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, August 19, 2017
 
Let’s use genetic testing technology to combat racism

One of the neat things about technology is that it can solve so many problems that hitherto did not seem to have solutions. #Genetic Testing, something that was not available during World War II, has proven to be quite a weapon against racism. #white supremacists have already used the technology to “prove” their alleged racial superiority only to get an unpleasant surprise in many cases. With that in mind, Katherine Mangu-Ward over at Reason has a bright idea.



 
SpaceX’s Elon Musk admits that the Red Dragon is dead for now

SpaceX’s #Elon Musk has formally informed NASA that the idea of a #Red Dragon, a version of the workhorse Dragon spacecraft that would be equipped with retro rockets to land on Mars, is dead for the time being. Musk is now talking about a downsized version of his #Interplanetary Transport System, which he discussed at length during a space conference last year, as the basis of his hopes for Mars exploration and eventual colonization. The SpaceX CEO has promised further details of his Mars plans next month.



Friday, August 18, 2017
 
The destruction of statues has started to get out of hand

The wave of statues being vandalized has started to get out of hand. What started as a campaign to expunge monuments of Confederate war heroes has spread to just about every edifice of bronze or stone that commemorated figures from history. A statue of ##Martin Luther King that stands in Bricker Park in Houston had white paint poured on it. Meanwhile, a statue of Joan of Arc that resides in Decatur in the French Quarter of New Orleans had the words “Take it Down” sprayed in black paint on its base.



 
Another path has opened for the 50th vote to repeal and replace Obamacare

It looks like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) is not going to join President Donald Trump’s cabinet as energy secretary. Such a move would have freed his senate seat for the Republican governor of his state to appoint a GOP replacement and thus provide a 50th vote to repeal and replace Obamacare. Fortunately, another path for the 50th vote has opened up, according to Hot Air.



 
People buying sex robots are asking for some unusual customizations

The sex robot industry is one of those phenomena that proves that we are indeed in the 21st Century. The UK Sun is reporting that True Companion, a firm that will build you a customized bed mate of either gender for just shy of $10,000, is getting some unusual requests. One, to get a sex robot that looks and acts like a celebrity, is something that could have been predicted. The other option is pretty sad.



 
Steve Bannon gets the boot from the White House

#Steve Bannon, the controversial #White House advisor, has either been fired or, as he claims, gave his notice two weeks ago. Bannon has been rumored to have been on the outs with President #trump for a while, even though he had proven to be instrumental in encouraging the president’s combative, if also undisciplined, style of dealing with the media.



 
Once upon a time we deflated the Nazis through humor

Does anyone remember when #Nazis were considered figures of ridicule? Once upon a time, people who purvey our popular culture made fun of individuals who dressed up in brown uniforms, carried swastika flags, and strutted about ranting about the Aryan race and the Jewish conspiracy. A classic example took place during the 1980 celebration of excess, “The Blues Brothers,” in which Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, coming upon a Nazi rally being led by Henry Gibson, gunned the engines of their automobile and charged said brownshirts, causing them to scatter and leap off a bridge into a stream, humiliating them to the laughter of the onlookers.



 
Now someone is going after statues of Lincoln and Columbus

Proof that President Trump was on to something when he suggested that those who are going after Confederate monuments are going to go after other edifices occurred with attacks on statues of both #Abraham Lincoln and #Christopher Columbus. Meanwhile, Vice Magazine called for blowing up Mount Rushmore on Twitter.



 
The Barcelona terrorist attack reminds us about what really is important

While the media has been entertaining itself with stories about Neo Nazi losers and a made up controversy about Confederate monuments, a #Terrorist Attack in #Barcelona reminded the world where the real threat to civilization resides. #ISIS has struck again, and 13 people are now dead and about a 100 wounded.



Thursday, August 17, 2017
 
The CW is developing a series about a female gladiator called ‘The Valiant’

Variety is reporting that the CW bought the rights to a Young Adult novel entitled “The Valiant” by Canadian writer Lesley Livingston. The book tells the story of a Celtic princess who winds up as one of the first female gladiators fighting for the edification of the Roman mob. The source material has some possibilities. However, we are talking about the CW, which perpetrated that Tudor-era mess “Reign.”



 
How plausible is the asteroid weapon in ‘Salvation?’

Last night’s double episode of “#Salvation,” which introduced science fiction concepts such as gravity tractors, the EM drive, #asteroid impacts, and Mars colonies, presented a new idea. The series revealed that at least in the universe in which Salvation resides, the United States worked on a top secret project called “Atlas” that was hinted at in previous episodes but is now revealed to be a method of weaponizing asteroids.



 
More of my wisdom, courtesy of the Hill: The question Dana Rohrabacher should have asked NASA


 
The Marist Poll has some surprising results about the Confederate monument issue

When President Donald Trump tweeted earlier today decrying the removal of statues and monuments honoring figures of the Confederacy, the usual reaction could be heard in various media and social media outlets. Surely the president has further disgraced himself by taking such an out of the mainstream, racist position. However, a new #Marist Poll suggests that the president is being a shrewd politician and is taking the same view as the vast majority of Americans.



 
New chancellor proposes to return free speech to Berkeley

In what the Washington Examiner calls a “shocking turn of events” the newly installed chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley Carol T. Christ has declared the upcoming school year as the “year of #free speech.” Hot Air is somewhat dubious and suggests that if Christ succeeds in returning sanity to Berkeley, she should be shipped off to the Middle East and North Korea to solve the problems in those parts of the world.



 
NASA has a plan to stop the Yellowstone supervolcano

One of the threats that could end civilization is the eruption of a supervolcano, such as the one that resides at #Yellowstone National Park. The scenario has the giant magma chamber beneath Yellowstone, the same one that causes the picturesque geysers, letting go, darkening the skies over North America for many months and covering the landscape with ash. Millions would die in the initial eruption, and much more as food runs out as farms will no longer be able to grow food, lacking access to the sun.



 
Aledade is a tech startup that claims to drive down health care costs

The American #Health Care System is a hot mess which Obamacare only made worse, as even the Affordable Care Act’s proponents now concede. While Congress seems unable to move on extracting Obamacare from the #American Health Care system, a number of technology companies are developing innovations that promise to lower the costs of medicine and at the same time improve outcomes. The New York Times has featured one of these enterprises, a startup called Aledade.



 
New York Times editor claims ignorance about Palin defamation

Hot Air notes that Sarah Palin’s lawyers had the #New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet on the stand Wednesday. Bennet revealed how the editorial that defamed Palin came to be written. He also attempted to verbally dance around the notion that the editorial was written in full knowledge that Palin was not responsible for the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in 2011.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017
 
Chicago Pastor wants George Washington statue removed

One of the points that President Trump made during the press conference that has the media in flames was that the drive to remove Confederate statues and monuments could be a slippery slope and that #George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would be next, given their status as slave holders. The media reacted with more eye rolling that yelps of outrage. However, less than 24 hours, a #Chicago #pastor demanded that a statue of George Washington be removed from a park in that city’s predominately African American south side.



 
The Google Lunar XPrize has been extended to the end of March 2018

Eric Berger at Ars Technica is reporting that the #Google Lunar Xprize Foundation has extended the deadline for the fulfillment of the award to be the first private group to land on the #moon and perform certain tasks three months, from December 31, 2017, to March 31, 2018. The Foundation has also added a number of incremental prizes for accomplishments short of fulfilling all the requirements of the prize.



 
Democrats wish that Hillary Clinton would just go away

An unquiet ghost is haunting the #Democratic Party, according to Al Hunt of Bloomberg. Her name is Hillary Clinton [VIDEO], who is coming out with a book called “What Happened” which will be her perspective on the 2016 election. Democrats wish Clinton would not publish her book. Indeed, they wish she would go away entirely. One suggestion has been seriously floated that the twice defeated presidential candidate moves out of the country, at least for a “couple of years.”



 
Why did James Mattis visit Jeff Bezos?

Recently, Secretary Defense #James Mattis visited #Jeff Bezos at the Amazon.com headquarters in Seattle. Most media accounts touched on the feud that President Trump has picked with the tech mogul, mainly because of the Washington Post which Bezos owns. The subject of the discussion was not disclosed, but one can guess considering the businesses Bezos has developed.



 
What happened at the Trump press conference?

President Donald Trump started yesterday’s presser with a presentation about a new executive order he signed about infrastructure reform. However, he allowed the subject to veer into Charlottesville, something that still vexes both him and the media. The distraction has caused a firestorm on both the television media and social media. What did he say and what was so wrong about it?



Tuesday, August 15, 2017
 
Iceland has all but eliminated Down syndrome, but there is a catch

On the surface, the claim that #Iceland has eliminated Down syndrome among its population could be considered a good thing. Down syndrome occurs when an infant has an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. The syndrome comes with a number of physical characteristics, but the main and most concerning result is cognitive delays to one extent or another.



 
Made in Space and NASA achieves breakthrough in space manufacturing

Currently, everything that goes into orbit has to fit on top of a rocket, inside its nose cone. When the shuttle was still operational, its cargo bay could carry more volume. However, the fact that everything that humans use in #Space, from satellites to space station modules, have to be sent from Earth has been a limiting factor. The International Space Station took years to build because it had to be assembled with pieces launched from Earth. A company called Made in Space means to change that state of affairs. In partnership with #NASA, the firm had just made a breakthrough, according to Space.com.



 
New York Times reporter gets into exchange with Ted Cruz about Charlottesville

President Trump and his supporters complain that no matter what he said about the riot in Charlottesville, his critics will never be satisfied. Some truth exists surrounding this complaint, as exemplified by an exchange between a #New York #Times Reporter and Sen. #Ted Cruz, R-Texas. When the exchange was over, the varsity debater and Harvard law grad from Texas had the advantage.



 
SpaceX launches 12th resupply mission to the International Space Station

While Americans remain frightened about the Korean missile crisis and angry over Charlottesville, some good news happened at the Kennedy Space Center. A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off, carrying a Dragon supply ship to the #international space station. Minutes later the first stage of the rocket landed without a fuss near the launch pad, Elon Musk’s space launch company is taking rocket science, a synonym for something hard, and making it look easy. The launch was the 11th Falcon 9 flight this year and the 12 resupply flight to the ISS mounted by SpaceX.



 
North Korea stands down from threat to attack Guam

North Korean state media has reported that Kim Jong-un has decided not to, after all, launch missiles against Guam, thus averting war with the United States. Of course, the dictator could change his mind at any time, as he has indicated, but for now, the world is breathing a sigh of relief. Most are ascribing the decision to tough warnings emanating from the #trump administration as well as promises of economic sanctions from China. Nevertheless, Kim and a nuclear #North Korea remain a problem that needs fixing.



Monday, August 14, 2017
 
Trump finally names names in the Charlottesville riot

President Donald #trump finally called out at least most of the perpetrators of the violence in Charlottesville by name, two days after the event, when he stated, “Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” The reaction to the statement was divided into “better late than never” and “too little too late.” The exception to those hot takes was expressed by Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was mowed down by an automobile used, allegedly, as a weapon of terrorism.



 
Iran continues its military buildup

While the Trump administration is wrestling with the prospect of a Second Korean War, #Iran continues to demonstrate its hostility to the United States. The Iranian parliament recently voted to increase the #Islamic Republic’s war spending by over $500 million, with half going to missile development that is prohibited by United Nations resolutions, according to the Washington Free Beacon. At the same time, Iran announced the intention to send a flotilla of warships out into the Atlantic as a direct challenge to western navies.



 
Did the movie ‘300’ lead to the election of Donald Trump?

A recent article in “AV Club,” a left-leaning journal of entertainment news and cultural criticism, posits the theory that the film “300” led directly to the rise of the alt-right and the election of Donald Trump. The idea that a fantasy cartoon version of the #Battle Of Thermopylae could do that is a bit odd, to say the least. However, it bears some examination.



 
A divided nation finds unity in ‘Game of Thrones’

One good thing about living in America is that a nation divided by political acrimony and a grinding culture war can unite around a show that features mass murder, rape, incest, and political double-dealing. So, what happened this week on “Game of Thrones?”



 
Part Time Scientists to take cell phone service to the moon

Space.com recently reported that a private German group, #Part Time Scientists, will mount an expedition to the moon sometime in 2018. The group used to be part of the Google Lunar X-Prize but was obliged to drop out due to time constraints. However, the mission is notable for what it is going to carry to the moon and where it is going.



 
Were the police ordered to stand down in Charlottesville?

The riot that took place in #Charlottesville, Virginia shocked the United States, overwhelmed social media, and temporarily at least drove the Korean Missile Crisis off the front page. Groups of Nazis, Klansmen, and other racists brawled in the streets with Marxist, Antifa radicals. A woman was murdered when someone decided to use his car as a weapon against a group of protestors, The New York Times is reporting that some community leaders, such as Brittany Caine-Conley, a minister in training at Sojourners United Church of Christ, are openly wondering where the police were in all of this chaos.



 
The New York Times thinks that sex was great in the old Soviet Union

The following essay could also be entitled “We can hardly wait for Sarah Palin to win her law suit so we can no longer have to read such nonsense.” The #New York Times has published an article that states that women had better sex in the old Soviet Empire than they did in the free world. The idea is as counterintuitive as suggesting that gay sex is more fulfilling in Iran. On the other hand, the Times has been shilling for communists since Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer by covering up Stalin’s crimes when he ran the Times’ Moscow Bureau.



Sunday, August 13, 2017
 
Germany is finding something disturbing about its Muslim refugees

When the allied forces began to liberate the concentration camps during World War II, one of the first things they did was to round up German civilians in the surrounding towns and villages and march them through the death facilities, almost literally rubbing their noses in the horror their government had inflicted. Ever since, to its credit, Germany has preserved the camps as reminders of the ultimate example of inhumanity and the promise that it must not be allowed to happen again.



 
Why did the Charlottesville riots happen?

When reacting to the rioting in Charlottesville, Virginia, #President Donald Trump was entirely accurate when he stated, "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.” He was also, especially in the judgment of his many enemies on social media, being woefully inadequate. Why did the president not condemn the perpetrators of the violence by name? Some of that social media reaction was no doubt opportunistic, coming from people who are pretty sure that the president tacitly encouraged the violence, especially from the racist alt-right. Fortunately, Roger Simon at Pajamas Media provides some sober perspective.



Saturday, August 12, 2017
 
How Trump intends to get the 50th vote for repeal and replace of Obamacare

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are involved in a tiff over repealing and replacing Obamacare. McConnell, having failed to get the 50th vote necessary to pass repeal and replace, would like to move on to tax reform. Trump is insisting that McConnell do his job and pass the reform of health care reform. McConnell has been reduced to giving lectures about how the president has “unrealistic” expectations about how the senate works, despite having promised to rid the nation of the scourge of Obamacare for seven years. Now it looks like the president is sending help in the form of the 50th vote.



 
Why did Trump threaten Venezuela with military intervention?

When President Donald Trump threatened the Maduro regime in Venezuela with unspecified #Military Intervention, eyebrows raised across official Washington and in the media. With a crisis about to boil over into war in Korea, could the United States afford to pick a fight in South America, even against a country whose government is locked in pitched street battles with its people? It turns out that Trump has every reason to worry about the beleaguered Latin American country becoming a strategic headache for the United States. Also, methods exist for applying military pressure that does not involve landing the United States Marines.



Friday, August 11, 2017
 
Chelsea Handler calls for a military junta to remove President Trump

This essay could have been entitled “I am old enough to remember when the Hollywood left thought military dictatorships were a bad thing.” After all, some of the greatest villains of the 20th Century were generals who seized power in their countries and ran them roughshod. Franco in Spain and Pinochet in Chile come to mind. In any case, #Chelsea Handler, the comedian, TV talk show host, and vodka aficionado has decided that a junta would be a great alternative to the freely elected President Donald Trump. She has tweeted, “To all the generals surrounding our idiot-in-chief...the longer U wait to remove him, the longer UR name will appear negatively in history.”



 
Michael Moore’s ‘The Terms of My Surrender’ panned by critics

Michael Moore might now add to his resume that includes documentary film maker, fake #Working Class Hero, and general public nuisance, the title of producer and star of his own Broadway flop. Such is the judgment of the New York Times and other theater reviewers of Moore’s one person show, “The Terms of #My Surrender,” now playing, but not for much longer, at the Belasco Theater. The play is less of a one person entertainment than it is a two-hour political rant delivered by Moore for the edification of New York hipsters who would be expected to eat up the rhetoric.



 
Can diplomacy still save the situation in Korea?

Even while North #Korea and the #United States exchange threats of military action, diplomacy behind the scenes is occurring to try to defuse the situation in the Northwest Pacific. The two countries are maintaining back-channel communications to convey information to one another. In the meantime, China has told North Korea that if it launches an attack and an American response occurs, that country is on its own.



 
Trump declares American military ‘locked and loaded’

President Donald Trump has pronounced American armed forces to be “#Locked And Loaded” should #North Korea launch an attack. The statement, made on Twitter, came after the president offered to visit upon Pyongyang “fire and fury” if it persisted in threatening the United States and her allies. North Korea has responded by suggesting that it plans to launch four missiles to land in the waters near Guam, an American possession that hosts important military bases.



 
NASA to start exploring safer concept for a nuclear thermal rocket

The New Atlas is reporting that NASA has contracted with a company called BWXT Nuclear Energy to examine concepts for a nuclear thermal rocket engine that could take humans to Mars and beyond far quicker than chemical rockets. The plan is a revival of an old concept that was developed in the 1960s called NERVA but with some modern twists.



 
Judge in Palin defamation suit against the New York Times orders special hearing

The defamation suit that #Sarah Palin has brought against the #New York #Times has taken a strange turn. Judge Jed Rakoff has refused the request of the Times to dismiss the suit. However, the judge is not allowing the action to proceed right away either. Instead, he has issued a “close question” about the central issue of the suit. That matter is whether or not the editorial board of the New York Times showed actual malice when it suggested that Palin was directly responsible for the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and a number of other people because of a campaign graphic that placed cross hairs over the then congresswoman’s district.



Thursday, August 10, 2017
 
Some helpful advice for Daenerys, the mother of Dragons

Since certain jobs for advisors to Daenerys, #Mother Of Dragons and true ruler of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, may about to be open, a number of people in the #Real World have looked at the strategy thus far for putting her on the #Iron Throne and have found it wanting. Naturally, they have some helpful suggestions for how things might be turned around.



 
Obama’s National Security Advisor says to not get too tough with North Korea

usan Rice, who served as Barack Obama’s UN Ambassador and then National Security Advisor, wrote a remarkable op-ed in the New York Times about the #North Korea crisis. She took President Trump to task for threatening North Korea with destruction should it continue to build nuclear weapons with the intent of striking at the United States and her allies. In so doing, Rice demonstrated how Obama’s foreign policy brought the world to the brink it now finds itself on.



 
The inventor of the EM drive is excited that it is on the TV show ‘Salvation’

The #Em Drive, a controversial piece of technology that allegedly creates thrust without propellant, is at the center of the plot of the current #TV Show “Salvation.” A commercial space entrepreneur named Darius Tanz, loosely based on Elon Musk is building the device to save the Earth from an impending collision with a giant asteroid. No one could be more excited by the use of the EM drive as a plot device than the inventor of the technology, #Roger Shawyer, according to the International Business Times.



 
Trump’s tough North Korea talk backed by Mattis and Tillerson

President Donald Trump has come into some criticism for promising to visit “fire and fury” on #North Korea if that country persists in threatening the United States and her allies. The president’s critics suggest that the words were unnecessarily provocative and might lead to war when there is still a chance for diplomacy. However, #Secretary Of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson echoed the president’s tough talk, suggesting that a new, coordinated message is emerging from the administration designed to impress on Pyongyang the perils of proceeding on the course it has embarked on, according to the Washington Times.



 
The Koch brothers are major investors in ‘Wonder Woman’

The irony cannot be more delicious. “#Wonder Woman” is not only considered a shining example of feminist film making but is so far the most successful film of 2017. The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that none other than Charles and David Koch are silent investors in the #Movie as well as a number of other projects at Warner Brothers. The motive does not seem to be out of an ideological agenda, but rather motivated out of traditional desire to make money from what has turned out to be a shrewd investment.



 
Fox News’ Eric Bolling files defamation suit against Huffington Post reporter

When Eric Bolling, the Fox News, and Fox Business personality, was suspended from his on air duties pending an investigation into allegations of sexting, many people had a sense of déjà vu. FNC had previously been rocked by the forced resignations of its founder Roger Ailes and one of its most well-known on air personalities Bill O’Reilly under accusations of sexual harassment. Bolling has also been accused by one former female Fox guest of sexual harassment. However, Bolling has decided to pursue a different strategy by slapping the #Huffington Post reporter to the tune of $50 million.



Wednesday, August 09, 2017
 
Bernie Sanders tries to sell government health care with celebrity endorsements

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Sen. #Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has hit upon what he thinks is a very good idea to push his dream for a government-run, single-payer #health care system. He has produced a video that shows testimonials from people like Warren Buffet, Michael Moore, and #Al Gore talking about what a wonderful system single-payer would be. However, Sanders has missed the mark, even with Buffet, who, despite his obvious acumen for making money, does not know the first thing about the economics of health care.



 
Hillary Clinton offered a ‘plea deal’ in connection with the email server

When the news that #Hillary Clinton, the twice failed presidential candidate, may be turning toward the Lord [VIDEO]for solace, eyebrows raised across the United States. Ed Klein, who has written several books on both the Clintons and the Obamas, has provided a possible explanation as to why Clinton has had a sudden spiritual awakening. It seems that the #justice department is taking a renewed interest in the matter of the email servers.



 
Alamo Drafthouse admits it broke the law with women only ‘Wonder Woman’ shows

The gentle reader may remember the kerfuffle that was stirred up a couple of months ago when the #Alamo Drafthouse movie #Theater Chain held a number of women only showings of “#Wonder Woman.” Some male fans suggested on social media that these screenings constituted sex discrimination. The complainers had to endure savage attacks by social justice warriors and radical feminists who stated that the men were crybabies and that they should just shut up. Now, it looks like the Alamo Drafthouse has admitted its error. For one thing, in many locales, including Austin, sex discrimination is against the law where admission to movie theaters is concerned, according to The Austin American Statesman.



 
Plurality of Americans support the RAISE Act

When President Trump proposed the RAISE Act, which would change the method of selecting legal immigrants to a “points system” based on merit, including education and English proficiency, the media and many proponents of unrestricted immigration decried it. The RAISE #Act was inhumane, contrary to the sentiment expressed by the poem that adorns the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, etc.…”) However, it looks like a plurality of #Americans supports the bill at a 44 to 30 percent margin. Indeed, the merit based system is backed by a huge majority.



 
Researchers develop Tissue Nanotransfection that could heal injured tissue

One of the cool technologies that were demonstrated on “Star Trek” was an instrument that Dr. McCoy would use that instantly healed a wound, thus eliminating the need for dressings and bandages. The Tissue Nanotransfection device, being developed by Ohio State University, is not quite so fast, but it promises to be a game changer in the care of physical trauma brought on by accidents or diseases like strokes of heart attacks.



 
President Trump enjoys a surge in the polls

One of the constants thus far in the Trump presidency has been the fact that he is well below water in the approval polls and below 40 percent in most of them. Team Trump has dismissed these results, noting that he performed poorly in surveys during the election campaign before winning handily. The president has been the recipient of savage media coverage as well. In any #Case, Trump has a reason for some cheer, thanks to a Zogby poll, with a #Surge to 45 percent approval. The president is still under water, with 51 percent disapproval but he is no longer catastrophically unpopular.



 
North Korea threatens to destroy Guam

After President Donald Trump had offered to visit upon #North Korea “#Fire And Fury” if it attacked the United States or her interests, Pyongyang issued the particular threat to destroy American military bases on Guam. The island, an American territory, is an important part of the defense by the United States of the Western Pacific.



Tuesday, August 08, 2017
 
Alan Dershowitz and Maxine Waters get into a public feud

#Alan Dershowitz, the liberal law professor from Harvard, has gotten into a feud with Rep. #Maxine Waters, D-California. When Dershowitz noted that special counsel Robert Mueller had chosen a grand jury from the Washington D.C. area would mean that the panel would be less sympathetic to President Trump and his aides, Waters called him a racist. Professor Dershowitz, understandably exasperated, suggested that the congresswoman was “crying wolf” by playing the race card.



 
Fox mulling bringing back ‘King of the Hill’

The Fox Network is mulling the idea of bringing back one of its long-running animated shows to its block on Sunday night, “#King of the Hill.” The series, which ran between 1997 and 2010, depicted the trials and tribulations of the Hill family, including Hank, his wife Peggy, son Bobby, and niece Louanne in the fictional Texas town of Arlen. Along with their colorful neighbors, including Dale, Bill, Boomhauer, and Kahn, their ordinary adventures provided a great deal of gentle comedy during its 13-year run.



 
National Space Council Executive Director a commercial space skeptic

Absent a public rollout of a Trump space policy, the media has been reduced to making guesses based on the facts at hand. Eric Berger at Ars Technica notes that the new #Executive Director of the #National Space Council Scott Pace has been a skeptic of outsourcing a lot of NASA operations to commercial space, especially SpaceX. On the plus side, Pace favors a return to the moon in which both international partners and commercial firms will participate.



 
The prospect of a war in Korea draws nigh

If North Korean leader Kim Jong-un thought that his threats against his neighbors and the #United States were going to cow Americans, he seems to be in for a reality check. Hot Air is reporting that a poll conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs says that the majority of Americans favor going to war to defend #South Korea if that country is attacked. While only 40 percent of Americans approve a first strike against North Korean nuclear facilities less than 14 percent will accept a nuclear armed North Korea.



 
PETA condemns eating cheese because it's 'sexist'

PETA or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have taken an absolutist view about how people should treat life forms that are beneath us on the food chain. The organization has come out against the eating of meat, the wearing of fur or leather, and even keeping animals as pets. So it is not really much of a surprise that #PETA has come out against the consumption of milk, butter, or cheese.



 
Trump is meeting with success in the war against ISIS

One of the underreported stories of 2017 has been the ongoing destruction of the #Islamic State, a terrorist enclave that was spread out through Syria and Iraq, from which ISIS launched attacks against targets in Europe and the United States. The success has been directly attributed to changes in policy by the Trump Administration, according to the Washington Post.



 
Firing of Google engineer over diversity critique memo kicks up firestorm

#Google kicked up a firestorm when it tracked down and fired the anonymous author of an internal memo that critiqued that company’s diversity programs. James Damore, a software engineer and holder of a Ph.D. in system biology, was identified as the author. The memo and the subsequent termination of Damore highlighted the disparity between male and female employees in the technology industry and whether a culture of political correctness has taken hold of Silicon Valley companies. Damore has promised that he is going to pursue legal action.



Monday, August 07, 2017
 
Hillary Clinton said to be mulling a career change to the ministry

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting that #Hillary Clinton, in a search for what to do with the rest of her life, has hit about talking more openly about spirituality and religion, subjects which she has eschewed for her public life. Indeed, she is said to be discussing going into the ministry. The possibility is fraught with the sort of scamming that was once the province of televangelists in the 1980s. On the other hand, if Clinton is serious, such a career change could be her redemption worthy of a Saint Paul or at least #Charles Colson.



 
Rocket Lab finds the cause of the failure of the Electron to achieve orbit

When Rocket Lab conducted the first test launch of its Electron rocket on May 25, 2017, the launch vehicle reached space but did not achieve low Earth orbit. Now, the company, after an extensive investigation, has discovered why the glitch occurred. It turns out that corrupted telemetry data due to a software bug caused the flight to be terminated prematurely, according to Space News.



 
Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ officially a flop

When the news that Al Gore was coming out with a new movie, “An Inconvenient Sequel,” came out, questions were raised about why the project was undertaken. To be sure, Gore has not been in the news for quite a while, and the man who still thinks he should have been president needs media exposure as most people need their next breath. Also, a new movie might answer a lot of questions raised by “#An Inconvenient Truth,” such as how many of the predictions made in the first movie never panned out. In any case, “An Inconvenient Sequel” is officially a flop, having come in 15th for its first weekend and making just over $1 million so far. Some in the #Climate Change community are suggesting sabotage on the part of the distributor.



 
New ‘Huckleberry Finn’ film stirs controversy through use of the ‘n word’

At one time “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was considered a classic of American literature, one of the most well-known stories written by #Mark Twain. The book was regularly taught in American public schools. However, in recent decades, the story about a boy named Huck and his runaway slave friend Jim who float up the Mississippi River on a raft during the 1930s, has become problematic at best. The reason is the use of a word that was common vernacular at the time Twain wrote the book that has become so obscene that it is only referred to as the “N word.” Therein resides the controversy in the latest screen adaptation of “Huckleberry Finn.”



 
How a Mars colony could become the Martian Republic

Neel V. Patel, writing in Inverse, wrestles with a problem that is not likely to be something that needs dealing with for a few decades, that being the politics of Mars Colony. How does one reconcile the settlement of another planet with the dictates of the #outer space treaty? Should Mars remain a kind of Antarctic-style science preserve? Should something called “cooperative sovereignty” be imposed? In fact, a solution is staring everyone in the face that involves some clever diplomacy that is likely to rub some people the wrong way.



 
Anthony Reardon faces a recall effort in California

#Anthony Reardon, the speaker of the #California Assembly, must be among the unhappiest people in American politics. He is a committed liberal in a state that is entirely dominated by the left. He, therefore, wields a remarkable amount of political power. Yet, his party, for which he has toiled for much of his life, has mounted a recall effort against him, all for the sin of knowing how to do the math.



 
What happened to Jamie Lannister when the dragon destroyed his army?

“Game of Thrones” has just proven that a new weapon can be a game changer when fighting a war, especially if it can give one an air of superiority in a medieval context. Also, family reunions can be poignant indeed.



Sunday, August 06, 2017
 
Trump gets United Nations support against North Korea

The Trump administration scored a major diplomatic victory when the UN #Security Council voted 15 to one to impose crippling economic sanctions on North Korea. The sanctions would ban the export of items such as coal and seafood, slicing a billion dollars off of #North Korea’s annual $3 billion in exports. In the meantime, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi directly admonished North Korea’s top diplomat during a conference in Manilla and told him that Pyongyang should halt missile and nuclear tests.



 
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel ready to rumble to defend illegal immigrants

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has promised to withhold federal grants related to law enforcement to local governments that operate so-called “sanctuary cities” in which officials, including law enforcement, do not cooperate with federal officials in the enforcement of immigration laws. Rahm Emmanuel, the mayor of Chicago, a city that has a severe crime problem, has vowed to sue the Justice Department in federal court, finding as he does the new policy, “unlawful and unconstitutional.” Hot Air wonders what the mayor is talking about.



Saturday, August 05, 2017
 
Bill Maher thinks Donald Trump could have his enemies killed

Whenever anyone wants to find out what the cutting edge of left-wing hyperbolic rhetoric is, one can but tune into Friday night’s “Real Time” the HBO rant show hosted by #Bill Maher. Maher has done everything from calling Sarah Palin we do not use, to uttering the “N word” to denouncing the idea of Mars colonies. Most recently Maher outdid himself by suggesting that #Donald Trump, the president of the United States, is capable of having his enemies whacked.



 
Is planetary protection even necessary?

Some in the media have been entertaining the rest of us with stories that have headlines that suggest that NASA is searching for someone to defend the planet against alien invasion called a #Planetary Protection officer. The position comes with a six figure salary and generous government benefits. However, the job is not quite as glamorous as it seems and it may not be necessary.



 
With the failure of Obamacare repeal and replace Republicans have a new strategy

The conventional wisdom is that the Republicans damaged themselves for the 2018 midterm elections for failing to #Repeal and Replace Obamacare. The theory is that people who elected them to Congress to lift the scourge of the Affordable Care Act will throw up their hands and stay home, making #Nancy Pelosi the once and future speaker. However, according to the Washington Examiner, the GOP has a new gambit to prevent a health care induced blood bath from happening and to turn the tables on the Democrats.



Friday, August 04, 2017
 
How Seattle’s income tax on the rich will hammer small business

Seattle, Washington is the home of quite a number of high tech startups, some of which have grown into massive corporations that have changed the world, such as Microsoft and Amazon. The city also has a far left municipal government. The two facts are about to collide thanks to a soak the rich tax scheme that slaps a 2.25 percent levy on income over $250,000.



 

More of my wisdom via Space News What is the best way to mine the moon?



 
Do the majority of Americans really support single-payer health care?

As Hot Air reports, a recent #Quinnipiac Poll suggests that 51 percent of Americans support a single-payer, government-run #Health Care System, the so-called “Medicaid for all” system that is being advanced by people like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). However, there is less to the poll than meets the eye. We may be seeing a phenomenon that pollsters call “question bias.” Also, the vast majority of Republicans oppose such a system.



 
NASA finds out something fascinating about the next target for New Horizons

A couple of years ago, the #New Horizons space probe flew past Pluto and changed how we understand what was once considered the ninth planet from the sun forever. Since the probe was still in good shape, NASA scientists decided that it could fly by an object deeper inside the Kuiper Belt -- that area of #Rock And Ice that surrounds the solar system. They hit upon #2014 Mu69, an object about a billion miles further out from the sun than Pluto. New Horizons will pass by MU69 on New Year’s Day 2019. In the meantime, studies from the ground suggest that MU69 is far more interesting than a run-of-the-mill sphere of rock and ice.



 
Atheist group decry Bible study at the White House

When the news that some members of the Trump administration are participating in a Bible study group, the matter was thought to be unremarkable. However, according to the Washington Times, the #Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist group, is decrying the practice. In the view of the atheists, government officials studying and discussing the Bible is “disturbing, scary and maybe even an illegal use of taxpayer funds.”



 
Lena Dunham accused two flight attendants of ‘transphobic speech’

Actress, producer, and public nuisance #lena dunham has created another social media scandal for tweeting what she described as a traumatic experience of overhearing a private conversation between two #Flight Attendants that she described as “transphobic.” She described how she messaged #American Airlines describing the conversation and the company’s promise that it would investigate the matter. The tweet storm that followed was instantaneous and predictable.



 
Trailer for the Bruce Willis ‘Death Wish’ kicks up a tweet storm

The remake of “Death Wish,” the 1974 crime, action film, has just released a trailer. The new version stars #Bruce Willis and moves the story from 1970s crime ridden New York to 2017 crime ridden Chicago. Some in social media are already denouncing the movie, which depicts a trauma surgeon outraged by a gang that attacks his family in a home invasion and goes on a shooting spree of criminals, as an “alt.right” propaganda film. Others suggest that the movie makes a casting mistake by featuring action star Bruce Willis as the aggrieved family man.



Thursday, August 03, 2017
 
Are Democrats getting ready to get rid of Nancy Pelosi?

McClatchy reported on a remarkable survey taken of 20 Democratic House candidates. They were asked whether or not they would support current #House Minority Leader #Nancy Pelosi as their leader in the next Congress. Only one answered yes, 18 refused to answer, and one stated flatly that he would not support Pelosi. The results of the survey illustrate the conundrum that the Democrats face if they hope to retake #The House.



 
What are the Russians doing on ‘Salvation?’

The double episode of “#Salvation” that recently aired revealed a new player in the drama surrounding the threat of an asteroid hitting the Earth. The #Russians have, by the end of the two hours, destroyed any chance of breaking up the asteroid by ramming a repurposed space probe into it through the use of hacking. They have also stolen Darius’ EM drive, though they failed to get either of the researchers involved in the project. Liam, the MIT grad student, shot his faculty advisors, Dr. Croft, who turned out to be a traitor. What are the Russians up to?



 
A Utah state representative supports Calexit

Calexit, the desire of some in #California secede from the Union, has acquired a strange ally in the form of State Rep. Paul Ray, a Republican in Utah. State Rep. Ray is drafting legislation that would support California secession. The resolution has little chance of passing and, in many quarters, is considered a joke. However, the proposed law does reveal a dirty little secret concerning the secession drive in California.




 
The problem with Kamala Harris is that she is too much like Hilary Clinton

On the surface, Kamala Harris [VIDEO], the junior senator from California, would seem to be the perfect person to go up against President Donald Trump in 2020. She is a young, fresh face from the most populous and, in many ways, the most liberal state in the union. She is saying all the correct things to appeal to the Democratic base. Harris has the advantage of not having any skeletons in her closet. She could be the first female president of the United States.



 
Some inconvenient truths about Al Gore’s climate change crusade

Just in time for the premiere of Al Gore’s new movie, “An Inconvenient Sequel,” which follows on the themes of apocalyptic #Climate Change ravaging the planet first presented in “An Inconvenient Truth,” the Washington Times reports on a study of the energy Gore’s #Nashville mansion. It turns out that the climate change crusader is not leading by example.



 
‘Death Wish’ to get a 21st Century reboot with Bruce Willis

“#Death Wish,” the 1974 crime/revenge drama that starred Charles Bronson, is getting a #21St Century reboot, this time with Bruce Willis in the title role as a mild mannered man moved to become an avenging vigilante. The new film, due on November 22nd, 2017, retains a lot of the plot and themes of the original movie but with some significant differences,



Wednesday, August 02, 2017
 
How Donald Trump almost became the president in a Sharknado movie

The “Sharknado” franchise is one of the weirdest phenomena ever to come out of the SyFy Channel. The movies feature giant tornadoes ravaging the coasts that drop human eating sharks on passersby. The scenario is played solely for laughs, but it has acquired a so bad it’s good cult status.



 
Some more of my wisdom. via the Hill: Trump says US will return to moon — Now he has to make it happen


 
Trump Justice Department to fight racism in college admissions

As Hot Air noted, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is gearing up to investigate and possibly litigate instances of racial discrimination in admissions to colleges and universities. The reason this policy change is somewhat different is that it aims at discrimination against white and Asian students as a result of so-called affirmative action policies that favor other ethnic groups.



 
How the Falcon Heavy killed the idea of orbital fuel depots

Several years ago, an argument raged in space policy circles over the best approach to deep space exploration. One side pushed for an architecture based on #Heavy Lift rockets, similar to the Saturn V that took men to the moon. People could go back to the moon and then on to Mars with fewer launches of a big rocket. The other side decried the great expense of developing and then operating a heavy lift rocket. Instead, they proposed using existing, commercially available rockets to fill orbital depots with rocket fuel. Then a ship going to the moon or Mars would dock with the depot and top off with fuel before proceeding on.



 
President Trump proposes to reform legal immigration through the RAISE Act

President Donald Trump, having cracked down on illegal immigration, has turned his attention to legal immigration reform. He proposed a piece of legislation called the RAISE Act, based on a bill being pushed by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. and Sen. David Perdue, R- Ga. The proposed law would change entirely how legal immigrants are chosen to enter the #United States.



 
Tucker Carlson has a Calexit leader on his show and hilarity ensues

The proposition that supports the secession of California from the Union will likely be on the 2018 ballot. Moreover, a third of the electorate in the state support it's leaving the #United States and becoming a republic. With that in mind, one of the leaders of the so-called Calexit movement, Shankar Singam, appeared on #Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program and opened his mind about the issues surrounding California’s leading the United States.



 
Rhetoric surrounding North Korea heats up

The test of the latest North Korean ICBM, even though it may have been less than successful, has got American policymakers concerned. The most recent missile might be able to deliver a nuclear weapon to targets beyond the west coast of the United States into its interior. However, the reaction has been somewhat mixed, though the Washington Examiner has put a good face on the matter by casting it as an example of good cop/bad cop.



Tuesday, August 01, 2017
 
Do men pretend to be ‘woke’ to get millennial women into bed?

Alexa Peters took to the pages of the Washington Post recently and wondered if men she was dating are truly “woke” or are they lying in order to get her into bed. That the question is even asked demonstrates a certain naiveté that causes people who are older, wiser, and more experienced to roll their eyes at millennials.



 
New Amazon series envisions a separate black nation after the Civil War

Deadline Hollywood has reported that Amazon is developing an alternate history series that seems an awful lot like a response to the controversial show being developed at HBO, ”Confederate,” even though it is said to have been in development for a year. The series is called “#Black America,” and it envisions a slightly different outcome to the American #Civil War.



 
Fighting climate change by turning CO2 into food

The climate change community has been entertaining us and one another with apocalyptic visions about what will happen to the #Earth if humans continue to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The scenario of an out-of-control greenhouse effect has been used to justify draconian cutbacks against the use of oil, natural gas, and coal to generate energy and mandates to use renewable energy such as wind and solar.



 
Rumor: ‘Star Trek’ spin-off series featuring Khan in the works

With the advent of “Star Trek: Discovery” drawing nigh, rumors abound of another Trek project being developed by Nicholas Meyer, the director of “#star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” The project will, so the story goes, involve one of the more iconic villains of the Star Trek universe, #Khan Noonien Singh.



 
President Trump mulling executive action to help fix Obamacare

With the attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare in ruins in the Senate, President #Donald Trump is mulling what actions he can take on his own to address the dysfunction that the Affordable Care Act has wrought on the American health care system. He is already thinking of incentivizing Congress to have another go by cutting off subsidies to insurance companies and for congressional health care plans.



 
Maduro’s establishment of Venezuelan dictatorship elicits American response

The sham elections in Venezuela, which established a so-called National Constituent Assembly that is expected to give President Nicolas Maduro unlimited dictatorial powers, is eliciting a sharp response from the United States. Undeterred, Maduro is arresting his political opponents and is continuing a bloody crackdown in the streets. The development constitutes a new foreign policy headache for the Trump administration, a burgeoning #Humanitarian Crisis, and the prospect of a Cuba-style dictatorship aligned with Iran in #South America. The White House is examining its options.



 
America mulls arming Ukrainian military to counter Russian aggression

#The United States Defense Department and State Department has devised a plan to send arms to the Ukraine as a way to counter Russia’s #Vladimir Putin’s imperial designs on that country. Putin has already seized the Crimea from the Ukraine and is fomenting armed rebellion among Russian ethnic separatists. The plan to give the Ukrainian military anti-tank missiles and other weapons requires the approval of President Trump.