“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Obama's Third Rate Head of NASA, Charles Bolden

Why did Obama select Charles Bolden to head NASA? Let Mr. Bolden tell you in his own words...

Bolden: "I am here in the region – its sort of the first anniversary of President Barack Obama’s visit to Cairo – and his speech there when he gave what has now become known as Obama’s “Cairo Initiative” where he announced that he wanted this to become a new beginning of the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world. When I became the NASA Administrator – before I became the NASA Administrator - he charged me with three things: One was that he wanted me to re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, that he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”


Are Charles Bolden's Days as NASA Administrator Numbered?

Associated Content
Will NASA administrator Charles Bolden be forced to step down in the near future? There is a growing sense of unease about the former astronaut and Marine General reflected in discontent over how the space agency has been run.

First, Congressional anger over the somewhat tortured explanations by Bolden about the Obama space plan seems only to be rising. This is coupled by the outrage over the creative use of the Anti Deficiency Act to shut down parts of the Constellation space exploration program, potentially throwing thousands of aerospace contractors out of work even before Congress has voted on the Obama proposal to cancel the Constellation program.

Second, questions of a conflict of interest have arisen over Administrator Bolden's attempt to shut down a NASA project involving an experimental biofuel project involving algae. Bolden had come to this decision while consulting with one of his previous employers, Marathon Oil, a company in which he still owns stock and which has its own rival biofuel project.

Finally, Charles Bolden opined on the Arabic television network Al Jazeera that the primary mission of NASA was to help Muslim nations "—feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering." This has caused some Internet wags to suggest that all that space exploration stuff that NASA used to be able to do is now replaced by promoting self esteem.

Almost as controversial was Bolden's statement that America, which went to the Moon from a standing start in eight years during the 1960s, can now do almost nothing without international assistance.

Two things seem to be saving Charles Bolden from the inevitable calls for resignation.

First, the country is focused on other Obama administration scandals. These include the BP oil leak disaster, the continuing economic malaise, the gathering train wreck that is health care reform, and the slamming of allies and the appeasement of enemies abroad. Compared to all that, petty corruption and annoying appeasement at NASA seems like small cheese at present.

Second, there is the fear that, if Bolden were to go, President Obama might choose someone worse to take his place, like Deputy Administrator Lori Garver. Garver is known for her politically correct approach to all things space, and for her slavish support for anything her political masters say, as long as she gets to keep her office at NASA headquarters.

Bolden was out of the loop when the Obama space proposal was concocted in secret. Garver, rumor has it, was in the room and was an active participant in the formulation of the plan that tossed a hand grenade into the Constellation space exploration program which had gotten wide, bi-partisan support with the public and with Congress.

Still, one thing can be said for Charles Bolden. He has at least not allowed a Rolling Stone reporter to follow him around. While what would result would likely be very revealing, it would necessarily be career limiting.


  1. to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering


    We have put fools in the seats where the wise should be.


  2. I want to feel good about my attmept to quit smoking, Mat backs me up at least, where's the Government for Me?

  3. I thought the mission of NASA was to explore space and advance America's role in advanced technology. Not our Obama. He has far more important goals.

    I wonder what they are?

  4. Really, the whole thing is pathetic.
    When I was with my daughter on Sunday, I watched, for the first time in a long time, the Sunday political shows. McLaughlin Report, etc. Such a skimpy little covering there, honest to God, it's not worth watching tv any longer, least not on Sunday. We've got the most incompetent government I've ever seen, including Carter's.

    Billy Carter would have more sense.

  5. Well, maybe he wouldn't, he did say,

    "They is more A-rabs then they is Jews"

    then his liver gave out.

    O Lordy, Lordy, don't ever ever think highly of the government.

  6. I first met Christopher Hitchens in 1970 when I was editing Ramparts, then the largest magazine of the left. Christopher, who was fresh out of Oxford and ten years my junior, was embarking on his first adventure in the New World.


    In his crusade against God, and his grappling with the Jews, Christopher is thrown into the nexus of origins and his bisected family root: “one … apparently stern and flinty and martial and continent and pessimistic; the other exotic and beseeching and hopeful and tentative,…” This left him, he writes, “with a strong sense of fight or flight” on family occasions.

    More accurately, it left him with a sense of flight and fight, which is as good a summation of Christopher and his life as we are likely to get.

    2 Christophers


  7. A Hapless Administration
    By Jeffrey Folks
    Last week was extraordinary. The President's economic advisor, Christina Romer, declared that Americans should be feeling pretty good about the June jobs report. After all, the unemployment rate dropped from 9.7 to 9.5% because 650,000 people were so discouraged that they gave up looking for work. "We've known for some time," she said, that things would get bad before they got better. Romer's advice to those losing their homes, their cars, their medical insurance, and all else was "Be patient."

    Nancy Pelosi, known for her innovative solutions such as passing major pieces of legislation without voting on them, announced that the best way to create jobs was to extend unemployment insurance beyond 99 weeks. The President himself simply reminded the American people that it's all George Bush's fault, and it will take "some time" before things get better. That should boost the public's confidence in the economy.

    The fact is that government is failing to produce jobs for the simple reason that government cannot create jobs. Jobs are created by the private sector as it produces goods and services that the public wants and needs. Other than necessary spending for national defense, government should have no role in the economy.

    Although it cannot create jobs, government can retard job creation. An EPA ban on mountaintop mining will wipe out thousands of jobs in Appalachia, according to the National Mining Association. The ban on deepwater drilling -- which promises to extend beyond six months since the advisory committee to evaluation drilling safety has not even met -- will cost 20,000 jobs. Financial regulation promises to drive tens of thousands of Wall Street jobs overseas to free-market havens like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Switzerland. Pending cap and trade legislation will further sap growth and reduce competitiveness, leading to further job losses.

    Government, in reality, produces nothing of value beyond its role in national security. It only destroys.

    What a craparoo.

    Well, I'm going to bed, thank you for your support in my anti nicotine campaign.

  8. By the way, putting those high tech oil rigs out of work, in the Gulf, with some kind of 'moratorium', they will go is stupid beyond belief....and we will be buying oil from other sources in the next few years because of it.

  9. 14. Walt

    So what’s the fuss, Obama said
    Four hundred K a job
    Will put our nation far ahead
    Of that infernal mob
    That wants to keep us in the past
    With oil and gas and coal
    These fossil fuels just cannot last
    And freedom is our goal
    Freedom from the Middle East
    And Chavez and the like
    Who think that we will feed the beast
    But we’ve a blow to strike
    The sun’s the place we put our trust
    The sun will never die
    It’s solar power now or bust
    It’s not pi in the sky
    Of course on cloudy days you’ll find
    Your TV will not work
    And nighttime too you’re in a bind
    A-groping in the murk
    The cost of green is high we know
    We’ll borrow just to start
    The fare is steep, the fare we’ll owe
    So each must do his part
    The bus to the fare future leaves
    We’re on it or we’re not
    We wear our herz upon our sleeves
    We pay the fare or rot
    But that’s all right, I say okay
    When all is said and done
    It’s green and we will gladly pay
    The price to tame the sun
    That prince of light, of flaming hue
    Egyptians knew as Ra
    Will bend a knee to masters new
    Our fare owe, Oba Ma!

  10. More than likely, it is NASA whose days are numbered, if anyone is counting, or really cares.

  11. You guys disgust me:

    The way forward is obvious -

    Sandmonkeys in Space,
    Followed by Towellheads on Mars.

  12. Our first priority should be sharing medium heavy launch capability technology with Aquavelvajad.

  13. It is NASA that has become a third rate Federal agency.

    It's current head administrator, just another Federal Lifer.
    A double dipper.

    Typical of the man power pool.

  14. Interesting, all the posts I've been making, they seem to disappear.

    Have not even made that many.

    I assume it's blogger ...

  15. Okay, all my comments last night seem to disappear without a trace after ten minutes, let's see what happens now.

  16. Islam is proud to have invented the IED Spacecraft...

    Congrats to our moslem friends on their exciting contributions to humanity...

    as for math and algebra? they stole it from others..

  17. "Is it me?"

    You're never who you really are that's the best part about being anonymous

  18. It was there, then, it was gone!

  19. Well folks, the Puritanical Proprietors have ruled that




    are crimes against humanity worthy of deletion.


  20. Bend over and face your butts toward the PC Gods, please.

  21. I propose we outlaw the use of the word "Islam" in any comment of a negative or sarcastic nature.

  22. Did it again, this is comical, that blogger would behave so.

  23. See my comments are gone. Are you seeing them at all?

    Is it just me?

  24. let's see if my anonymous posts go away.


  25. They've been holding their own for more than ten minutes. We might have something here, Huston.

  26. What the Hell is Wrong with you guys?

    (they just deleted a post explaining what happened)

  27. Ideas for a New Name:

    Pervert Bob's Bar

  28. My posts are also all disappearing also, Mel:

    Pervert Bob has taken control!

  29. Oh well, anonymous is still there.

  30. If you had wordpress you wouldn't be having these problems. It's like comparing a mac with a pc.

  31. Yeah,
    "EB" is a "Mac"

    Real guys are PC


  32. I propose Charles Bolden be renamed:

    "Charlie Suckass"

    Fuck... Dhimmi

  33. Guess what?

    All my comments at "Elephant Farts" just got deleted also.


    (I'm saving this in Notepad:
    Can he pervert plain text???)

    ...on MY computer?

  34. 7. Katie22

    The left goes bonkers when Christian symbols are publicly displayed. Crosses have to be removed. But NASA, a taxpayer funded agency, must promote Islam to make the muslims feel good? Say WHAT?

    Hope and change alright. Zero is merely doing his da’wah (if you don’t know what that means, look it up).

    To all those who voted for this fraud – is it sinking in yet or are you just naturally slow in everything?

  35. Blogger now officially SUCKS.

    Doug declares it so.

  36. I'll tell ya who ought to be running NASA--Richard C. Hoagland! of course--least we'd get a laugh or two out of our tax monies.

    "Going where we've been before"


  37. Are they testing their

    censoralgorerythms ?

  38. ...I'm having my baby.


    Get the H1N1 Vaccine!

  39. It's gone.

    I wonder if Doug's will stay

  40. do you like my new avatar picture

  41. Not deleted, disappeared, there is a difference.

    Seems they are back, now.

  42. My adopting daddy told me to get up there and register this morning, and I have I'm takin' gymnastics, remedial reading, the History of Western Civilization, and, Philosophy 101.

    He tells me all sorts of good stuff I never heard before.

    I feel so sorry for daddy, he's been walking and waltzing, metaphorically speaking, as he always says, down the highway, mincing like a cat, claws tearing the pavement, about to fly away like a bat.

    But I think he's gettin' it, he's winning.

    Them smokes is bad, I never do that bad stuff

    I've moved out from the eight football players, and come home, to my room. They were too much even for me, besides, my name now is Svetlana.

    You gotta grow up sometimes or other

    Here's a picture of me, mee'mi, when daddy rescued me from the streets of Tacoma

    I love daddy he's nice


  43. do you like my new avatar picture

    You ask? Yes, I do, of course, I'm the guy says women always get better with age, knowing, forgiving, wonderful.

  44. daddy keeps talking bout sublimatin' my energy from my hips to my brain does anyone know what he's talkin' about?


  45. I don't give a damn bout blogger i just want an answer what's sublimatin'?


  46. I hate the reason they give for doing this, but I love the result.

    Italy installs 3 times the Solar of the U.S.

  47. Sublimate means you must submit to me and mate, Svetlana.

  48. Iwo Jima is 2 miles by 7 miles.

    Had 107,000 troops on Island.

  49. My ex and I were knockin' some tennis balls back and forth the other day.

    She said she'd listened to this NPR program about ol' Ben Franklin in France.

    Said her take-away was Ben commenting on how the French got so much done without apparent effort.

    Said she was going to try to apply that in her work. I.e, being sociable while remaining productive.


  50. If only there were a little more time in a ninety minute game...

    South America mourns.

  51. Got me to thinking about a couple of things.

    World Cup's on now. I was in Europe in the 70s during a World Cup then.

    You could walk down the street and not miss a beat of the play by play. Radio out of windows, out of stores, from under the table on street side stalls...

    Amazing actually.

    Nowadays, here in the US of A, the default back ground noise, at least in the neighborhoods I frequent is NPR.

    Those same announcers, news readers, commentators, almost hallucinogenic in their delivery...

    Compare and contrast to the summer sounds I remember doing my paper route or going down to the beach with a shovel on my shoulder...


  52. It also brought to mind this set of photos.

    The photo set is interesting enough in it's way. I'm not sure if it's current info or not. I seem to remember the same or similar set being published a couple of years ago.

    What caught my eye, though, was the monetary denomination of the cost of the Chadian's food. CFAs.

    And I was reminded of ex's comment about the French doing things without apparent effort.

    Like continuing to maintain an empire.


  53. I didn't get to France this spring. So my memories are from a year ago.

    In the produce section of my neighborhood Carrefour, the French equivalent of Costco, I had noticed an abundance of inexpensively priced goods from Africa...

    Got me to thinking about the CFA group then. But never got around to seeing what was up.

    After tennis, and with my ex's comments rattling in my mind, I went home and came up with this.

    I guess we shall see if this is the beginning of the end for the CFA group. Or not.

    But it's compelling to me that the US of A is, and has been, pilloried for their "empire" while not a squeak is heard about decades of continuing French colonialism.

    As I've said, and my ex is going to attempt to put into practice, I think we could learn a bit from the French...


  54. A related memory was from my time in London in the 70s.

    I was making the cocktail circuit with a couple of friends. England still had their hand in a number of their old colonial African countries. And the newly liberated states' leaders were widely held to be incompetent peacock strutters who were only interested in using their new found power for their own selfish interests. (And, I might add, held in amused contempt by the cocktail circuit crowd for their juvenile, unsophisticated and ostentatious display of that new found wealth and power.)

    Be that as it may, England was poor and getting poorer. And these black African politicos had a nice big purse. What went on at these cocktail parties was trolling for jobs. To become a "black man's white man." To be a quiet, subservient technician who would do the actual work that the black political leaders (and folks under him) were supposed to do but were incapable of doing...

    I found myself fascinated by this "meat market." And was tempted to see what I could get. But my friends were Arabophiles. They loved the arab culture. Particularly the Sauds. Probably because of the royalty thing and all that goes with it. (They both ended up working for the BBME, the British Bank of the Middle East, which was acknowledged at the time as, essentially, a front for the British diplomatic corp. The BBME in those days, before the US became the important Saudi "client," was the conduit through which the Saudis' invested their oil money...)

    But I found myself more interested in going to Saudi Arabia than Africa. And was on track to get trained up on petrochemical stuff, by the Eastern hemisphere head of Brown and Root (met through this same group of friends) at least enough to not embarrass the guys who were going to put me up for the job. But then the Italian called and said she was sorry, it was all going to be better, and I was weak and listened to my little head and returned to the US and the Chicago portion of my life...


  55. I noticed the Casales family of Cuernavaca had tables of fruit and vegetables. Yeah, Right! They were all fat and listed their favorite foods as pizza, crab, pasta and chicken.

  56. We can't go back and take that other fork in the road. Best to only glance in the rear view briefly now and then

  57. The Ahmeds of Cairo feed their family of 12 on $68.53 per week and list their favorite foods as okra and mutton...

    Hmmmm. wonder if they fry the okra?

  58. The 13 Namgays of Shingkhey Village eat for $5.03 per week and the food looks very wholesome.

  59. Okra is evil, no matter what you do with it.

  60. The wife and I took a macrobiotic cooking class once upon a time. I learned that the 'evil' plants one should never touch are from the nightshade family.

    To a southerner though, okra is right up there with grits.

  61. If it hadn't been for grits, the south would have lost the woah.

  62. "But it's compelling to me that the US of A is, and has been, pilloried for their 'empire' while not a squeak is heard about decades of continuing French colonialism."

    Had we but known that colonialism was the way to go.

  63. Sublimate means you must submit to me and mate, Svetlana.

    Don't be a smart ass, buster, I don't know what it means but it don't mean that I can get anything I want and can send you begging buster you're normally a nice guy just be kind.


  64. I'm normally not political but this

    kind of shit drives me nuts.


  65. An Army intelligence analyst, arrested in April for allegedly leaking a classified military video of a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad to WikiLeaks, is now facing eight criminal charges in connection with the leak.

    Pfc. Bradley Manning was charged Monday with violating the Espionage Act by transmitting classified information to an unauthorized third party. He's also facing criminal charges for abusing access to a secret-level network, and is accused of uploading unauthorized software to the network.


    I cannot believe the number of people out there who think this kid some kind of righteous whistle-blower rather than the unqualified asshole and rank weasel he is.

  66. "To a southerner though, okra is right up there with grits."

    Yes, I realize this. And I have the same feeling about grits as I do okra.

    And, God help me, BBQ.

  67. trish said,

    I cannot believe the number of people out there who think this kid some kind of righteous whistle-blower rather than the unqualified asshole and rank weasel he is.

    Tue Jul 06, 07:04:00 PM EDT

    Shucks! Awww!

    And I cannot believe the number of military people (past and present) who were willing to give Major Hasan a pass, i.e. they were criminally negligent.

    For the hard of hearing, Hasan murdered 13 USA members at Fort Hood. He has not yet been brought to trial.

    ...priorities...priorities...darned priorities...

  68. Apropos the photos of food consumption and costs:

    Upon both our returns from abroad last winter, my daughter and I were having a discussion concerning the culture of consumption. And I made the apparently unforgivable error of referring to Colombia as a third world country.

    She spent a summer down there with us, working in the commercial affairs section at the embassy, and was familiar enough with it.

    But having been to, I suppose, Ghana, she was having none of my characterization of that Latin American country as somehow third world.

    "Mom, you have no idea what a third world country is."

    And I guess she's right.

    Her father, on the other hand, *is* quite familiar with those who barely hold on as is to their place in the third world, being too poor even to generate trash - because absolutely nothing does not find some further, final use.

  69. New York magazine profile of David Brooks:

    A Reasonable Man

    Bloggers seem to keep a special reserve of venom for Brooks. Matt Taibbi on True/Slant called Brooks, among other things, a “spineless Beltway geek” on a “pencil-pusher’s eternal quest for macho cred” who “looks like a professional groveler/ass-kisser” and is “the kind of person who even in his spare time would pay a Leona Helmsley look-alike a thousand dollars to take a shit on his back.”

    Recreational preferences aside, Brooks says he agrees with some of the criticism. “Often you’ll read a commentary about the column and think, That’s actually correct,” he says.

    Brooks never fights back. Getting dirty just isn’t his style. As David Frum puts it, “He has a kind of serenity. He has no enmity in him.” “He sees things with a bemused eye,” says Richard Brookhiser, who worked with him at National Review. “I would say maybe too much so. But it also spares him from a lot of craziness.”

    Serenity is part of the Brooks brand. But sometimes, as with Obama, his coolness feels cold. He never gets riled, merely concerned. He writes a lot about emotion, but usually in a clinical way. When he says we botched the Iraq War, it’s not, Wow, we fucked up. It’s that our thinking wasn’t sufficiently Burkean. He’s not trying to persuade you. He’s trying to “exhibit a way of thinking,” he says.

    Indeed, Brooks is preposterously even-keeled. Sometimes it astounds even him. “There are disturbing moments in my life when I’m weirdly anti-emotional,” he says. He once walked into a casino at Foxwoods and put a $5 bill into an electronic poker machine. Four aces came up. He won nearly $1,000. “I remember thinking at the moment, I should be like, Aaaah! But I was more unemotional than normal. I was wondering, What’s wrong?” Another time, he was sitting at an Orioles game with his kids when a bat flew into the stands. “A normal human being, when they get a ball, they go, Aaaah!” He waves his arms around. “Or when they get a bat, they hold it up. I just put it at my feet and sat there.

    “I look at Andrew Sullivan or Jonathan Chait churning out opinions,” Brooks says. “I don’t have that many.”


    I haven't read Brooks in years. But there's something undeniably appealing about this type, apart from content, apart from substance. Simply as a matter of style.

  70. “- many experts thought most people would need two doses for it to work…”
    Rubbish…One cannot be named, for good reason.

    “If all that vaccine expires, more than 43 percent of the supply for the U.S. public will have gone to waste.”
    It already has. That’s $455,000,000.00 going up in smoke.

    ObamaCare is in reliable, expert hands.

    Millions of swine flu vaccine doses to be destroyed in the US

  71. Trish, I was told no more beergaritas for me, so tonight it's all about vodka. Vodka blushes to be exact. They drank them in Rosemary's Baby.

  72. "I haven't read Brooks in years. But there's something undeniably appealing about this type, apart from content, apart from substance. Simply as a matter of style."

    Geez, Trish.

    Calling David Brooks a dick would be a complement to him.

    I also don't read him, but for a good reason. If you catch the Sunday news shows you can't help but run across him.

    As for style, for some reason he reminds me of Leslie Howard playing Ashley Wilkes in Gone With The Wind".

    The man is vapid and vacuous. Being a gentleman doesn't make up for it. The guys a cipher.

    He is the NYT's idea of a conservative.


  73. "He is the NYT's idea of a conservative."

    Yes. Yes he is.

  74. A gunman allegedly shot three people after a drunken argument in the queue at a McDonald's all-night drive-through in Finland killing all three, police said on Wednesday.


    A pregnant woman and her boyfriend were also in the car but had escaped unharmed. It remained unclear what had set off the row.


    The government in June rejected a full ban on semi-automatic weapons, rejecting an inquiry commission proposal following shootings at two schools in 2007 and 2008 that left a total of 20 people including the killers dead.

    Burger Joint

  75. I just got back from checking out the alfalfa. When I was in Coeur d'Alene I picked up some copies of the CdA Press, and there was an article about farming in British Columbia, and to the east, and how millions of acres have gone unplanted this year because of the wet. I can believe it. This spring was the wettest one in my memory, on and on with the rain, and the crops look great, though the winter wheat may be getting some root rot, and the alfalfa is so deep you can hardly walk into it. Never have I seen the like. It's usually cut by the Fourth, and here we are waiting still for it to dry. I know most people don't get excited about such things, but if you've developed an eye for crops like I have, then this is a year to remember.

  76. And I encourage Svetlana to chime in.

  77. Well, hell, Trish, what you actually do, lookin' at the alfalfa, is, you scratch your balls, like a baseball player, and say, alfalfa is lookin' good, this year.

    That's farmin'.

  78. daddy is one hell of a good farmer don't count him out after all he's lasted which is more than i say for any of my men


  79. I love how the reporter asks about "outsourcing", he makes a valid point. They are cutting jobs. I thought Obongo was about job creation? How is this good for the American people? Why should kids learn Math and Science when there will be no jobs for them?

    F'n Politics suck. Time for a Revolution!

  80. This comment has been removed by the author.