February 22nd, 2003


Somebody's wasting the UN inspectors' time...

...and it sounds like it isn't Saddam.

The US says Iraq has weapons of mass destruction... Iraq says it doesn't. Our best intelligence is being referred to as "garbage after garbage after garbage" by those who should know best.

So, how do you prove a negative, anyway... and just how desperate is our government to prove that negative? Clearly, they seem willing to mislead the American people... but would they do more?

In the early 1960s, top military officials urged the administration to adopt Operation Northwoods, a project to trick the people of the United States into thinking that war with Cuba was necessary. Operation Northwoods even suggested blowing up our own naval vessels and killing our own people to provoke widespread public outrage. (Think "Remember the Maine"...) We only know about Operation Northwoods because of the Freedom of Information Act, and we also know that our military destroyed most of the records relating to the operation -- it is a miracle that we know about it at all. Fortunately, this document survived.

Now, I would hope our government would never contemplate such an action ever again, but it would be ignorant to blindly trust the government to never deceive us. Even if there aren't weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it's certainly possible that the government is not beyond planting evidence, should it become convenient for them to do so. So, how can we trust the government? How can we prove a negative? After all, there may be no corruption there, and nothing to see...

Well, the best way for this to happen is for the US government to come clean, and to immediately, fully, and completely comply with the Freedom of Information Act, honoring *ALL* such requests in a legal manner, pursuant to the laws of the United States. Despite repeated requests from the citizens of the United States, they have been defying the will of inspectors, and have failed to reveal information that directly relates to their credibility. We have overwhelming evidence that they are trying to hide information from us, have destroyed evidence, and have been playing "shell games" with the inspectors.

All they have to do is come clean, reveal their secrets, and prove they are worthy of our trust. If they fail to do so, then the current political administration should be viewed as being in 'material breach' of the law and should face 'serious consequences'...

I imagine that this is the last we will hear of this... or not.

Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003
To: "Shuart, Mark J" <m.j.shuart@laro.nasa.gov>
From: "Robert H Daugherty" <r.h.daugherty@larc.nasa.gov>
Subject: Tile Damage Update
Cc: H.M.ADELMAN@larc.nasa.gov

Hi Mark,
Nothing terribly new but a few things talked about today with some folks at the Ames VMS. Apparently the current "official" estimate of the damage is 7 inches by 30 inches by half the depth of the tiles down to the densified level. One of the bigger concerns is that the "gouge" may cross the main gear door thermal barrier and permit a breach there. No way to know of course. A JSC colleague and I talked to the sim guys and are urging them to simulate a landing with two flat tires prior to touchdown...it is as simple as hitting a software button and simply doing it...but since no Orbiter Program Management is "directing" the sim community to do this it might need to get done "at night". An anecdote that they told us is that this was already done by mistake this week and the commander lost control of the vehicle during our load-persistance simulations. It seems that if Mission Operations were to see both tire pressure indicators go to zero during entry, they would sure as hell bailout...we can't imagine why getting information is being treated like the plague. Apparently the thermal folks have used words like they think things are "survivable", but "marginal".
I imagine that this is the last we will hear of this.
Take care,

Read more at http://www.nasa.gov/columbia/COL_debris_email.pdf

An aerial view...

So, this guy made a weather balloon that automatically takes 640x480 digital camera pictures every minute or so. He launched it from Newark, and it drifted due south, right over the Silicon Valley... so I get a nice picture of home at 43,076 feet.

Admittedly, this isn't "rocket science", but such things still always impress me...

Bush gags governors, kicks out the press.

Every year, the National Governors Association has a White House dinner and conversation with the president, where governors are free to ask the president the questions that concern them. This year, however, the president has put unheard of restrictions on our governors to ask the president questions and has, for the first time ever, closed the event to the press. There have even been restrictions set on the toast for the dinner.

The president will only answer two questions (not two questions per governor -- just two questions.) for the entire evening. One question per political party, presumably. Both questions must be submitted ahead of time in writing...

It's wonderful to see our president is so concerned about the states, even if they are $80 billion in debt thanks to the Bush economy. Junior can't write and grandma is eating catfood and can't afford her meds, but at least we have plenty of money left over for the war!