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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Saturday, April 22, 2017

‘March for Science’ denies the existence of Earth-like worlds in the universe

One of the signs that the so-called “#March for Science” has been taken over by the usual gaggle of left-wing social justice warriors can be read on the front of one of the event’s official T-shirts, “There is No Planet B.” The implication is that if humanity does not take drastic and draconian action on climate change and various other problems, we will lose the only planet there is and we will all die. However, Keith Cowing of NASA Watch has decided to push back with a tweet that reads, “There is a Planet B. Thousands. Millions of them. Without @NASA @NSF science funding we will never find them. #ScienceMarch”

Milo Yiannopoulos threatens to invade UC Berkeley

The last we heard about Milo Yiannopoulos he had slunk away in disgrace, having had an old video of him surfaced that showed the right-wing provocateur seemingly to endorse gay sex with 13-year-olds. He lost a book deal, prime speaking gigs, and was obliged to quit his position at Breitbart. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Milo is plotting a comeback. We have #uc berkeley and #Ann Coulter to thank for it.

Friday, April 21, 2017
SpaceIl is likely out of the Google Lunar XPrize race to the moon

Barring a last minute extension of the December 31, 2017 deadline, the participants in the Google Lunar X Prize now number four. The Israeli team, SpaceIl has discovered, according to Quartz, that its ride on a SpaceX Falcon 9 will not happen until 2018. Difficulties packing in the SpaceIl lunar lander were cited, but one suspects that the recent launch Falcon 9 launch disasters and the subsequent backlog of customers waiting for a ride into space did not help.

‘The X-Files’ to return for an 11th season

The news that "The X-Files" will be coming back for an 11th albeit limited season will come as welcome news to the fans of the long-running show about two FBI agents pursuing occult cases and a world-wide conspiracy concerning UFOs and alien invasion. The limited 10th season ended last year with Special Agent Mulder dying and an alien spacecraft hovering over our heroes, including his longtime partner in both investigation and love, Special Agent Scully. If any cliffhanger cried out to be resolved, that one was it.

The robots vs humans in space debate rears its ugly head again

The debate concerning exploring space with robots or with humans does not crop up much anymore. A 2004 Study by the British Royal Astronomical Society settled the science of that question firmly on the side of both robots and humans, something NASA has recognized since its beginning. Most of the scientists who tended to deny this truth, such as James Van Allen and Robert Park, are either dead or retired. However, Don Lincoln, a physicist at Fermilab, takes up the banner in a recent article on the CNN website.

Champs Elysees police shooting seen as helping Marine Le Pen’s candidacy

One of the most recent terrorist outrages took place recently along the Champs Elysees when an ISIS gunman opened up on a police car parked along the Avenue, killing one officer and wounded two. The terrorist was killed trying to escape, and the investigation is ongoing. The Washington Post suggests that the attack is likely to benefit French presidential candidate #Marine Le Pen, whose #National Front Party is running on an anti-immigrant, anti-terrorism platform. The first stage of the election is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 23. The top two voter winners of that round will face one another in the second round of voting two weeks later on May 7.

Clint Eastwood’s next movie to be called ‘The 15:17 to Paris’

According to Variety, Clint Eastwood has announced the title and subject of his next movie. The film is called “The 15:17 to #Paris.” The film will depict an incident on board a train in France when three Americans thwarted an ISIS terrorist massacre by jumping and subduing a jihadi who attempted to shoot passengers with a machine gun.

Despite UC Berkeley flip-flop confrontation with Ann Coulter looms

The back and forth between conservative writer #Ann Coulter and the University of California at Berkeley has undergone some twists and turns. UC Berkeley had withdrawn an invitation to speak on campus on #April 27 citing security concerns. Then Coulter vowed to show up anyway to deliver her addressed, regardless of the university’s wishes, in effect daring it to stop her. Then #uc berkeley reinstated the invitation but rescheduled for May 2. Coulter responded by stating she is coming on April 27 regardless.

Thursday, April 20, 2017
You never guess who paid President Trump a visit

It sounds like a fun story one would tell at a watering hole over a couple of pints. “#Sarah Palin, #Ted Nugent, and Kid Rock walk into the Oval Office and—“ They apparently had dinner with the president, something that would have to be very memorable with four such colorful people in the same room.

Socialist regime of Venezuela seized control of GM auto plant

General Motors’ automobile assembly plant in Venezuela has been seized by the socialist regime of President Nicolas Maduro. Assembled cars were taken off the lot, no doubt to be distributed to Maduro’s cronies. GM has promised to protest in the courts and otherwise pursue all legal action. One can only say good luck with that. Maduro is presiding over an increasingly failed state in which he jails dissidents and takes private property at will. It is even arresting pastry chefs. One of the only reasons that the good people of Venezuela have not dragged Maduro out of his presidential palace and strung him up from a lamp post is that they are too weak from hunger to stage a revolution.

Ted Cruz to hold commercial space senate hearing

Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas has proven to be a champion for commercial space ever since he took over the Senate Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee after the Republicans won control of the upper legislative body. The language that he included in the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act that allowed commercial companies to retain possession of materials they mine from the moon and asteroids is considered landmark, albeit a little controversial outside the United States. Now he is taking the next step, crafting a new NASA Authorization Bill and more commercial space legislation. Toward that purpose, Cruz is holding a hearing on April 26 entitled “Reopening the American Frontier: Reducing Regulatory Barriers and Expanding American Free Enterprise in Space.”

Team Hillary launches all out mole hunt to find out who talked to reporters

As all the world knows now “Shattered,” a new book about the 2016 #Hillary Clinton campaign, revealed a lot about why Donald Trump is now president of the #United States. Between the incompetence, back biting, back stabbing, and self-delusion on the part of the candidate and her cronies, the second attempt at a Clinton restoration was doomed from the start. Now, according to the New York Post, Clinton staffers have launched a #Mole Hunt to find out who talked so that they can be punished. Some suspicion has fixed on Huma Abedin, Clinton’s right-hand woman. The idea that Abedin blabbed to a couple of reporters dirt on her benefactor seems unlikely. She and Hillary are still close and, besides, if she wanted to air some dirty laundry she would have saved it for her memoirs now being shopped around.

Texas moves to establish statewide regulations for Uber, Lyft ride sharing

The #Texas House is moving rapidly to establish statewide regulations for #Ride Sharing services such as #uber and Lyft. The push is in response to draconian rules passed by Austin that drove both companies from the Texas capital and significantly constrained transportation options for its citizens. Uber and Lyft have clashed with other Texas cities, primarily over demands to have drivers fingerprinted. Houston reached a temporary agreement with Uber to see it through the Super Bowl which, as of this writing, is still in effect.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson serves notice on Iran

The day after the State Department certified Iran as being in compliance with the nuclear arms deal, #Secretary of State #Rex Tillerson strode before the TV cameras and dropped the other shoe. He noted that the deal only delays the day that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons and noted that President Donald Trump had ordered a review of the agreement and the state of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. #The United States has already imposed a set of sanctions on Iran as a result of illegal missile tests.

Ann Coulter barred from speaking at UC Berkeley, she plans to speak anyway

#The University of California at Berkeley, the scene of riots weeks ago that drove former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos from a campus speaking engagement, has rescinded an invitation to speak by College Republicans for #Ann Coulter, the conservative author, and media personality. The University claims that it was unable to find a safe venue to make her remarks amidst threats of violence by student radicals. Coulter has vowed to show up at the University and speak anyway.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Why ‘The Americans’ Paige Jenner is a victim of Soviet communism

The victims of communism number in the hundreds of millions, many killed, tortured, imprisoned, and otherwise forced to live in horrible, oppressive regimes. “The Americans” depicts one of those victims who, while certainly not suffering in a Siberian labor camp or being shot in the back of the head in a Soviet prison, is slowly, gradually being corrupted by her parents, who happen to be deep cover Soviet agents living in America of the 1980s. Her name is #Paige Jenner, a teenage girl who realizes that her parents are not whom she always thought they were. The revelation is proving to be an almost unendurable strain on a girl who already has her share of teenage problems.

‘Silver Wings’ to tell the story of the WASPs, women pilots in World War II

“Hidden Figures” was the surprise breakout hit film of 2016, depicting the trials and tribulations of three African American woman who played crucial roles in the early space program. Naturally, Hollywood has been in the hunt for the next big project about women who accomplished great things while fighting against discrimination. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “#Silver Wings” may be that project.

The real reason the State Department gave Iran a pass on the nuclear arms deal

As Hot Air reports, the #State Department has certified Iran as being in compliance with the nuclear weapons agreement. The decision has raised some eyebrows since not only do many outside analysts believe that Iran is continuing to develop nuclear weapons clandestinely but that President Trump has promised to tear up the agreement. Also, Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism. To be sure Trump has ordered a review of the agreement, but for right now it remains in force.

Report: Bill O’Reilly is out at Fox News

According to New York Magazine, Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the time slot at #Fox News that he has occupied for 21 years, since the beginning of FNC. The allegations of #Sexual Harassment and the $13 million in settlements that make those accusations seem credible were too much. While O’Reilly maintains good ratings with the viewers, advertisers have been abandoning “The O’Reilly Factor” like a sinking ship. After the Roger Ailes fiasco, Fox News just cannot afford to brazen it out with another older, male employee accused of being boorish and worse to young females.

The media starts to puff up Chelsea Clinton as a woman of importance

With #Hillary Clinton’s second run for the presidency having gone down in flames, the hopes of a Clinton restoration now resides on the young shoulders of daughter Chelsea. Michelle Malkin notes that some of the media are already flogging the idea of her as a House of Clinton princess, a president in waiting. Vanity Fair has even given her some sort of award and has placed her on the cover.

Scientists are looking toward Triton, a moon of Neptune, for a closer look

While NASA is excited about the Europa Clipper and the European JUICE probes that will head for the ice-bound moon of Jupiter Europa and dream of sending probes to Enceladus and Titan, moons orbiting Saturn, some attention is being directed to a Triton, a moon of Neptune. Triton may have to be added to the list of ice worlds that might harbor a warm water ocean warmed by tidal forces. But several details about the moon complicate matters.

Democrats fall short again, this time in Georgia

Democrats had their hearts set on winning a special election in the sixth congressional district of Georgia as a means to rebuke President Donald Trump. However, sometime after the polls closed, the 30-year-old Jon Ossoff had fallen short against a field of several Republicans, gaining below 50 percent of the vote. He is headed for a June runoff against #Karen Handel, a former Georgia Secretary of State.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Who is really to blame for NASA’s spaceflight gap?

The estimable Eric Berger at Ars Technica notes that #NASA has just entered the longest period during which it has not launched a person into space. The previous spaceflight gap was between the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission of 1975 and the first flight of the space shuttle Columbia in 1981. The current gap started with the final flight of the space shuttle and will not end until one of the commercial crew vehicles flies hopefully in late 2018, though some think that event will be delayed until 2019.

New book depicts a poignant scene in the Clinton inner circle on election night

The Washington Post has a review of the first of what is likely to be many books about the 2016 presidential campaign, “Shattered: Inside #Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign.” Included is an account of what transpired in the Clinton inner circle when they started to realize that their candidate was going to get beat by Donald Trump. Clinton comes off a little better than previous accounts that included screaming, cursing, and throwing things. Then President Barack Obama actually assumes a heroic role of sorts.

Ted Cruz warns that Democrats are plotting a government shutdown

Sen #Ted Cruz, R-Texas informed reporters recently that he was afraid that #democrats were plotting to shut down the government by opposing the passage of a spending bill designed to fund the United States government for the rest of the current fiscal year. In so doing. Cruz executed a Jedi level trolling.

Doctor at the center of a female genital mutilation case denied bail

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, the Indian Muslim doctor who is accused of performing female genital mutilations out of her office in the Detroit area, was denied bail by a judge, meaning that she will remain in jail as her trial proceeds. Meanwhile, her lawyer has claimed that Nagarwala was performing a “#Religious Ritual” and that the girls in question were not cut The medical examiner who examined the young alleged victims disagreed and noted that the labia of one had been removed and a small tear existed on a second girl.

Jon Ossoff doesn’t even live in the Georgia district he is running for

#Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, is facing a crowded field of Republicans in a race to win a special election for the 6th Congressional District of #Georgia, the seat held by Tom Price before he became President Donald #trump’s secretary of health and human services. Ossoff represents the best hope the anti-Trump left has of grabbing a previously solid Republican seat in a special election and proving that the Resistance is strong and growing. However, only one problem exists.

Mandy Patinkin explains why ‘Homeland’ switched sides in the War on Terror

“Homeland,” the long-running Showtime drama about the #war on terror, had some head jerking twists in the most recent season now concluded. Between the distinct impression many viewers had that the show had switched sides to support the Islamic terrorists and the end when the newly elected female president ordered a mass arrest of her opponents in the intelligence and military communities, “Homeland” seemed to take a new, unsettling direction. Now actor #Mandy Patinkin, who plays spymaster Saul Berenson, opened his mind about the show and his personal attitudes toward the long war.

Theresa May calls for early elections in the United Kingdom

British Prime Minister Theresa May has called for early elections in the #United Kingdom to occur on June 8. The prime minister suggested that the election is needed to “guarantee certainty and security for years ahead." The particular reason is that the opposition parties, mainly Labour, are obstructing Brexit, the process of separating Great Britain from the European Union. She would like to ram home her mandate to complete the separation by returning with an increased majority in the British Parliament.

Monday, April 17, 2017
How ‘The White Princess’ does violence to history and why it doesn’t matter

“#The White Princess,” which just premiered on the Starz Network, is one of those excellent dramas where the women get to wear cute clothes and the men get to sword fight as the struggle for political supremacy proceeds apace. The series, a sequel to “The White Queen,” starts after the conclusion of the Battle of Bosworth in England in the year of Our Lord 1485. The series, like most that make it to the big and small screens, does a little bit of violence to history. Leaving aside the fact that women likely didn’t wield as much power as the series and its predecessor depicted, some changes were made from the historical record for dramatic purposes.

Now that HBO’s ‘Girls’ is gone forever how do we undo the damage?

Now that “Girls” is on the ash heap of history, with its main character, the corpulent Hannah left a single mom, unable to have sex (unfortunately only temporarily) and without pants (you had to be watching the last few minutes of the show while waiting for “Veep” to come on) how to repair the damage that horrible show did to #Millennial Women? If one did not know about the series creator Lena Dunham’s epic meltdown on election night when Hillary lost, one would think she is a secret misogynist for her depiction of the self-absorbed children who drink, drug, and copulate to excess while whining about how horrible their lives are.

NASA approves instruments to fly on ESA JUpiter ICy Moons Explorer (JUICE)

As it turns out, the Europa Clipper is not the only space probe slated to head for Europa in the 1990s. The European Space Agency is preparing the JUpiter #Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) for a launch in 2022 and arrival in Jupiter space in 2029. JUICE will spend four years studying the atmosphere of Jupiter as well as her major moons, Europa along with Io. Callisto and Ganymede. #NASA is a partner in the expedition and has provided one of the ten instruments to be carried aboard as well as components for two others.

Doug Derwin is mad at Elon Musk for being friends with Donald Trump

Doug Derwin is very cross at #Elon Musk. According to Bloomberg, it is not because the lawyer and venture capitalist is opposed to going to Mars or electric cars. Indeed, he almost bought a Tesla. Derwin is irate at the CEO of SpaceX because he has a cozy relationship with President Donald Trump. He is so furious that he is spending millions of a campaign to try to shame Musk into breaking all ties with the president and to denounce him as a #Global warming denier.

‘Veep’ is back on HBO and Selina Meyer is still not happy

The new season of “Veep” has aired on #HBO and, as might be expected, all is not happy in #Selina Meyer land. A year has passed since the House of Representatives gave her the royal order of the boot from the presidency. The post-presidency part of Meyer’s life is proving to be a trial, which she deals with by abusing everyone around her with foul-mouthed vigor. The episode also contains a calumny about Reagan and AIDS.

Why Huma Abedin’s ‘tell all’ book will not work

One of the cottage industries that arise in the wake of a presidential race is a campaign memoir. One, coming out of the Clinton campaign, called “Shattered: Inside #Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign” describes a horror show in which the candidate regularly chewed out her staff for mistakes that she, in fact, had made. Now we hear that #Huma Abedin, Hillary’s right-hand aide, is shopping a memoir and wants $2 million for it.

More United Airlines customer service horror stories

#united airlines has another passenger incident to contend with, according to a report on Houston TV station KHOU. This time no cell phone footage exists recording the incident that involved a #Bride And Groom flying to Costa Rica to get married. They were booted off the flight and forced to take a later one to their wedding to take place several days later. Why this happened is a matter of dispute.

Sunday, April 16, 2017
Berkeley scene of street brawl between pro-Trump and anti-Trump demonstrators

Berkeley was the venue for #Political Violence again when Trump supporters staged a rally at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. The demonstrators were met by black-clad so-called “Antifa” counter-demonstrators. A bloody brawl ensued with fistfights breaking out, rocks thrown and blunt instruments used. In the end, police had arrested 21 people, and 11 people sustained injuries.

Jim Bridenstine called into second interview for NASA Administrator

Congressman #Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma recently revealed that he had been called in for a second interview with the Trump administration for his sought after job as #Nasa Administrator. Bridenstine suggests as anyone would looking for a new job that the second interview is a good sign. The second interview also suggests that the Trump administration is beginning to firm up its long-awaited space policy and wants to hear Bridenstine’s thoughts on the matter.

North Korean missile explodes on launch as tensions mount

The day after a celebration of the 105 anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the founder of the #North Korean state, that featured displays of what experts called an ICBM, and a submarine-launched missile capable of reaching the #United States, North Korean attempted to test a ballistic missile. The weapon exploded on launch, and some have speculated that the accident was the result of an American cyberattack. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence, whose father won the Bronze Star for service in the Korean War, was in Seoul, South Korea, noting how the attempted launch was a provocation that constituted a danger for the entire reason.

Saturday, April 15, 2017
The Moab strike in Afghanistan sends a message to Pyongyang

One has to hand it to President Donald Trump. He knows something about motivating terrorists and tyrants. The latest assessment of the butcher’s bill as a result of the MOAB bombing of the ISIS tunnel complex has now risen to about 100 including four commanders. No one will be surprised if the eventual number of jihadis whose mortal remains reside underground thanks to cave-ins and suffocation will be much higher. The action may have had some effects thousands of miles away, in North Korea.

Could fusion power open Pluto and the outer planets to exploration?

Recent political and technological developments have allowed space planners to dream big for the first time in some years. One such big idea consists of a fusion powered and propelled probe to #Pluto that would consist of a lander and an orbiter According to the Next Big Future, the concept is based on the Princeton Field-Reversed Configuration (PFRC) fusion reactor under development at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. It is an integrated power and propulsion system that could change the way long distance space exploration is conducted.

Is fusion energy the power source of the future?

A recent article in Forbes examines the #fossil fuels vs. renewables argument and has found both of them to be wanting. Fossil fuels belch out pollutants that can be problematic, even if one is a c climate change skeptic. Renewables, on the other hand, have a problem in that their intermittent. Solar does not work when the sun is not shining. Wind does not operate on calm days. #energy storage technology such as batteries may be inadequate to deal with the problem. Needless to say nuclear power has gotten bad press in recent decades, partly because of a handful of high-profile accidents at power plants that have proven very costly.

Friday, April 14, 2017
What’s up with Anthony Bourdain and his ‘no white people’ decree?

Celebrity chef and media personality #Anthony Bourdain and a writer named Chris Baldwin have gotten into a social media feud of sorts. At issue is a “Parts Unknown” episode that aired on CNN last October which focused on some of Houston’s more obscure, ethnic eateries. Baldwin noted that Bourdain issued a “no #white people” edict when looking for restaurants to feature in a recent piece in Papercity. According to the Houston Chronicle, Bourdain snapped back on Twitter, “This is some shameful, dishonest race-baiting click bait. All involved should take a hard look in the mirror.”

The first trailer for ‘The Last Jedi’ comes out & it is all we expected it to be

The first trailer for “#Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has appeared and it doesn’t show anything about the next movie that we don’t already expect.

Detroit doctor accused of performing female genital mutilations on little girls

In the first case of its kind in the #United States, a Michigan doctor named Jumana Nagarwala has been charged with performing female genital mutilations on various young girls out of a clinic in Livonia. The case is being tried under a federal law that prohibits the practice. Nagarwala will get 15 years for each count if convicted, five for performing the operation and ten for transporting the little girls as young as six or seven to do the procedure. Nagarwala is said to be of “Indian origin.”

‘March for Science’ laments the MOAB bombing of ISIS

Further proof that the so-called “#March for Science” is not about science at all but rather the usual left-wing enthusiasms and grievances came in the form of a tweet on that group’s Twitter feed lamenting the dropping of the MOAB on an ISIS cave and tunnel complex in Afghanistan. The tweet, as the Daily Caller notes, read that the bombing was, “an example of how science is weaponized against marginalized people.” The tweet was eventually deleted but not before it went viral and copied in numerous media reports.

Experiments at Northwestern University in 3D printing moon and Mars habitats

The emerging technology of #3D Printing is promising to change the world in so many ways that it has proven to be beyond evaluation. Some researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago have found a way to use the technology to change other worlds as well, using simulations of moon and Mars dust to make things that can be as small as a spare part or as large as a habitat structure.

Thursday, April 13, 2017
Why didn’t Hitler use poison gas in combat?

As Sean Spicer, President Donald Trump’s spokesman, recovers from his Hitler, Syria, poison gas gaffe, the New York Times asks the question, why didn’t Hitler use Nazi Germany’s store os nerve agents such as sarin and tabun gas. The weapons were certainly available for use, even during the last months of #World War Ii in Europe when Hitler would have had every incentive to unleash weapons of mass destruction as a last ditched effort to save his regime.

NASA announces discoveries on Enceladus and Europa

NASA has announced that recent findings thanks to the Cassini mission to Saturn, the Galileo mission to Jupiter, and recent observations of Europa by the Hubble Space Telescope that point to the possibility of life on the ocean worlds of the outer planets.

Trump administration interested in lunar mining & technology spinoffs from NASA

While the world waits anxiously for the rollout of President Donald Trump’s space policy, a recent article in Motherboard provides a window into what the new administration may be thinking about in that area. Using documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, the Internet magazine has discovered that the Trump transition team is keen to develop a #lunar mining industry. The administration is also interested in commercializing the technology that the space agency is developing to complete its mission as a way to boost the American economy, spur economic growth, and create jobs.

The United States drops the ‘Mother of all Bombs’ on ISIS in Afghanistan

Fox News is reporting that #The United States has dropped the largest nonnuclear bomb in its arsenal on an ISIS tunnel complex in Nangarhar Province in Eastern Afghanistan. The GBU-43B Massive Ordinance #Air Blast weapon, known popularly as the “mother of all bombs” was developed during the early days of the Iraq War but has never before been used in combat. The MOAB contained 21,000 pounds of explosives and made a 300-meter blast crater. The weapon was delivered by an MC-130 aircraft. As of this writing, American military personnel are assessing the damage wrought by the MOAB weapon.

John Culberson sets NASA on a course to Europa

Whenever President Donald Trump rolls out his space policy, along with his pick for NASA administrator, he will have to pass it through Congress. Sen. Ted Cruz, who is working on a new NASA authorization bill, will be one player in that process. Cruz’s fellow Texas, Rep John Culberson, is another. As PBS recently noted, Culberson’s enthusiasms run beyond what one would think would be for a congressman from Houston near where the Johnson Spaceflight Center is located.

Republicans want Lois Lerner IRS investigation reopened

The Washington Times is reporting that congressional Republicans want the Justice Department to reopen the investigation of #Lois Lerner, the IRS official who was suspected of unlawfully targeting conservative and tea party groups who were applying for nonprofit status. The Obama Justice Department has already conducted an investigation and cleared Lerner of wrongdoing. However, the victims of the IRS harassment have claimed that conclusion constituted a white wash.

‘Designated Survivor’ abandons terrorism for gun control

Those who have been watching “Designated Survivor,” the show about a low-level cabinet secretary who suddenly becomes president of the United States when most of the government is slaughtered when the Capitol was blown up during the State of the Union have noticed a not so subtle change in storylines. The show has moved away from terrorism to political propaganda. Now the heroic President Kirkland, played by Keifer Sutherland, has left off hunting for the terrorists to ramming through “common sense gun safety” of the sort that has always failed in the real world because of Americans’ jealous adherence to the 2nd Amendment. The show devolved into science fiction by depicting such a measure as passing the Senate.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Mission Control to be restored to what it looked like during the moon landings

For anyone who was of age during the Apollo flights to the Moon, Mission Control in Houston is an iconic place. It was in Mission Operation Control Room 2 (MOCR-2) located on the third floor of what in Building 30 at the Johnson Spaceflight Center that the crew of #Apollo 11 reported that they had landed on the moon and later the first images were seen of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descending to the lunar surface. It was there that the words “Houston we have a problem” were first heard during the mission of Apollo 13.

Let’s ban cars to stop them from being used in terror attacks like Stockholm

In the United States whenever a mass shooting takes place inevitably calls for more “common sense” gun control arise. The rejoinder that is often heard goes something like, “Sure and let’s cut down on auto accidents by banning cars.” Now, according to Breitbart, sarcasm in America has become a serious public policy proposal in Sweden. In the wake of the Stockholm terror attack, an editorialist writing for the newspaper Aftonbladet has opined that it is now time to ban motor vehicles in city centers.

‘The Americans’ is the most subversive show on television

The current season of “The Americans,” the FX Channel show about a pair of KGB #Deep Cover agents living and spying in 1980s America, is proving to be among the most subversive television on the air, and in a good way. Slowly, with great deft, the show is demonstrating that the Cold War was not a fight between two soulless superpowers who were equally to blame for the conflict, but was a long, twilight struggled, to use a phrase spoken by JFK, between good and evil. Recent developments in the show have the main characters starting to wonder if they are on the wrong side.

Should Dr. David Dao have meekly given up his United Airlines seat?

As of this writing, Dr. David Dao, the passenger who was bodily dragged off of a #united airlines flight in full view of a number of cell phone cameras, is still in the hospital recovering from the injuries he received at the hands of airport security. He has lawyered up with the apparent intention of seeking redress for what happened to him in the courts. TMZ reports that #Dao’s injuries could have been easily prevented, according to flight attendants who noted that the arm rests on the seat where Dr. Dao was sitting could have been removed so that he could be extracted without bloodying him up.

Beto O’Rourke drops F-Bombs in his kickoff speech against Ted Cruz

Democrats have decided to go at least PG-13 if not hard R against Republicans in their rhetoric. One of the first candidates to try that strategy is Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, who is running to take the Senate seat of Ted Cruz. O’Rourke loosed many F-#bombs, according to a piece in the International Journal Review, in his kickoff rally in Dallas. The crowd seemed to be duly enthusiastic.

China stops buying coal from North Korea, buys from the United States instead

According to Fox News, the Chinese have turned back a fleet of North Korean freighters filled with coking coal, used to make steel, the one export that the Pyongyang regime has to sustain itself. At the same time, China closed an order for coal from the #United States. The decisions represent Beijing’s joining the world community in punishing #North Korea for its drive to build missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to the American homeland.

Democrats lose special election in Kansas by ‘only’ 6.8 percent

The first #Special Election of the Trump presidency took place in the 4th Congressional District of Kansas that had been vacated by Mike Pompeo to become Director of Central Intelligence. Democrats thought they might score an upset in the contest for the intensely red seat which has been held by Republicans since 1994. But, when the votes were tallied, they were forced to settle for what they called a moral victory of “only” losing by 6.8 percent, according to the New York Times.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Sean Spicer gets into trouble by mentioning Assad, Hitler, and chemical weapons

#Sean Spicer, President Trump’s press secretary, got himself into trouble when he declared, referring to Bashar Assad’s use of Sarin gas against his own people, that even Adolf #Hitler did not use #chemical weapons. Of course, many people were quick to point out that Hitler indeed used poison gas, carbon monoxide and later Zyklon B to exterminate Jews and others that Nazi Germany wished to see eradicated from the Earth.

Marine Le Pen may face far left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon in second round

The upcoming French presidential election has featured surprising strength from the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen of the National Front Party. The political betting had been that Le Pen would make round two of the balloting and then get beat handily by centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron. But Reuters is reporting that Jean-Luc Melenchon, the far left candidate of the well named Left Party that has proposed a 100 percent tax on the wealthy, an easing of immigration laws, and the withdraw of France from NATO. Melenchon is only four points behind Macron, and some think he may pull ahead to join Le Pen in the second round of balloting.

Democrats decide to use some of the seven deadly words in their rhetoric

McClatchy is reporting that some Democratic politicians have started to use #Obscene Language in their public pronouncements as a way to enhance their political standing with their base. The theory is that the liberal base is incandescent with rage and so people who need their votes have to cuss in order to show that they feel their anger. Besides, some are rationalizing the new obscene rhetoric by noting that Donald Trump used ungentlemanly language in the infamous Hollywood Access tape.

United Airline passenger identified as Dr. David Dao and has a ‘troubled past’

Multiple media reports about the United Airlines passenger who was dragged bodily and bloody off of a flight have added a new twist to the story. The passenger is identified as Dr. David Dao, and he is said to have a “troubled past.”

Putin accusing Trump of trying to justify war in Syria

Russian President Vladimir #Putin has ramped up the propaganda war over Assad’s gas attack and the subsequent American missile attack on a Syrian airfield. Putin is comparing the current situation to the stories of Iraqi WMDs in 2003 in the run-up to the invasion of that country. The implication is that President #trump is trying to justify a similar effort in Syria.

‘American Crime Story’ to handle the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair

Season one of “#american crime story” told the story of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, a great cause celebre of the 1990s. Season two will involve the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and season three will tell the story of the killing of Gianni Versace. Season four, though, will return to another great story of the 1990s, President Bill Clinton’s sordid sexual encounters with his intern #Monica Lewinsky and the subsequent impeachment of the president.

Joss Whedon implies Donald Trump wants to kill all gay people

#joss whedon used to be known as the purveyor of great TV shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly” as well as the director of the first two “Avengers” movies, successful renditions from the Marvel Comics universe. Now Whedon has become known as someone who says crazy things about Republicans in general and #Donald Trump in particular. According to PJ Media, Whedon offered a condemnation on Twitter of a drive in Chechnya and added, “and it's where we're headed if we don't unite and act.” In other words, the president is plotting a gay holocaust.

Monday, April 10, 2017
Trump gets praise for Syria missile strike – from former Obama staffers

President Donald #trump has gotten kudos for his strike on the Syrian airfield from an unexpected source. A number of former Obama administration staffers have congratulated him on a job well done. Some even offered a slam against the president they used to work for. According to Politico, one former senior staffer opined, “Our administration would never have gotten this done in 48 hours. It’s a complete indictment of Obama.”

United Airlines has passenger forcibly dragged off a plane

It was bad enough that #united airlines forcibly removed a doctor who was headed back to Louisville to make room for an airline employee who wanted to fly on standby. The company dragged the man off bloody and screaming as various passengers recorded the spectacle on their cell phones and uploaded it to social media in real time.

Are Iranians pining for a Return of the King?

One person who could not be more pleased with the election of Donald Trump as president of the #United States is Prince Reza Pahlavi, who had been living in exile ever since the Islamic Revolution overthrew the reign of his father, the last Shah of Iran. Pahlavi is very keen to overthrow the mullahs and replace their rule with a #Parliamentary Monarchy with respect for #Human Rights and a modern free market economy. He hopes that Trump will take a harder line with the mullahs than his predecessor, according to the Associated Press.

HBO’s ‘Girls’ is going away at last and none too soon

#HBO’s “Girls,” an awful show about four awful millennial women created by the most awful millennial woman of them all, Lena Dunham, is about to end its run. No one can be happier than another millennial woman, Jennifer Wright, who writes in the New York Post how the show in her view maligned her generation. The characters of “Girls” drink, drug, and sex to excess while maintaining an entitled attitude that would have shocked a member of the Bourbon family. They are all pretty unattractive in every sense of the word. Wright pines for the ladies of “Sex and the City” who, while they lived dysfunctional lives, at least looked glamorous while doing so.

About that twist at the end of ‘Homeland’ (spoilers)

The surprising twist at the end of season six of “#Homeland” was not the death of one of the major characters. Truth to yell, Quinn was on the point of death for most of the season and giving him a heroic end was more of a kindness than letting him linger from the after effects of being gassed in season five. No, the real twist was the revelation about who the real villain was.

Trump sends a carrier battle group to Korea

To demonstrate the seriousness with which it views the threat of a nuclear strike from #North Korea, the Trump administration has ordered a carrier strike group to turn around from a planned visit to Australia and move to a position off the Korean Peninsula. The White House has also leaked that it is contemplating placing nuclear weapons in South Korea and even a program of targeted assassination against Kin Jun-un and the senior North Korean leadership.

Aerospace managers scramble to cut the cost of NASA’s Space Launch System

One of the salutary effects if competition is that the entities involved try to cost costs to make their products more appealing. Something of the sort has developed in the next generation of heavy lift space rockets. With reusable commercial launch systems such as New Glenn and Falcon Heavy drawing night, managers if the #space launch system has moved to try to cut the cost of building and operating its rocket. Approaches include using 3D printing, automation streamlining supply chains, and even making more of the SLS reusable. The goal is to reduce the cost of building and to launch an SLS to $500 million a flight from the current $1 billion.

Sunday, April 09, 2017
Let’s blame the Exxon Valdez disaster on climate change

People would take the idea of climate change more seriously if people sounding the alarm about if they stopped trying to oversell it. Global warming has been blamed for just about every weather disaster, real and imagined, for the past 20 years. Now, according to a story in the LA Times, #Climate Change is to blame for another disaster, the wreck of the Exxon Valdez and the subsequent massive oil spill that polluted #Prince William Sound and wreaked havoc on wildlife in 1989.

The United States Air Forces mulls a military role in space

As humankind starts to spread out across the solar system, mining the moon and asteroids and building settlements on Mars, future space colonists are going to need law and order to survive. They are going to need, in effect, a real-life version of Star Fleet. suggests that #The United States #Air Force may fulfill the role as the solar system’s policeman. The matter came up at the recent 33rd National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Saturday, April 08, 2017
Captain America reimagined as a fascist ubermann

One of the other controversial storylines that #Marvel Comics has inflicted on its readers, besides turning Thor into a goddess and Iron Man into a teenage black girl, has been the one that revealed Steve Rogers, aka #Captain America, as a fascist working for the evil organization Hydra. Marvel claims that politics has nothing to do with the revisionist backstory of the good Captain, but that proved to be too much even for the left-leaning IO9. Clearly, the new evil Captain America is an allegory for Donald Trump.

Russia is shocked, shocked that Trump would attack Syria

While President Trump’s missile strike has been met with approval in the international community, Russia’s Vladimir Putin is the conspicuous exception. Russia is shocked, shocked that Trump would attack a sovereign country. The government of the Ukraine, so far as is known, has yet to comment. The Russians have moved a warship to the Eastern Mediterranean from where the middle strike took place and has frozen communications between American and Russian forces within Syria. The Kremlin is warning of dire consequences to follow.

Friday, April 07, 2017
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is sure he knows the real reason for the Syria attack

Proving that the left has fully embraced the paranoid style in American politics, MSNBC’s #Chris Matthews stated on the air that President #trump had missiles fired at that Syrian airfield not so much to stop Basher Assad from gassing babies but to stop the media from suggesting that he is Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian candidate. Matthews even suggested that the operation was concocted by Trump and Putin together to throw people off the scent of the secret alliance between the two world leaders.

Why Rand Paul is wrong about the Syrian missile strikes

The missile bombardment of the Syrian airfield from which a sarin gas attack was launched was met, in large part, by approval by the American political class. Even Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi added their words of support. One would have to be brave to take the side of a gasser of infants against the president of the #United States, even if his name is Donald Trump. Fortunately for those of us who write about politics, one such person exists, and his name is Sen. Rand Paul. R-Kentucky.

Marine Le Pen’s National Front is getting surprising support from French gays

The Associated Press is reporting a development happening in #French politics that, if true, will constitute one of the most bizarre events of the 21st Century. It seems that a large number of people in the French LGBT community are turning to the #National Front of #Marine Le Pen in the upcoming French presidential elections. French gays are motivated by a fear of radical Islam, which has made its power felt in recent terror attacks in Paris, as well as Rouen and Nice, as well as a gay nightclub in Orlando. Le Pen, for her part, is embracing her new supporters, purging the National Front of the homophobic tendencies cultivated by the party’s founder and her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Rachel Maddow fans outraged that she's bumped by Brian Williams for Syria strike

When #Breaking News happens such as the cruise missile strike on the Syrian air base from which a sarin gas attack is launched, cable news networks break into regularly scheduled programming and start wall to wall coverage of the event. Because the assault happened during prime time, a lot of favorite programming gets bumped. On MSBC that meant that #Rachel Maddow had to give way to #Brian Williams, a venerable anchor who is in exile on that network for lies, he told about his life experiences while working for NBC News. Maddow’s fan base erupted on social media, decrying the apparent sexism of the move.

A science journalist says let’s go to Venus before going to Mars

Most of the argument over where NASA should send astronauts involves the moon and/or Mars. Should we hold fast on the Journey to Mars, building a waystation in cis-lunar space from where the first interplanetary missions could be dispatched? Or should we head back to the moon first, accessing the commercial, political, and scientific opportunities Earth’s nearest neighbor holds? Bruce Dorminey, a science journalist, suggests that we should head for #Venus first and sooner rather than later in a recent article in Forbes.

Hillary Clinton says she lost the presidency because she is a woman

Hillary Clinton is slowly but relentlessly emerging from the woods, as it were, and is starting to make public speeches and statements. The main subject of her yammering is to place blame about why she #Lost at the hands of a person like Donald Trump, according to AFP. The one word she used to explain why she is a private citizen and not the first female president of the #United States is, “Misogyny.” The same argument Clinton used to justify why she should be president she is deploying to tell anyone who cares to listen why she is not. She lost because she is a woman. America was just not ready for a strong, competent woman to be their president. So sad. Sarah Palin was not available for comment.

Trump sends a message in the Middle East delivered by a cruise missile attack

It is easy to overanalyze the #Cruise Missile bombardment of Shayrat Airfield, which is what most of the media is doing. The purpose of the attack was to send messages to multiple players in the #Middle East and around the world in the wake of a sarin gas attack on innocent civilians by Basher Assad’s regime.

Thursday, April 06, 2017
Blue Origin reveals more of its lunar lander concept

Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin caused some rare excitement in aerospace circles when he announced a new concept for a lunar lander called Blue Moon. Details are still scanty, but a picture was recently attached to the name during a presentation at the Space Symposium held in Colorado Springs, Co. The #Blue Moon lander has a box-like module on top and four landing legs on the bottom. It has external fuel tanks and the familiar quill logo on its side, according to Geek Wire.

A Texas Hyperloop line has been proposed

One of the many competing routes for the first Hyperloop line has been proposed by a group called Hyperloop Texas. The proposal would link Houston with #San Antonio and then Austin and Dallas. A cargo line would stretch from San Antonio to #Nuevo Laredo on the Mexican border. The proposal is one of many that has been sent to the Hyperloop One competition being held in Washington D.C.

The Senate Republicans nuke the Supreme Court justice filibuster

As expected, #The Senate Democrats managed to maintain a filibuster to block the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch as a #Supreme Court Justice. Just as expected, Senate #republicans voted to remove the requirement of 60 votes to confirm a justice, setting the stage for a vote the next day to send Gorsuch to the high court. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s brazen act of partisan defiance was brushed aside with contempt. No longer will Supreme Court nominees be blocked by a minority.

Asteroid mining can be a realistic business – says Goldman Sachs

You know when the 21st Century is shaping up to be what it was promised to be when bankers look upon something that used to be the stuff of #science fiction and decide that it is more realistic than people think. Business Insider is reporting that #Goldman Sachs has issued a report that mining platinum from asteroids could be accomplished for about the cost of a mine on Earth, about $2.6 billion. Prospector probes, such as the ones being developed by Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, would cost only a few tens of millions of dollars.

Jeff Sessions evaluating marijuana law enforcement

Colorado and Washington State already allow recreational marijuana to be sold legally to adults under a highly regulated system. More states allow medicinal marijuana and are considering allowing pot to be sold for other purposes. Those the possession and sale of marijuana is still federal crimes, the Obama administration largely did not enforce such laws in states that allowed it. That policy may change if Attorney General Jeff Sessions has his way. The Washington Examiner notes that the Justice Department has marijuana #law enforcement on its slate of policy reviews.

Space expert reveals a business plan for opening up the high frontier

The question that arises when people dream about colonies on Mars or any other large scale space project is how to pay for them. Governments have been somewhat stingy when it comes to financing national space programs since the end of the Apollo program. Private companies, even run by deep-pocketed people like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, have limited resources. However, as notes, a number of ways exist to raise cash to start spreading out into the solar system. The key. According to Philip Metzger, a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida and a co-founder of NASA Kennedy Space Center's Swamp Works laboratory is #Space Mining and related industries.

Jeff Bezos notes how Amazon helps to fund Blue Origin

The key to having a private space program, as #Blue Origin’s #Jeff Bezos might say, is to have a mountain of money from another highly successful business venture. Bezos revolutionized retail shopping starting in the 1990s with to such an extent that many people no longer go to the mall. Why should they when they can point and click and a couple of days later have just about anything waiting on their doorstep? No more parking and jostling crowds. In any case, as Bezos noted in Colorado at the U.S. Space Symposium, he sells $1 billion of Amazon stock a year and plows it into Blue Origin. He can keep doing so, at recent share prices, for another 73 years. Long before that time, Bezos hopes that his rocket company will be a profit making concern taking millions of people to and from space.

So if you want to help Bezos open up the high frontier of space buy my books.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017
Nikki Haley condemns Assad, Russia, and Iran at the UN Security Council

#Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, is proving to be a lioness in the halls of the United Nations. Recently, she condemned Bashir Assad, Russia, and Iran for continuing to inflict death and mayhem in the wake of a chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians committed by Syrian government forces. She offered a threat that the #United States would take action if the UN fails to do so at an emergency meeting of the UN #Security Council as she held up pictures of dead Syrian children. What sort of action that the United States might take was left to the imaginations of the other delegates.

Why the Pepsi Protest ad got a lot of people upset

Peg the Pepsi protest ad as something that seemed like a good idea at the time. The ad starts at a protest with a relentlessly multi-ethnic makeup that seems more exuberant than angry. Then Kendell Jenner, supermodel, emerges from the crowd and approaches the line of police officers. She hands one of the officers an ice cold Pepsi. The officer takes a sip and smiles in appreciation. The crowd roars with delight at this example of a #Soft Drink bridging the political divide and showing our common humanity. Naturally, as Hot Air points out, the #social justice Warrior crowd went incandescent with rage.

Companies come up with ways to make Trump’s wall pay for itself

One of the interesting aspects of the bids to build Trump’s Southern Wall is some of the creative features some are proposing of the kind that Qin Shi Huang and the Roman Emperor Hadrian didn’t think of when they were building their walls. Suggestions range from covering the wall with #Solar Panels, making it an art space, or putting up #Observation Decks on top so that tourists can enjoy the desert vistas, according to Hot Air.

Inevitably the race and gender cards are played to defend Susan Rice

#Inevitably someone played both the race and gender #Cards concerning former National Security Advisor #Susan Rice’s ordering the “unmasking” of Team Trump officials when they showed up on intelligence surveillances. Inevitably the said cards were played on MSNBC. Chris Matthews, a host on the network, and David Corn, a contributor, mused that Republicans were piling on the former Obama official, not because she may have violated the civil rights of Trump staff members and then lied about it on TV, but because she is a woman of color, according to the Daily Caller.

Former NASA official offers a reality check on commercial space

While the recent feat of SpaceX flying a Falcon 9 with a reused first stage has been rightly lauded as pointing a way toward an era of commercial space flight, former #NASA official Scott Pace, currently director of the Space Policy Institute at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington offers something of a #Reality Check. Pace suggests, in the pages of Space News, that a commercial market for space launches, independent of government, does not yet exist. The suggestion is proving to be hard for commercial space advocates to hear, but it has some truth in it.

About that big twist on FX's KGB spy show ‘The Americans’

Gentle readers, we have to talk about that big reveal in the most recent episode of “The Americans,” entitled “Lotus 1-2-3.” For the past several weeks we have been discussing the story arc about what amounts to a fiendish plot by #Ronald Reagan to wage entomological warfare on the #Soviet Union, infesting its grain supply with designer pests to create a famine. We have speculated that the plot is a product of Soviet paranoia. Now, the answer has been revealed.

‘The Americans’ returns with a message for our times

‘The Americans’ is a stunning look at Soviet paranoia during the Cold War

How realistic is the biowar story arc in ‘The Americans?’

More on ‘entomological warfare’ in ‘The Americans’

Harvard students call themselves ‘Dumbledore’s Army’ to resist Donald Trump

The Boston Globe is reporting that a group of students at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government has formed what they euphemistically call “Dumbledore’s Army” to teach fellow students how to resist the agenda of President #Donald Trump. Instead of meeting in secret to learn the defense against dark arts, the group has developed a four-part series of online courses on political agitation. The effort is being backed by former Obama administration and Clinton and Sanders campaign staffers.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017
Netflix’s The Santa Clarita Diet is renewed for a second season

The #Santa Clarita Diet, Netflix’s comedy about marriage and cannibalism, has been renewed for a second season. Those viewers who have access to the video streaming service or are contemplating getting it should check the show out. However, fair warning, the series has a considerable amount of grossness in the form of vomit and gore.

Is there method to the madness of Chuck Schumer in opposing Gorsuch?

Is there a method to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s madness? Many political observers are scratching their heads, wondering why he is leading a doomed effort to filibuster the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to be a Supreme Court justice. The gambit is likely to lead to the nuclear option that will remove the filibuster for justices and open the way for President Trump to pack the high court with conservatives. Where most people see craven capitulation to the left wing base or Custer-like arrogance, CNN sees a Machiavellian strategy that will win the Senate back for #democrats and make Schumer the next Lyndon Johnson.

NASA conducting protein crystal experiments on the International Space Station

Most people are vaguely aware that the International Space Station is an orbiting laboratory designed to do science research in low #Earth orbit. However, the vast majority of individuals would not be able to name one experiment being run on the ISS or to define what sort of benefit it will have on humans back on Earth. ZME Science recently offered some help along those lines by publishing an article about microgravity protein crystals.

California sanctuary state bill moving through the state legislature

The state of California is on a path to become what is, in essence, the first “sanctuary state.” According to Hot Air, a bill to that effect has just passed the state Senate and is headed for the state Assembly that will not only forbid #California law enforcement officers from cooperating with ICE by holding illegal immigrants who have been charged with a crime for deportation, by would mandate that they actively bar federal agents from having access to criminals subject to being ejected from the country. The law would compel California law enforcement to commit #Obstruction Of Justice, which is a crime punishable by up to a year in prison.

To colonize space, go back to the moon and then mine the asteroids

People are starting to dream about the colonization of #Space again. Elon Musk, the visionary CEO of SpaceX, has already weighed in on a settlement on Mars. Now an Austrian architect and engineer named Werner Grandl has published his own thoughts on how we might colonize space with a plan that does not mention #Mars but rather focuses on the moon and Earth-approaching asteroids.

Trump cracks down on H-1B visa abuse

One of the more shocking scandals of the Obama era concerned the abuse of the H-1B visa system by a number of corporations like Disney. The system was designed to fill jobs in technology and other important industry with foreign guest workers when not enough qualified native-born Americans were available. However, Disney, among others, used the H-1B visa system to get rid of their highly compensated, native-born employees and replace them with lower-paid #Foreign Workers. To add insult to injury, these companies forced their soon to be unemployed high-tech workers to train their replacements and even made their severance pay contingent on maintaining a “proper attitude.” The matter is the subject of a number of class action lawsuits.

Why Marvel Comics’ experiment in diversity failed

A surprising number of adults read superhero comic books. So the strange experiment that Marvel Comics conducted in “diversity” is news worthy story. The media organization noted that a great many of its superhero characters were white males. So its writers set to work repairing that state of affairs. The Mighty Thor became a woman. #Iron Man became a teenage African American girl. People stopped buying #Marvel Comics. So, the conclusion of the marketing wizards who came up with these absurdities is that the customer base for comic books hate diversity.

Monday, April 03, 2017
Tina Fey savages ‘white, college educated women’ for voting for Donald Trump

#Tina Fey, an actress, comedian, and former Not Ready for Prime Time Player touched off a social media firestorm recently when she laid into “white, college educated women” for voting for Donald Trump at a recent celebrity fundraiser for the American Civil Liberties Union. The Boston Herald reports that she said, “A lot of this election was turned by white, college educated women who now would maybe like to forget about this election and go back to watching HGTV. I would want to urge them to like, you can’t look away. It doesn’t affect you this minute but it’s going to affect you eventually.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson brings up Elon Musk’s mother regarding Mars colonies

#Neil Degrasse Tyson, the celebrity astrophysicist, and media personality, was recently asked about SpaceX’s Elon Musk’s Mars ambitions. Tyson, who has been a critic of commercial space, had a rude answer concerning whether he would board a commercial colony ship to the Red Planet. “I’m not taking that trip until #Elon Musk sends his mother and brings her back alive. Then I’m good for it.”

St. Petersburg bombing start of a new terrorist jihad against Russia

The recent terrorist bombing of the Saint #Petersburg, #Russia subway, unless it is a false flag operation being carried out by Vladimir Putin to counter demonstrations against his corrupt rule, may be the start of a new jihadist campaign against the Russian Federation. According to Politico. Russia has been fighting Islamic insurgents in Chechnya and Dagestan for decades. Now that country’s intervention in Syria on behalf of Bashir Assad has enraged both Al Qaeda and ISIS and has fixed their attention on Moscow.

Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice asked that Team Trump be ‘unmasked’

The controversy that started when President Donald #trump claimed on Twitter that President Obama had “wiretapped” him has taken a turn. We know that the president was probably referring to the dubious “unmasking” of him and his associates as parties who were “incidentally surveilled” as part of an intelligence operation directed against foreign actors. Thanks to Bloomberg, we know that Obama’s #national security advisor #Susan Rice requested that people in the Trump orbit be unmasked multiple times. This information was apparently what Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes went to the White House to see. Ranking committee member Adam Schiff initially complained about what Nunes did, but then went silent when he subsequently reviewed the same documents.

Schumer makes his last stand against Neil Gorsuch

The first week of April 2017 will feature the battle over the #Neil Gorsuch nomination to the #Supreme Court. Only one outcome, confirmation, is possible. The only question is whether Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is going to make the Republicans nuke the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. The betting is that he will and so they will.

On ‘The Walking Dead’ no plans survives contact with the enemy

The last episode of “The Walker Dead” featured the long-anticipated start of the #Negan War, the great post-apocalyptic conflict to rid the planet of the maddest, baddest, and more dangerous to know warlord ever to afflict the zombie-laden world. The episode was a classic study in how no plan survives contact with the enemy or, in this case, the overconfidence of a leader.

On SyFy's 'The Expanse', Bobby Draper sees the seamy side of Earth

One of the cooler aspects of “The Expanse” has been the times when the series about big power and corporate conspiracies in the #23Rd Century commits sociology. We have already seen how the loose federation of asteroid stations, where anyone can get a ship and make money mining ice or hauling cargo, has become the prey of the big inner planet powers of #Earth and Mars. Mars, it has been mentioned more than once, is a society totally committed to the project of terraforming the Red Planet to make a new Earth. But, in a recent episode, we saw the seamier side of Earth society through the eyes of a real stranger in a strange land, Gunnery Sergeant Bobbie Draper of the Martian Marines.

The Expanse Boxed Set: Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War and Abaddon's Gate

Sunday, April 02, 2017
Check out Chantal's new blog Health Words.

Mike Pence marriage revelations spark outrage on the left

One of the weirdest controversies to arise in Washington recently stemmed from the revelation that Vice President Mike Pence will not dine in public with a woman other than his wife or attend an event where alcohol is served without the company of Ms. Pence. The report prompted yelps of outrage on the left, some calling it tantamount to sharia law. Others, of a more sober persuasion, pointed out that the arrangement is simple prudence in a political culture that promotes scandal at the least provocation.

Congressional Republicans find a way to make Mexico pay for the wall

One of the more contentious parts of #President Trump’s agenda is his promise to build a wall across the #Southern Border of the #United States as a means of stopping the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs. His promise to also make Mexico pay for the wall has been met with raised eyebrows from Washington and angry denunciations from Mexico City. Now, according to the Washington Times, Congressional Republicans have found a way to build the wall and make Mexico pay for it. They propose slapping a two percent tax on money immigrants send home to families still in their country of origin.

Saturday, April 01, 2017
NASA developing the tools to penetrate Europa’s ice layer to search for life

The Trump administration has placed the Europa Lander Mission on the chopping block, a dubious move considering that it is a favorite project of Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas who chairs the House subcommittee that funds NASA. Even so, the space agency is testing crucial tools that such a mission would carry to the ice-bound #Moon Of Jupiter that would help #Search For Life.

The United Arab Emirates has a space program for economic growth and education

#The United Arab Emirates is developing its own space program with an initial goal of sending a probe to Mars in 2020. The question arises, why would an oil-rich Persian Gulf country want a space program? Slate explains that two excellent reasons exist, which applies to other nations as well.