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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Circus on the Severn Opens for Taxing Out-of-Season Performance

The Maryland General Assembly convened this week for Gov. O'Malley's special session to pass a tax increase package. The outcome is uncertain as even some Dems are opposed to tax increases at this time.

Meanwhile, I joined fellow residents from Montgomery County and around the state for a rally in Annapolis last night opposing any tax increase.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bella

I saw the movie Bella on Saturday afternoon at the P&G Wheaton Plaza 11 theater. Bella is a beautiful and compelling movie that affirms the dignity of every human life.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Taking On a Different Kind of Evil Empire

Robert Novak writes on a new front opening in the struggle to protect unborn human lives. Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider and promoter, is facing a 107-count grand jury indictment in Kansas, opening a new opportunity for prolife efforts to attempt to curtail the organization's deadly activities.
National anti-abortion leaders Wednesday put finishing touches on a letter to be sent to all members of Congress urging suspension of more than $300 million in federal funding of Planned Parenthood until a massive criminal case brought in Kansas against the abortion rights organization is settled. That launches an attack against the nation's largest purveyor of "reproductive health care" -- including abortions.

This news breaks in the midst of 40 Days for Life, an unprecedented prayer campaign to turn the tide toward a culture of life.

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California Wildfires


NASA

The conditions are finally starting to turn for the better in the battle against the Southern California wildfires. As always, many stories of heroism and generosity come out of a tragedy like this. Also, the response from the various levels of government seems to be more effective and coherent, though there will always be some problems. While there have been moves to politicize the situation from some quarters, at least there likely will not be the kind of rancor that occurred after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast two years ago.

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Space Shindig in New Mexico

Many of my friends in the space community are in the Land of Enchantment this week for the International Symposium for Personal Spaceflight and this weekend's Wirefly X-Prize Cup. These events are designed to highlight advances in personal spaceflight and other entrepreneurial space activity.

Bloggers Clarke Lindsey, Alan Boyle, Jeff Foust and Rand Simberg are among those covering the events. Also, Space.com is providing X-Prize Cup coverage.

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China Moon Rising

China launched its Chang'e-1 lunar probe yesterday, joining a parade of nations participating in exploration of Earth's Moon.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Discovery Heads Into Orbit


NASA

The Shuttle STS-120 mission lifted off this morning en route to a major assembly mission at the International Space Station. The two week mission will include adding the Harmony node to the ISS for attaching future laboratory modules and moving and redeploying one of the large solar arrays.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Political Buzz

I'm watching the GOP presidential debate in Florida on Fox News as I'm blogging. There's been a lot of political activity the last few days. A few highlights:

-The FRC Washington Briefing/Values Voter Summit which I attended was a quite interesting and successful event. All the candidates gave the conference participants something to applaud and were treated with respect, though some are favored more than others, as shown in these straw poll results. Mike Huckabee's strong address connecting on values across a range of issues won him over 50% of on site voters.

-Meanwhile, one of the most principled candidates, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, has withdrawn from the race.

-While the Hurricane Katrina aftermath has been portrayed nationally as a Republican failure due to shortcomings in the federal government response, it was the entrenched Democratic state and local governments that were upended this weekend by Bobby Jindal's historic victory in becoming the next Louisiana governor.

-In a delightful act of political ju-jitsu, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh turned a misguided effort by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and 40 other senate Democrats to wrongly discredit him into a win for the children of some true American heroes. Maybe Harry & co. will now get around to passing some overdue appropriations bills.

UPDATE: The debate's over. Some good points made by all of them. Fred Thompson helped himself at the end by listing his many accomplishments in response to the 'lazy' question.

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Station Crew Change Complete as Discovery Readies for Launch



The Expedition 15 crew returned from the International Space Station (ISS) to Earth while the Expedition 16 crew readies for the STS-120 Discovery mission to arrive later this week.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Washington Gathering

I'll be attending the Family Research Council's Washington Briefing tomorrow and Saturday. Speakers will include the GOP presidential candidates and numerous other enlightening commentators. (The FRC said that the Dem candidates have also been invited but have not accepted

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Stark Raving Mad

The unhinged political rhetoric of recent years reached a new low with this diatribe on the House floor today by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)
"Where are you going to get that money? Are you going to tell us lies like you're telling us today? Is that how you're going to fund the war? You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old, enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement," Stark said.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Here Comes the Sun!

OK, now I'm borrowing a Beatles song title, but solar power from space may become a significant part of our future with the backing of the Pentagon's National Security Space Office (NSSO). The organization released its interim report (PDF) this past week in collaboration with other interested organizations and individuals. The Space Frontier Foundation played a leading role in this collaborative effort.
The Space Frontier Foundation fully supports ALL of the recommendations of this SBSP study report. The big news of this study is that the Pentagon may become an early and major customer for wireless power transmission from space at a much higher price than what the average American pays for power in their homes. This totally changes the economic and business case for SBSP.

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A New Set of Ears to Search for Voices in the Sky

I had to get the Moody Blues song title in there somehow, but the title fits the news this past week that the SETI Institute's Allen Telescope Array (ATA)is now on line.
Like slow-growing lotus blossoms, these antennas have methodically erupted on a lava-littered heath 300 miles northeast of San Francisco during the last four years. Eventually, 350 dishes will grace the Hat Creek Observatory site. But the 42 now up and running are equivalent in collecting area to a 40 m single-dish antenna – and that's large enough to start doing some serious science.

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"Back Off!" Don't Sign Your Life Away

Charlotte F. Allen writes in a Washington Post column today based on personal experience on how the culture of death is pressing 'living wills' as means of devaluing a lives of vulnerable persons.
Furthermore, I found something weasely in the way all those options were presented, as though my only real choice were between being dispatched into the hereafter at the first sign of loss of consciousness or being stuck with as many tubes as needles in a voodoo doll and imprisoned inside a ventilator until global warming melts the ice caps and the hospital washes out to sea. I found the box on the form that said "I decline a living will" and checked it. Right now, my husband is my living will, and after we spent 13 days observing Terri Schiavo exercise her "right to die" by being slowly dehydrated to death after her feeding tube was removed in 2005, he knows exactly how I feel about such matters.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Day Our World Grew Larger

I was only two years old at the time, so I don't remember the awe and fear that occurred fifty years ago tomorrow when the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1. But that day set the tone for the era I grew up in and, as for many, influenced my calling in life. I've been blessed that my lifetime has seen the first tentative moves by humanity to expand beyond our planetary womb. This time will be remembered by future generations who will benefit from access to the immense resources of space.

Too many commentaries and reminiscences have have been published over the last few days to have time to read, much less link to. One unique view is shared by Sergei Khrushchev, son of the Soviet leader at the time of Sputnik.
Fifty years ago, on October 4 1957, my father, the Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, was waiting for a call from Kazakhstan: the designer, Sergei Korolev, was due to report on the launch of the world's first satellite. My father was in Ukraine, on military business, and that evening he dined with Ukrainian leaders. I sat at the end of the table, not paying attention to their conversation. Around midnight my father was asked to take a phone call. When he came back, he was smiling: Sputnik's launch had been successful.

Space.com looks at the the legacy Sputnik left for science and the future of technology and private enterprise in space. Check out SpaceToday.net for numerous other articles on the Sputnik anniversary and look for a special edition at the Space Review Thursday morning.

UPDATE: Thur., Oct. 4: Clark Lindsey has lists of Sputnik links here and here. Rand Simberg's compilation is here. Finally, tonight I observed (and toasted) a high elevation pass over the DC area of the International Space Station (ISS), staffed by Russians and Americans together on this historic space anniversary.

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The Once Great But Now Weird Party

Matt Bondy, a commentator for a Canadian newspaper, writes about how the Democratic Party has changed since the time of JFK.
They say things are too hard in Iraq. They say, through their leader in the Senate, that the war is "lost." They say America can't hold the line in Iraq and turn the country around.

In another time, and about other places, similar words were spoken. But not by Democrats in our fathers' era.

Disturbed by his countrymen's pessimism and trepidation during the Cold War, Kennedy declared, "I hear it said that West Berlin is military untenable. So was Bastogne, and so, in fact, was Stalingrad," referring to two well-known sieges of the Second World War.

"Any danger spot is tenable if men -- brave men -- make it so."

Well, OK I guess today's Democratic leaders have found a cause they believe is worth fighting for, spending time on the Senate floor attacking Rush Limbaugh over a phony issue.

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