Curmudgeons Corner

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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Monday, July 31, 2017
 
Environmentalists may derail California’s high speed rail project

That California has become a state governed by lunatics is becoming more apparent with every passing day. The latest case in point is a ruling by the California State Supreme Court that the infamous, high-speed rail project has to adhere to the state’s very draconian environmental laws. The decision, unless it is overturned by the federal courts, means that the project can be mired in law suits for years, perhaps decades.



 
Anthony Scaramucci out as Trump’s White House communications director

The New York Times is reporting that President Donald Trump has decided to remove #Anthony Scaramucci from the post of #White House communications director, a post that he held for just 11 days. It is not clear whether he will be transferred to another position or will be out of government service.



 
Why ‘Confederate’ will never air on HBO

During the most recent episode of “Game of Thrones” people who find the idea of HBO airing a TV series set in an alternate world in which the Confederacy won the Civil War and slavery still exists ran a tweet storm protest using the hashtag #NoConfederate. So far, HBO is standing fast, but #Hot Air believes that the writing is on the wall and that the show will never air.



 
How William Shatner is enraging the Left on Twitter

William Shatner is best known for having played the slightly perverted, politically incorrect, token right-winder in “Boston Legal.” Some people also recall his role as a star ship captain in that little known, long forgotten space opera that run for a brief time in the late 1960s. However, Shatner, who once famously told “#star Trek Fans” to “get a life” has come to take on snowflakes, #Social Justice Warriors, and misandrists (mainly feminazis who hate men) on social media. Social media is not pleased.



 
The one thing Bernie Sanders could not answer about ‘Medicaid for all’

Sen. #Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont thinks that his time has come. With Obamacare in a death spiral and efforts in the Senate to repeal and replace it having collapsed, history has aligned for his “Medicaid for all” scheme. With that belief in mind, Sanders intends to offer a bill that would impose a #Single Payer, government run health care system in America, similar to the ones that exist in Great Britain and Canada. However, as Hot Air notes, CNN’s Jake Tapper asks the one question about single payer that Sanders cannot answer around which all of his hopes and dreams revolve.



 
How CRISPR could be used to end genetic abnormalities

Futurists and science fiction writers have been wrestling over the issues surrounding “designer babies” ever since the science of genetics was invented. However, Seeker reports, a recent experiment using CRISPR, managed to alter the genetic makeup of several human embryos. What was once theoretical is now at hand. The old questions about how far we should go in controlling our genome have taken on increased relevance.



 
How Daenerys is losing the Game of Thrones

When Daenerys invaded Westeros, she had a powerful army of Dothraki and Unsullied, a powerful fleet from the Iron Islands, and an air force that consist of three dragons. She easily seized a formidable castle in the form of Dragonstone. The #Mother Of Dragons had powerful allies in the form of the Dornish and Olenna Tyrell, The people in the North were another potential ally. Daenerys’ primary enemy, Cersei Lannister, was wildly unpopular. And yet the Breaker of Chains, the true Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, is losing. How could this be?



Sunday, July 30, 2017
 
Could Putin retaliate against sanctions by barring U.S. astronauts from the ISS

Both houses of Congress, by overwhelming bi-partisan margins, has passed a bill imposing stiff sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea in retaliation for the various misdeeds those countries have committed. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law, if for nothing else to avoid the humiliation of seeing his veto overridden.



 
President Trump mulling playing hardball to get repeal and replace roiling

President Donald Trump, clearly frustrated that the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare failed in the Senate, is contemplating playing a little hardball to get the issue moving again. To that end he is mulling two policy changes, one that would end cost sharing payments for Obamacare individual health care insurance policies, the other would then end exemptions from Obamacare for #Members Of Congress and their staffs. In any case, the clock is ticking as the system has entered a death spiral in which it will implode if nothing is done. Trump is reported to be counting on that process to get Congress moving on the issue.



 
How an artificial womb could end the practice of abortion

Gizmodo reported recently that a team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has developed what is, in effect, an #Artificial Womb that could help bring extremely premature babies to term. The prototype has been successfully tested on lambs and could be used on humans within the next few years. The technology could also be of help for women who desire children but cannot, for whatever reason, bring them to term. It could also, if refined enough, end the practice of abortion by making it unnecessary. The prospect has some pro-choice advocates up in arms.



Saturday, July 29, 2017
 
J.K. Rowling goes on a Twitter rampage over a fake video of Donald Trump

One talent that President #Donald Trump seems to have in abundance is the ability to incite wild, over the top reactions to the various things he says and does. Such as the case with J.K. Rowling, the author of the beloved Harry Potter series of young adult novels. Rowling came upon a YouTube video of the president at a recent event where he seemed to snub a small child who was in a wheelchair. She let loose an epic "tweet storm" that started, “Trump imitated a disabled reporter. Now he pretends not to see a child in a wheelchair, as though frightened he might catch his condition.” She went on at length in the same vein. However, there was just one problem.



Friday, July 28, 2017
 
NASA report casts doubt on the decision not to put a crew on the EM-1 flight

Back at the beginning of the current Trump administration, the White House requested that #NASA study the idea of putting a crew on the first flight of the Orion spacecraft on a Space Launch System around the moon. The space agency ultimately rejected the idea for cost and safety reasons and the Trump administration accepted the assessment. However, NASA has released a summary of the report that, at the very least, suggests that its rejection of putting a #Crew on the flight designated Exploration Mission-1 is debatable.



 
Amazon is getting into the health care business

Technology Review is reporting that Jeff Bezos' Amazon.com is getting into the #health care business. On the one hand, a lot of people are going to be nervous about Jeff Bezos getting his hands on medicine. On the other hand, #Amazon is likely to have better success delivering more health care services at lower prices than the politicians in Washington have managed thus far. To be sure, none of what Amazon is contemplating is new. Other tech giants such as Apple and Google are bending their attention toward the practice of medicine. However, because the company is worth half a trillion dollars, it can bring a lot of resources to bear toward upending the way we get health services.



 
Charlie Gard has been ‘allowed to die’

#Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old infant whose plight captured the attention of the world, has died, his life support having been withdrawn by order of a British court and the National Health Service bureaucracy. The official cause of death will be complications of a terrible genetic abnormality called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Charlie’s actual cause of death was the result of the judgment of a soulless, heartless medical and legal regime that has taken upon itself matters of life and death for human beings under its control.



 
The first launch of the Falcon Heavy will be the most exciting in a long time

As Eric Berger over at Ars Technica notes, SpaceX’s Elon Musk has set November 2017 for the first launch of the #Falcon Heavy, which will be, at least for a while, the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V. On the one hand, the launch will be the most exciting event to take place on the Florida space coast since the departure of the last space shuttle in 2011. On the other hand, it will be the most anxious launch since the liftoff of the first space shuttle in 1981. As Musk suggests, there are certain things that can only be tested in flight.



 
Report: ICE may charge ‘sanctuary cities’ officials of violations of federal law

Hot Air is reporting that ICE has been hard at work enforcing the #Immigration Laws with a renewed vigor not seen in quite a long time, apprehending and deporting illegal aliens who have been convicted of other crimes, such as rape, assault and drug offensives, besides violating the immigration laws. 114 have been picked up from New York City alone. However, that operation is just the beginning of what ICE has planned. Officials of so-called sanctuary cities have better beware.



 
John McCain sinks last ditch Senate effort to repeal and replace Obamacare

The Senate attempt to #Repeal and Replace Obamacare has failed. All 48 Democrats and three Republicans, including Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and #John McCain of Arizona. American voters who had elected a Republican congress were left wondering what they have to do to eliminate the terrible burden of a health care reform law that has proven to be so destructive. Liberals celebrated the failure. However, Obamacare continues to slowly collapse in a #Death Spiral. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a bitter speech, announced that the Senate is moving on, though he dared the Democrats to come up with their ideas.



Thursday, July 27, 2017
 
Season 2 of National Geographic Channel’s ‘Mars’ to air spring 2018

Deadline Hollywood is reporting that #Season 2 of the #National Geographic Channel series “Mars” is being filmed for a spring 2018 airing. The second season will jump ahead a few years from the first season, when the early years of Mars exploration were depicted, and will show what life might be like in the first Mars colony, Olympus Town.



 
God has been banned from ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Apparently, God has been banned from “Star Trek: Discovery” so thoroughly that the actors are not even allowed to reference him in dialogue. IO9, quoting Entertainment Weekly, notes a story in which Jason Isaacs adlibbed “For God’s sakes!” He got a lecture from the episode’s writer, Kristen Beyer, that religion had been abolished in the future of “Star Trek” and that #Gene Roddenberry, a militant atheist, had a dim view toward the idea of God, believing that an enlightened society will have abolished the concept to such a degree that no one would even reference him. In fact, Ms. Beyer is gravely mistaken.



 
Iran claims it has launched a satellite into space

#Iran has launched a rocket capable of placing a satellite into orbit, Fox News reports. While the Tehran government claims that the launch vehicle successfully deployed the satellite, this assertion could not be confirmed immediately.



 
The firestorm over HBO’s ‘Confederate’ continues to rage

The firestorm surrounding the future HBO series “Confederate [VIDEO],” which depicts an alternate history in which the South won the Civil War and slavery persists to modern times, continues unabated. According to Hot Air, HBO is starting to offer a mea culpa about how the project was announced if not the project itself. In the meantime, a piece in IO9 provides a window into why so many on the left are being triggered by the very idea of such a program.



 
For All Moonkind seeks to preserve the Apollo landing sites on the moon

Back in 2010, during his now infamous speech at the Kennedy Space Center, then President Barack Obama airily dismissed the idea of returning to the moon, saying, “We’ve been there before. Buzz has been there.” Seven years later, as Bloomberg notes, numerous companies and countries are preparing to mount expeditions to the moon. Lunar return has become so mainstream that it has got the lawyers worried.



 
Sarah Palin legal team moves to the discovery phase of the New York Times suit

The #New York Post reports that #Sarah Palin’s legal team has moved to the discovery phase of the defamation suit against the New York #Times. They would like to subpoena almost two dozen current and former Times reporters, editors, and other employees. Palin’s lawyers would also like all internal communications concerning the former governor at the newspaper dating back to 2011, the year that then Rep Gabby Giffords was shot. The Times would prefer that it not have to cough up this information and would like to see the suit dismissed.



Wednesday, July 26, 2017
 
Hillary Clinton’s campaign memoirs will blame everyone but herself

In one sense, it should come as a surprise to no one that #Hillary Clinton’s campaign memoirs are going to be one long whine about how everybody from the Russians to James Comey stole the election from her. Politicians’ memoirs are generally exercises in blame placing and patting oneself on the back. The only exception was “Decision Points,” an excellent study on what went into the major decisions taken by former President George W. Bush. However, according to sources, Hillary Clinton’s memoir is going to be epic in its self-pity.



 
‘Mythbusters’ slated to return to the Science Channel in November

Deadline Hollywood is reporting that the return of “Mythbusters” has been set for the Science Channel on November 15, 2017, at 9 p.m. eastern. The new season will be the first for the new team, Brian Louden and Jon Lung, who were selected in a competition in a special season of the series called “Mythbusters: The Search” that ran in late 2016 and early 2017. The original series ran on the Discovery Channel from 2003 through early 2016 and can be seen on reruns on the #Science Channel.



 
Donald Trump’s transgender military ban causes outrage and confusion on twitter

President Donald Trump has announced a total ban on transgenders serving in the United States military, citing the medical and social burdens that they would bring to military service. The announcement has not only caused outrage across both social and traditional media but some confusion as well. The Defense Department study on the matter is still ongoing. Twitter is, to say the least, an unusual medium to make an announcement of this nature.



 
Astrobotic makes deal with ULA to launch a Peregrine lander to the moon

Astrobotic Technology has announced that it has reached a deal with United Launch Alliance to carry its Peregrine #Lunar Lander to the moon in 2019, the #50Th Anniversary of the #Apollo 11 moon landing. The Peregrine will fly 35 kilograms of payloads provided by 11 customers from six nations.



 
Senate Republicans look at ‘skinny repeal’ to reform health care reform

Having gone through a considerable amount of time and drama even to debate the matter of reforming #Health Care Reform, the United States #Senate will now set about trying to find something that at least 50 senators will agree to. The theory is that whatever passes can then be brought to the conference and reconciled with the House bill. The formula that the Republican Senate leadership has hit about is called “skinny repeal.”



 
Driverless cars ban: Is India's decision shortsighted?

The announcement by #India’s transport and highway’s minister Nitin Gadkari that he intends to ban #driverless cars in that country to preserve #Jobs for drivers has received some well-deserved mockery. The decision is being seen a short sighted, the equivalent of banning the automobile to keep buggy whip makers and stable boys employed. The decision would also be short sighted. Driverless cars are set to create far more jobs than they destroy, according to an analysis in the Next Web. The primary factor is gaining back the hour, or so we commute every day for more productive pursuits. Also, India needs a transportation infrastructure upgrade, which would certainly employ a lot of people.



Tuesday, July 25, 2017
 
‘The Right Stuff’ to be developed as a series on the National Geographic Channel

Deadline Hollywood is reporting that the #National Geographic Channel has concluded a development deal with Appian Way Productions and Warner Horizons Scripted Series to produce “#The Right Stuff” as an episodic television series. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davidson will be the executive producers. It is unknown at this time whether DiCaprio will act in the series. “The Right Stuff,” based on a book by Tom Wolf, was made into a feature motion picture in 1983 starring Scott Glenn and Ed Harris.



 
John McCain saves the reform of health care to fight another day

Rising from the grave to which many pundits had consigned it, the Senate effort to reform health care reform showed new signs of life. The Senate voted 51 to 50 to proceed with debate on the bill, with no Democrats voting in favor, two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski voting against, and Vice President Mike Pence making the tie breaking vote. If any one man, besides Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell whose reputation for political wizardry has been restored, it is Senator #John McCain. R-Arizona, a man who has terminal brain cancer.




 
Trump’s Boy Scout Jamboree speech causes outrage

Only President Donald Trump can stir up so much controversy and anger by addressing the #Boy Scout Jamboree. To be sure he gave a version of his political stump speech, a bit inappropriate. Usually, presidents will make a statement about timeless values that the Scouts try to inculcate in its members. They don’t denounce their political enemies and call for the advancement of their agenda. However, Trump’s various enemies seem to have gone full bore Godwin in their reaction to the speech and the response of the scouts to it.



 
Trailer for Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ gets social media hate

Steven Spielberg’s upcoming feature “#Ready Player One” is based on the novel, by the same name, by Ernest Cline. The trailer, the book, and the upcoming movie are getting a lot of attention on #social media for its 1980s #Pop Culture references. The real reason a lot of people are starting to hate the film even before it is released likely comes from something deeper.



 
Why the Democrats’ ‘Better Deal’ is really a ‘Boring Deal’

The Democrats recently rolled out their attempt at rebranding with a “Better #Deal,” a laundry list of liberal oldies but goodies repackaged to try to attract the American middle and working classes. In one sense, the effort is a good one as it recognizes that the Democrats did not lose because of the Russians or because Trump supporters are a crowd of racist deplorables. They lost because they spurned most of the voters in favor of identity politics. However, the “Better Deal” might be more accurately termed the “Boring Deal." As Damon Linker writes in The Week, Democrats need a little excitement, by which he means Bernie Sanders.



 
Why replacing Sessions at Justice with Ted Cruz is a bad idea

First, just to get it out of the way, firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions because of his recusal from the Russian nonsense is not a good idea. Glenn Reynolds makes a good case for giving Sessions the royal order of the boot for his embrace of civil forfeitures. In any event, reaching out to Sen. #Ted Cruz, R-Texas as a replacement for Sessions is also a #Bad Idea. Becoming Attorney General at this point in his career is not part of Cruz’s master plan.



 
‘Midnight, Texas’ is not as interesting a place to visit as Bon Temps

“Midnight, Texas” is a #Small Town somewhere outside of Dallas to where a psychic named Manfred Bernardo flees after the big city becomes too hot for him. It is also a new show airing on NBC based on a novel series by Charlaine Harris, the author of the “True Blood” series that was the basis of a long running show on HBO. The town, like #Bon Temps. Louisiana has some peculiar inhabitants who seem to attract trouble, mainly because it is located on, what fans of the show “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” will recognize as a hell mouth.



Monday, July 24, 2017
 
A brief history of American politicians colluding with Russia to fix elections

While zero evidence exists that Team Trump colluded with the Russians to swing the 2016 election, a long history exists of American politicians plotting with Moscow for political advantage. The problem, where the current narrative is concerned, that all of the politicians in questions were Democrats, according to the Daily Wire.



 
Scientists discover water within the interior of the moon

Space.com is reporting that #Scientists from Brown University have concluded in a recent study that the moon’s mantle may contain a great deal of embedded water. The discovery could be another game-changer where prospects for lunar settlement and #Economic Development are concerned.



 
Time has run out for baby Charlie Gard

Time has caught up with Charlie Gard, the British baby who has been suffering from a severe genetic disorder. Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, with no doubt great reluctance, have decided to drop their legal fight to grant they son a last ditched effort to treat his condition. And so, using the cold blooded euphemism employed by the British #National Health Service, Charlie will be “allowed to die.”



 
Moon Express to help establish International Lunar Observatory

#Moon Express has announced that it has established a collaboration with International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) to deliver the first lunar based observatory to the South Pole of the moon on the company’s planned Lunar Outpost mission in 2019. Moon Express is looking at an area of the lunar South Pole called #Malapert Mountain as the primary landing site.



 
New theory why Trump is president says his voters are all racist

Liberals have been in denial over why Donald #trump is #President ever since election day 2016. While the favorite conspiracy theory being advanced is that the Russians fixed the election and that Trump is Putin’s Manchurian Candidate, other excuses are being advanced. Hillary Clinton was pretty sure that a lot of misogynist people went to the polls and voted against her because she is a female. Now Leonard Pitts offers a similar theory. Citing a questionable study, he is pretty sure that all Trump supporters are racists.



 
The dirty little secret behind the CBO estimates of 22 million losing insurance

How is it that no matter what plan the Republicans offer to replace Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that 22 million or so people will “lose” their #health insurance. Straight repeal or #Repeal and Replace with some premium support scheme and the estimate is consistent. It turns out, as the sharp eyed folks at the National Review have found, that 16 million of that 22 or so million people would not so much “lose” their health insurance as they would toss it away with great force.



 
In ‘Game of Thrones’ Yara finds out that no plan survives contact with the enemy

“Stormborn,” the second episode of the current season of “Game of Thrones” was another exciting one. Arya [VIDEO] found out her half-brother was King in the North and decided to turn away from her mission to kill Cersei. She had a bitter sweet reunion with her dire wolf in the woods. However, Jon found out that Dragonstone sits on a mountain of dragon glass, which meant that he had to pay court to Daenerys. Sam found a particularly gross and painful way to cure grayscale. However, we really need to discuss Yara, Theon, and what happens when a plan comes in contact with the enemy.



Sunday, July 23, 2017
 
New details of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ revealed at Comic-Con

The new trailer for “Star Trek: Discovery” was rolled out at Comic-Con recently. Showing a lot of scenes that suggests that the galaxy is on the verge of war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. It was also revealed that the #Main Character, First Officer Michael Burnham, has a curious connection with a well-known member of the USS Enterprise whose five-year mission is due to begin ten years later.



 
President Donald Trump speaks of the USS Gerald R. Ford commissioning

#President Donald Trump spoke at the commissioning ceremony of America’s latest super carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford. He mentioned the need for increased and stable defense spending with a goal of, among other things, building a 350 ship navy, which military planners agree is necessary to project American power around the world. The Ford represents both the opportunity for maintaining America’s status as the greatest superpower on Earth and the difficulties of doing so.



 
French complain about exclusion from Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’

“#Dunkirk.” #Christopher Nolan’s epic about the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force along with allied #French and other troops is earning acclaim among both critics and audiences. However, that does not mean that the praise is universal or without caveats. A USA Today critic made the curious point that the film lacked a lot of women characters and had no high profile people of color, despite the fact that such were few, if any, during the battle. Now, according to the UK Sunday Times, it is the turn of the French to complain.



Saturday, July 22, 2017
 
Is Elon Musk making a pivot to the moon?

Is #Elon Musk scaling back his Mars ambitions just a little? As Wired notes, SpaceX’s recent announcement that it has abandoned, for the time being, adding a powered landing capability to the Dragon would seem to indicate that is the case. The Red Dragon would depend on that ability to land on Mars. Then, is Musk pivoting to the moon, a destination that he has hitherto shown little interest in? Musk hinted at the idea of a partnership between SpaceX and NASA for a return to the moon.



 
Kid Rock proves himself to be a master of Twitter

However the Kid Rock for Senate Campaign turns out, it looks like it is going to be an epic event to cover and comment about. Twitchy reports that the rocker turned politician trolled both his opponent, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, in a grand manner on Twitter.



 
Ivan Reitman hints at a fourth ‘Ghostbusters’ film at Comic-Con

Ivan Reitman, the director of the first two “Ghostbusters” films and the producer of the third all-girl version, opened his mind at Comic-Con recently about a possible fourth movie that may be released in 2019. “Ghostbusters 4” will likely not be a sequel to the all-girl film since it tanked at the box office. That leaves a number of intriguing possibilities, some of which made possible by modern CGI technology.



Friday, July 21, 2017
 
Build the first Hyperloop in Texas Elon Musk is urged

When #Elon Musk tweeted that he had a “verbal agreement” to build an underground Hyperloop in the Northeast Corridor between Washington D.C. and New York, several people in Texas noticed and thought they had a better idea. Rep Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who has been mentioned as a possible opponent for Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterms, tweeted, “Build it in Texas.” He added in another Tweet, “Texas should be building @ElonMusk Hyperloop.”



 
'Mythbusters’ Adam Savage’s weird take on the ‘Star Trek’ vs ‘Star Wars’ feud

#Adam Savage was the exuberant half of the primary “Mythbusters” team, showing great joy in the best part of the job, which was blowing stuff up, shooting firearms, dropping things from great heights, and wearing silly costumes. Savage has been making the rounds of conventions now that the show is behind him. At San Diego’s Comi-Con, he was part of a panel which was asked which franchise would they eliminate from existence, “#star Trek” or “Star Wars?” Despite the hyped up feud between fans of both, the question for most is like asking a mother which of her children they would kill given a choice. Savage’s answer was, putting it mildly, off putting.



 
Bill Nye hopes that elderly ‘climate deniers’ hurry up and die

#bill nye, the former so-called “science guy,” has a strange approach to the subject with which he associates himself. On the one hand, he has actually gotten an Emmy nomination for a segment on his Netflix series called “My Sex Junk”, as explicit song and dance routine about gender and sexual “fluidity.” On the other hand, he is pretty sure that human caused #Climate Change is real and that bad things should happen to people who deny this truth. Previously, he had advocated putting “climate deniers” in jail. In a recent interview with the LA Times, Nye seemed to go a step further.



 
‘Stargate: Origins’ is coming to the web

Nothing has been produced in the “#Stargate” universe ever since the “Stargate: Universe” series ended prematurely, leaving its fans with an unresolved cliffhanger. However, as IO9 reports, MGM is about to produce a 10 part web series called “Stargate: Origins” depicting the early adventures of #Catherine Langford, the daughter of the archeologist who first discovered the stargates back in the 1920s. The ten-minute episodes will usher in the launch of a new web platform called Stargate: Command.



 
Nevada Parole Board frees O.J. Simpson

As noted in Hot Air, the Nevada #Parole Board has voted to free convicted #Armed Robber O.J. Simpson on parole. While the former football great was a “model prisoner” and followed the rules during his almost nine years in prison, the fact that he is going to be free rubs a lot of people the wrong way. The reason that the thought of Simpson as a free man is causing heartburn is that he almost certainly slaughtered two human beings over 20 years ago, including his former wife. He was acquitted in a circus trial because of a combination of prosecutorial incompetence and a clever playing of the race card on the –part of his dream team of defense attorneys.



 
Alternate history HBO could dramatize instead of ‘Confederate’

As USA Today notes, the social media firestorm over the upcoming HBO series “Confederate” [VIDEO]is burning unabated. The series is set in a world where the Confederates won the Civil War and slavery still exists. HBO will probably proceed with the show despite the controversy, but in case it does not, here follow some #Alternate History show ideas, based on published books.



Thursday, July 20, 2017
 
Elon Musk plans an underground New York to Washington D.C. Hyperloop

#Elon Musk, who has been busily revolutionizing space travel and developing a practical electric car, made some more news when he tweeted, “Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins.” If the scheme comes to fruition, the new Hyperloop would likely put Amtrack and a number of commuter airlines out of business. However, questions remain as to which government Musk is talking about and how firm the permission is. A lot of bureaucratic and technological hurdles remain before people can travel from Washington to #New York in less than half an hour.



 
A film reviewer’s curious complaint about Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’

Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” a dramatization of the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force and a number of French troops from the European continent in May 1940, is getting a lot of critical buzz. Brian Truitt, writing in USA Today, joins in the acclaim. However, he has one caveat in his otherwise glowing review when he mentions, “--the fact that there are only a couple of women and no #Lead Actors of color may rub some the wrong way.”



 
‘Salvation’ uses the EM drive as a device to save the world

Episode 1 of "Salvation" set up the asteroid coming to destroy the Earth scenario. Episode 2 has our intrepid heroes setting about #Saving The World in earnest. As Entertainment Weekly reports, the cast of the CBS series has a spiffy new technology that was unavailable either to Bruce Willis or President Morgan Freeman in the two 1998 #Save The World from cosmic catastrophe movies. The technology is called the #Em Drive, a real world device that some suggest will revolutionize space travel and other say violate the laws of physics. Also, the technology may be easy but dealing with government bureaucracy is hard.



 
Coming from HBO and the creators of 'Game of Thrones', 'Confederate'

The show runners for "Game of Thrones" have struck a new development deal with HBO. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will create a series called "Confederate" set in an alternate reality in which the South won the Civil War and is a functioning nation in the modern age, complete with slavery as an institution. The show will chronicle the run up to the "Third Civil War" and, like "#Game of Thrones," will feature a broad cast of characters from both sides of the Mason Dixon Line. However, quite a few people on #social media are not taking the news very well.



 
John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer

The news that Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, has an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma was a particularly sad one, even for people who found his politics and personality aggravating. McCain is a war hero and, in a happier world, would have been president of the United States for the past eight years. He is a character like no other, and when he departs this life, the world will be the poorer for it.



 
SpaceX's Elon Musk calls for a moon base

#Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, recently opened his mind about a number of things concerning space. He suggested that his plans to outfit the Dragon to make a rocket powered landing had been set aside, putting the jeopardy the Red Dragon project to land on #Mars. Musk said that the first launch of the Falcon Heavy, slated to occur later this year, will be a particularly exciting event. However, when he called for the establishment of a #Moon Base at the ISS Research and Development conference in Washington, D.C, eyebrows raised. Musk has hitherto not been very interested in the moon.



 
How the Apollo 11 moonwalk was shared by a billion people

The Apollo 11 moon landing and the subsequent walk on the moon was a shared global experience like no other. No other event in the history of the world, before or since, was followed by so many #people while it was happening in real time. One estimate suggests that a billion people stopped what they were doing and followed the event on television or the radio, on a planet that contained just three and a half billion people.



Wednesday, July 19, 2017
 
From the Hill Newspaper As innovators shoot for the moon — how will we regulate commerce?

As an added note, the original title was "Time for a Homestead Act in Space" but the editor felt that not a lot of the readers would know what that was.



 
President Donald Trump is still more popular than Hillary Clinton

#President #Donald Trump’s approval numbers hover around 40 percent in most polls. The numbers are understandable considering the controversy surrounding his election and the relentless pounding Trump has been getting in the media. However, as it turns out, #Hillary Clinton, the woman he beat for the presidency, is fairing even worse, according to the Bloomberg Poll. Bloomberg has the president’s favorability rating at 41 percent, but Clinton’s at 39 percent. How could this be?



 
Charlie Gard’s British doctors stand fast to ‘allow him to die’

The battle over the life of baby #Charlie Gard, who is suffering from a genetic defect, continues. Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at the Columbia University Medical Center, has evaluated Charlie, has taken a brain scan and has announced that his proposed experimental treatment has at least a ten percent chance of having some benefit. However, despite spending five hours with Charlie’s British doctors. Dr. Hirano did not convince them to sign off on taking him to America for treatment. Their position remains adamant. Let Charlie die.



 
Cruz healthcare amendment would lower premiums and boost enrollment

An amendment to the Senate version of the healthcare reform bill offered by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas would allow insurance companies to offer free market style health care policies so long as they provide at least one Obamacare compliant one. The amendment was designed to bring Senate Republican moderates and conservatives together to get over the 50 vote threshold needed to pass the reform bill. So far, the Republicans have not been able to get enough votes to pass the bill. However, Cruz and the cause of repealing and replacing Obamacare got a boost thanks to an analysis of the amendment by the Department of Health and #Human Services.



 
Joe Biden is charging as much as $448 for his signature on a book

Former #Vice President #Joe Biden, like most former office holders, has been busily compiling his memoirs. The Daily Caller reports that the title of Biden's tome will be "#Promise Me, Dad," a quote from the Vice President's son Beau, who died of cancer, but wanted his dad to run for president. The book will describe the vice president's son's death, the decision not to run for president, and not doubt Biden's involvement in the so-called "Cancer Moonshot." Biden has also found an interesting way to make a little extra money on the side on the book tour.



 
Canada’s Justin Trudeau awards millions to convicted terrorist and war criminal

A political firestorm has been touched off in both the #United States and Canada thanks to a decision made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to award the equivalent of $8 million US to convicted terrorist and #War Criminal Omar Khadr. Trudeau also officially apologized to Khadr for the alleged mistreatment he received when imprisoned at Guantanamo.



 
Can Kamala Harris knock off Donald Trump in 2020?

Hot Air suggests that Sen. #Kamala Harris, D-California is running for president in 2020. The prospect has many Democrats, especially the big money people, in a state of excitement. Harris has some advantages that could make her the best hope available for knocking off President Donald Trump.



Tuesday, July 18, 2017
 
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher asks about intelligent life on Mars

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology recently held hearings about upcoming planetary missions, specifically to Mars and Jupiter’s moon Europa. The panel contained a number of planetary scientists. During the hearing, Rep. #Dana Rohrabacher, R-California posed the following question to the panel; “You have indicated that Mars had, was totally different thousands of years ago. Is it possible that there was a civilization on Mars thousands of years ago?"



 
New trailer has revelations of season 3 of ‘Outlander’

As the Hollywood Reporter notes, the full trailer for “Outlander” #season 3 is now out and reveals things about the new adventures of Claire and Jamie, now separated by centuries and continents. The story of lovers separated by distance is as old as storytelling. However, lovers separated by time is something new.



 
Donald Trump's master plan is to let Obamacare fail

With the failure of the Senate version of Obamacare #Repeal and Replace, the Senate Republicans are embarked on a last ditched effort to repeal the Orwellian named Affordable Care Act with the idea of replacing it with something later. But what if that vote fails as well? According to the Washington Examiner, President #Donald Trump has his own plan. Let Obamacare fail.




 
Charles Bolden slams Trump commitment to NASA

The Huntsville Times sat down with former NASA Administrator #Charles Bolden recently Obama’s former chief of the #Space Agency had some blunt, albeit eyebrow raising, things to say about how President Trump is approaching space policy.



 
O. J. Simpson parole hearing to be televised

Back between the end of the Cold War and 9/11, the O.J. trial was one of those stories that got saturation coverage for the entertainment of television viewers. It was only fitting, therefore, that the parole hearing for the former football great, now in jail for armed robbery, will be televised. While Hot Airs asks why, one, in a sneaky way, can be glad of a respite, no matter how brief, from the more serious news of political mendacity at home and wars and rumors of wars abroad.



 
Repeal and replace Obamacare collapses in the Senate

The collapse of repeal and replace #Obamacare, with the announcement by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas that they will oppose the bill, is bound to enrage voters who thought they elected Republicans to control the House, Senate, and the White House to get rid of the healthcare reform law. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has now pledged to put up to a vote a bill that will repeal the so-called Affordable Care Act with a two-year delay to allow for a replacement portion. The Senate had passed the same bill before when Barack Obama was available to veto it. Will it do so again with Donald Trump available to sign it?



Monday, July 17, 2017
 
Audi studies what the best environment is to work from a self-driving car

According to Mashable, #Audi is delving into the question of what people are going to do with that extra hour or so of time that they will not be spending behind the wheel when self-driving cars become a reality. With Wi-Fi connectivity, the possibilities are almost endless.



 
Critic complains about female Dr. Who but not for the reason one would expect

When the BBC announced that actress #Jodie Whittaker had been slated to be the thirteenth Doctor Who, a lot of back slapping and chest thumping ensued about how cutting edge changing the gender of a character who had hitherto been played by a white man. Even male Dr. Who fans, whom one might think would be irate at their idol being played by a woman, seemed content with the idea. However, complaints about the female Dr. Who have arisen from an unexpected quarter, according to the Daily Caller.



 
Jeff Bezos envisions the human race as a trillion people living in space

Recently #Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and Blue Origin, was the recipient of the first annual #Buzz Aldrin Innovation Award. The award was handed to the entrepreneur by the second man to walk on the moon himself at the annual Apollo 11 Gala held at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During his remarks, Bezos opened his mind about his vision for the settlement of the high frontier of space.



 
Ann Coulter and Delta Airlines continue their tweet storm

The #Tweet storm between conservative commentator #Ann Coulter and #Delta Airlines continued unabated. Coulter initiated the exchange by complaining how she was unceremoniously removed from an extra leg room seat (she is six feet tall) for another passenger. Delta Airlines has responded by pointing out that the difference in price between the seat she was bounced from and the one she was given was $30. The airline tweeted some other things as well.



 
We need to talk about what Arya Stark did

"#Game of Thrones," the long running fantasy epic series based on the novels by George R. R. Martin, started its seventh season on HBO recently. The TV show has often been described as an anti-Lord of the Rings; in that, even its heroes display ignoble traits, no great example of that characteristic occurred than in the opening scene of the first episode of the season. Some spoilers follow.



 
Martin Landau, of ‘Mission Impossible’ and ‘Space: 1999’ fame, has died

Most people remember Martin Landau for two TV shows he was in, “Mission Impossible” and “Space: 1999.” While he co-starred with his then wife Barbara Bain in both series, they could not be more different from one another. Landau was also famous for some film roles.



 
George Romero has passed on to the land of the dead

If you want to give the credit or place the blame, for the idea of the zombie apocalypse, remember #George Romero. Before “The Walking Dead,” “Fear #The Walking Dead,” and “Z Nation” hit the air waves, not to mention movies without number when hordes of the flesh eating dead rose to threaten the living, there was Romero’s 1968’s “Night of the #Living Dead.”



Sunday, July 16, 2017
 
The new 'Doctor Who' is going to be a woman

Ever since it was announced that Peter Capaldi would be leaving “Dr. Who,” speculation ran wild about the actor who would play his successor. Since all 12 Doctors have been white, British males, the reccurring speculation arose as to whether the Doctor would regenerate as a black man or even as a woman. (Never an American. The Doctor must always abuse his companions with a British accent.)



 
Delta Airlines messes with Ann Coulter

Occasionally we are given a respite from endless jawing from Russians and the Trump family and the Senate Republicans fumbling over reforming health care reform with stories of airlines abusing passengers. From the man who was dragged unceremoniously off of a United Airlines flight, to an American Airlines flight attendant hitting a passenger with a stroller, we are shocked and awed by the depths to which the people who jet us from place to place can make the experience a living hell. Now, #Delta Airlines has abused a #Passenger who can make her complaints widely known. #Ann Coulter has been affronted by an airline, and she intends to let all of us know about it.



 
Were the Apollo moon landings a good thing or a bad thing?

48 years ago as of this writing, the greatest voyage of discovery undertaken since Columbus crossed the Atlantic to the Americas began with a torrent of fire and smoke with the liftoff of a Saturn V rocket. Three men left for the moon before the eyes of the world. Almost two generations later, the debate rages whether Apollo was a good thing or a bad thing. The discussion is especially relevant today with NASA’s Journey to Mars pretty much proven to be a fraud and support building to return to the moon.



Saturday, July 15, 2017
 
Hyperloop passes crucial test in Nevada

Sometime in the future, if people working on a transportation concept called the Hyperloop succeed, you will be able to board a pod in downtown Los Angeles (to pick a point of departure). You will be shot through a tube that has had most of the air pumped out of it floated on magnetic tracks at 700 miles an hour. About 30 minutes later you will emerge in downtown #San Francisco. An Uber or taxi ride will likely take you the rest of your way to your destination.



 
What would a deep space COTS program look like?

During a hearing before Sen. Ted Cruz’s committee that oversees NASA, the concept of a deep space COTS program came up. The original COTS, started under President George W. Bush, created commercial cargo transports to the International Space Station operated by SpaceX and Orbital Space Systems. Its successor, the Commercial Crew program, is developing crewed spacecraft to be run by SpaceX and Boeing. But what would a #Deep Space version of COTS look like?



 
Al Gore compares the fight to end climate change to the battle to end slavery

Former Vice President Al Gore, ever since he lost the 2000 race for the presidency, has been entertaining the world about his views on #Climate Change, the theory that the Earth’s temperature is inexorably rising due to humans pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. He has made a number of remarkable statements about the polar ice caps melting and other disasters waiting for us if we do not shell out a lot of money, get rid of fossil fuels and switch entirely to renewable energy. Recently he compared the fight to stop climate change to the battle to end slavery, to give women the vote, and to give gay people the right to marry. The statement has gotten him into a lot of trouble from an unusual source.



Friday, July 14, 2017
 
Forget Mars, how about a colony on Saturn’s moon Titan?

When most people talk about settling the high frontier of space, they think about either the moon, with its wealth of exploitable resources, or #Mars, which is the most Earth-like and could be made even more so through terraforming. However, an article in the New Scientist makes an outside the box case for #Saturn’s #Moon Titan. The key to settling Titan, as it turns out, is the availability of energy.



 
Donald Trump pays a compliment to the First Lady of France

Once upon a time, a gentleman complimenting a lady on her appearance was not considered anything of importance. Indeed, such was seen as good manners. However, this point of view is no longer the case, to judge the reaction of the English speaking media to President Donald Trump telling Madam Brigitte Macron, that she was in “good shape.” One would have thought that he had scribbled his hotel room number and handed it to her, considering the shock and #Outrage.



 
Kid Rock is thinking of running for the Senate

#Kid Rock, aka Robert James Ritchie, is hinting that he would like to change careers from a musician to United States senator, going after the Michigan seat of Debbie Stabenow. Ordinarily, this announcement would have been treated as a joke by the mainstream media. However, we live in a world in which Donald Trump is president of the United States, so anything is possible. So people like the New Yorker’s Amanda Petrusich are heading back to the fainting couch, yelling for the #Smelling Salts, wondering what fresh hell is about to happen.



 
New bionic heart developed the size of a natural one

ZME Science is reporting that researchers in Zurich, Switzerland have created an artificial #heart 3D printed from silicon. The artificial heart is the same size as a natural heart and mimics its function. However, the world is a long way from having bionic hearts available. The artificial heart will, at best, serve as a bridge to keep patients alive while doctors look for a donor heart. In any case, 3D printing of natural hearts using the #Stem Cells of the patient will likely be the application that helps to treat heart failure.



 
Court allows specialists to examine Charlie Gard

Hot Air is reporting the latest twist in the fight of #Charlie Gard’s parents to allow their baby to remain alive. Judge Nicholas Francis, the same British magistrate who was pretty sure that the weight of medical science compelled Charlie to be “allowed to die” has now ruled that an American specialist who thinks his treatment might be of benefit to the ailing baby will be allowed to examine the child. Dr. Michio Hirono, the practitioner in question, will be joined by a doctor from the Vatican Hospital that has volunteered to treat Charlie without condemning him to die.



 
Paul Begala suggests it is time to 'bomb the KGB'

Illustrative of how deep the hysteria that accusations of “collusion” between the Trump administration and the Russians have become, #Paul Begala, an old ally of the Clinton family and advisor in the Clinton White House, suggests it is now time to “bomb the KGB.” How did we get from 2012, when then President Barack Obama was sneering at Mitt Romney for suggesting that Russia might be a problem to an old Clintonista going full bore General Jack D. Ripper on the Russians? And doesn’t Begala know that the KGB doesn’t exist anymore and hasn’t since the fall of the Soviet Union?



 
Scott Pace to be named Executive Director of the National Space Council

Space Policy Online is reporting that the White House has announced the intention to appoint #Scott Pace as executive director of the #National Space Council. The space council was re-established recently by executive order by President Donald Trump. It will comprise a number of cabinet and agency heads, including the administer of NASA, and will be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence.



Thursday, July 13, 2017
 
Single-payer health care coalition in California cracks up

If a report in Hot Air is correct, it looks like the coalition of unions, church groups, and other organizations that have been pushing for single-payer #health care in California has started to fall apart. At issue is the disquieting militancy of the California’s Nurses Association, Some of the other groups in the coalition, including the California Council of Churches and even other trade unions, are starting to find the hard line being taken by the CNAS intolerable.



 
NASA doesn’t have enough money for the Journey to Mars

The sharp-eyed Eric Berger at Ars Technica noticed that William H. Gerstenmaier, #NASA’s head of human space flight, has admitted that the space agency does not have enough funding to land on Mars, not in the 2030s and likely not ever at the currently projected funding levels. NASA is now stating what many space observers have noted ever since the #Journey To Mars started. The space agency is spending all of the available money on the Orion deep space vessel and the Space Launch System heavy-lift launcher, with noting left over for landers, surface habitats or interplanetary propulsion technology.



 
Ted Cruz announces his support of the Senate GOP healthcare bill

According to the Washington Examiner, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas has announced that he will support the Senate version of the bill meant for healthcare reform. The bill, revealed just this morning, includes a version of the amendment Cruz offered that allowed insurance companies to offer free market health insurance policies so long as they also provide one that is Obamacare compliant. The compromise measure is meant to bring the conservative and moderate wings of the #Senate Republican caucus and, hopefully, get the at least 50 votes plus Vice President Mike Pence’s approval needed to pass the measure.



 
Juno returns eye popping pictures of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

NASA has released the closest picture yet taken of #Jupiter’s #Great Red Spot. The Juno space probe approached within 5,600 miles above the clouds of the solar system’s largest planet on July 10. The images were transmitted to Earth the following day along with data gathered from the Red Spot by #Juno’s suite of sensors. Scientists are currently analyzing the data and should be able to garner insights about the iconic region.



 
Tucker Carlson administers Max Boot a rhetorical beating on Fox News

First, #Fox News host #Tucker Carlson tangled with Colonel Ralph Peters and was accused of being the second coming of isolationist leader Charles Lindbergh. The following night Carlson had #Max Boot, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations on. Boot is an advocate of military intervention in Syria, something that Carlson abhors. The Fox News host let Boot have it in a particularly savage, personal way as the video below shows.



 
‘Salvation’ is marred by the silly government conspiracy plot device

"Salvation" is a new summer miniseries that just premiered on CBS. The premise is that a giant asteroid is about half a year from colliding with the Earth. The series will be about the efforts to stop the catastrophe and save the human race. The same #Plot Device was used in a couple of big screen films that came out in 1998, “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact.” “Salvation” has a couple of twists on the theme, however. Spoilers follow.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017
 
Why did Mark Zuckerberg go to North Dakota?

#Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is worth just north of $66 billion. He did not get that wealthy by doing things for frivolous reasons. So, when he visited #north dakota recently to find out about fracking, eyebrows across the country were raised, and people started to wonder what he's up to.



 
Two congressman push bill to give Charlie Gard American residency

One of the many fronts in the fight to give baby #Charlie Gard a chance of life is being waged in the #United States Congress. Two House members, Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio and Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz. are pushing a bill to grant Charlie and his parents permanent residency in the United States so that the infant can be treated.



 
Iran has a missile factory in Syria

The Washington Free Beacon, citing a Syrian opposition news site, is reporting that #Iran has established a factory in Syria for the production of long-range missiles. Iran is being assisted in this task by Russian and North Korean experts. The news has some disturbing implications for peace and security in the region.



 
Moon Express reveals its plans for private lunar exploration

#Moon Express, one of the private groups competing for the #Google Lunar Xprize, has announced its plans for moon exploration for the rest of the decade. The nascent moon mining company’s plans are nothing if not ambitious. It Moon Express succeeds, it will become the first private firm to exploit the moon for its resources much earlier than many thought possible.



 
Tucker Carlson and Ralph Peters have a frank exchange of views on foreign policy

Retired Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters, a Fox News analyst, was recently on #Tucker Carlson’s show. The two had what can be described as a frank exchange of views over the situation in Syria and what should be America’s role in the conflict. The exchange neatly encapsulates the argument Americans are having as we approach the 17th year of the lengthy war on terror.



 
‘Passengers’ starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence is worth a look

“Passengers” is a science fiction movie starring #Chris Pratt and #Jennifer Lawrence that was released to the big screen in late 2016 and was recently made available on pay-per-view cable. The run of the mill romantic story set on board a ship taking colonists to a new world in another star system is elevated by the chemistry that the two actors manage to spark between them. However, some details make themselves susceptible to nitpicking (some spoilers ahead).



 
Real life collusion between Russia and the environmental movement

While the media and the political class entertain themselves [VIDEO] with accusations that the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russia to steal the 2016 election, they are ignoring a #Real Life example of Russian collusion. The Daily Signal, the media arm of the Heritage Foundation, notes that environmental groups are colluding with Russia to impose bans against #Hydraulic Fracking in Europe and the United States. The goal is to benefit the Russian #Oil And Gas company, Gazprom, which has seen its profits decline with the flooding of world markets with fossil fuels thanks to fracking.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017
 
About that alleged photo showing Amelia Earhart

Most readers remember the photograph that the History Channel released purported to be of #Amelia Earhart and her navigator Frank Noonan on a Japanese-held island called Jaluit Atoll. The photo was alleged to have been taken by an American spy after Earhart and Noonan had gone missing. It formed the basis of a recent two-hour documentary that suggested that the two were forced to land in Japanese territory, were captured, and later murdered on the island of Saipan. Shockingly, a Japanese blogging named Kota Yamano spent #30 Minutes on Google to find the same photo in a 1935 Japanese travel guide, published two years before Earhart and Noonan went missing.



 
How many astronauts is NASA going to need?

A.J. Mackenzie, writing in The Space Review, suggests that the most recent class of 12 #NASA astronauts that were presented with such fanfare will be the last that will be selected for a long time. He makes a persuasive case that a 55 person astronaut corps (minus any future retirements) will be more than adequate for the missions NASA has planned for the time being. He adds slots in the #international space station, some commercial crew demo flights, and the once a year Orion missions that the #Space Agency plans, The article suggests that we won’t need any more astronauts until at least the late 2020s when presumably the Journey to Mars starts to draw near.



 
How much trouble is Donald Trump Jr. in?

How much trouble #Donald Trump Jr. is in because he took a meeting with a Russian government-connected lawyer depends on who you talk to. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, #Hillary Clinton’s running mate, is pretty sure that Trump Jr. has committed treason. Allahpundit at Hot Air thinks this is crazy overreach, but that Trump Jr. may be in legal jeopardy nonetheless. William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection thinks that the Trump son showed amateurishness but did not commit any crimes as such.



 
NASA urged to plan more missions to Mars in the 2020s

The next big mission to Mars that NASA is mounting is the #Mars 2020 Rover, essentially an augmented version of Mars Curiosity. But, as Space News reports, things get murkier after that. Scientists are warning that the exploration of Mars leading up to the first crewed landings scheduled to take place in the 2030s, will go off the rails unless NASA starts green lighting missions and Congress starts funding them. The space agency has promised a new roadmap in August.



 
New report of the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

As Hot Air notes, the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been announced on Iraqi News, claiming reports from the town of Tal Afar that ISIS has confirmed the death of its leader. If Al-Baghdadi really is dead, and this has not been confirmed although no one has heard from him in a while, few people on this planet would more richly deserve assuming room temperature.



 
Democrats plot to sell single-payer health care

With struggles still ongoing over how and to what extent to repeal Obamacare, remarkably many Democrats propose an all-or-nothing push to ram through a single-payer, government-run healthcare system. But, even the New Republic, which favors a so-called “Medicare for all” recognizes the perils that such a push places the Democrats in. The article notes the Urban Institute’s analysis that a plan of that nature offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders, would cost an eye-popping $32 trillion over a decade, However, the piece neglects the second argument that should sink #Single Payer, that it would place questions of life and death for ordinary Americans in the hands of government bureaucrats.



 
‘Wonder Woman 2’ will be set in the Reagan 1980s

With “#Wonder Woman” tearing up box office records, a sequel has become inevitable. Screen Rant has announced that the second movie will not only be set in the 1980s, with Diana Prince going up against the Soviets during the end game of the Cold War but that #Steve Trevor will be back in some capacity.



Monday, July 10, 2017

 
What to do with a problem like California?

Classical historian Victor Davis Hanson recently ruminated, and not for the first time, on the mess that #California has become because of years of dysfunctional government. In the meantime, #Hot Air notes that the Golden State is pursuing lawlessness on an epic scale by passing measures that defy federal #Immigration Laws and to actually block federal law enforcement officials from enforcing the same. The question arises, what does one do about a problem like California?



 
New York Times pleads ‘honest mistake’ in libelous editorial against Sarah Palin

When #Sarah Palin filed suit against the #New York Times for libeling her in an editorial that linked her to the Gabby Giffords shooting, opinion was somewhat mixed as to her chances of winning. The burden of proof that a public figure such as Palin has to achieve to demonstrate both malice and a reckless disregard for the truth is very difficult where a defamation action is concerned. However, it looks like that the Times has done itself no favors during the first court hearing.



 
3D printed Mars base contest advanced to a new stage

When people finally venture to Mars, they will need to have a place to live and work in relative safety from that planet’s harsh environment. Until recently two choices presented themselves for building habitats and labs. The first approach would be to use hard shell modules similar to the ones that comprise the #international space station. The second is to use inflatable modules, one of which is being tested on the ISS. NASA and other organizations are now exploring a third approach, using either local materials, materials brought with the astronauts, or a combination of the two to 3D print the habitats that will comprise a Martian home for astronauts on the first interplanetary voyage of discovery.



 
Three ways to control the weather and one to stop climate change

When one thinks about weather control, the technology that one imagines will be the most useful is the ability to make it rain on command. Certainly, California could use that kind of technology, along with a sensible government that would embrace it and not try to regulate it out of existence. In any case, Popular Science describes four weather control technologies that are in the works that could save untold billions of dollars and a considerable number of lives.



Sunday, July 09, 2017
 
Rob Reiner thinks that Russia has invaded the United States

Who would have thought that #Rob Reiner, the film director who first became famous for playing Archie Bunker’s sixties radical son-in-law in “All in the Family,” would go full-bore Joe McCarthy against President #Donald Trump? But that is what the man formerly known as “Meathead” did when he tweeted, “Russia has invaded US & continues to try to undermine our democracy. DT refuses to protect us. Don't let a weak ignorant liar sell us out.”



 
Why would anyone want to give NASA $600 billion a year?

Recently an article in Business Insider ventured a thought experiment. What if #NASA had a budget of $600 billion a year, comparable to that of the #United States military? What could the space agency accomplish? The piece did not give a coherent answer, but the question does raise another, more serious one. What should be the annual level of NASA spending?



 
Liberation of Mosul all but complete

By all accounts, the liberation of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, is all but complete. A coalition of Iraq Army troops, tribal militias, and Kurdish fighters, backed by American special forces and air power, has been fighting house to house against ISIS terrorists for months. Now, the most significant victory in the war on terror in years is at hand.



Saturday, July 08, 2017
 
The United States tries saber-rattling against North Korea

In the wake of the successful test of a North Korean ICBM, the United States military is scrambling for ways to respond. #The United States has decided on demonstrations of military force that are designed to convince the North Korean leadership that it would be on the losing side of any conflict it might try to start. The theory is that #Kim Jong-un cares about self-preservation above all else. With that in mind, the United States has already conducted a practice bombing run with a pair of B-1 bombers near the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas. It plans to follow up with a test of the THAAD ABM battery deployed near Kodiak, Alaska.



 
Trump and Putin forge Syrian ceasefire

The meeting between President Donald #trump and Vladimir #Putin at the G-20 summit was one that was long anticipated. After the preliminaries that involved Trump demanding that Putin comes clean over Russia interfering in the last election, which the Russian leader flatly denied, the two leaders got down to serious matters, such as the mess in Syria.



 
Two Grown Men Fight Over Which Is Better: ‘Star Trek’ or ‘Star Wars’

Recently, Fox 25 News reported that two men got into a violent argument over one of the most burning controversies of our age. The fight was not over Trump vs. Hillary, Hillary vs. Bernie, or even Obamacare vs. Trumpcare. Two grown men tried to kill each other over which franchise is better, “Star Trek” or “Star Wars.”



Friday, July 07, 2017
 
British National Health Service changes its mind about letting Charlie Gard die

The doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital seem to have had a #Change Of Heart where the best interests of baby Charlie Gard are concerned. Previously, physicians who work for Britain’s #National Health Service were pretty sure that nothing could be done for Charlie. He is suffering from a rare genetic abnormality, and they thought it would be best if he were allowed to die by having his life support apparatus withdrawn. However, the hospital has informed Charlie’s parents that it is now willing to explore options and have applied for a judicial hearing to be allowed to do so.



 
Why Bill de Blasio is running for president

The job of Mayor of New York is a hard one under the best of circumstances. In fact, for a number of decades, until #Rudy Giuliani assumed the office in the 1990s, #New York City seemed to many to be ungovernable. Giuliani proved otherwise, stamping out crime and renewing the city to something resembling a civilized place to live. His successor, Michael Bloomberg, despite his annoying nanny state attitude toward salt in food and sugary drinks, more or less continued Giuliani’s policies.



 
The next target of New Horizons, 2014 MU69, is stranger than scientists thought

In July 2015 #NASA’s #New Horizons space probe swept past Pluto, revealing the former ninth planet of the #Solar System to be a stranger world than anyone could have imagined. Scientists will be pouring over the data and images sent back by the probe for decades to come. However, the story of New Horizons is not over yet. It has a new target for exploration that resides a billion miles beyond Pluto deep within that ring of jumbled rocky objects known as the Kuiper Belt.



 
Was Donald Trump’s Warsaw speech racist?

During a stop in Warsaw, Poland, President Donald Trump delivered a speech that was a full-throated defense of #Western Civilization and values. Even many of his critics nodded approvingly, noting that the speech seemed to evoke President Ronald Reagan at his finest rather than the quasi-isolationist Trump of the campaign. However, not everyone was quite as enthusiastic.



 
New hope for the life of Charlie Gard arises

While #Charlie Gard, the British infant who is suffering from a rare genetic disorder, clings to life, some new hope has arisen that he will have access to potentially life-saving treatment. Baby Charlie has been condemned to death by his British doctors and the courts in the UK who believe that no treatment can help him and that it is better for all concerned to take away his life support and make him die.



 
Rock and roll anachronisms distract in TNT's 'Will'

#TNT is getting ready to premiere a new summer TV series, 'Will', which is purported to be about the early life of William Shakespeare. The series stars Laurie Davidson as the Bard and is actually the second summer series inspired by the life and works of the most famous icon of English literature in history. The series starts July 10, but the first episode is available for preview for those who have on-demand on their cable service provider. So, how is the series?



 
Hollywood is pretty sure that Trump has killed movie comedy

Hot Air noted that #Hollywood has released a number of comedy stinkers so far in 2017, such as “House,” “Snatched,” ”Baywatch,” and “Rough Night” that did not do well at the box office. The entertainment media is pretty confident that #Donald Trump is at fault. Others think that the movies are just bad and unfunny and hence audiences have stayed away in droves. Meanwhile, a number of other, not so slapstick films, have done well.



Thursday, July 06, 2017
 
France to ban gasoline and diesel cars by 2040

It looks like the French government of Francois Macron is serious about giving the mandates of the Paris Climate Accord a go. Nicolas Hulot, the environment minister, has announced that the sale of gasoline and diesel cars within France will be banned by 2040. Henceforth, only hybrids and electric vehicles will be permitted to be sold within the boundaries of #The French Republic. Whether such a ban is achievable is open to question.



 
Donald Trump’s ‘Warsaw Uprising’ bound to anger Russia’s Putin

President #Donald Trump visited Warsaw, Poland July 6 to meet with its president and deliver a speech to the Polish people in advance of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. The initial reaction to President Donald Trump’s speech is not unique but bears repeating anyway. If Putin thought he had bought himself a Manchurian candidate in Trump he must be sorely disappointed.



 
Pence announces return to the moon at Kennedy Space Center

Vice President Mike #Pence, in his capacity as chairman of the newly reformed National Space Council, went to the #Kennedy Space Center to tour the NASA-commercial launch facility. While he was there, he addressed center employees at the Vehicle Assembly Building in which he opened up about the Trump administration’s space policy. Along with the usual bromides about restoring American leadership and pushing back the high frontier of space, and quotes from President John F. Kennedy, Pence confirmed something that has been whispered about since before Trump was elected. America is returning to the moon.



 
Why Charlie Gard is an argument against single-payer health care

The one reason why the left is so disconcerted about the case of Baby Charlie Gard is that he provides such a searing, personal argument against #Single Payer, government-run #health care. Ruth Graham, writing for Slate, laments the fact that “the right” is already citing the atrocity that is being visited upon Charlie and his parents by the bureaucrats of the British National Health Service. Nicole Russell, writing in the Federalist, suggests that is the very point. Human rights violations of the sort that Charlie is suffering is inherent in socialized medicine.



 
American missile defenses cannot reliably stop a North Korean attack

The recent test of a #North Korean ICBM had highlighted the need for developing an effective missile defense system. Thus far, results have been mixed. While the #United States had gotten a handle in warding off the short range and medium range missiles, defenses against longer-range missiles that the North Koreans are developing to strike the American homeland has proven to be inadequate at best.



 
Democrats are having problems going into the 2018 mid-terms

While the #democrats are pretty sure that they hate President #Donald Trump and all of his works, they are having problems figuring out what they are for. Their development of policy issues, candidates, and even slogans are proving to be less than fruitful. The failure could prove to be devastating for both the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 presidential election.



Wednesday, July 05, 2017
 
Kathy Griffin gets a visit from the Secret Service

#Kathy Griffin has certainly learned the cost of folly in the weeks after she held up what appeared to be the gore-soaked head of President #Donald Trump, thus scaring to death his son Barron and outraging the nation. She has lost her gig at CNN and a number of stand-up comedy appearances. The press conference during which she tearfully pronounced herself “broken” did not win her any sympathy. Hot Air now reports that Griffin has received the long anticipated visit by agents of the #Secret Service.



 
Virgin Galactic to start powered flights of SpaceShipTwo

Sir Richard Branson’s #Virgin Galactic has been trying to start a #Space Tourism business ever since SpaceShipOne won the Ansari XPrize in 2004. Branson’s predictions of an imminent beginning of commercial operations with his much larger SpaceShipTwo have come and gone with regularity. His plan suffered a major setback in 2014 when an accident took the life of one pilot and injured another.



 
Is regime change in Iran drawing nigh?

Iran has been a problem country for the #United States ever since the Islamic Revolution changed it from a reliable American ally to an implacable enemy in a matter of months in the late 1970s. The theocratic government in Tehran has been sponsoring terrorism and is embarked on building a nuclear arsenal with which to threaten its neighbors and the United States. The choice with which to deal with Iran has always been cast between appeasement, the policy followed by Barack Obama, or war. However, Amir Basiri, an Iranian human rights activist, suggests that #Regime Change may be closer than many people think.



 
Newly discovered photo may reveal the fate of Amelia Earhart

The mystery of what happened to #Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan on July 2, 1937, has puzzled historians for 80 years. All that was known for certain was that the plane the world famous female aviator and Noonan were flying in vanished and all communication ceased while over the #Pacific on a round the world flight,. A massive air and naval search failed to turn up either the plane or its occupants. Both Earhart and Noonan were declared dead. However, a newly found photograph from the National Archives may have at least solved the mystery.



 
Trey Parker promises no more Donald Trump jokes on ‘South Park’

“#South Park” has always been on the cutting edge and far past the envelope where humor is concerned. So when #Trey Parker, one of the purveyors of the long-running hit show, suggested that the upcoming season will avoid #Donald Trump jokes, he may have been signaling a seismic shift in popular culture. It could be that bashing the president as a ratings booster may be over.