aliens, and march them across the border. However, either Cruz was not believed to it didn’t matter to Trump’s many fans.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Donald Trump loves the idea of Rick Perry knocking Ted Cruz out of the senate
It looks like #Donald Trump is not letting his anger at Ted Cruz for not bending the knee die away. At a Texas fundraiser, according to the Washington Examiner, he was asked about the possibility of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry attempting to primary Senator Cruz. Trump was filled with fulsome praise of the former governor, who had been very pointed in his criticism of Trump during the Republican primaries when he was also running for president, but who has since become a Trump supporter, becoming an advisor for agricultural issues. A hypothetical poll suggests that if a primary were to be held today, Perry would beat Cruz.
How Barack Obama betrayed the Iranian freedom fighters
Bloomberg has a piece out about a new book, “The #Iran Wars,” by Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon. The book documents the lengths that President Barack #Obama went to establish a rapprochement with the Iranian mullahs. Obama was so obsessed with this policy that he betrayed the Iranian freedom fighters during the “Green Revolution” that took place starting in the summer of 2009.
Seasoning Stixs proposes to flavor meat from the inside
Two methods exist to season meat, wet rub or dry rub. With wet rub, one immerses the meat in some kind of liquid blend for several hours or even a couple of days before cooking it. While the meat is cooking, one can mop the outside with leftover marinade. Dry rub covers the outside of the meat with spices. A variation exists of dry rub when one covers the meat with kosher salt along with the dry rub. This method draws out the liquid from inside the meat but also draws in the spices. Now, a company called Seasoning Stixs believes it has come up with a third method of kicking up your meat a notch.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump should reveal their plans for NASA
The Verge notes that the future of NASA and #Space exploration depends on the outcome of the 2016 elections. Unfortunately, neither candidate, #Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump, has chosen to open their minds on the issue aside from confusing statements and empty platitudes. Neither candidate seems to have anyone on staff who handles space issues. Neither candidate has offered any detailed policy positions concerning space. Since NASA is a high profile agency that spends a not insignificant amount of money, this state of affairs needs to change.On that subject, a reading list for the candidates would include 'Making Space Great Again' Through Commercial Partnerships and Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?
Ted Cruz moves to block path to citizenship, welfare benefits for illegal aliens
While Donald Trump’s stance on illegal #Immigration is being softened to some extent, his former rival for the presidency, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas is going all out to block illegal immigrants from getting means-tested welfare benefits and from having a path to citizenship. Cruz has filed a number of amendments to an immigration reform bill that would accomplish both goals.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Fox New host demands that the Clinton Foundation help the people of Louisiana
The scandal surrounding the Clinton Foundation as a money laundering operation for the Clinton family has been very much in the news. While some Clinton retainers such as James Carville claims that the foundation does a lot of good works in the Third World, the fact of the matter is that it is under investigation for the pay to play operation it was used for to enrich the Clinton family. Now, Fox News personality Eric Bolling has upped to ante just a little by demanding that #Hillary Clinton use the Clinton Foundation’s vast resources to help the people of flooded Louisiana.
Nanoracks being paid by NASA to study making space habitats out of fuel tanks
#NASA recently handed out study contracts to six companies to develop deep #Space habitats that will sustain astronauts in cis-lunar space and on the Journey to Mars. Five of the companies are developing habitats that would be launched fully outfitted and ready to go. A team called Ixion, led by Nanonracks, and including Space Systems Loral and the United Launch Alliance, has come up with a different approach. #Nanoracks, which has provided commercial experiments for the International Space Station, envisions using the fuel tanks of upper stages of rockets and outfitting them to become habitats.
Russians claim that eight people are interested in a private voyage around the moon
For the past several years, the Russians, in partnership with an American company called #Space Adventures, have been working on a flight of a modified Soyuz that would occur beyond low Earth orbit, looping around the moon, before heading back to Earth. The same partnership has taken a number of paying customers, including computer game tycoon Richard Garriott and Iranian-American businesswoman Anousheh Ansari, to the International Space Station. The Russian news agency Sputnik reports that eight possible private customers have expressed interest in paying $150 million each for the voyage of a lifetime.
Senate Republicans move to provide relief from Obamacare skyrocketing costs
With #Obamacare collapsing under the weight of skyrocketing premiums and insurance companies bailing from the exchanges, a group of Republican senators have offered a bill, entitled the Obamacare Tax Relief and Consumer Choice Act, which would provide Americans some relief from the individual mandate. The senators in question are Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Kelly Ayotte, R.-N.H.), John McCain, R.-Ariz., James Lankford., R-Okla.), Ron Johnson, R.-Wis.), and Richard Burr, R.-N.C. The bill would provide a number of provisions that would help consumers, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Donald Trump demands that the the Clinton Foundation be shut down
The Clinton Foundation is starting to become a serious running sore for the hopes of #Hillary Clinton’s hopes of becoming the first woman president. Soon after former President Bill Clinton announced that if Hillary is elected president, the Clinton Foundation would no longer accept money from foreign governments and interests and that he would remove himself from association with it, Donald Trump said, in effect, why wait?
Chinese mulling a radar station on the moon to observe the Earth
The number of useful and even profitable things that people could do on the #moon is limited only by the imagination. The South China Post is reporting that a group of Chinese scientists is studying the idea of installing a powerful radar station on the lunar surface to conduct Earth observation.
More ways that Moon Express could make money in the short term
The Motley Fool’s newsletter explored some more ways that #moon Express could make money, besides delivering the ashes of the deceased to the lunar surface, a business that the company has already signed onto with Celestis, which has already shot cremated remains into #Space. The investment company ran some numbers for the idea of selling moon rocks as jewelry. Another business would be to land low-cost science payloads to the lunar surface.
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Bus Rides to Flavorville - A Houston Food Blog has just started courtesy of Ms. Curmudgeon. It's all about eateries that you can get to on Houston's bus and light rail system. Check it out.
Why Donald Trump should apologize to Ted Cruz
Much has been written about the new Donald Trump, likely shaped by his new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. Gone are the bombast and the insults. Instead, we see a Trump who is just as aggressive, but more focused, with just a touch of humility and compassion. By some accounts, Trump 2.0 is starting to become more attractive than the original version and is closing the gap with Hillary Clinton. But Trump needs to make a final step for the sake of party unity. He needs to apologize personally to Ted Cruz and his family.
Why did the remake of 'Ben Hur' fail?
“Ben Hur” is the latest remake to bomb at the box office, making a paltry $11 million on its opening night against a production budget of $100 million. Deadline #Hollywood has a long-winded analysis as to why the film failed to attract a broad audience. Faith-based historical #Movies can still succeed in the modern era, as Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” and a slew of lower-budget offerings such as “Risen” proved. “Ben Hur” did not insult the source material, as “Noah” and, to some extent, “Exodus: Gods and Kings” did. So why did the latest version of a Jewish prince suffering but then finding the capability to forgive during the life of Jesus Christ fail?
On the other hand, original stories from the ancient world are waiting to be told, as for example:
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Barack Obama should not expect a warm welcome when he goes to Louisiana
When President Barack #Obama finally graces the good people of #Louisiana with his countenance on Tuesday, no doubt shamed into it by Donald Trump who adroitly stole a march on both him and Hillary Clinton, he should not expect a warm welcome. Indeed, if his advance people are not too careful, he might get booed.
Sen, Marco Rubio calls on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to support NASA space
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-#Florida, the former presidential candidate who is running for reelection to the Senate, met with aerospace business leaders in Florida and called upon both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, to fully support NASA’s #Space program. Rubio expressed his support for both the Journey to Mars program and commercial space ventures. The senator also denied Trump’s assertion that the American space program is “third world.”
Hillary Clinton blamed Colin Powell for the email server to the FBI
In a bizarre twist in the running sore that is the ongoing email server scandal, the notes of the FBI interview with Hillary Clinton, released in redacted form to Congress, revealed that the Democratic presidential candidate blamed Colin Powell for the arrangement. She claimed that the former Bush-era secretary of state had advised her to set up a personal email server to handle communications. One problem is that Powell does not recall such a conversation taking place.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Donald Trump and Mike Pence show up in Louisiana to comfort flood victims
Donald Trump and Gov. Mike Pence may not have been elected president and vice president of the United States, but they did a job that the current occupants of those offices refuse to do by going to #Louisiana to comfort the flood victims. Trump and Pence were seen helping to unload a truck of relief supplies, thanking first responders, and comforting people whose homes have been inundated.
It turns out that NASA's Space Launch System is not too expensive to fly
One of the raps against the Orion deep spacecraft and the heavy lift #Space Launch System is that the system would cost far too much to fly and would fly too infrequently. Figures of $2 billion a flight or more for a launch every two years have been bandied about by armchair aerospace engineers and amateur space policy analysts on the Internet. Eric Berger of Ars Technica, who is rapidly becoming the best space reporter of the current generation, sat down with Bill Hill, #NASA’s deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, for some answers.
Buzz Aldrin explains why NASA should return to the moon on the Journey to Mars
Recently Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, sat down for an extensive interview with The Fix. The interview was wide-ranging, including Aldrin’s struggles with alcoholism when he returned from the moon. Naturally, the subject turn toward NASA’s Journey to Mars, for which he is a passionate advocate in the winter of his life. Aldrin had an interesting observation concerning why astronauts should return to the moon first before going to Mars.
Who was that man last night and what has he done with Donald Trump?
#Donald Trump, a candidate for president of the United States, delivered an address in Charlotte, North Carolina and did something that he has never done in public before. He expressed regret for some of the mean things he had said on the campaign trail, especially when it caused “personal pain.” He was not specific, though truth to tell the list would be long. In any case, the question arises, who was that man and what has he done with Donald Trump?
Thursday, August 18, 2016
The Atlantic says Hillary Clinton had better get ready for misogynist attacks
The Atlantic Magazine, anticipating a Hillary Clinton presidency and thus preparing the battlefield to come, has published a piece by one of its editors that Americans should get ready for a barrage of sexist and misogynist attacks on the first woman president. The suggestion is that all criticism of the second President Clinton would be based solely on her gender and not, as some would think, her policies, her personality, and her criminal record.
Ted Cruz vindicated in the Iran ransom for hostages deal
When the Iran ransom for hostages deal first came to light, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas was first and foremost in demanding an accounting and suggesting that it violated federal law. The Barack Obama administration has denied any connection between the arrival of a plane full of euros and Swiss francs to Tehran airport and the departure of a plane full of hostages from the same airport on the same night. Now, thanks to reporting from several news organizations such as Fox News, we learn that the Obama administration held the $400 million until the hostages were released. The revelation suggests that the $400 million in foreign currency was ransom and that President Obama and his people knew that it was.
Are space settlements and exploiting extraterrestrial resources 'immoral'
Last year, Dr. Linda Billings, a self-described “expert” in aerospace communications decried the “jingoism” she sees as replete in American #Space rhetoric in Scientific America. The article raised considerable hackles in space policy circles at the time. Dr. Billings has struck again with a post on her blog which ends with the following statement:
“Deep in my brain and in my heart I think and feel that colonizing other planets and exploiting extraterrestrial resources would be immoral at this stage of human development.”
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
'Making Space Great Again' Through Commercial Partnerships courtesy of Forbes.
For those readers who are checking this blog out for the first time through the link on the Forbes piece, most welcome. Check out some of the articles linked below on a variety of subjects. Also, feel free to purchase some of the books I link to as follows.
NASA announces the Space Robotics Challenge
NASA has announced its latest Centennial Challenge, called the #Space Robotics Challenge, which will be conducted by the space agency, Space Center Houston, and NineSigma. For a cash prize of $1 million, contestants will be invited to program a virtual robot to do a series of tasks on the Martian surface. The scenario will involve a Martian dust storm having damaged a habitat on Mars, similar to what took place in the opening scenes in the movie “The Martian.” The virtual robot will be ordered to perform a number of tasks, including realigning a communications dish, fixing a solar array, and plugging a habitat air leak.
Freeform network developing an alternate history magic military adventure 'Motherland'
According to Deadline Hollywood, Freeform, the network formerly known as ABC Family, is developing an alternate history #military fantasy called “Motherland.” The premise of the proposed series is that the witch community made a deal with the colonial government on the brink of the Salem Witch Trials. Don’t burn us at the stake and we’ll use our particular set of skills to defend the community against all threats.
Donald Trump makes a full-throated appeal for African American votes
As the Washington Examiner’s Byron York noted, #Donald Trump gave a serious speech in West Bend, a town north of Milwaukee which has been wracked with riots and made the most full-throated appeal to African American votes made by a Republican in living memory. He noted that a lack of law and order has primarily fallen hard on the black community. The key to the elevation of blacks in America, he said, is personal security. One can hardly produce economic development when businesses are in peril of being burned down and people in danger of being mugged or worse. Where it comes to black votes, more than most Republicans, Trump has nowhere to go but up. He is polling about one percent of African Americans.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Is there anything to the rumors of Hillary Clinton's state of health?
Is Hillary Clinton too sick to become president? US News recounts the number of stories, mostly based on observations of the candidate on video, which suggests that Clinton may have an ongoing #Health problem. She is known to have suffered a concussion due to a fall in 2012, but Clinton has been pronounced fully recovered. But odd behavior captured on images and video, including one instance of her having to be helped up some stairs and another case in which Clinton seemed to “zone out” in mid-speech has some tongues wagging.
Six years into Obamcare most Americans oppose government run health care
As problems surrounding the Affordable Care Act, including skyrocketing premiums and insurance companies bailing on the #Obamacare exchanges, persist some worry that the Democrats will attempt a “solution” that involves moving to a Canadian-style government-run health care system. However, the Washington Free Beacon reports that a recent poll conducted by the American Action Forum suggests that such a move would encounter stiff resistance from American voters.
House Republicans conclude Hillary Clinton is guilty of perjury
If #Hillary Clinton is elected president, the first order of business for #Congress may be to impeach her. House Republican leaders concluded that she perjured herself during congressional testimony last year. Ms. Clinton allegedly lied when she said that she did not handle classified emails and when she stated that she had turned over all relevant emails from her now infamous unsecured server. The conclusion is based on the results of the FBI investigation into the email server matter, which Bureau Director James Comey declined to recommend a prosecution.
Donald Trump proposes screening immigrants for their commitment to American values
Donald Trump, during a well-received foreign policy speech, proposed a system for screening immigrants he called “extreme vetting” in which applicants would be queried about their commitment to the United States Constitution and traditions of tolerance and civil rights. The idea is that people who might have the propensity to commit acts of #Terrorism would be prevented from entering the country, at least legally. The vetting would include questioning the applicant as well as his or her family and friends and an examination of social media. A similar system existed for immigrants from Soviet bloc countries during the Cold War. Anyone attempting to enter the United States from a country too unsettled to allow for such a screening process would be denied a visa.
Monday, August 15, 2016
Lawsuit filed against a change of names of Houston schools from Confederate figures
As part of the nationwide effort to “deconfederatize” American public life, the #Houston Independent School District voted last spring to change the names of several Houston schools named after figures associated with the #Confederacy. But, as TV station KHOU reports, the school district announced that the cost of expunging the taint of the Civil War from Houston schools would cost $1.2 million. The cost may be much more as a group of parents and teachers is taking HISD to court over the matter.
Comedy Central cancels Larry Wilmore's 'The Nightly Show' due to low ratings
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that “The Nightly Show” that replaced “The Colbert Report” on #Comedy Central a year and a half ago has been canceled due to low ratings. Host Larry Wilmore pronounced himself “saddened” by the “unblackening” of Comedy Central. With Wilmore’s departure, the only prominent black figure on late night is Trevor Noah who replaced Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” that airs just before “The Nightly Show.” Noah has been struggling with low ratings as well, but the network remains committed to his show – at least for now.
What if Ted Cruz was the Republican nominee for president?
The Huffington Post has yet another story about how Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is the one #Republican winner in the midst of the meltdown that is the Donald Trump for President Campaign. He, almost alone of major GOP movers and shakers, refused to bend the knee and board the Trump Train. If Trump loses the election to Hillary Clinton or even if he wins and has a chaotic presidency, Cruz is in position to say, “I told you so.”
The trailer for 'Hidden Figures,' about three black women at NASA in the 1960s, is out
#Movies such as “The Right Stuff” and “Apollo 13” and the HBO miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon” have told the story of the early #Space program from the point of view of astronauts and senior flight controllers and engineers. But truth to tell, 400,000 people participated in one way or another in the race to put men on the moon. Each one of them have a story to tell. The upcoming movie, “Hidden Figures,” tells the story of three of the people, who happen to have been African American women, who worked for NASA during that time. The trailer for the film, coming in January, has just been released.
Meanwhile, could a black astronaut or a woman astronaut have walked on the moon? It might have happened.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Case For Moon First: Gateway to Entire Solar System - Open Ended Exploration, Planetary Protection at its Heart
Scientists may have discovered a new Earth orbiting Proxima Centauri 4.25 light years away
Largely because of the mission of the Kepler #Space Telescope, scientists have discovered thousands of planets orbiting other stars. Some of these planets have been judged to be Earth-like in that they are the approximate size and mass of Earth and orbit their home stars in the so-called “habitable zone” where the temperature is just warm enough to maintain liquid water, necessary for life. According to Universe Today. Scientists are on the verge of announcing the latest of these planets, which is orbiting Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf and part of a triple star system that includes Alpha Centauri A and B, and is 4.25 light years away from Earth.
Fracking fight in Colorado may complicate Hillary Clinton's chances of carrying the state
The effort to place two anti-#fracking measures on the ballot in #Colorado has taken a bizarre turn. The move to gain enough signatures to put the propositions on the ballot may fall short. For some mainstream environmentalists and Democrats, that would be just fine.
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Report of at least three U.S. Attorneys investigating Clinton pay for play schemes
The saga of how Hillary Clinton allegedly sold her office as secretary of state for money paid to the Clinton Foundation took another turn. When FBI Director James Comey declined to recommend prosecuting the Democratic presidential candidate for the various scandals surrounding her unsecured email server, he refused to comment on rumors that the Bureau was investigating the pay to play scheme said to have been run by the Clintons. Then came the news that the Justice Department had refused the FBI permission to pursue the matter. Now, courtesy of the Daily Caller, it looks like that as many as three United States Attorneys have teamed up with the FBI to investigate the matter independent of the Justice Department.
Sen. Ted Cruz tours the SpaceX test facility near McGregor Texas
A few days after he visited NASA’s Johnson Spaceflight Center south of Houston, Sen. #Ted Cruz, R-Texas toured the #SpaceX test facility near McGregor Texas, according to KWTX. Cruz expressed warm support for the commercial #Space industry, which is increasingly making its presence felt in the Lone Star State. “I am an enthusiastic advocate of competition and allowing the private sector to innovate, and I will continue to work closely with the commercial space industry to ensure that companies like SpaceX have the freedom to thrive.”
Friday, August 12, 2016
Heidi Cruz is a 'California vegetarian' while Ted Cruz loves bacon
Roll Call has an interesting profile about Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas that sheds some new light on his relationship between the once and likely future presidential candidate and his wife and two young daughters. Heidi Cruz describes herself as a “California #Vegetarian” whereas the Senator, being a proper Texan, is a meat eater, with a special love for bacon. Ms. Cruz is trying to raise their daughters to be vegetarians, an effort that Senator Cruz continues to undermine by slipping them slices of bacon.
NASA postulates that Venus may have been habitable for two billion years
Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for #Space Studies have mulled over data about #Venus collected by various space probes and have postulated that the second planet from the sun was habitable for as long as two billion years before succumbing to a runaway greenhouse effect. Venus is currently a hell world where the carbon dioxide atmosphere is 90 times as thick as Earth, and the surface temperature is as high as 864 degrees Fahrenheit.
Donald Trump walks back Obama and Clinton 'founders of ISIS' statement
While the revelation that the senior staff at CENTCOM deliberately distorted intelligence about ISIS in order to conform to the idea that the terrorist army that has overrun northern Iraq and Syria, among other countries, are the "JV team" should be the big headline of the week, it is not. Instead, the media is fixated on #Donald Trump calling President #Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton the “founders of ISIS.” Trump doubled down on the statement on the Hugh Hewitt show, causing many in the media to suggest that the Republican candidate had suggested that the president and former secretary of state are traitors. However, Friday morning, Trump tweeted, “Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) ‘the founder’ of ISIS, & MVP. THEY DON'T GET SARCASM?”
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Hillary Clinton mangles space references in her economic speech
#Hillary Clinton presented what passes for her economic plan, which consists of raising taxes on the so-called rich, spending a lot of money on infrastructure, mandating a $15 an hour minimum wage and a number of other boilerplate liberal agenda items. However, she made a little bit of news by displaying profound ignorance about aerospace issues, revealed thanks to the sharp eyed Keith Cowing of NASA Watch.
'Star Trek: Discovery' to be set ten years before Captain Kirk's five year mission
Bryan Fuller, the executive producer of the upcoming “Star Trek: Discovery” revealed more details of the show, which will premier in 2017 on #CBS but with subsequent episodes being released on a live streaming network.
Company to commercialize NASA financed 3D pizza printer
A few years ago, NASA commissioned a company called Anjan Contractor to build a 3D printer that could create a #Pizza. The idea was that future astronauts would carry the raw materials for food that would then be printed out into meals instead of the meals themselves, saving #Space. Even though the pizza printer was successful, the grant attracted the wrath of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, who, perhaps channeling the late William Proxmire, included it in his list of government waste. The grant money in short order dried up.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Ten years ago a movie depicted the assassination of President George W. Bush
Just to prove that outrage depends on who gets targeted, as it were, some commentators recall how a movie called “Death of a President” was released about ten years ago, imagining the assassination of then-President George W. Bush. The same people who are having hissies over Donald Trump’s oblique line about the “2nd Amendment people” stopping Hillary Clinton thought that the docudrama film was a great piece of art, revealing greater truths.
The all-female 'Ghostbusters' is now officially a flop
The third “Ghostbusters” movie was based on a premise that seemed like a good idea at the time. The film would reboot the original premise with an all female cast. The idea was that more women would be attracted to the movie, and the rest would be people who were fans of the original two films. But then the first trailer came out to near universal disdain, which was greeted by social justice warriors setting social media on fire with accusations of sexism and worse. The result, as the #Hollywood Reporter suggests, is that the movie is going to take a $70 million loss. Sony disputes that figure, pointing to merchandising and a theme park ride. But the sequel has been shelved indefinitely. However, an animated TV series is now being contemplated.
Donald Trump accused of calling for Hillary Clinton's assassination
At a recent rally, Donald Trump declared about Hillary Clinton, “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.“ From this rather vague statement, Team Hillary construed that Trump had called for the assassination of his opponent. But, as the Republican candidate was forced to explain later, he was referring to political opposition of the sort that the National Rifle Association has proven adroit at.
How Moon Express intends to make money in the short term
Moon Express, which got a mission approval document from the United States government for what it hopes to be the first private voyage to the lunar surface, would like to make money mining the Earth’s nearest neighbor for valuable minerals. Those minerals include platinum group metals and helium 3, an isotope not found in nature on Earth that could be used as fuel for fusion reactors. The company could also extract water that can be refined into rocket fuel. In the short term, Moon Express has a couple of practical ways to start making money, according to CBS News.
Tuesday, August 09, 2016
Hillary Clinton slammed by the left for her embrace of Henry Kissinger
Hillary Clinton may be riding high in the polls, but storm clouds are forming on her left flank, especially from Bernie Sanders supporters who are pretty sure that she is a tool of Wall Street. The latest bone of contention is Clinton’s embrace of Henry Kissinger as an adviser and friend. The Nation, a venerable organ of the left, is especially irate at Clinton keeping company with a man it calls a “war criminal.”
Deep Space Industries announces Prospector-1 mission to an asteroid
Deep #Space Industries has announced the development of two spacecraft, Prospector-X, and Prospector-1, as the start of what it hopes of becoming a thriving asteroid mining business commencing in the 2020s. The two tiny spacecraft are being built with partial investment from the government of Luxembourg, which has made a big bet that asteroid mining is an industry of the future.
Donald Trump acolytes urge Rep, Mike McCaul to primary Sen. Ted Cruz
Roger Stone, one time Nixon acolyte and supporter of Donald Trump, and Alex Jones, a professional conspiracy theorist, are attempting to persuade Rep. Mike McCaul, R-#Texas to primary Sen. Ted Cruz when the latter is up for reelection in 2018. The reason, of course, is that Cruz needs to be punished for not bending the knee to Trump. McCaul is being coy about whether or not he wants to go to the Senate, choosing to wait out the results of the 2016 election.
Parents of two Benghazi victims file suit against Hillary Clinton
#Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president, once famously shouted, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” about the massacre of four Americans in Benghazi. Patricia Smith, mother of Sean Smith, and Charles Woods, father of Tyrone Woods, two of the men who were slaughtered by terrorists, mean to answer that question. They have filed suit against the former secretary of state, charging wrongful death, negligence, and defamation surrounding the deaths of their sons.
Monday, August 08, 2016
Ted Cruz pays NASA's Johnson Spaceflight Center a visit
Sen. #Ted Cruz, R-Texas is out of the presidential race and is on the outs with much of the Republican establishment. But he remains a senator from Texas, so he is spending much of the August recess conducting a tour of his state, examining aspects of its economy. The first stop was the Bay Area just south of Houston, dominated by #NASA’s Johnson Spaceflight Center. The subject was #Space exploration and its effect on the Texas economy, something of keen interest to Cruz as he is chair of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the space agency.
George P. Bush urges Republican support of Donald Trump
The Bush family may disdain Donald Trump with a passion, not the least because he denied former governor of Florida and brother and son of two previous presidents Jeb Bush the #Republican nomination. However, George P. Bush, son of Jeb Bush and currently Texas Land Commissioner, has urged his fellow Republicans to support the mercurial real estate tycoon and reality TV star.
Scientists think that NASA's Kepler space telescope may have discovered 20 other Earths
The Kepler #Space telescope has been one of the most successful NASA space missions in history, having discovered thousands of planets orbiting other stars by measuring how light from these suns dips when the planets pass between them and Earth. A team of researchers from a number of countries examined these worlds, noting that 216 of them reside in the “habitable zones” around their home stars where the temperature could sustain liquid water, i.e. not too hot and not too cold. Of these worlds, 20 are rocky planets of approximately Earth-size. In other words, Kepler may have discovered 20 planets where alien life might exist.
Sunday, August 07, 2016
Hillary Clinton's email server may have gotten an Iranian nuclear scientist killed
The Iranian government executed one of its nuclear scientists, a man named #Shahram Amiri, for treason and then returned his lifeless body to his mother with rope burns still around his neck. According to Sen. Tom Cotton, Hillary Clinton may have sealed Amiri’s fate by allowing an email to reside on her unsecured server that referred to him as “our friend.” The emails server is thought to have been hacked by a number of hostile governments, possibly including that of #Iran.
Push back against the persecution of Rohini Sethi at the University of Houston has begun
A backlash has begun concerning the persecution of Rohini Sethi, a chemical engineering student and the Vice President of the University of Houston Student #Government Association for posting on her Facebook page ““Forget about #BlackLivesMatter; more like all lives matter.” She posted the statement in response to the shooting of police officers in Dallas. Sethi faced a firestorm of abuse from the Black Lives Matter movement on campus which demanded her removal from the SGA. The University of Houston Student Senate passed a measure that allowed the SGA President Shane Smith to have carte blanche to do with her what he willed. He imposed many sanctioned that included forced diversity training and a 55 day suspension. As a result of the outcry in the national media, Smith agreed to a “compromise” that reduced Rohini’s suspension to 15 business days, which means she can take up her duties when the fall semester starts, according to the student newspaper The Daily Cougar.
Latest discovery from star KIC 8462852 has scientists wondering about alien megastructures
One of the burning mysteries in #Astronomy concerns a star called KIC 8462852, or sometimes “Tabby’s Star” after astronomer Tabetha S. Boyajian who made the discovery, an F-type main sequence sun about 1,480 light years from Earth. For the past year or so scientists have been puzzling over strange light fluctuations that have been detected by the Kepler #Space telescope. The Kepler has been used to study dips in light from other stars to detect planets. However, the drops in brightness coming from Tabby’s star has scientists perplexed. Now a new revelation has deepened the mystery.
Is Donald Trump starting to recover and get back on track?
Is Donald Trump starting to recover already and becoming a viable candidate again? A week ago the chattering class had all but written him off due to collapsing poll numbers and a number of remarkable gaffes on the part of the mercurial real estate tycoon and reality show star. But a number of subsequent developments have caused the same observers to start wondering.
Saturday, August 06, 2016
'The Martian's' Andy Weir talks about his next book, set in a city on the moon
Recently Andy Weir, whose bestselling novel “The Martian” became a smash hit movie starring Matt Damon, was at the San Diego Comic-Con during which he opened his mind concerning his next novel. The book, as yet untitled, will be set in a city on the moon and will feature a female career criminal. Weir also revealed that he has not only researched the science and technology aspects of building a city on another world, but also the social and economic implications. But he also suggested that some of that research will not appear in the novel if it gets in the way of telling the story.
Donald Trump endorses Paul Ryan, John McCain, Kelly Ayotte
Donald Trump has extended his streak of days during which he has declined to say alarming things and has even started to demonstrate that he is learning to play well with others. At a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the mercurial real estate tycoon and presidential candidate endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is facing a challenger in a primary August 9. Then he went on to support Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire. Trump has tangled with all three politicians. He is signaling that the infighting is over, and it is now time to have a united #Republican Party in the war against the real enemy, Hillary Clinton. To prove that he understands that fact, he laid into his rival with a will.
Friday, August 05, 2016
President Barack Obama lied when he said Israel accepts the Iran nuclear weapons deal
During a now infamous press conference in which President Barack Obama expounded on Donald Trump’s unfitness for public office, he also vigorously defended the Iranian nuclear arms deal. He was so vociferous in that defense that he claimed that the Israeli government had come to accept the transaction as not harming the safety of the Jewish state.
Donald Trump promises to 'invest' in NASA
When #Donald Trump was in Daytona Beach, Florida, he compared the state of #NASA’s #Space program to that of a third world country. He also mentioned that someone had asked what he intended to do for NASA just before the event he was speaking at. As it turns out, that someone was a reporter for WESH, a local television station. Trump’s answer was illuminating and confusing at the same time.
Released Iranian hostage contradicts Obama on the ransom payment
During his recent press conference, President Barack Obama insisted that the payment of $400 million in foreign currency to the Iranian government had nothing to do with the release of American #hostages, even though both events happened on the same day. Indeed, released prisoner Saeed Abedini reported that their plane was kept on the tarmac in Tehran to await the arrival of another aircraft, presumably the one with the cash in its hold. At the time, Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that the delay was caused by a problem with the passenger manifest. Of course, as Hot Air suggests, both might be true.
Ted Cruz enjoys vindication as Donald Trump goes into free fall
As Donald Trump continues to founder, with his poll numbers in free fall, Sen. Ted Cruz is starting to get some new respect, according to Dallas Morning News. When Cruz made his now infamous speech, studiously not endorsing Trump, he earned the fury of the Trump people and the Republican establishment, which wants to coopt the mercurial businessman. Now it looks like Cruz is the only adult in the room who saw what was coming and tried to warn everyone, alas to no avail.
Thursday, August 04, 2016
Are the Russians planning to land on Ganymede?
A YouTube video has shown up that depicts a proposed Russian effort to land a probe on #Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter and the largest moon in the solar system. The video was created by a number of engineers at Roscosmos, the Russian equivalent of NASA. The probe is called Laplace-P and could be launched sometime in the next decade.
Hillary Clinton promises to raise taxes on the middle class
Recently Hillary Clinton was haranguing a cheering crowd upon how Donald Trump proposed to cut taxes on the “super-rich,” a standard Democratic attack line in presidential contests. Then she committed the mother of all gaffes when she added, “Well we’re not going there, my friends. I’m telling you right now, we’re going to write fairer rules for the middle class, and we are going to raise taxes on the middle class!” The crowd, proving perhaps it was not paying attention, cheered even more.
Senate Democrats demand Ted Cruz investigate Donald Trump
Two Democrats, Sens Chris Coons of Delaware and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, decided to have a little fun at the expense of Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. They sent a letter to Cruz demanding that he, in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee oversight subcommittee, investigate #Donald Trump for his off the cuff comment that #Russia should reveal what it knows about #Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 missing emails. The theory is that Trump was suborning espionage from Vladimir Putin.
Donald Trump bad mouths NASA's space program in Florida
#Donald Trump was in Daytona Beach, Florida trying to get his faltering campaign back on track when someone asked him, “Mr. Trump, will you get involved in the #Space program?” Trump went on a brief rant about how #NASA’s space program is “like a third world country.”
Wednesday, August 03, 2016
Are the Republicans getting ready to stage an intervention on Donald Trump?
Ted Cruz must be shaking his head sadly and muttering, “I warned them. But did they listen?” Rumors abound that the RNC, with the help of such luminaries as Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani as well as the Trump children, are getting ready to stage an “intervention” and sit #Donald Trump down to tell him that this must not continue. Otherwise, he will have to withdraw from the race for reasons of health.
Why Hillary Clinton should withdraw from the presidential race immediately
By every measure, #Hillary Clinton is riding high, with a bump coming from the convention and her opponent, Donald Trump, foundering from a series of unforced errors. It is, therefore, counterintuitive to call for her to withdraw from the race, but in fact, she must do so for the good of the #Democratic Party and the United States.
Moon Express gets a go for launch from the United States government
Moon Express announced early Wednesday, August 3, that it had received a green light from the United States government to proceed with the first private mission to land on the moon. For the past several months, a number of federal agencies, including the FAA, NASA, and the State Department, have been digesting the information provided by Moon Express, covering all aspects of its planned mission as part of the Google Lunar X Prize competition. The resulting product, called a Mission Approval, is the first of its kind that any national government has issued.
Critics charge that Barack Obama paid $400 million for four hostages held by Iran
The Wall Street Journal reports that last January a plane full of cash, euros, Swiss francs, other currencies, but no American dollars, flew to Tehran courtesy of the Obama administration to the tune of $400 million. Around the same time, the Iranian government freed four Americans it had been keeping hostage. The government claims that one did not have anything to do with the other. On the other hand, the president’s critics suggest that the timing makes the exchange look an awful lot like paying a ransom.
Tuesday, August 02, 2016
Why Donald Trump should withdraw from the presidential race immediately
The way Donald Trump keeps going on about Khizr Khan, the father of a fallen soldier who denounced him from the podium at the Democratic National Convention, you would think that he was confusing the old gentleman with Khan Noonien Singh, the supervillain from “Star Trek.” That the matter has persisted for almost a week tells us one thing (and one hates to say it.) #Donald Trump lacks the temperament to be president of the United States. He is not likely to acquire that temperament, barring divine intervention.
How do find out what the candidates plan to do about NASA space exploration
One of the sources of angst among people who care about #Space policy is the silence on that subject, aside from some platitudes, on the part of both the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns. The situation is different than in previous election cycles. In 2012 Newt Gingrich proposed a commercial lunar base, only to see it trashed by the media and Mitt Romney. In 2008, Barack Obama had a couple of space policy proposals, neither of which had the slightest resemblance to the one he eventually settled upon as president.
If Donald Trump is doing so badly why is Team Hillary so worried?
Hillary Clinton, according to the latest polls, has rocketed to a seven to nine point lead after the Democratic Convention. #Donald Trump is mired in a storm of his own making, a fight with a Muslim gentleman whose son died in battle. So why, as Jeff Greenfield reports in Politico, are Democrats deeply worried?
Monday, August 01, 2016
University of Texas commemorates 50th anniversary of 1966 mass shooting
August 1, 2016 is the 50th anniversary of one of the first mass shootings in modern American history. On August 1, 1966 a deranged man named Charles Whitman climbed to the 28th-floor observation deck of the University of Texas at Austin main building and shot dozens of people at random in a rampage that took place just over an hour and a half. Whitman had killed his wife and mother before arriving on campus with an arsenal of weapons. The anniversary, as ABC News notes, is taking place just as concealed carry of handguns is going into effect at Texas college campuses, including UT.
Hillary Clinton lies to Fox News' Chris Wallace about the email server scandal
Hillary Clinton chose to appear on “Fox News Sunday” for her first interview after the Democratic Convention. However, she might come to wish she hadn’t. When asked by Chris Wallace about the email server scandal and her lies concerning it, Clinton stated that FBI Director James Comey said that her answers were truthful. She also claimed that she did not send or receive classified emails on the unsecured emails. However, after examining the interview, the Washington Post awarded her four Pinocchios. That is to say, the Post concluded that Clinton lied again to Wallace and the “Fox News Sunday” audience.
Palestinian protestor demands that Israeli police shoot his son
One of the most disturbing videos to come out of the #Israel-Palestinian conflict surfaced recently courtesy of Arutz Sheva. The scene is near the town of Modon Illit where weekly protest marches have taken place near the construction site of a security fence. The protests have attracted not only local Palestinians but their supporters from around the world and have been described as often violent.