Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Friday, January 09, 2004

This morning’s Washington Post and New York Times lead with broad hints about Karl O’Selsnick’s next term-saving production tentatively entitled Gone with the Moon.
In both papers, the headlined Plan for Lunar Settlement reader-hook is unsupported by direct quotation in stories that quickly devolve into the usual Rovian, according to the WP, hashed-together:

Plans grew out of a White House group…after the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on Feb. 1

and, according to NYT, budgetless:

Official cautioned that the proposal could be broad and open-ended.

crony, says the WP, pay-offs:

This is a boon for business and a boon for Texas.

with the added plus of a, according to NYT then WP, personality cult media angle:

Diverting attention from the Democratic presidential candidates

Bush's aides want him to have a "Kennedy moment".

Back on December 5th when this fat space balloon was first floated by the Bush Space Cadets, we posted links to Buzz Aldrin’s no longer freely available Op-Ed, Fly Me To L1, for the New York Times about a more scientific, realistic and, who’d a thunk it, peaceful approach to a human presence in interplanetary space.
In this administration’s tradition of in-fighting and telegraphing a 3rd Act stalemate, the Washington Post quotes an unnamed “Presidential Advisor” who mocks Karl’s production of Gone with the Moon as the:

Mission to Pluto.

The wreckage-strewn Earth Mars orbital trajectory clearly shows the depths of space to be treacherous to tiny gold-wrapped robots much less a large, shielded and yet undeveloped vehicles containing a few fragile humans.
The involvement of our finest young people, like those utilized in this military occupation of Iraq, should demand our most meticulous planning and not this morning’s cheap theatrics.
As Iraq was to the over all war on terror so to would a Moon Base be to a rational human approach to real interplanetary space travel, an expensive distraction with marginal bearing on the goal.
As of now there is no effective Earth to Space ferry.
Bush Cadets traveling to even our leaking low orbit space station would, now, have to wait in line for a Russian booster.
Once in space, our soon-to-be-highly-radioactive Bush Cadet needs to get to the Moon and land on it and then, once on the Moon he must figure a way off the Moon.
So, we have to figure a way out of this gravity well and thru lunar space to another gravity well to figure a way through interplanetary space to another steeper and more danger-packed gravity well while risking a hideous radiation-induced death all so President Bush can have a few seconds of looking like a Kennedy?
Sounds good to me.
Then, of course, there is the idea that space travel’s linkage with ideas of political nationalism (particularly US nationalism from the world’s present view) could force the ugly development of a renewed, and unproductive, Space Race between China, Japan and the Europeans.
Sounds like a plus, plus for the Bushies and the concept of highly industrialized interplanetary forever war.
Someone get me a smart black fascist cap while I figure a way to goose step in zero gee!

Photos: Reuters, NASA
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Bush to Create New Class
Between Lower Middle and Poor

Bush's conservatively compassionate Leave No Temporary American Behind Act panders for the teensey percentage of voters Karl imagines will be required to win a repeat of 2000's dead even split while devestating America's working poor.

Photo: AP
It’s good to smell American soil and air.
--Returning Ft. Campbell soldier

The return of 20,000 battle-weary soldiers to Fort Campbell, Kentucky took one step closer to reality today with the emotional arrival of 200 members of the 101st Airborne Division’s 600-man advance team.
According to WLKY in Louisville, it will take until April to return the entire 101st Airborne.
The Associated Press reports:

Fifty-nine soldiers from Fort Campbell have been killed in the war 57 of them from the 101st.
The post has had more deaths in Iraq than any other military unit.

Photo: AP
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

From the nefarious mud of politics, America’s media, occasionally today, considers a more celestial substance.
This morning’s creepily alien photo of Martian mud may have piqued the increased interest of exobiologists but my thoughts drifted toward pottery and how space mud might dry and fire.
Unless beaten to the ceramic punch by an alien past, will human hands, someday, fire a Martian pottery to a deep glossy burgundy or a textured matte pink?
Will this mud or “strangely cohesive…weird stuff”, as Dr. Steve Squyres principal investigator for Spirit's science package calls it, contain some interesting discoveries in the serendipitous tradition of great science?
Stay tuned, as only (wink) time will tell.

From 4th planet mud my eyes, and the eyes of many in the metropolitan Cincinnati area, were drawn toward Terran skies and news of a CVG-bound fighter jet-escorted Delta flight from Paris.
With the local media chattering and fire and emergency services scrambling, the event, which kept plugged-in citizens anxious for several hours, evolved into a very expensive “never mind” for the establishment Bush country on both sides of the Ohio River.
People here, naturally, wonder why the anxiety, prompted by news of the fighter escort, was created after a possible offender and their luggage had been removed in France.
Local media quoted some of the 181 passengers saying the last 90 minutes of the flight were “very tense”.
TSA’s tardy and bland pronouncements didn’t reassure or inform as news crossed the Internet that deGaulle's security-defenestrated woman had rebooked her flight to Cincinnati.
It will be interesting to observe how this plays with the natives.

Photos: NASA, WCPO
Monday, January 05, 2004

No matter what a Bush loyalist, reading this blog, might have to say about my own personal feelings of American patriotism, to me, America’s glory and promise, no matter the present day’s political turmoil, is best summarized by the little 400 pound collection of human ingenuity now in a flurry of pre-roving robotic activity on a rock-strewn Martian equatorial plain.
America, thanks to intellectual freedom and the physical muscle that has powered a nation through more than 200 years of endless crisis, stands alone on the pinnacle that is Mars.
No analogue recording of terrorist braggadocio can sully this American accomplishment.
While the monocular vision of NASA’s sometimes deadly bureaucracy more accurately reflects the unchanging good old boy connectivity of the larger federal animal, average Americans can’t help but wonder what a bureaucracy that more resembled NASA’s wide scan and oftentimes bootstrapped science might look like.

Some of the unimportant trivia that occupies the incurious mind of the present administration is detailed in an opinion column from yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle tellingly adapted from an article in the December 15th issue of American Conservative.
James Brovard details the Bush administration’s efforts, through a perverted usage of the Secret Service, to crush the constitutionally protected free speech rights of average citizens.
As many of you might already know, federally employed protective agents, on the orders of the Bush administration, regularly instruct local police to remove protestors from our installed President’s highly sensitive field of vision through an Orwellian bit of rationalization:

Secret Service agent Brian Marr explained to National Public Radio, "These individuals may be so involved with trying to shout their support or nonsupport that inadvertently they may walk out into the motorcade route and be injured. And that is really the reason why we set these places up, so we can make sure that they have the right of free speech, but, two, we want to be sure that they are able to go home at the end of the evening and not be injured in any way."

Gee, how thoughtful of our government to forcefully remove peaceful protesters from a highly dangerous hotel or convention center sidewalk to the distant and safe confines of a cozy razor-wired enclosure.
Would Spirit be resting on a rusty Martian plain today if the mullahs of the Bush administration had been able to work their invidious magic upon NASA science as they have upon Treasury’s protective service?

Ever forward oh intrepid little Spirit rover, unless our President just doesn’t like the looks of that rock you are intending to drill.

Photos: NASA, San Francisco Chronicle

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