Trump’s GOP Endorsers

Rich Lowry has no sympathy for them:

The Republican establishment has reacted in shock and dismay at Trump’s attacks on the judge hearing the Trump University case, as if it were unaware the party had nominated a man whose calling card has been out-of-bounds, highly charged personal attacks on his opponents.

It must have missed it when he took shots at Ben Carson’s Seventh Day Adventism. It wasn’t watching TV that time when he doubted that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. It put it out of its mind that one of his main arguments against Cruz was that he was a Canadian ineligible for the presidency, and that he liked to sneeringly let it drop every now and then that Cruz’s real name is Rafael. Trump’s suggestion that Cruz couldn’t be an evangelical Christian because of his Cuban ancestry and his Dad might have been involved in the Kennedy assassination must have been similarly memory-holed. And Trump’s birtherism? Hey, who hasn’t harbored suspicions that the president might have been born in Kenya and covered up his secret with a fraudulent birth certificate?

If Trump didn’t call Curiel a Mexican unworthy of hearing his case, you’d almost wonder what had knocked the candidate off his game. But the Republican establishment seems to have believed that it had an implicit pact (unbeknownst to Trump) that he could have the party so long as he didn’t embarrass it too badly.

The breach in this imaginary agreement has occasioned epic ducking and covering. The new equivalent of medieval scholastic philosophers are the Republican senators insisting on heretofore unnoticed distinctions between different levels of support for a presidential candidate.

I share his lack of sympathy.

Patti Grace Smith

I don’t see anything on line about it, but I’ve been informed by a mutual friend that she has died from pancreatic cancer. It’s kind of a shock, because I was at a workshop in DC with her in March, and I saw her at the National Space Symposium in April, and had no idea that she was ill. She was George Nield’s predecessor at FAA-AST, and a good friend to commercial space.

[Tuesday-morning update]

Here’s the story at Space News.

[Afternoon update]

[Thursday-morning update]

Here’s the obit at the New York Times, but I don’t think this is correct:

Appointed in 1998 to a newly created post, Ms. Smith was the first person to head the Federal Aviation Administration’s agency for commercial space transportation.

This implies that she was the first head of the office, but the post had been “newly created” five years earlier, when Gore demoted OCST and moved it under the FAA. Frank Weaver was the first head of the office.


[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s Jeff Foust’s piece. I don’t understand what Jim Muncy means when he says she was the first “real Associate Administrator.” That she was more pro-active than Frank?

Hillary Clinton

She’s the candidate that the Democrats, the party of lies, criminality and corruption, deserve:

She enters the general election stage of the campaign as one of the most disliked and distrusted political figures in America, and one of the least popular presidential nominees of all time. Despite his even uglier public image and endless parade of divisiveness and insults, the Republican nominee-in-waiting only trails her by an average of two percentage points at this stage of the race, inside the margin of error. Several weeks ago, a Democratic operative basked in the afterglow of Donald Trump’s effective nomination victory, crowing on Fox News that the GOP had selected “exactly the candidate they deserve.” Ironically, both Trump’s strong backers and detractors on the right would likely agree with this statement, albeit for different reasons. This week, the same formulation applies to the Democrats. They’ve chosen the corrupt, opaque, power hungry, self-serving, aloof, greedy, politically soulless, congenital liar they so richly deserve.

In case it wasn’t sufficiently beaten into your psyche with a rhetorical two-by-four last night, Hillary Clinton has made history. Indeed. She has become the first presidential candidate of either gender to clinch a major party’s nomination while under active FBI investigation. That criminal probe — not a “security review” as she and her campaign have wrongly claimed — continues to produce serious new developments. Based on her deliberate, national security-endangering conduct, as well as a string of clues and actions by federal investigators, it is entirely possible that a recommendation for criminal prosecution will be handed down in the coming weeks. As America’s top diplomat, Mrs. Clinton ordered the implementation of an improper email scheme that predictably culminated in the compromising of thousands of classified documents, including top secret and ‘beyond top secret’ material. She ignored specific, personal warnings from State Department security officials about her reckless arrangement in 2009 and 2011, using her shockingly unsecure system throughout her four-year tenure as a means of thwarting public records requests and wielding total control over her correspondence. When the existence of her private server was revealed, Clinton and her attorneys unilaterally deleted tens of thousands of messages, falsely stating that none of them were work-related. She has verifiably and flagrantly lied about virtually every aspect of this scandal from the very beginning.

But other than that, she’s great.

The 90s and the Clintons were the last straw for me and Democrats.

[Thursday-morning update]

Hillary Clinton’s truth problem:

Reading through the interview transcripts and stories, I found nuggets buried deep in the coverage that offer a less flattering portrait of Clinton—that would suggest her presidency might lack transparency, candor, and accountability.

Gee, Ron, ya think?

The Obama Space Doctrine

Congress recognizes that it’s coming to an end:

Although the House language must still go to conference with the Senate, it seems unlikely anyone in that body will fight too hard to save the asteroid mission, Capitol Hill sources told Ars. Even if the administration vetoes the bill, it doesn’t really matter to Congress, because key members of Obama’s leadership team, including NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, will probably be gone next year. This year’s legislation effectively lays down a marker for negotiations with the new occupant of the White House in 2017.

The key legislators behind the new exploration approach for NASA, California Democrat Mike Honda and Oklahoma Republican Jim Bridenstine, at first blush seem an unlikely pair. Honda consistently ranks among the most liberal House members and Bridenstine among the most conservative. But with this new legislation, they have come together out of a desire for NASA to reconsider the Moon as a pragmatic interim destination before going to Mars.

“There is no better proving ground than the Moon for NASA to test the technologies and techniques needed to successfully meet the goal of sending humans to Mars by the mid 2030s,” Honda told Ars. “I am proud to lead the Congressional effort to ensure that NASA develops a plan to fully take advantage of potential partnerships with commercial industry, academia, and international space agencies to send affordable missions to explore and characterize the lunar surface.”

Loren Grush similarly writes that abandoning the moon was a mistake. I think she misses a key point here, though:

…perhaps the biggest strength of a Moon colony is how quickly NASA could pull it off. Studies have suggested that a crewed mission to the lunar surface could be done with existing rockets, such as the Falcon 9 or the Atlas and Delta rockets from United Launch Alliance, at a relatively low cost.

This is true of Mars, as well, at least if we consider Falcon Heavy. In fact, it’s the only affordable way to do it, given that Congress isn’t going to raise NASA’s budget to fund Mars hardware in the face of the continuation of the unneeded SLS.

Finally, Keith Cowing notes that the Planetary Society has an ulterior motive in continuing to support ARM:

The real reason why the Planetary Society supports ARM is that it delays sending humans to Mars. One look at their Humans Orbiting Mars report and you’ll see that they want to take longer to get to Mars and only play around on Phobos when they get there. Their own staff overtly state their reluctance to send humans to the surface.

Friedman’s statement that ARM cancellation would mean that “there will be no human space exploration earlier than 2030” demonstrates a certain level of cluelessness on his part. I guess he missed all of that SLS/Orion-based Deep Space Habitat goodness that was all over the news a month ago.

Lou Friedman wants us all to think that dire consequences will result if ARM is cancelled. I’d suggest the opposite: by focusing NASA’s limited resources on the things that actually get humans to Mars sooner – we will actually get humans to Mars – sooner.

I don’t care about Mars, but people who do should be loudly opposing SLS.

Muhammad Ali

I haven’t said anything about him, but my response to his death was, “Meh.” Partly, I guess, because I detest the “sport” of boxing. But I agree with this: The Nation of Islam and our national concussion:

Ali was certainly one of the most interesting Americans of the past half-century—a great athlete who, with wit and wile, marketed himself as “The Greatest” and was accepted by millions as just that. He was not a saint or nearly a saint.

He is supposed to be a hero for standing up for his religious principles. Yet the religious group that he embraced—the faction of the Nation of Islam associated with Louis Farrakhan—was one grounded in racism and in hatred for Jews, “white devils,” and America. How bad was the NOI? It negotiated with the Ku Klux Klan in an effort to achieve the two sides’ mutual goal of racial separatism. [See my blog post on the NOI, at , conveniently reposted below.]

Back then, when he was under the influence of the NOI, Ali was so ignorant that he renounced his birth name, Cassius Clay Jr., as a “slave name,” when in fact the Cassius Clay for whom Ali’s father was named, the historical figure, was an abolitionist hero. Clay survived a murder plot by supporters of slavery (he killed the would-be assassin with a Bowie knife), was a founder of the Republican Party, pushed Lincoln to issue what became the Emancipation Proclamation, and, as ambassador to Russia, helped win the Civil War by keeping Russia on the Union side.

During his time in the Nation of Islam, Ali spoke out against “race mixing.” See this video:

Ali was a draft dodger. In our country’s history, Conscientious Objectors have taken roles ranging from hospital worker to vaccine experimentee, to retain their honor while living consistently with their pacifistic principles. Ali didn’t do that. He pulled a Clinton, putting himself above the rules by which others had to live.


[Update a few minutes later]

Erasing the wildly ugly racism of Muhammad Ali.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!