Category Archives: Doug Powers

The Last Schirra: Looming Extinction of The Right Stuff

Last week, Wally Schirra, Jr., a member of a shrinking and nearly extinct daredevil brotherhood, died of a heart attack. Schirra was the only astronaut to fly in all three of NASA’s original manned spaceflight programs: Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.

Of the original Mercury Seven, only Scott Carpenter and John Glenn are still alive. As a matter of fact, John Glenn was still cheating death as late as last year.

Last summer, John Glenn and his wife were injured in a traffic accident near Columbus. The astronaut and former Ohio senator now holds two historical distinctions: He was the first American to orbit earth, and, to my knowledge, is the first politician to get into trouble while in a car with his own wife.

It occurred to me while hearing of Glenn’s brush with death, and especially now upon the news of Schirra’s passing, that a generation of daredevils are about to leave us, never to return.

I’ve always considered it somewhat unfitting that those who once made their livings cheating death meet their end while doing relatively normal things or of natural causes, as was nearly the case for Glenn and was Schirra’s circumstance. I remember years ago reading about how Chuck Yeager — the first man to prove the sound “barrier” was anything but, and who not only cheated death, but stole death’s wallet, credit cards and slept with its girlfriend — was severely injured after falling from a ladder.

In April of 2006, Yeager’s colleague and competitor in the halcyon days of the space race, Scott Crossfield, was killed when his single-engine plane crashed in the Georgia mountains. This was a little closer to a “fitting” death (if there is such a thing) for a risk-taking pilot, but it is still like a NASCAR driver dying in a lawn mower accident.

We still have Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, and many, many others with us, but as time goes by, it takes many of our heroes with it. What makes the aging and passing of a generation of true American heroes that much harder to take is that it seems they’re not being replaced.

These men had what author Tom Wolfe described with simplistic accuracy as “The Right Stuff.”

It’s been decades since Apollo 11 first landed on the moon. You’d think Mars would be littered with Starbucks and Chuck E. Cheese’s by now, but no, we’re still in Earth orbit, trying to figure out which tile glue is the most environmentally friendly.

Why aren’t we further ahead? Is political correctness, the sociological cancer of the new millennium, to blame? There would be no shortage of volunteers for dangerous missions if allowed the opportunity — but there’s the rub.

Space travel is an incredibly dangerous business, and in today’s Nerf-wrapped, sharp-edges-rounded-off, “no running on the playground” world, the government has little tolerance for anything that could cause an owie. If the U.S. government of today ran the push west early in American history, Lewis and Clark would still be sitting just outside St. Louis — perhaps hopelessly distracted by the roulette wheel at an Indian casino.

Even if we do manage to accomplish amazing feats of achievement once again in outer space, it probably won’t be the same as in the heyday. If humans ever set foot on the surface of Mars, chances are the first astronaut to stand on the Red Planet will do so while saying, “that’s one small step for man – one giant leap for … Diet Pepsi!”

So often there are calls for money that would go toward space exploration to instead be directed toward social programs. How many kids will grow up to reminisce about gathering around the television, giddy with nervous anticipation and observing in jaw-dropping wonder, the arrival of some guy’s welfare check?

This and government PC has dimmed the space flame, and I fear that we’re just a couple more traffic accidents, Cessna crashes, heart attacks and ladder falls away from forever losing a piece of living history. Astronauts used to make news for landing on the moon — now they make news for wearing diapers and trying to kidnap guys at airports.

Gene Kranz, retired NASA director of operations, said in a recent interview that the missions over which he presided would never be allowed to go forward given the risk factors vs. current preoccupation with avoiding danger at all cost.

Kranz also noted this in a 2005 editorial:

All progress involves risk. Risk is essential to fuel the economic engine of our nation. And risk is essential to renew American’s fundamental spirit of discovery so we remain competitive with the rest of the world.

Of course, space travel of any sort is still an incredibly risky business. We need to look no further than the shuttles Challenger and Columbia for reminders of that, but, as the years go on, the evolutionary process of the space program seems to be more lateral in nature. There’s no shortage of those willing to take risks, but, due to lawsuit threats, political correctness, activists and ridiculous regulations, there is a tremendous scarcity of those willing to call for them.

This is robbing future generations of an ingredient necessary to spur progress: Awe.

The world may never again see the likes of Shepherd, Armstrong, Aldrin, Glenn, Yeager, and many more. The looming extinction of The Right Stuff isn’t a natural one. We’re killing them off, and it’s a shame.

Note: My entire blog is now at DougPowers.com

John Edwards: Suspicious Package

Yet another suspicious package containing a powdery substance has been sent to John Edwards (aka “The Breck Girl” aka “Silky Pony”):

Postal employees in Chapel Hill intercepted a package Thursday addressed to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards after they found the letter contained a powdery substance, authorities said.

My theory? A shipment of Soufflé facial foundation from Pink Sapphire:

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Fortunately, Edwards wasn’t there at the time the package would have arrived, as he was in an intense yoga class with Russell Simmons.

Edwards is expected to release a statement to the press as soon as he’s ready:

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Candidates Dream Jobs: Tancredo Gets an A+ for Honesty

You can tell a lot about somebody based on what their “dream job” is — unless they’re a politician, because they’re most likely lying.

The A.P. asked all current presidential candidates what their dream job is, and here’s what they said:

Democrats
• Sen. Joe Biden, Delaware: Architect.
• Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York: “Continue to work for causes and issues I care about, in a setting like a university or foundation.”
• Sen. Chris Dodd, Connecticut: Teacher.
• Former Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina: Mill supervisor.
• Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Ohio: Astronaut.
• Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois: Architect.
• New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: Center field, New York Yankees.

Republicans
• Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas: Farmer.
• Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: Sports announcer.
• Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: Bass guitar player for a touring rock band.
• Rep. Duncan Hunter, California: Outdoor writer.
• Sen. John McCain, Arizona: Foreign service.
• Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: Auto company executive.
• Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado: President.

Obviously, Tancredo was the only one telling the truth. Hillary might have been too, but I don’t know exactly what she said other than it appears she’s seeking a consequence-free setting in which to experiment with her bad ideas.

Most of these people are in a position to do exactly what they want with their lives, or at least come close, so let’s put a sock in it and make them admit that, yes, their already doing their dream jobs — or at least striving for it. Except for Kucinich. I thought he already was an astronaut?

John Edwards (formerly “The Breck Girl,” formerly “Silky Pony,” formerly “Pink Sapphire,” currently “Sweaty Pretzel”) would be a mill supervisor? He could be telling the truth as well. Why? Lots of on-the-job accidents at mills. That way, he could wait for somebody to get hurt, offer to be their legal council, and sue the company back into the stone age.

Carbon Credits: The Nicaraguan Email Scam Disguised as Mother Nature

No wonder they call much of the modern environmental movement it “going green” — there’s a ton of cash in it.

This “carbon credits” business will turn out to be one of the biggest scams since the “help me get my money out of Nicaragua” email that still goes around, and people still fall for.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, a “carbon credit” is when you pay somebody else, in some form or another, to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as yours stay the same or rise. This is a practice called a “carbon offset” and it’s the favored denial system of wealthy blithering hypocrites.

An example of a ”carbon offset” would be this: When Al Gore burns X amount of natural gas to heat his swimming pool, he offsets this energy usage by investing in solar panels for another family, or in companies that will plant trees, etc. On the surface, and everywhere else for that matter, this might seem like a ridiculous concept. After all, what if we were to propose a ”murder offset” (i.e. a homicide is justified as long as the killer offsets the death by impregnating another person)? If that makes sense to you, then good, you’re ready to start “investing” in carbon credits.

There are now companies that specialize in carbon credits. Not so oddly enough, Al Gore owns one of these companies.

You’ll notice, however, that staunch environmentalists such as Sheryl Here’s part of what was unearthed, if you’ll pardon the expression:

A Financial Times investigation has uncovered widespread failings in the new markets for greenhouse gases, suggesting some organisations are paying for emissions reductions that do not take place.

Others are meanwhile making big profits from carbon trading for very small expenditure and in some cases for clean-ups that they would have made anyway.

The burgeoning regulated market for carbon credits is expected to more than double in size to about $68.2bn by 2010, with the unregulated voluntary sector rising to $4bn in the same period.

The FT investigation found:

— Widespread instances of people and organisations buying worthless credits that do not yield any reductions in carbon emissions.

— Industrial companies profiting from doing very little — or from gaining carbon credits on the basis of efficiency gains from which they have already benefited substantially.

— Brokers providing services of questionable or no value.

— A shortage of verification, making it difficult for buyers to assess the true value of carbon credits.

In other words, a scam. Nobody on the left would ever use that word, but that’s what it is.

Now if you don’t mind, I have to go ship some cash to a guy in Managua so he can afford to send me a bunch of money. It’s okay though, because I’m paying him to ship it via hybrid car and offsetting that by sending a check to Al Gore to not break wind for a day.

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“Step right up and look what I’ve got here — that’s right, carbon credits…”

If Alec Calls, Better Not Pick Up

Regular readers here know that Alec Baldwin is the Patron Saint of this blog and the inspiration for PETAB, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Alec Baldwin. I like to keep up with Alec’s exploits because his silly liberal rants are chock-full-o-funny, but now I’m finding myself in unfamiliar territory with Baldwin — I feel sorry for him.

Alec has made news not only for his acting, but for saying during the Clinton impeachment hearing that, in the good old days, Henry Hyde’s family would be “stoned to death.” He said if Bush was elected, he’d leave the country. Well, Bush was elected, Baldwin’s still here, and Kim Basinger left Alec. Somebody got confused. Whatever.

Baldwin also suggested that the new Yankee Stadium be built at Ground Zero in New York — presumably so it would be known in years to come as “The house that Thorazine built.”

Now it sounds like Alec’s going after his own family. Any of us with kids know of the frustrations. Heck, there are days when I’ve seen “Mommy Dearest” and thought to myself, “yeah, so what’s the problem?” Those engaged in custody battles know of the frustrations to an even greater degree. But the difference between “tough parenting” and “perpetuating the problem” can be heard in a voicemail that has been made public, presumably by Alec’s ex, Kim Basinger.

Neither the call, nor the release of the tape (direct link to the audio is here), was a particularly humane thing to do, so I can’t take sides on this one. Calling your eleven year old daughter a “thoughtless little pig” because she’s being alienated from her father by her mother isn’t obviously textbook parenting, but there are always two sides to every story, and the path to Lunacy is often paved with past injustice. Unfortunately for Alec, judges often don’t care about both sides or pavement, as his visitation rights have been suspended and he can’t have contact with his child. In other words, “business as usual” it sounds like.

The Baldwin/Basinger divorce has been a public and particularly nasty one. In watching the ongoing battles between Kim and Alec and trying to decide which one is the nut, I’m reminded of the guy on the basketball court in the movie “White Men Can’t Jump” who’s trying to decide which story to believe, and finally concludes, “Both you motherf*$%#*s are crazy.”

Unfortunately, as is usually the case, the kid is caught in the middle. This will be the case universally until the term “civil divorce” is no longer an oxymoron.

(h/t to Kitty)

Update: Mike Lasalle, the editor of MensNewsDaily, is doing some audio versions of some commentaries posted on that site, including the above. Click here and then click “audio” to listen. Mike should host a talk show. I’d say he’s ready for NPR, but I don’t want to insult the guy.

Who Had Hate Crime & Eggs For Breakfast?

Just so you know, bacon near a mosque or used as a Quran bookmark is now considered a “hate crime.”

Two hours before the Islamic Center of Clarksville held its 1 p.m. Friday prayer service, called Jummah, a Quran was found vandalized on the front steps.

The front of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, read “Mohammad pedophile” while an expletive was written inside, smeared under two strips of bacon, according to a Clarksville Police report. The report labeled the incident a hate crime.

The bacon strips are offensive to Muslims because they are forbidden from eating pork.

Frankly, given that there is now a Muslim in Congress, I’m surprised politicians and the media haven’t been forced to start referring to “pork barrel spending” by a different name. I’m sure they’ll get to that. “Humus bowl outlays” has a nice ring to it.

Meanwhile, if somebody defaces the Christian Holy Bible, that’s entertainment. If somebody burns the American flag and takes a dump on it, that’s considered “free speech.” If somebody dunks a crucifix in a jar of urine, that’s “art.”

So who perpetrated this dastardly and offensive act of sliced nitrate horror that may well go down in history as “crystal knockwurst”? Where was Don Imus on the night of April 12th?

(h/t to LGF)

Who Had Hate Crime & Eggs For Breakfast?

Just so you know, bacon near a mosque or used as a Quran bookmark is now considered a “hate crime.”

Two hours before the Islamic Center of Clarksville held its 1 p.m. Friday prayer service, called Jummah, a Quran was found vandalized on the front steps.

The front of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, read “Mohammad pedophile” while an expletive was written inside, smeared under two strips of bacon, according to a Clarksville Police report. The report labeled the incident a hate crime.

The bacon strips are offensive to Muslims because they are forbidden from eating pork.

Frankly, given that there is now a Muslim in Congress, I’m surprised politicians and the media haven’t been forced to start referring to “pork barrel spending” by a different name. I’m sure they’ll get to that. “Humus bowl outlays” has a nice ring to it.

Meanwhile, if somebody defaces the Christian Holy Bible, that’s entertainment. If somebody burns the American flag and takes a dump on it, that’s considered “free speech.” If somebody dunks a crucifix in a jar of urine, that’s “art.”

So who perpetrated this dastardly and offensive act of sliced nitrate horror that may well go down in history as “crystal knockwurst”? Where was Don Imus on the night of April 12th?

(h/t to LGF)

To Serve Man II: Modern Appeasement Meets The Twilight Zone

nullWhenever Nancy Pelosi, Tom “put zee candle beck” Lantos, and others, head over to meet with people such as Syrian President Bashar Assad, there is only one suspenseful question to ponder: what color pen will they use to sign the surrender papers?

Sure, politicians from both sides of the aisle have met with Assad, but there was something eerily subservient about this particular visit. I know because I think I saw Jimmy Carter with an erection.

Subsequent to the Assad palm-press, Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor in Congress, expressed a willingness to meet with Yakov Smirnoff’s evil twin, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man whose anti-Jew rants make Mel Gibson look like a choir boy at Temple Beth Shalom.

Lantos believes “it is important that we have dialog with him” — “him” being the person who wants a holocaust (I’d say “another” holocaust, but Mahmoud believes there never was a first one) and to wipe out the likes of Tom Lantos. Lantos hopes to talk him out of it.

Time will tell if Ahmadinejad is charitable enough to give another “gift” and let everybody live another day. Fingers crossed! If dialog doesn’t do the trick, intense conversation and pointed discussion followed by begging and cash payoffs is the bureaucratic protocol.

Whenever I see anybody, be they liberal actors sucking up to U.S.-bashers like Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, or politicians trying to appease any number of despots who have a stated goal of eliminating the West (if believing a rogue nation or person will be less likely to attack those they hate if they’re only allowed access to nuclear weapons isn’t a mental disorder, nothing is), I can’t help but think that we’re witnessing the making of a sequel to the “To Serve Man” episode of The Twilight Zone.

Here’s the basic plot of “To Serve Man” that appears on Wikipedia:

A race of aliens known as the Kanamits land on Earth and promise to be nothing but helpful to the cause of humanity. Initially wary of the intentions of such a highly advanced race, even the most skeptical humans are convinced when their code-breakers begin to translate one of the Kanamit’s books, with the seemingly innocuous title, “To Serve Man.”

Sharing their advanced technology, the aliens quickly solve all of Earth’s greatest woes; eradicating hunger, disease, the need for warfare. Soon, humans are volunteering for trips to the Kanamits’ home planet, which is supposedly a paradise. All is not well, however, when a code-breaker discovers the Kanamits’ true intentions. Their book, “To Serve Man”, is a cookbook.

There are of course key differences between the modern-day appeasement, which I’m calling “To Serve Man II,” and the original Twilight Zone episode. Chiefly, the suck-ups du jour aren’t even brown-nosing due to the promise of Iran, Syria and the rest eradicating disease, warfare and hunger — it’s being done based on the insane notion that a fully exposed and accessible jugular is less tempting to the throat cutter.

Also, in “To Serve Man,” the cookbook was written by the hungry aliens. In “To Serve Man II,” the cookbook is, oddly enough, being written by the meal. This would be a funny plot twist if we weren’t all on the hors deurves menu.

Duke Rape Charges Dropped: Time to Charge the Real Criminals

Virtually buried among stories such as the gripping announcement of which financial lamprey is the father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby, there are more important stories. Hidden underneath the flap over how Don Imus, a radio host relatively few people listen to, has seemingly managed to single-handedly offend anybody with a skin tone below “George Hamilton” on the pigmentation chart, bringing forth the self-designated African-American apology receptacle named Al Sharpton, there is actual news.

The important story of the charges being dropped in the Duke lacrosse rape case, though a step in the right direction, isn’t a victory — yet.

This has to be a relief to those who were wrongfully pursued for political and maybe even financial reasons by a rogue prosecutor seeking re-election and an accuser who has yet to answer for her attempts to ruin the lives of several people based on flat-out lies and vodka-goggled recollection.

Almost as soon as these allegations became public, District Attorney Mike Nifong’s “evidence” added up about as logically as the answers on Paris Hilton’s algebra exam, yet the case was still doggedly pursued. DNA testing found genetic material in the accuser’s body and underwear, but none of it was from any of the three defendants. I repeat: none of it was from any of the three men accused of the rape. This means the accuser was not with the accused, but rather other men — either that or she did a feet-first Slip-n-Slide through the men’s room at a packed football stadium.

Still, the case was doggedly pursued by a prosecutor with political motivations (sending innocent people to jail is apparently a good way to be reelected in some areas) and an accuser with either a really, really bad memory or a lust for what appeared to be an easy payday with the seemingly benign side-effect of sending innocent people to prison.

Every time we look at somebody who may be falsely accused and wrongly convicted, we should shudder and think, “There but for the grace of God.” This has been made into a racial case, as the accuser is black and the men she accused are the white children of mostly well-to-do parents, but it’s really about all of us, regardless of color. Things like this have happened before and must not be allowed to happen to anyone again.

If the accuser is allowed to run off and point more fingers, and Mike Nifong isn’t dealt with harshly as an example to those who abuse positions of power for political gain, there has still been a heinous crime committed here.

Think about it: Men faced many, many years in prison due to bogus charges and allegations that the prosecutor knew were false at worst, or quarter-truths at best, but all Mike Nifong appears to be guilty of is “ethics violations,” and the accuser is free to skip off and continue a life of inebriated lap-dancing?

It’s good news when the innocent don’t go to jail, but that’s offset when the guilty don’t either. Where there is a false accusation, there is a false accuser who should be punished under at least the same penalty that would have been handed those he and/or she falsely accused.

You can’t help but wonder how often this type of thing happens, and how often justice does not prevail. Maybe it would happen a little less if the accusers and their prosecutorial enablers knew if it was discovered they were pushing forward a bogus case for personal reasons, they would rot in prison. Perchance to dream.

Do We Really Want a President Who Is Afraid of a Cable Network?

Fox News is Democrat Kryptonite. “Foxus Interruptus” is the cry as politicians from the donkey side of the spectrum pull out of debates sponsored by the cable net that Ailes them and run from the monster like Michael Moore from an oncoming salad bar. Why?

Democrats say that Fox News is biased. Fine, let’s run with that assumption for a moment. If Fox News is such a politically biased joke, then you’d think the candidates would relish an opportunity to appear on their air and demonstrate that fact to the world. After all, somebody who wants to be president can’t be seen running from a tough challenge — can they? Absolutely. Cowardice happens to be vogue, and Democrats are determined to be fashionable at any cost.

First, John Edwards, The Breck Girl, started the anti-Fox trend by saying he’d not participate in a debate sponsored by the cable net. Now he’s done it again by avoiding another Fox News debate. The Edwards’ must have mistaken Fox News for their neighbor.

Then Barack Obama skipped out of the same debate so fast you’d have thought he found out it was going to be moderated by Don Imus. Hillary, blowing a golden opportunity to stand up to the man, also declined to participate. Democrats are pulling out of so many Foxes that it’s starting to look more like a porno movie than a political campaign.

The latest debate is co-sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. How bad would the verbal bashing be if these were Republicans?

Edwards, Clinton and Obama want it to appear that they’re standing up to the biased monster by running away. This is the kind of bravery of which many a surrender has been made. Somebody please tell these people that they’re running for president, but not of France.

One thing’s for sure: there will be more Fox News debates, and more Democrat candidates trying to score points and appease their base by blowing them off, not thinking that they’ve already got the base on board. But it’s those voters on the fence who might be impressed by witnessing a liberal David standing up to a biased Goliath — at least until David wets himself and runs off screaming. The possibility of the latter is why there are, so far, no Democrats at Fox News debates.

Will Obama, Clinton and Edwards pull out of CNN’s debate? It’s fairly clear that CNN is biased, but of course the candidates won’t avoid CNN, because it’s their kind of bias.

How about debates sponsored by CBS? Or NPR? Or ABC, NBC, PBS, The New York Times, BET or USA Today? Republicans won’t skip out of these debates because they’re sponsored by “biased” entities, which is one of the reasons I’ll probably end up voting for a Republican.

GOP candidates know it’s their one chance to have a say while in the same room. Democrat candidates know the same as it relates to Fox News, which is why I wonder if their skipping out has less to do with bias and everything to do with the fact that Fox News simply reports what boneheads these people are and there’s no proving otherwise.

A presidential candidate who’s afraid of a friggin’ cable television network probably isn’t the best equipped to protect the nation from Iran, Al Qaeda, Kim Jong Il or any other entity that, yes, just might be also biased — but dammit, they’ll have shown Fox News who’s scared!