Friday, October 29, 2004

Closing on the Finish, and things only get stranger...
...(and perhaps more ominous). Recent days have been filled with reports and clashing statements about voter fraud and/or intimidation and the when-and-whereabouts of explosives in Iraq. Now, the one person most hostile to our country and the civilized world weighs in (from Drudge archive snapshot).

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Celestial Happenings

False color ultraviolet and infrared image of Titan NASA

With my obvious focus on politics right now, it's sometimes difficult to keep up on all the space news. But I don't want to overlook Cassini's close approach to Saturn's moon Titan. Also, don't forget tonight's total lunar eclipse.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Election Intensity
Blogging's been more sporadic as I've been working at the precinct level and in other ways for W's re-election and the election of other good people.

Meanwhile, surprise , surprise, the Washington Post has endorsed John Kerry.While the Post does attempt to list strengths and weaknesses of both candidates, the endorsement seems to be based on an overly expansive assessment of President Bush's shortcomings and wishful thinking on Senator Kerry's promises. Interestingly, the Post also published today, an article by Bob Woodward on 22 questions he'd like to ask John Kerry on Iraq (but which the Senator has not gotten around to answering).

Finally, if your stomach and your blood pressure will allow you to continue to follow the seemingly wild gyrations in polls and prognostications, a few good sources include RealClearPolitics, National Review Online's Battlegrounders and NewsMax.
Terri Schindler-Schiavo still in danger
Rulings by the Florida State Supreme Court and a local judge go against the fight for Terri's life. Furthers actions to save her life could include an appeal by Florida Governor Jeb Bush to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The times, they are a changin'.
Time magazine poll gives W slight edge, and reports that a majority of Americans are prolife.
Dems advocate pre-emptive war...
..., not against terrorists and tyrants, but against their political opponents at home, according to the Drudge Report on Thursday.
ISS crew handover is underway...
...following some tense moments during the docking sequence of the Soyuz spacecraft carrying the new crew to the station.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Great Space Debate
Thursday, the morning after the final presidential debate between President Bush and Senator Kerry, I attended a forum where two prominent members of the space community in DC spoke for their respective candidates on the topic of space policy (which, not surprisingly, was not discussed during any of the candidates' debates). More details from Jeff Foust and Keith Cowing.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Space Frontier Conference Trip
Returned Sunday evening from Space Frontier Conference 13 in Long Beach, CA. The conference covered activities and plans in cutting edge entrepreneurial space ventures. Philosophical and spiritual aspects of the space settlement vision were also discussed.

Noteworthy topics include the volatile status of the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, designed to smooth the regulatory environment for the suborbital spaceflight industry. Congress has just recessed until after the November elections, but is expected to return for a 'lameduck' session. Stay tuned to space news sources such as HobbySpace RLV News for developments and citizen action items.

The now historic Ansari X-Prize is planned to be followed up by an exciting X-Prize Cup tournament to be held yearly in New Mexico, according to Bill Gaubatz, representing New Mexico's state space business efforts.

The highlight of the conference at Saturday night's banquet was Scaled Composite's Burt Rutan, famed designer of SpaceShipOne which claimed the X-Prize last Monday. Mr. Rutan received the Space Frontier Foundation's coveted Vision to Reality award on behalf of the SpaceShipOne team, and generously spent nearly 2 hours explaining the project, showing videos and answering questions.

The conference venue was the majestic Queen Mary. The ship which now serves as a hotel, conference center and tourist attraction has a proud history both as a civilian luxury liner and as a troop transport on which many thousands of Allied troops, including my father, sailed on during their service in World War II.

Monday, October 04, 2004

The Prize is Won!
Forty seven years to the day after Sputnik 1 signaled the dawn of the Space Age, a new kind of space age is underway. SpaceShipOne, with test pilot, now astronaut Brian Binnie at the controls, soared past the 100 km (~62 mi) required altitude for the second time in five days and claimed the $10 million Ansari X-Prize.

Ansari X-Prize, via
SpaceShipOne rockets into space...

Ansari X-Prize, via
...and returns safely to Earth (accompanied by chase plane) to claim the X-Prize.

The prize-winning flights are seen as heralding a new age of commercial space travel opening space to many beyond the traditional government astronauts and opening the resources of space to the benefit of present and future generations of people. Read more detail in additional articles from New Scientist and SpaceflightNow.

While the prize will be formally provided to the SpaceShipOne team in early November, designer Burt Rutan will accept an award on the team's behalf this coming Saturday evening at the annual conference of the Space Frontier Foundation on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.
One of the Original Seven
Mercury & Gemini Astronaut Gordon Cooper died today at the age of 77.
Why This Election Matters II
So you thought the 'lack of' WMDs or Saddam Hussein's relation to terrorists is a settled issue? Take a look at this article.
The senior government official and source of the Iraqi intelligence memos, explained that the reason the documents had not been made public before now was that the government has "thousands and thousands of documents waiting to be translated.

"It is unlikely they even know this exists," the source added.
Why This Election Matters I
U.S. Supreme Court turns down an appeal of an outrageous California State Supreme Court ruling infringing on religious liberty and conscientious objection. The President nominates candidates for Supreme Court and Federal judicial seats and your U.S. Senators vote them up or down. Remember on November 2.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Don't believe it.
Much of the Old Media has been trumpeting a Newsweek poll showing John Kerry gaining a narrow lead over W since Thursday night's debate as if it were the revelation of the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. However, a Power Line Blog article describes how the sampling changed between the previous Newsweek poll and this one.
UPDATE: Reader Meg Kreikemeier points out that according to RealClearPolitics, Newsweek's most recent poll included 345 Republicans, 364 Democrats and 278 independents. This compares to Newsweek's published data for their most recent prior poll, which showed President Bush with a comfortable lead: 391 Republicans, 300 Democrats and 270 independents. Yes, if you drop 46 Republicans and add 64 Democrats, you will get considerably better results for the Democratic nominee. This is a good reminder of why poll data always need to be taken with a grain of salt, especially until you see the underlying data.

Now I don't know what ratio of Republicans to Democrats is a most accurate sample of the nation. However, it is obvious that if you change the ratio by as much as was done between these two polls, you are going to show an apparent Kerry 'surge' regardless of the debate outcome or any other circumstance in the real world.

UPDATE: Also, check out the intriguing clip of video linked from this Drudge article on John Kerry's actions during the debate.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Saint Therese of Lisieux
Today I saw the beautiful and compelling movie about Saint Therese. The movie about this special saint describes how she grew up in a loving family and grew in her love of Jesus. It is for everyone from the most pious believer to the most curious skeptic.

I saw the movie in Columbia at the only theater showing it in the Baltimore/Washington area. It is being shown in a very limited number of theaters nationwide. If you want to see a really great film and encourage the making of more like it, check out where it is playing in your area by clicking on the above link, enter the site and click on the 'Showing the Miracle' link and scroll down to the nearest metropolitan area to you.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Bloggers Defending Terri
Earl Appleby at Times Against Humanity has posted comments and links from a number of bloggers, including this one, in response to the Florida Supreme Court decision that once again puts Terri Schindler-Schiavo's life in danger.
Debate Fallout
A theme running through many thoughtful commentaries on last night's debate is that John Kerry was probably quicker on style, while W held his own and prevailed on substance. John Kerry had the most to gain from the debate and was more coherent than in other recent appearances. He managed to avoid debating himself, at least until he expressed support for pre-emptive action to defend the country with the condition of meeting an unspecified 'global test', a phrase that will come back to haunt him.

For a variety of opinions on the debate and ongoing political developments and poll results, check out RealClearPolitics.