Doc and I have been engaged in an extended discussion about the frog-marching of Sarah Palin out of the public square. The DUDE (Down Under Defense Expert) brought a Peggy Noonan column to my attention about this. As I noted in my discussion with Doc, I didn't do my due diligence on Palin's positions/papers--most of what I caught about her came from sound bytes--some good, some not so good. It appears, if one reads Noonan's column, that Palin really didn't have a lot of positions explaining the foundations of her beliefs. My choices in 2008, after my original choices dropped out of the GOP race (Thompson, Romney), were bad (McCain), mad (Paul), or frickin' sad(Obama or Clinton).
I can understand mockery, for instance Palin's flubs in interviews, but what continues to bother me is the vitriol--the visceral hatred critics displayed toward Palin and George W. Bush before her. It's one thing to disagree with one's opponents; it's another to consider them the Devil Incarnate or some retarded human being worthy only of contempt. I didn't hate Sarah Palin, nor would I mock her. I think she's a nice lady with a lot of spunk and an ability to fire up a crowd. She supported causes I agree with: pro-life, pro-oil drilling in ANWR, and pro-gun, for instance. The few speeches of hers I've heard or read seemed to articulate those views pretty well, so I don't understand the "lightweight" comments, nor do I agree with Ms. Noonan that Palin was utterly out of her depth on the issues. Might she have been better off staying off the radar in Alaska? Perhaps. But the drama is over. With any luck we can move off of Palin, Michael Jackson, and Farrah Fawcett and move back to things that actually matter, like the economy, Iran, North Korea, missile defense, etc.--you know: the issues--all of which President Obama is handling not handling well, I might add.
Rocketplane Kistler is looking at Hawaii as a possible base of operations for space tourism flights, as well as possible transportation services.
Big aerospace companies met with Senator Shelby (R-AL) to discuss their plans for supporting the Ares Projects. This line from a Shelby aide was telling: "it appeared that the aerospace contractors did not have a public support strategy." A couple of reasons for this come to mind: while Big Aero has big contracts with NASA for Ares, they might just as easily pick up other contracts if the administration decided to cancel Ares. They probably also see what kinds of negative press Shelby is getting regarding his efforts to pull money from other NASA centers that support COTS so he can protect Ares jobs in Huntsville. Mind you, I'm one of those jobs in Huntsville, and a Republican, but I think Shelby's funding games are shortsighted. We need COTS and Ares as multiple means of access to the International Space Station. I might have to write another letter.
Need a poster of the X-15 hypersonic aircraft? NASA has one you can download.
The Charles Bolden/Lori Garver confirmation hearings appeared to be a lovefest. NASA should have a new Administrator soon.
America is in no danger of being taken over by an iron-fisted tyrant. However, we might find ourselves smothered under a cloying, will-do-anything-for-you Mommy State if we're not careful. This article on cafeteria snacks also comes from the DUDE. His commentary is priceless:
In the second month after they won the election, the centre-right government down here rescinded the law passed by the previous leftist government that required government approval of what snack food would be sold in schools. The reason given, which set off days of strident yawping our nanny-staters, was that parents should be the ones to decide what foods their kids should eat.