Thursday, September 30, 2004

History made again... did you see it?

SpaceShipOne, America's first-ever private spaceship, soared into space yesterday for its second flight and to complete its first leg of the ten million dollar challenge.

The second launch did have some tense moments, though. Once the ship detatched from the jet White Knight and fired its main engines, SpaceShipOne began to roll and spiral upward. There were calls to abort, and no doubt if this was a NASA operation the pilot would have ejected and self-destructed the ship. But this was a private operation, and civilian astronaut Mike Melvill - a seasoned test pilot - kept the roll under control, and then cut the main engine once he knew the ship had enough momentum to escape Earth's atomosphere. He stabilized the ship, snapped some beautiful pictures, and then coast the ship back to Earth at Mach 3. (That's the speed, guys, not the razor.)

The whole thing from takeoff and spectacular launch to a gentle landing was over in a matter of two hours. SpaceShipOne reached a stable altitude of 64 miles above the planet's surface, two miles into space. Now all they have to do is repeat this feat within two weeks to win the Ansari X Prize. Their next flight is scheduled for October 4th, on the anniversary of the launch of the Sputnik satillite by the Soviet Union back in 1957. No, that date wasn't a coincidence.

But I hope people bear in mind that this was the SECOND civilian space-launch that wasn't flawless, but still succeeded. And where's NASA? Still on hold.

Hey, I have an idea... maybe after SpaceShipOne wins the X Prize, Melvill can take the ship back up one more time to pay the International Space Station a visit? Maybe send up some food and ask if they want their laundry taken care of? I'm sure the paper-pushers running NASA would freak out over that!

Oh, by the way, did you know that the Ansari X Prize was based on a challenge made in the 1920's? It's true. It was a challenge to promote the further use of airplanes. That challenge was successfully met by Charles Lindberg when he piloted The Spirit of St. Louis nonstop across the Atlantic in 1927. Lindberg's legendary flight caused a tremendous surge in air travel. The promoters of the X Prize hope that the same will apply with private, non-government space travel.

Science fiction made real. And its about time too. Now if only someone can do something about those flying cars that we were promised....

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sorry Cat... Yusuf.... whatever

So Cat Stevens, a.k.a. Yusuf Islam, is upset because he was turned away from coming to America. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is DEMANDING an explination as to why his flight from London to Washington was diverted and he was sent back.

Well gee, Yusuf, it could very well be that you support organizations that have ties to Hamas, a terrorist organization responsible for the premeditated murder of innocent people. Ever think about that? Oh, that's right, I forgot, terrorists aren't "true Muslims" so they don't count, right?

By the way, where WAS the Council on American-Islamic Relations while Americans being held hostage were getting their heads sawed off? Why have they been so silent over those acts of brutality, but get your burquas in a bunch over Cat Stevens being turned away? At least he got sent back to England with all of his body parts intact and working! Two families in this country can't say the same thing about their fathers.

Until CAIR addresses THAT matter, they have ZERO CREDIBILITY.

There is a little parable about a man with a plank in his eye trying to take the splinter out of the eye of his neighbor. I realize that the folks at CAIR may not know about that parable because it's from a book they don't accept, but the moral of the story is this: the splinter represents Yusuf being turned away. The plank represents the terrorists. Take the plank out of your eye before worrying about the splinter in your neighbor's eye!

As for Cat/Yusuf... hey, you had some nice songs once upon a time. Sorry you got shuffled off your flight, but next time be careful about the charities you give money to, and in your prayers be thankful your treatment was every bit as cordial as should be expected of any man of faith.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Breaking news: CBS backs down on memos.

As I'm typing this story, word is coming over the wire services that CBS can no longer vouch for the authenticity of the "Bush memos", which accused then-National Guard Airman George W. Bush of directly refusing an order, and of being pressured to "sugar-coat" Bush Junior's service record.

Of course, Dan Rather did NOT take up my open challenge to put his job on the line. I figured that he wouldn't have the guts to in the first place, because if he did, then he would have to announce his resignation, and that would end his reign of power.

And yet... I'm sorry guys, but Rather still needs to be removed over this flap. He risked the network's credibility over this political fiasco... and yes, it appears to really BE a political fiasco. That eliminates any kind of illusion of impartiality CBS News may have, which they desperately need. That's another blow against the network.

Well while we're waiting for the next spin on this issue... go ahead and check out my column for this week. The latest article is on this subject and how it ties into past articles I've made about the future of the media. Go ahead and read it, then come back here and vent your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

An open challenge to CBS News and Dan Rather

I don't know about you, but I am pretty much sick and tired of hearing about the questionable authenticity of these new memos that CBS continues to champion. Just about everyone except the people at CBS News are now saying that these documents that claim that George W. Bush disobeyed orders are probably forgeries.

But CBS continues to claim that these documents from a retired military officer who died years ago are true. The late officer's family members and even his former secretary are now saying that these documents are forgeries.

So I have an open challenge to CBS News and to Dan Rather himself: if you still believe without a shadow of a doubt that these documents are true, then put your job on the line!

The world of jouralism has been hit pretty hard these past few years by seemingly "stellar" reporters that got caught fabricating stories. USA Today and the New York Times know first-hand how this blatant fraud has an effect on their credability. And right now, CBS News has not only their credability on the line, but the network's whole future on the line.

It's a serious gamble. If these documents are real, then it is a serious blow to President Bush's re-election campaign. But if they're not real, then CBS News will lose any credibility and respectability whatsoever! They will be damned to an extent that not even the New York Times or USA Today has so far endured.

So Mr. Rather, if you, as the seasoned professional that you claim to be, want to continue to claim that these documents are valid and not forgeries, then it is your responsibility AS a professional to put your job on the line. If these documents turn out to be forgeries, then I expect you to not only announce so, but to also immediately announce your resignation from CBS News. That is the only way to show the world that you are serious in your support of this story, especially when the whole world is starting to believe otherwise.

It's high time for CBS News to put up or shut up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

"Everybody got a car!"

Wow! I have to say that I was impressed with Oprah Winfrey's surprise the other day. Seriously. You fill the audience with some 270 people who need a new car, and tell them that somebody has a key to a new Pontiac car, and every single person in the audience discovers they got a key!

That's a nice $7million plug for Pontiac and a hell of a great PR gesture for Oprah.

I just have to wonder 2 things:

1) Why couldn't I have been in the audience? I could have used a new car! Okay, maybe that was tremendously selfish of me, but my parents definately need a new car, and I know someone who also definately needs a new car.

2) Who is covering the little things? Who will be paying the taxes on the car? How about the title costs? Registration fees? Any chance people there are running without insurance or a valid driver's license? And who would be covering all of that? Would the new winners have to pay for that themselves, or would Oprah or Pontiac pick up the tab?

Hey, don't get me wrong, great gesture, but for a gesture that big, you do have to look the gift horse in the mouth... especially if it could come back to bite you.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Quick post-GOP thoughts...

Few quick post-GOP convention thoughts...

Some folks were asking me just how the hell Michael Moore got press credentials for the convention. Well folks, ask the folks at USA Today about that. He was hired by them to be their "counter-point" person, just as the editor of The New Republic was brought in for the DNC convention. For every day that USA Today covered the conventions, they had someone doing counter-point for their editorial section.

Personally, I like the concept. I just don't know about them picking Moore for the task. Jonahs Goldberg isn't a recognized name, unless you happen to be a diehard conservative.

As I mentioned in my online broadcast, the GOP put up their usual facade, but if you picked up PBS or the cable channels, you would have seen hints of the true nature of the beast.

Senator Zell Miller's fire-and-brimstone diatribe about his own party... I noticed that the press continually made mention of the fact that he was retiring after this year. I don't know why they constantly needs to bring that up. It didn't take away from him burning those political bridges with his scathing attacks. Nor did it detract from the truthfulness of some of his words. He spelled out very plainly why he could not support his party's candidate.

Oh, and I'd pay money to have Zell get into a duel with Chris Matthews. Pistols at ten paces. Put it on Pay-Per-View and it would be the biggest selling special in history.

VP Cheney was a cool cucumber. Putting him and Zell on for the same night was about as much of a mis-match as you could make it. His words were somewhat anti-climactic as well.

Cheney made a few flubs, though.

First, the recession DID NOT START AFTER 9/11!!! The current recession started in 1998. I should know, I was the one warning people of it happening. (And you guys didn't believe me either, so shame on you!) I was also the one who was speculating that if Bush won the 2000 election that the media would be quick to announce a recession. Sure enough, not even 30 minutes into his inauguration the media was warning about a "looming recession".

Yes, 9/11 exasperated the recession, but it did not create it.

Second, Cheney made it seem like the Bush Junior tax cuts came in response to the 9/11 attacks and the recession that "followed". With all due respect, sir, the first tax cut came PRIOR to 9/11! That was the big issue following his inauguration. The second round of tax rebates came, not on Bush Junior's insistence, but because the Democrats were pushing for one.

Oh, by the way, nice to see you out of the Dick-cave. Cripes, you spent just about as much time in hiding as Saddam did before he was captured.

John Kerry was fixated on Vietnam. The GOP was fixated on 9/11. Nobody seems to be fixated on the future.

Bush Junior basically gave a State of the Union speech mixed in with a few ribs at his chief opponent. He was every bit the humble candidate that all of the previous speakers painted him to be. He also was the one to more or less take the high road and let the others give the "red meat" speeches.

There were three, possibly four, instances where people tried to disrupt Bush Junior's speech. The crowd drowned them out and security moved them out before the media knew what was happening. As I warned people in my show, this was going to be a lesson in futility. I don't even know why they bothered to try.

And what the hell was up with letting John Kerry give a rebuttal to Bush Junior's speech? Why wasn't the same courtesy given to Bush when Kerry made his speech?

Finally, despite the antics of the protesters, the GOP gave a much better infomercial. They had a relevant package that appealed to the masses much more than the DNC did. If the DNC wanted a "bounce", then they should have picked up on better themes, like FREEDOM and LIBERTY. The very things that the GOP profess to champion but actually bastardize.

Oh, and have you noticed that Kerry has STOPPED harping on Vietnam now? I guess he finally realized that we're sick and tired of that crap.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

New rant is online early!

Hey guys,

This week's rant is actually online a couple of days early. I did this because of the subject matter, which was the GOP convention, which will be coming to a close on Thursday night.

Now if we still had the Talk Liberty website operational with the server running, this really wouldn't be too much of an issue because everyone would have heard me do a full-hour show with that rant included. BUT since the website is offline right now, the closest I can do is do the rant and then get it online ASAP, which is what I did here.

By the way, I hope folks don't get the impression from my rant that I had dropped from the GOP this year. I made the jump to the Libertarian Party years ago. That's how long that I've noticed and had issues with the GOP's evangelical leanings. In fact, if you go to my main website and check out some of the earlier published articles you'd see that even then I was leaving hints of what I knew.

Anyway, be sure to post your thoughts here. Between Zell's thoughts and my own, I'm sure SOMEONE has something to talk about besides yours truly!