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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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Soon Maine may not discriminate based on climate change skepticism
According to the Associated Press, the oddest piece of #Civil Rights Legislation had just been introduced in the #Maine State Legislature. If passed, the bill would prohibit the state attorney general from investigating or prosecuting people or corporations based on their views on climate change. The bill would also forbid the state from instituting economic boycotts or handing out government contracts based on the same reason.
The Paris Climate Change Agreement begins to fall apart
The #Paris Climate Change Agreement has officially gone into effect for a few months, and it is already falling apart. Part of the reason is that President Donald Trump is taking a dim view of measures that will do little to affect carbon emissions and at the same time continue to put a damper on the economy. The attitude is likely to be shared by other countries that are part of the agreement that attempts to control carbon emissions by government fiat may have consequences, but those will mainly be political and economic.
Schumer declares a filibuster to stop Neal Gorsuch
By all accounts, Judge Neal Gorsuch is shining at his confirmation hearings for his nomination for #Supreme Court Justice. He is deftly handling every and all questions, showing up the Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee on his vast knowledge of the law. Indeed, Gorsuch is demonstrating what ciphers people like Sen. Al Franken are. And so, as Hot Air informs us, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has declared that Gorsuch’s confirmation shall be filibustered. Clearly, a man like that should never be allowed near the Supreme Court.
In wake of a brutal rape by illegals Maryland moves to become sanctuary state
The Washington Times reported that the House of Delegates in Maryland has voted to make that state a so-called “sanctuary state.” The law, if passed, would mean that state officials would be prohibited from cooperating with federal immigration agents to locate and deport #illegal aliens living in Maryland. The timing of the bill’s passage was exquisite coming as it did in the wake of the rape and sodomizing of a 14-year-old girl in her high school bathroom by a pair of illegal immigrants. The image of Maryland state lawmakers, in effect, extending a middle finger to the rape victim, her family, and the good people of Montgomery County is something that should not be lost on anyone.
Nunes incidental surveillance revelation rocks official Washington
When President Donald #trump, in one of his famous Twitter rants, claimed that President Obama had wire tapped him, he elicited a lot of eye rolling that rose to a crescendo of outrage when FBI Director Jim Comey told a congressional committee that no evidence existed that such ever took place. But now the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep Devin Nunes, suggested that something like a wiretap may well have occurred, all perfectly legal, for the most part.
Has Mike Lee saved Obamacare repeal and replace?
As of this writing, the classic sausage making that is surrounding the House version of the #Repeal and Replace Obamacare law is going at a feverish pace behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. The House leadership is scrambling to find a way to craft a bill that will be acceptable to conservatives and can still pass the Senate with 51 votes under reconciliation. According to the Washington Times, Sen #Mike Lee, R-Utah may have found a way to save the bill from defeat.
After the Westminster Bridge Massacre the big, burning question
The attack in London that took the lives of four people, including a police officer, a mother, and the assailant himself, and injured nearly 40 followed the familiar and sad pattern of terrorist outrages that have rocked western civilization in recent years. A man described as “Asian” mowed down dozens on #Westminster Bridge, jumped out just outside the halls of the British Parliament, stabbed a police officer, and then was finally gunned down. The mourning, the defiant speeches, and the questions remain in the wake of the dead and the maimed.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Shaquille O’Neal thinks the Earth is flat and the moon is 10 hours away
People have been rolling their eyes ever since basketball great Shaquille O’Neal announced that the world is flat, something that has been known not to be true since the time of the ancient Greeks. Now, according to For the Win, Shaq’s friend and colleague Charles Barkley mentioned that he has even more bizarre views on astronomy. It seems that the former basketball player believes that the moon is closer to Los Angeles than Atlanta, the theory being that Shaq can see the moon from his house but not Atlanta. He believes that the moon is about ten hours away by plane. It actually took the Apollo astronauts three days.
How realistic is the biowar story arc in ‘The Americans?’
“The Americans” is well into its new season and already a plotline has developed that could be out of a Clancy novel, the twist being that the #United States is alleged to be engaged in a nefarious plot to destroy the protagonists’ country, the Soviet Union. Philip and #Elizabeth, the deep-cover Soviet spies, believe that they have uncovered an American plot to destroy the Soviet grain supply, causing a famine, and bringing the USSR to its knees. The two KGB agents have discovered a greenhouse in Illinois and a research lab in Oklahoma that is developing, or so they think, weaponized midges, an insect that likes to eat grain. But how realistic would such an attack be in the real world?
Democrats and Republicans support nuclear power bill in the Congress
Republicans and #democrats confront one another with daggers drawn in Congress on a variety of issues, from immigration to taxes to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court justice. But a bi-partisan consensus seems to have developed around a bill that would simplify the process to approve a #Nuclear Power plant in the United States. While much of the rest of the world is rethinking nuclear power thanks to the accident at Fukushima, Japan, Americans are looking at the technology as the solution to a number of problems.
SpaceX’s Elon Musk unhappy with NASA Authorization bill
While politicians such as Sen Ted Cruz and Rep. John Culberson, both Republicans of Texas, expressed satisfaction as President Donald Trump signed the NASA Authorization bill, that joy was not shared by #Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX. According to CNBC, Musk complained that the bill provides no support to his Mars ambitions, which include an eventual settlement on the Red Planet. Musk is also planning a private robotic mission to Mars, called Red Dragon, now scheduled for 2020.The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper
Trump’s first foreign trip will be to a NATO meeting in Brussels
During the 2016 campaign, then-candidate Donald #trump was critical of the NATO alliance, which has kept the peace in Europe, except the 1990s conflicts in the Balkans, ever since the end of the Second World War. So the irony that President Trump’s first foreign trip will be to #Brussels for a meeting in May of all of the leaders of the member states of the alliance was delicious in the extreme. The announcement will likely go a long way toward mollifying the ire of many in #NATO over the fact that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not be attending an earlier meeting in April to instead meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago along with Trump. Tillerson is also scheduled to meet with Vladimir Putin in Moscow later that month.
Ted Cruz provides the nerdiest moment in Supreme Court conformation history
The second day of the Gorsuch #Supreme Court hearing was the first in which the nominee for associate justice had to endure questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The question and answer sessions consisted of senators trying to get Neil Gorsuch to reveal how he might rule on this case or that and the nominee deflecting the question with answers containing as little information as possible. The Democrats did not lay a glove on him and, for the most part, beclowned themselves. Fortunately, Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, provided a rare moment of levity.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Sony contemplates the future of the ‘Ghostbusters’ franchise
In the wake of the box office bomb of the all-female “Ghostbusters” reboot, the suits at #Sony Pictures are contemplating the future of the franchise, according to IO9. To be sure content is still being produced. A #Comic Book is coming out that will feature a cross-universe crossover of the new gals and the old guys. And a VR experience called “Ghostbusters: New Hire” is being rolled out. But new live action movies are on hold for the time being, or in the parlance of Hollywood, development hell.
President Trump touts jobs as he signs NASA Authorization bill
President Donald Trump signed the latest version of the NASA Authorization bill, the first since 2010, while congressional space leaders of both parties looked on appreciatively. While the president touted space exploration and commercial space, his primary concern seemed to be on how the space agency can create jobs, "a lot of jobs, and these are great jobs." However, the real news was the announcement by Vice President Mike Pence that the executive order reforming the #White House Space Council would soon be signed.
Arnold Schwarzenegger taunts Donald Trump in ongoing Twitter war
The great #Donald Trump #Arnold Schwarzenegger #Twitter feud continued as the aging action star tweeted a video in which he taunted the president for poll approval numbers that show him in the high 30s. ““But what do you expect? I mean when you take away after-school programs for children and Meals on Wheels for the poor people, that’s not what you call ‘making America great again.’ Come on!”
Tim Allen gets into trouble with 1930s Nazi Germany comparison
#Tim Allen, a well-known actor and Hollywood conservative, recently suggested that the atmosphere in the entertainment industry toward people on the right was akin to 1930s #Nazi Germany. The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect has decided to invoke Godwin’s Law and ask whether Allen has “lost his mind.”
Canadians are starting to be dubious about illegal immigration too
One of the little noticed stories surrounding the Trump administration’s hardline attitude toward illegal immigration has been the flow of people to Canada who had been living outside the law in the #United States. The theory is that illegal aliens will find a more welcoming environment in America’s northern neighbor, an attitude that is being encouraged by liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. However, a #Plurality of Canadians are starting to push back on open borders and now support deporting illegals from the country by a 46 to 41 percent margin.
Bathroom bill boycott of North Carolina a bust
North Carolina was the first state in the union to pass a so-called bathroom bill, mandating that a person should use the public restroom that matches the sex on his or her birth certificate and not the one that identified with. The measure was meant to spare females, especially children, the trauma and the potential danger of sharing facilities with people who are anatomically male. The law was seen by some groups as being bigoted against transgendered people, resulting in an economic boycott of the state. But, except the NCAA championships, the NBAA All-Star Game, and Bruce Springsteen, the boycott is pretty much a bust.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Neil deGrasse Tyson still refuses to admit Pluto is a planet
A group of scientists, including some associated with the New Horizons space probe, are working diligently to restore #Pluto’s status as a full-fledged planet. They believe that a planet should be defined by its inherent physical properties and not by its surroundings, as the scientists who downgraded Pluto did. But the effort will not succeed if Neil deGrasse Tyson has anything to say about it.
The next frontier in space exploration will be commercial space habitats
The Space Angels Network has a piece on commercial space habitats and how they are going to shape the future of exploration and the eventual settlement of the high frontier starting in the 2020s. NASA has already begun a number of public/private partnerships geared for the development of commercial space stations, lunar bases, and habitat modules for interplanetary voyages, say to Mars.
Corruption and bribery charge of Democratic Senator Menendez to proceed
Hot Air is reporting that the United States Supreme Court has cleared the way for a #corruption trial for Sen. Robert #Menendez, D-New Jersey. Menendez is accused of accepting campaign contributions and gifts from a friend named Salomon Melgen in exchange for interceding on his behalf, including an $8.9 million Medicare funding dispute. The trial is slated to start this fall.
Part Time Scientists from Germany are shooting for the moon
While five teams from across the world are vying to be the first private group to land on the moon as part of the Google Lunar XPrize competition, a sixth team, which did not qualify for the final cut, is still making an effort to be the first on the moon. According to the UK Telegraph, #Part Time Scientists, a team based in Germany, has a Falcon 9 launch contract for early 2018 and are still planning to shoot for the moon.
Will no one get rid of Negan on ‘The Walking Dead?’
One thing that the latest Walking Dead episode, “The Older Side,” proved is that there seems to be a dearth of people in the #Zombie Apocalypse world who know anything about irregular warfare. That fact explains why Negan continues to prosper. It also explains why he has not been taken out.
Live action ‘Beauty and the Beast’ smashes box office records
The live-action version of the Disney princess film, “Beauty and the Beast,” has smashed all #Box Office Records over the first weekend, making $350 million worldwide, $170 million domestically. The remarkable success of the movie proves three things.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Hillary Clinton is not ready to come out of the woods yet
#Hillary Clinton, who recently failed for the second time to be elected the first woman president of the United States, recently announced that she is ready “to come out of the woods.” She believes that she has it within her to find unity in a divided nation. By expressing this remarkable sentiment, Clinton demonstrated that she still does not understand the reason why the American electorate rejected her for one of the most unlikely men to ever achieve the presidency. She should stay in the woods, find a quiet place, and think about her life until she reached some kind of understanding.
Justin Trudeau and Ivanka Trump attend Broadway performance of ‘Come from Away’
Recently “Come From Away,” a feel-good musical about 9/11, opened at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater on Broadway to rave reviews and standing ovations. Canadian Prime Minister #justin trudeau and #Ivanka Trump, daughter of American President Donald Trump, attended the official opening night’s performance. Trudeau made a speech before the performance touching on how the events that the play depicts illustrate the special relationship that the United States and Canada, two nations who share the same continent, have.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Russia recruiting cosmonauts for an expedition to the moon
Recently Roscosmos has put out a call for new cosmonauts, specifically to fly on board a new spacecraft called the Federatsiya to the moon. The idea that one can apply for a job to be the first Russian to fly beyond low Earth orbit is a great selling point and will no doubt cause many to respond eagerly. Whether any Russian will fly to the moon on board a Russian spacecraft remains to be seen.
Colin Kaepernick has earned the hatred of professional football
#Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who made a spectacle of himself by taking a knee during the playing of the #National Anthem during the last Football season, is having trouble signing with a team as a free agent. The Mercury News suggests that the reticent of team owners to include him goes beyond just business considerations.
Friday, March 17, 2017
College student writer thinks milk is racist
Who knew that milk is racist? That is the conclusion of Samantha Diaz, a writer at the Daily 49er, the student newspaper at California State University. Diaz suggests that just about everything about America has racist roots, so the government’s dietary guidelines that people should include a certain amount of milk in their diet must also be racist. Curiously, Diaz does not mention that milk is white. (Does that mean chocolate milk is not racist?)
The World of Tomorrow and self-driving cars
Big Think recently ran a piece that had the feel of one of those “world of tomorrow” rhapsodies about how technology is going to change our lives for the better. The idea is that self-driving cars are going to make traffic jams, expensive urban parking, auto accidents, and even shopping trips obsolete. The future it paints, occurring as soon as 2030, is a beguiling one.
Venezuela begins to seize bakeries and arrest pastry chefs
#Venezuela has a bread shortage, something that is utterly predicable considering the mad cap, apocalyptic socialism that country is now being destroyed by. Also, just as predicable, has been the regime’s reaction, which is to seize bakeries and arrest pastry chefs.
John McCain and Rand Paul have it out over Montenegro joining NATO
One would wonder how the same party, the Republicans, could contain both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Rand Paul. The two honorable senators are in the midst of a feud that started when Paul objected to a resolution that would allow Montenegro, a tiny country in the former Yugoslavia, to join NATO. McCain shot back that apparently Paul was working for Russian President #Vladimir Putin. Paul returned with an implication that the octogenarian McCain had gone unhinged and was an argument for term limits.
Is cutting funding for Meals on Wheels a path to Hell?
One of the more controversial budget cuts tucked into the Trump #Funding proposal, which also trims research and limits NASA spending, is one that eliminates $3 billion a year to #Meals On Wheels, a program that prepares meals for seniors who either cannot afford them or are unable to prepare their own food. The proposal has arrived with the usual accusation that the president wants to starve old people. However, as Forbes points out, Meals and Wheels is a private charity that only takes 3.3 percent of its funding from government. Most of the program comes from corporate, foundation, and individual contributions.
About that story that Sean Hannity pulled a gun on Juan Williams
One of the most bizarre instances of fake news to occur in modern times appeared as a story on CNN to the effect that conservative media personality Sean Hannity “pulled a gun” on liberal journalist #Juan Williams during a heated argument. As the American Spectator reports, there is a less about the story than meets the eye. In fact, the story says more about stereotypes about gun toting right wingers than it does about objective reality.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Stephen Colbert goes after Rachel Maddow without mercy
Even as Rachel Maddow was breathlessly revealing President Donald Trump’s 2005 tax return as if she had a copy of the Pentagon Papers, the MSNBC host was mercilessly mocked, particularly on rival Fox News. The ridicule proceeded nonstop on conservative talk radio as well. But now it looks like the fiasco was too much even for Maddow’s ideological soul mate Stephen Colbert, the host of “The Late Show.” Colbert joined in the pile on against Maddow, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Trump tries to kill the Asteroid Redirect Mission and the Europa Lander
With its new budget proposal, the Trump administration is trying to shut down two major NASA projects. One, the Asteroid Redirect Mission, is a no brainer as hardly anyone outside the space agency likes it. But going after the Europa Lander is the definition of a futile gesture because of one man who supports it.
Trump goes after arts and culture funding in his new budget
One of the many targets of the Trump budget blueprint is funding for arts and humanities, primarily those Great Society high brow relics, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The president intends to succeed where previous Republicans, President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, failed to do, in eliminating these subsidies. The argument for doing so has never been more reasonable.
Chelsea Clinton to publish a children’s book ‘She Persisted’
Only a few weeks has passed since Sen. Elizabeth Warren was told to sit down and be quiet while she was in the midst of slandering then Sen. Jeff Sessions in violation of Senate rules. Part of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s explanation for his sanction was, “She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” The statement has been turned into a slogan by the radical, feminist left to paint Warren as something of a cross between Joan of Arc and Xena Warrior Princess. Now the last sentence has become the title of a new children’s book that Chelsea Clinton is putting together and is publishing under her name.
A rapper and a journalist make nasty remarks about First Lady Melania Trump
The campaign to delegitimize President Donald Trump took an ugly turn recently as a rapper and a journalist made vile, nasty remarks about First Lady Melania Trump. Other first ladies, in particular, Hillary Clinton, have been the recipient of political and even personal attacks, but Ms. Trump has been targeted in the crudest way possible.
Trump budget proposal would devastate science and medical research
As the Washington Post notes, NASA aside, the Trump administration proposes to take a chainsaw to science and #medical research in its first budget proposal. It can be actually be said that the new president’s proposed cuts at the National Institutes of Health, the Energy Department, NOAA, and other parts of the government are not designed to make America great again. In fact, the effects of the budget cuts will likely have the opposite effect.
First Trump NASA spending proposal not as horrible as many feared
The best thing that can be said about the Trump administration’s proposed NASA budget is that it was not as horrible as rumors had suggested it would be. Some indications had suggested that the new president would cut the #Space Agency by more than a billion dollars. The actual budget proposal would slice space spending by a couple of hundred million, a blessing compared to the hit that some non-defense spending took. That doesn’t mean that Congress is going to swallow the proposed spending with any enthusiasm.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Lab grown meat tastes just like chicken
A variant to an old joke would go something like this: “What does lab-grown meat at #Memphis Meats tastes like?” The answer, as it turns out, is “Just like chicken.” The startup, according to the Wall Street Journal, recently had a taste test and diners pronounced the breaded chicken strips that had been grown in a vat to be tasty enough to eat again. Memphis Meats hopes to start a food revolution that will make traditional livestock raising obsolete. Traditional meat producers, such as Tyson Chicken, are starting to take notice and are investing in the technology.
Michelle Obama’s ‘healthy food’ initiative may soon be at an end
One of the most onerous public policy blunders of the Obama presidency came not from the president but from First Lady Michelle Obama. Ms. Obama pushed for a got standards imposed that mandated healthy foods be served at #school lunch cafeterias across the country. The goal was laudable, but as with much else in the Obama era the execution left much to be desired. The resulting menus consisted of unappetizing swill that public school students declined to eat in droves, increasing food waste and making many school cafeterias money losing propositions. The situation created its own hashtag “#ThanksMichelleObama” as students posted images of the slop and swill they were being fed at school.
What was Rachel Maddow thinking?
What was Rachel Maddow thinking? That is the question that media watchers have been asking themselves and one another ever since she took to the airways to announce that she had Donald Trump’s #Tax returns with the same breathlessness as if she had the secret Nixon tapes. The returns, as it turned out, actually made the president look good as a man who made a lot of money and paid a lot of taxes. Despite her hyperactive musings about Russian oligarchs, that was all there was. Even the folks at Hot Air are scratching their heads.
NASA and Russia mulling a joint expedition to Venus
Unlike Mars, #Venus has always been the ugly stepchild of planetary exploration. The cloud-shrouded world is a hell of blistering temperatures and crushing pressure on its surface. Various Soviet landings on the second planet from the sun have either failed or lasted only a brief time. The United States has studied Venus safe from afar, starting with Mariner 2 in the early 1960s and ending with Magellan in the 1990s. Now Russia would like to revisit Venus and #NASA is interested in joining in, according to Space.com.
‘The Americans’ is a stunning look at Soviet paranoia during the Cold War
Season 5 of “The Americans” is turning out to be a delicious study in #cold war paranoia from the point of view of two deep-cover KGB agents. Moscow has decided, for whatever reason, that the United States government in 1984 is planning to poison the wheat it is so generously shipping to the #Soviet Union, committed genocide to win the superpower contest once and for all. The story line depends on the viewer’s ignorance of history as well as the mindset of Philip and Elizabeth, the two deep cover agents in question, about the intentions of the enemy with whom they have been living for decades.
How Rachel Maddow swung and missed at Donald Trump with 2005 tax returns
One of the most sensational farces in the history of broadcast journalism took place when MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow announced on Twitter that she had the first two pages of President Donald Trump’s 2005 #Tax returns. The implication was that she had dirt on the president that might well bring him down, as he has studiously refused to release any returns. However, before air time, the White House scooped Maddow by revealing that in 2005 Trump had paid $38 million on $150 million in income, not to mention various other kinds of taxes. When Maddow went to air, she started with breathless and unsubstantiated speculation about Russian oligarchs and what not. Then only facts that she was able to give that #Donald Trump paid a lot of taxes on a lot of income.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
American based airlines begin to cancel routes to Cuba
One of the benefits of President Barack Obama’s reopening of relations with #Cuba was supposed to be a new tourist industry. Americans would be able to jet down to the island paradise just 90 miles away, untouched by civilization, and be able to buy Cuban cigars and rum to bring back home after a few days of lolling on the beach and exploring the quaint colonial architecture of old Havana. The reality, according to the Miami Herald, has not lived up to its promise. Two airlines, Frontier and Silver, have canceled flights to Cuba citing weak demand and high costs.
Bernie Sanders claims that ‘thousands will die’ under Obamacare repeal & replace
A lot of conservatives to not like the current bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, primarily because it keeps too many features of the Affordable Care Act and leaves off many reforms such as the ability to buy health insurance across state lines. While Sen Ted Cruz’s idea to have the vice president declare every reform germane for reconciliation and thus needing only 51 votes in the Senate may mollify Republicans, nothing short of socialized health care will satisfy Sen Bernie Sanders. According to Newsmax, Sanders declared that if the Republican bill is passed, then “thousands will die.”
Russia may be a problem for the Boeing Starliner crewed vehicle
While SpaceX is the cool kid of the aerospace business, albeit with a bad boy reputation due to its tendency to not fulfill promises in the time frame indicated, its crewed version of the Dragon is not the only commercially operated, publicaly funded spacecraft being developed. Boeing is building and testing the Starliner, a crewed vehicle that, like Dragon, will take astronauts to and from the #international space station in a year or so. However, as Hot Air suggests, the Starliner has run into an unexpected problem, that being the #Atlas 5 launch vehicles it will use and the Russian-made rocket engine, the RD-180.
New season of ‘Veep’ to feature the post-presidency of Selina Meyer
The new season of “Veep,” depicting the further misadventures of #Selina Meyer, the former vice president, and former president played with such foul-mouthed zest by Julia Louise-Dreyfus. The show, which long ago burst out of its original premise of a madcap female vice president whose ambitions and appetites were only exceeded by her incompetence, will examine Selina Meyer’s post-presidency. Meyer had been an accidental president for the previous two seasons but only for a few months of real time. Through the most unlikely of events, she has now been retired to the private sector. That doesn’t mean she does not lust any less for power and relevance. To be sure, most previous former presidents ease into their private roles with ease. But Meyer has had just a taste of power before having it snatched away. She is not a happy person.
Bill Nye and the Planetary Society has some suggestions for NASA
The Verge reminds us that #bill nye the Science Guy had some helpful suggestions before the last election about the future direction of NASA for the “next president.” No doubt the bow tied head of the #Planetary Society had no idea that the president was going to be Donald Trump, a man he has no use for because of differences on the issue of climate change. Nevertheless, the report has some resonance as the Trump administration mulls future space policy.
A year after chasing out Uber and Lyft Austin still lacks reliable ride sharing
Last May, #uber and Lyft, the two largest ride sharing companies, left Austin, they said being forced out due to onerous regulations, the city said to avoid necessary safety measures. About ten months later, according to TechCrunch, a number of local alternatives such as Ride Austin, Fasten, and Fare, all of which comply with the city’s background check regulations, have risen to fill the gap. For the most part, these services provide the same experience their now vacant larger competitors once offered. Unfortunately, unlike Uber and Lyft, the smaller alternatives saw their apps crash when too much demand occurred. This phenomenon took place on the biggest night of SXSW, an annual tech and entertainment conference that has become well attended in the capital of Texas. People could not load the apps to summon cars. Cars could not connect with riders.
Monday, March 13, 2017
Senate Democrats to Trump: Insist on the Wall and we shut down the government
According to Hot Air, #senate democrats are threatening a government shutdown, a tactic that they abhorred when Republicans used it during the Obama era if certain provisions such as funding for the Wall is included in a must-pass appropriations bill. The bill would fund the rest of the government for the balance of the current fiscal year after April 28.
American special operators to practice strike on North Korean leadership
More proof, if it is needed, that the Trump administration regards #North Korea as a serious problem, if not a clear and present danger, came in the form of news from the Yonhap News Agent that American special operations units will practice a strike at that country’s command and control structure. The idea is that in the event of war, Seal Team Six, the Army Special Forces, Delta Force and the Army Rangers would kill as many of North Korea’s political and military leadership as possible, starting with the mad, bad and dangerous to know Kim Jong-un. The practice is part of larger military exercises called Foal Eagle and Key Resolve.
New ‘Wonder Woman’ trailer shows the origin story of the Amazon superhero
As IO9 notes, the latest trailer for the upcoming film “#Wonder Woman” starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot has dropped. The trailer has some never before seen footage showing the origin story of Diana, the Amazon warrior who will be known as Wonder Woman when she enters the #World Of Men.
Trump spokesman Sean Spicer ambushed in an Apple store
#Sean Spicer, President Trump’s White House spokesman, was ambushed inside an #Apple Store recently by a young woman who demanded to know how it was like to work for a fascist. The exchange, along with commentary by Shree Chauhan, the woman in question, was posted on social media.
Newt Gingrich upbeat about a return to the moon
With both NASA and a number of commercial companies aiming for a return to the #moon, the one man on the planet who must be feeling the most vindication is former Speaker of the House and one-time presidential candidate #Newt Gingrich. In a fit of exuberance, Gingrich recently told the Washington Post, “Done properly we can be on the moon in #President Trump’s first term and orbiting Mars by the end of his second term.”
Ted Cruz finds a way to bury Obamacare once and for all
Who would have thought that Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas, would find the Gordian knot that will change the #Obamacare impasse from a grinding campaign to try to pass a repeal and replace bill that no one is entirely satisfied with? The senator seems to have found a way to avoid a filibuster entirely in the effort to reform health care reform and pass a new, free-market law.
In the ‘Walking Dead’ we find that pacifism and appeasement never work
One of the most interesting characters in “The #walking dead” has been #Morgan, the stick-wielding zen-pacifist who has gone on a journey from bereaved father to get where he was, a man who refused to kill the living, even though plenty needed it in the zombie apocalypse. However, in “Bury Me Here” we find that pacifism is not possible in a world where someone like Negan prospers.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
IRS refuses to turn over 7,000 documents that may be Tea Party Scandal related
The Washington Times recently reported that the IRS had acknowledged the existence of some 7,000 hitherto undisclosed documents that may offer further insight into the #Tax Agency’s relentless targeting and harassment of #Tea Party and other conservative groups. The IRS, at least for the time being, is refusing to release those documents.
Ridley Scott has an idea for a ‘Gladiator’ sequel
#Ridley Scott is doing the finishing touches on his latest science fiction movie, “Alien: Covenant.” However, the great director revealed that he has an idea for a sequel for “Gladiator,” his famous movie set in ancient Rome, which would have its star Russell Crowe coming back to reprise the character General Maximus. The problem is that the character died at the end of the movie – apparently.A Passion for Glory: A Romantic Adventure of Caius Julius Caesar1
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara refuses to resign, is fired by President Trump
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has finally gotten around to asking for the resignations of the remaining Obama-era 46 United States Attorneys. 45 complied without unnecessary drama. One, #Preet Bharara refused the order, forcing President Trump to fire him, an event that he noted on his Twitter feed. Democrats, characteristically, reacted with unmitigated fury.
Buzz Aldrin discusses space with Vice President Mike Pence
For a man in his 80s, #Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, gets around. His latest visit was to Vice President #Mike Pence at the #White House where, Space.com reported, they discussed things space. The meeting took place amidst stories of a developing space policy by the Trump administration that involve a return to the moon with commercial partnerships and rumors of budget cuts in store for NASA.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
California soon to allow true self-driving cars on the road
The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that California state regulators are considering rules that will permit actual self-driving cars to operate in that states streets and highways. The development stems from increasing confidence on the behalf of engineers that not having a human driver ready at all times to take over the wheel will be safe for passengers. Hitherto, #California has required a driver to be present in an autonomous vehicle.
Chinese developing space based weapons
The LA Times is reporting that the #Chinese are developing a number of space-based weapons, including lasers and rail guns, designed to blind or destroy American satellites in the event of war between the two countries. If China succeeds in deploying such weapons without an American response, it will gain an insurmountable strategic advantage. While the #United States is developing such weapons, it has studiously avoided any idea of deploying them in space, preferring to mount them on ships and planes.
Friday, March 10, 2017
NASA, International partners designing cis-lunar space station
The Planetary Society reports that NASA and some of the International #Space Station partners have quietly started to design a space station in cis-lunar space. However, there seems to be some disagreement as to what its primary purpose would be. NASA, following the current, Obama-era Journey to Mars policy wants the cis-lunar station to be a stepping stone to Mars. Some of the other partners, such as Russia, want it to focus on lunar surface exploration. The difference would be reflected in what kind of orbit the station would be deployed around the moon.
Elon Musk proposes to solve South Australia’s energy crisis
Elon Musk has given the state of South Australia an offer it may find difficulty refusing. Ever since South Australia went heavily into wind power it has experienced periodic blackouts and #Power Outages, especially during peak energy demand periods during the summer months. The reason seems to be that no one thought about what happens when the winds are calm. Musk, ever vigilant for a chance to make money and drum up some publicity has offered to build a 100 megawatt hours storage battery farm in 100 days from the signing of the contract or he will do it for free. The cost if he can do it within a 100 days will be $25 million according to CNN.
Why are things looking up under Donald Trump
#The National Review has just published a piece entitled “Tired of All The Winning” that documents how things are getting better all of the sudden now that #Donald Trump is in the White House. From a sudden increase in job creation to a drop in illegal immigration to the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of Arab and Kurdish groups, preparing for the final assault on Raqqa and the destruction of ISIS, things seem to be turning up.
Could Donald Trump build the first Hyperloop?
President #Donald Trump is starting to pay some attention to the trillion dollar infrastructure scheme, something that it is said will be partially financed by private capital. Trump, a builder in private life, is certainly keen to get the road and bridge repairs started. However, he is said to be interested in high-speed rail, something that has proven to be a boondoggle, particularly in California where it is behind schedule and over budget. But, Elon Musk, the president’s unlikely tech advisor, is telling him about what he thinks is a better idea, the Hyperloop.
Are you ready for Senator Arnold Schwarzenegger?
#Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stint as governor of California was less than stellar. After an initial attempt to pass some impressive reform measures that failed in the Golden State’s famous referendum process, the so-called “governator” settled back to serve as a relentlessly moderate Republican politician, mouthing talking points about climate change, and vetoing the occasional wacky bills coming out of the Democratic dominated legislature. He did little if anything to halt or even slow down the relentless decline of California as businesses continued to flee the high tax, massive regulatory regime that adheres on the West Coast. He also managed to destroy his marriage with an ill-considered affair with one of the maids that resulted in an out of wedlock child.
Scientists prove that future astronauts can grow potatoes on Mars
In the bestselling book and smash hit movie “The Martian” stranded astronaut #Mark Watney is able to survive for months on the Red Planet by planting and cultivating potatoes inside a habitat, nurtured by human waste and recycled water. NASA and the International Potato Center (CIP) have done the plucky astronaut/farmer one better by growing potatoes in simulated Martian soil inside a CubeSat developed by Peru’s University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC). The potatoes thrived under Mars-like condition inside the CubeSat.
Thursday, March 09, 2017
‘Flippy’ robot flips hamburgers better than a human kind
First, the development of automation and the push to drive up the minimum wage of a “livable” level of $15/hour started eliminating order takers at counters at #Fast Food places in favor of kiosks. Now a crucial job in the kitchen, that of hamburger flipper, may be the next on the ash heap of history, thanks to a robot named “#Flippy” according to Food and Wine Magazine.
Samantha Bee show implies man with brain cancer is a Nazi because of hair cut
Samantha Bee went just a tad too far recently on her #Late Night show on TBS and implied that a young man with stage 4 brain cancer has a “Nazi haircut” which is to say clipped short on the sides and kept longish up top. The slam took place on a snarky segment about CPAC where Bee’s correspondent went to the convention and make snide comments.
NASA has learned to stop worrying and love commercial rockets
Ars Technica notes that with the new Trump administration and its friendlier attitude toward both space exploration and #commercial space, #NASA has started to like heavy commercial rockets such as the SpaceX Falcon Heavy and the Blue Origin New Glenn. The space agency still sees a role to play for the #space launch system, but only when huge payloads need to be launched into space at one time. But the reusable and cheaper commercial rockets will also have a role to play in NASA future space exploration plans.
China announces the development of a spacecraft to take people to the moon
Chinese state media has announced that #china has begun to develop a spacecraft that will take as many as six astronauts to the moon. While China has an extensive robotic lunar exploration program and has hinted at plans to land people on the lunar surface, the announcement is the first time it has been specific as to spacecraft development. #The Chinese offered no time frame, but clearly, the announcement is in response to news of both NASA and commercial companies aiming for a return to the moon.
Trump to campaign heavily for Obamacare repeal and replace
The Obamacare repeal and replacement bill has run into opposition with many conservatives, primarily because of the tax credit that some see as a new entitlement. According to Politico, President Donald Trump will participate heavily in selling the bill, negotiating with balking conservatives and whipping up public support. The first step in that campaign was doubtless the dinner he held with Sen Ted Cruz and his wife, Heidi. Cruz would be a crucial ally in moving the bill if he can be brought on board.
The captain in ‘Star Trek Discovery’ has been cast
CBS has a major casting announcement for its upcoming series “Star Trek: Discovery.” Jason Isaacs will play the captain of the starship #Uss Discovery, Captain Lorca.
Wednesday, March 08, 2017
NASA issues Request for Information for payloads on private probes to Mars
According to Space News, NASA has issued a #Request For Information concerning possible inclusion of #Space Agency payloads on commercial missions to the Martian surface. The space agency has already issued a similar RFI for commercial flights to the moon.
From Business Insider A modern-day race to the moon has been in the making for years, and now it's in the final stretch
Chelsea Clinton’s epic spinach pancakes fail
The good news is if Barbara Streisand is still trying to find a way to break her Trump induced pancake eating binging, Chelsea Clinton may have a solution. The daughter of a president and a presidential candidate has come up with something called spinach pancakes, which she was incautious enough to mention on Twitter, according to the Washington Free Beacon. Social media reacted with all the fury of a junior high cafeteria against the outcast kid.
Ted Cruz has ‘significant concerns’ about Obamacare replacement
While the members of the conservative Freedom Caucus and Sen. Rand Paul have found the Republican #Obamacare replacement bill weighed in the balance and found wanting, at least for the first day or so Sen #Ted Cruz, who made repealing and replacing the Obama-era health care reform law one of his signature issues, was silent. But, according to the Texas Tribune, the #Texas Senator, and former presidential candidate has made his mind known and, as many expected, Cruz was negative as well.
How Barack Obama ruined NASA space exploration courtesy of The Hill
Sales of Ivanka Trump products soar
The ascent of her father to the presidency has given #Ivanka Trump a number of headaches concerning her business that sells a line of women’s apparel and accessories. Unlike the Clintons, the Trumps are keen not to trade off the name of #President Trump, at least as much as possible under the circumstances. Ms. Trump has removed herself from the day to day operations of her company as a result. But she cannot change her name or her relationship with her dad.
‘The Americans’ returns with a message for our times
"The Americans” has returned to FX for its fifth season and a lot of ink is being wasted, as in the New York Times, that the Cold War era series is a lot more relevant these days because Donald Trump is president. The TV show that depicts how the Soviet Union was really out to get us is a great historical document since a lot of people were in denial about that fact during the Cold War. What the show has to do with #Donald Trump is something that is hard to fathom, except that the writers of such essays hate the president, much as they hated Reagan, and want to attach his name to the bleak story lines of Soviet espionage.
Are you ready for 3-D printed pizza?
Astronauts who spend an appreciable amount of time in deep space, either on a lunar base or a mission to Mars, are going to have to find new ways to cook and eat dinner. With that problem is mind, a new company called Beehex has developed a 3D #Printer that can make #Pizza. While the project has raised the ire of some budget hawks in Congress, the 3D pizza printer has gone forward and may soon be ready for testing in space.
Russian opposition leader says Putin is concerned about Trump
The media narrative about President Donald #trump and Russia is that, at worse, Trump is a Manchurian candidate, under the thumb of #Putin, and at best much too chummy with the #Russian leader for America’s own good. However, the Washington Free Beacon recently ran an interview with one of Putin’s opposition leaders, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who suggests that Trump could be the catalyst that removes the Russian leader from power. In Khodorkovsky’s narrative, Putin is presiding over an increasingly unstable country, and it would be in the best interest of both Russia and America if he were retired to private life, the sooner, the better.
NASA authorization bill mandates Mars and ‘other destinations’
Congress has passed and sent to President Donald Trump’s desk a #NASA #Authorization Bill that, for the first time in a long time, mandates that the space agency conduct a long-term program of #space exploration with Mars and “other destinations” as goals. The bill also mandates the Orion deep space exploration vehicle and the heavy lift Space Launch System as key components of that effort. Verbiage is included for NASA to seek international, academic, and commercial partners to explore space.
Tuesday, March 07, 2017
New high-tech sponge could help clean up oil spills
From the BP oil spill that took place in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 to the Exxon Valdez spill that blighted the Alaska coast around Prince William Sound in 1989, few disasters are harder to clean up that a massive amount of oil being accidentally dumped into the ocean. Cleanup crews use booms to contain the spill and then skimmers to clean it up. Chemicals are also used to break up the oil and biodegrade it. But the damage to the ocean environment and sea life can be devastating. Fortunately, a new solution may be at hand in the form of a high-tech sponge.
Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos announces the New Glenn rocket
#Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com and Blue Origin and the owner of the Washington Post, revealed some more details of his rocket company’s New Glenn rocket along with an impressive video of it taking off and landing. Bezos also announced that a customer has already been lined up for the rocket’s first flight.
'The Last Man on Earth' depicts the deaths of seven GOP presidents
Hollywood often takes out its ire at Republican presidents by depicting their deaths in drama, The 2006 movie “Death of a President” imagined that assassination of then-President George W. Bush and the subsequent great terror inflicted on the land by President Dick Cheney. A comedy about the end of the world, “#The last #Man On Earth,” takes that one step further and imagines the deaths of several GOP chief executives in a row.
Are urban farms the wave of the future?
The farm of the future may not be the traditional kind with crops planted in vast fields and serviced by tractors and subject to the vagaries of weather and soil quality. According to Buzzfeed, the farm of the future will be in warehouses in the middle of the city, with crops #Growing in nutrient baths and temperature, light, and even the atmosphere tightly controlled.
Rand Paul is unhappy with the Obamacare replacement bill
#The House Republicans have rolled out their version of the replacement for Obamacare. Sen. #Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, who has his own Obamacare replacement bill, is very unhappy. He believes that the Republican bill is Obamacare light, according to CNN, for three reasons.
North Korean and Iranian missile tests cause threats to peace
Little remarked upon but of potentially grave concern, both Iran and North Korea tested ballistic missiles over the weekend. Both tests constitute threats to the peace of the Middle East and the Northern Pacific respectively, according to Hot Air. The Iranian tests were meant to demonstrate the Islamic Republic’s ability to strike at #United States Navy ships. North Korea aims at frightening South Korea and Japan and extending a middle finger to the United States.
Monday, March 06, 2017
Negative media coverage of President Trump begins to take its toll
On the one hand, the #media’s relentlessly #Negative coverage of President Donald Trump has started to take its toll. On the other hand, the toll that is being taken is on the media. That conclusion was reached by the results of an IBD/TIPP Poll. 55 percent of respondents declared that they have grown weary of the media’s negative portrayal of the Trump. 54 percent responded in the affirmative that the media had assumed the role of the opposition party and not a fair and balanced purveyor of the news.
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks to team up in ‘The Post’
#Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, who last collaborated on the historical drama “Bridge of Spies,” teaming up for another movie set in American history “The Post.” The film, about the Washington Post’s involvement in #The Pentagon Papers affair, will also star Merryl Streep as Post publisher Katherine Graham. Hanks will star as the Post’s chief editor Ben Bradlee and Spielberg will direct.
Could Obama sue Trump for libel over the wiretapping allegations?
President Donald Trump accused Barack #Obama of having him wiretapped, and the media cannot talk about much else. The debate has mostly revolved around whether #trump is talking out of his hat or rather there is something to the allegations. According to Hot Air, NBC News, which tends to take the former view, is speculating that the current #President libeled his predecessor and therefore is open to a lawsuit.
Academics ask what if Donald Trump was a woman and Hillary Clinton a man?
The #2016 Election was the first in American history that pitted a female candidate against a male one. That the erratic, rude, and arrogant man beat the calm, confident woman has proven to be a mystery to supporters of the latter. So a group of academics at NYU decided on an experiment. They hired an actress to play a Donald Trump character named Brenda King and an actor to play a Hillary Clinton character named Jonathan Gordon, They reenacted excerpts of some of the debates, with each actor replicating the speech patterns and body language of the person of the opposite gender they were portraying.
In ‘The Walking Dead’ Rick and Michonne had a road trip
Most of #The Walking Dead, Season 7, Episode 12, “Say Yes” concerned Rick and Michonne’s #Road Trip to hunt for supplies, especially guns and ammo that would be useful to put an end to Negan. The trek works as a fun vacation to this pair of lean, mean zombie killing machines. They have a lot of opportunities for taking sex breaks. For a while, all is right with the world, even when they kill a couple of golfers who happen to be Saviors for their stuff.
United States Air Force stepping up development of laser weapons
With the new Donald Trump administration firmly installed and planning a military buildup, the #United States #Air Force has started testing laser cannons again. The Air Force just announced that it would be equipping AC-130 gunships for testing. The laser-equipped aircraft could be a game changer for aerial combat. Eventually the military hopes to miniaturize lasers enough so that they can be installed on fighter jets such as the F-15, F-16, and the new F-35.
Barbara Streisand complains that Donald Trump is making her fat
President #Donald Trump seems to be causing a few performance artists to develop #Eating Disorders. First, Lena Dunham, the purveyor of HBO’s “Girls” and purple prose laden essays, complained that the president had put her off her food and made her lose weight. Now #Barbara Streisand is saying that Trump is making her fat. The venerable actress and singer is indulging in pancakes covered with maple syrup as a form of comfort eating to stave off the horror of the Great Trump Terror.
Chuck Schumer moves to deny Donald Trump funding for the Wall
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York has been having loads of fun aggravating President Donald Trump. Between slow walking the president’s nominees and whipping up scandals, the Democratic leader has indeed raised POTUS’ blood pressure. But these actions constitute harassment tactics, and the Russian gambit may backfire, thanks to the Obama wiretapping kerfuffle. But now Schumer plans to hit one of Trump’s keenest desires. According to the Axios, the Democratic Senate leader wants to stop the Wall.
Sunday, March 05, 2017
A magnetic shield in space could help terraform Mars within years
One of the futuristic dreams of space visionaries is the idea of terraforming #Mars, restoring it to the green, wet world with an atmosphere that many scientists believe that it possessed billions of years ago. A number of terraforming schemes exist, mostly having to do with restoring Mars’ atmosphere and thus producing a greenhouse effect that would raise the temperature on the planet and release trapped water at the poles. Now, according to Popular Mechanics, Jim Green, NASA's Planetary Science Division Director, presented a fresh idea for turning Mars into a new Earth at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop.
Is the future of NASA and the private sector cooperation or competition?
With both NASA and SpaceX contemplating trips around the moon before the end of the decade, questions are arising about the future of the relationship between the #Space agency and commercial space. As with anything, the answer depends on who one asks.
The plan to take Raqqa from ISIS is taking shape
Raqqa in Syria is the center of the Islamic State, the headquarters from which worldwide attacks are being planned and the efforts to create a new caliphate in the Middle East. The town is, therefore, the prime target for President Trump’s plans to destroy #ISIS, the terrorist army that has rocked the world with its atrocities. The project to take Raqqa has begun to take shape, according to the Washington Post, and it involves the introduction of more #American helicopter gunships and artillery units to support a fragile coalition of Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters that will be the ground troops that will take the town. Also, certain restrictions in the air bombing campaign designed to avoid civilian casualties will be lifted.
Sen. Tom Cotton says that Trump’s wiretap accusation will be investigated
President #Donald Trump’s Twitter accusation that President Obama ordered the Trump Tower wiretapped has elicited hot denials from the Obama camp, eye rolling in the media, and more angry tweets from the president himself. Now, according to #Sen Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, the matter will be part of the wider investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin’s Russia, according to the Washington Examiner.
House’ creator developing ‘The Good Doctor’ about a surgeon with savant syndrome
“House” was a long-running TV show that starred Hugh Laurie as a brilliant diagnostician who had a large number of issues, mainly regarding his ability to deal with other human beings. Now David Shore, the creator of “House” and Daniel Dae Kim who appears on the modern version of “Hawaii Five-O” is developing a new series said to be done in a South Korean format. The series, which has a pilot commitment from ABC, is called “The Good Doctor” which will star Freddie Highmore as Dr. Shaun Murphy, a brilliant surgeon who has #Savant Syndrome. Chuku Modu, who plays Aggo on “Game of Thrones” has been cast to play Dr. Jared Under, a resident at the hospital where Murphy practices.
Obama cyber and electronic war effort did not stop North Korean missile program
The New York Times is reporting that the Obama Administration was not entirely idle when it came to the #North Korean missile threat. The previous president ordered a campaign of cyber and electronic attacks to disrupt missile tests being conducted by the reclusive communist country. While North Korea’s missile test program has had a great many failures, it is unclear how many of them are the result of American military action and how many of them were caused by North Korean incompetence. In the meantime, the country’s drive to develop an ICBM capable of delivering a nuclear warhead on the west coast of North America is proceeding. The Trump administration is faced with some unpleasant options since current anti-missile defenses have been judged to be inadequate for dealing with a missile attack.
Saturday, March 04, 2017
From the Houston Chronicle: Pluto's status is in the eye of its beholder
Gene Cernan, the last moonwalker, died before meeting the next moonwalker
The death of Gene Cernan, the last moonwalker, was mourned not only for the passing of an American hero but also for the fact that he did not live long enough to see his greatest desire fulfilled, to no longer be the last man to walk on the moon. He had not yet left the lunar surface for the last time that December day in 1972 when he said the following, as much a plea as a promise.The Last Moonwalker and Other Stories
Trump accuses Obama of wiretapping him Watergate style
The latest outrageous outrage to emerge from President Trump’s keyboard and spill across Twitter is the accusation by the current president that the previous president wiretapped the #trump Tower. A spokesperson for the former president immediately worded a carefully crafted denial that did not suggest that a wiretap was not placed on the Trump Tower but only that the former president did not personally order it.
How the left learned to stop worrying and learned to love George W. Bush
The old narrative about George W. Bush was that he was a bloodthirsty war monger who sent us into war in Iraq by telling lies about WMDs to enrich his oil baron buddies and let New Orleans drown because he hates black people. The new narrative about #Dubya is that he is a wise, moderate elder statesman who would never do any of those terrible things that Donald Trump is doing. The conclusion about the strange new respect that the younger Bush is getting comes in a Wall Street Journal piece by Kim Strassel. The left had finally bought into the “Miss me yet?” meme that everyone else did when Obama was in power.
Colin Kaepernick experiences a new birth of patriotism
It looks like that the prospect of being a free agent has injected a little patriotism into #Colin Kaepernick. He has announced that henceforth he will no longer take a knee when the #National Anthem is played at games but will stand like everyone else. It is a marvel what the need to repair one’s brand can do for someone’s sense of decency.
Scientists look ahead to the next 33 years of planetary science
Recently NASA held a workshop on “Planetary Science Vision 2050.” The workshop was a multidiscipline discussion of how space exploration should develop over the next 33 years. Leaving aside the opportunities presented by new technologies such as commercial CubeSats and Star Trek-like life detectors, a number of choices confronted the workshop attendees according to an article in Air and Space.
Friday, March 03, 2017
Jeff Sessions mulls a marijuana crackdown
For the past few years, a number of states such as Colorado and Washington State have allowed the recreational use of #marijuana. Despite the fact that pot is still a controlled substance on the federal level, the Obama administration had chosen to look the other way. But with the new Trump administration, the pot party may be about to end. The Trump White House is sending mixed signals, but it looks like it may be on its way to crack down on legal recreation marijuana. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a particularly old school approach to dealing with pot heads.
LA Times columnist gets it wrong in space exploration piece
While most people, even in the media, are excited by the possibilities presented by President Trump’s desire to make America great again through #space exploration, Michael Hiltzik, writing for the #La Times s not among them Hiltzik has published a column that calls into question the entire notion of human spaceflight.
Juan Thompson arrested in connection to the Jewish community center bomb threats
The FBI has made an arrest in connection with the wave of threatening phone calls to Jewish community centers across the country, according to Hot Air. The suspect is Juan Thompson, described as a disgraced left-wing journalist.
Patrick Stewart to become an American to fight Donald Trump
#Patrick Stewart, who appears in the new movie “Logan,” has decided to apply for American citizenship. The British-born actor, known best for his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” is taking the plunge so that he might “fight” President Donald Trump.
Jeff Bezos proposed ‘Amazon-like’ deliveries to the moon
The latest private company to express an interest in returning to the moon is Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin. According to the Washington Post, also owned by Bezos. The space launch company has proposed a vehicle called “#Blue Moon”: that would deliver robots to the south pole of the moon to begin the construction of a lunar base. The first landing could happen in 2020 if Blue Origin could execute a deal with NASA. The trope that Bezos is planning to extend “Amazon-like” delivery to the moon has already become established in the media narrative.
Thursday, March 02, 2017
Latest trailer for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ out
The first two trailers of the latest film adventure of Captain Jack Sparrow didn’t tell us a lot about what to expect. Not so the latest trailer of “Pirates of the Caribbean: #dead men tell No Tales.” It looks like Captain Sparrow’s past is starting to catch up with him.
The case for building a space infrastructure
With the #Donald Trump administration infrastructure building has become all the rage again. Trump has promised to spend a lot of money fixing roads and bridges, upgrading air ports as well as canals and sea ports. The project will enhance America’s ability to move people and goods across the country and around the world. Not coincidentally the building program would employ tens of thousands of people.
Chuck Schumer wants the head of Jeff Sessions on a pike
Sen Chuck Schumer, in a state of high indignation only possible when a politician smells the blood of an enemy, strode up before the microphones and TV cameras and demanded the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The reason the Senate Minority Leader made this demand was that Sessions neglected to inform the senate committee handling his confirmation that he had met with the Russian Ambassador twice last year when he was still a senator. Since the Democrats are obsessed with the idea that President Donald Trump is a Manchurian candidate under the thumb of Vladimir Putin, Sessions must now go.
Sanders supporters take out their anger by threatening Democratic lawmakers
In a certain sign that the resentments felt by the Bernie Sanders wing of the #Democratic Party have not been soothed, the Hill reports that the left is threatening to put up primary opponents against Democratic lawmakers who are too accommodating to President #Donald Trump. The strategy is likely to provide headaches for Democrats who are running for reelection in red states that were carried by Trump in the #2016 Election. Ten Democratic senators, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia, may be targeted.
Robert Bigelow proposes lunar orbital station by 2020
With the Trump administration contemplating a return to the moon and both NASA and SpaceX planning missions around Earth’s nearest neighbor, commercial space companies are starting to take notice and prepare for possible opportunities. With that idea in mind, #Robert Bigelow of Bigelow Aerospace has started tweeting about a lunar orbital space station that would be based around his B330 #Inflatable Module, according to Florida Politics.
Trump administration contemplating military action against North Korea
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the #trump administration has not ruled out a military first strike against #North Korea should that country be on the brink of testing an ICBM capable of delivering a nuclear warhead against the United States. That such a risky option is being serious contemplated illustrates the grave seriousness that the White House regards the possession of nuclear weapons with missiles to deliver them in the hands of a regime run by a madman.
Wednesday, March 01, 2017
Buzz Aldrin comments on Elon Musk’s moonshot
With all of the media buzz about going back to the moon, the latest news being SpaceX’s plans to send two unidentified well-heeled and adventurous people around the moon, inevitably a human being who had actually been there would weigh in. #Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, seemed, at first, to be singularly unimpressed with the idea, according to a CBS affiliate in San Francisco.
Are you ready for President Oprah Winfrey?
The sudden and unexpected accession of Donald Trump to the presidency has caused a lot of strange reactions, mainly from the stages of grief, anger, sorrow, denial, bargaining, and so on, all except for acceptance. #Oprah Winfrey, the #Goddess Empress of all media, has reacted by thinking, in effect, if him then why not me, according to the UK Daily Mail.
Conservative Republican Rep. John Culberson supports the ‘March for Science’
The organizers of the so-called “March for Science” gained an unexpected supporter, according to Science Magazine, in the form of Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that controls most federal science spending, including NASA. When told about the March, the conservative, Republican congressman offered enthusiastic support.
Congressional candidate Brianna Wu is afraid of weaponized moon rocks
It turns out that not everyone is excited about both NASA and commercial companies going back to the moon. It turns out that Brianna Wu, the central figure in an Internet scandal known as “Gamergate,” and now a candidate for the United States Congress from Massachusetts is very afraid that someone on the moon might threaten the Earth by dropping #Moon Rocks on it. Since the news is being reported in the Washington Times and not the Onion, we have to assume that she really said this.
Democrats react to Trump’s speech with studied lack of enthusiasm
One of the more tedious aspects of President Donald Trump’s speech before a joint session of Congress was how little enthusiasm the #democrats greeted it. The phenomenon is a commons one. Republicans pretty much greeted Obama’s speeches with little joy, in one instance a House member shouting out, :”You lie!” in total exasperation. But Roger Simon, a novelist and former Democrat, suggested that the Democrats outdid themselves in forced ennui when greeting Trump, even when he delivered applauds lines that should have been universal. He suggested that the Democrats have become the party of the #Living Dead.
President Trump to offer path to legality for illegal immigrants
One of President Donald Trump’s most effective issues while he was running was illegal immigration. He promised to make a tough stand, building a wall across the southern border, and even painting an apocalyptic vision of sending troops fanning across the country to deport every one of the 11 million of so illegals thought to reside in the United States. But that was then and this is now. Trump, according to Hot Air, has signaled a more moderate approach to illegal immigration.
President Trump pays tribute to fallen Navy SEAL and his widow
In a wide-ranging speech before a joint session of Congress that touched on issues like immigration, infrastructure, Obamacare, and jobs, President Donald Trump paid tribute to #Ryan Owens, a #Navy Seal who died during a controversial raid in Yemen. He pointed out Owens’ widow, Carryn Owens, who was present in the guest gallery. As Ms. Owens wept and prayed, mouthing “thank you” most of the people present in the chamber gave her and her fallen husband a two-minute standing ovation. The moment was the most affecting in the entire over one-hour speech.
Trump misses space exploration opportunity in joint session speech
When the rumors started the afternoon before President Donald Trump’s address before a #Joint Session of Congress that he was going to make a call for more #space exploration, a rare excitement spread through the aerospace community. Trump has been known to favor a return to the moon using commercial partnerships. NASA has already been ordered to study the possibility of a crewed flight around the moon by 2019. SpaceX is planning a similar mission a year earlier. The president had been advised to include space in his first speech before Congress. The reality was inspirational but fell short of JFK calling for sending a man to the moon in 1961 or President Ronald Reagan announcing the space station project in 1984.Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?