S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

In search of excellence, and finding it.

Image left: These seven astronauts take a break from training to pose for the STS-123 crew portrait. From the right (front row) are astronauts Dominic L. Gorie, commander; and Gregory H. Johnson, pilot. From the left (back row) are astronauts Richard M. Linnehan, Robert L. Behnken, Garrett E. Reisman, Michael J. Foreman and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Takao Doi, all mission specialists. Reisman is scheduled to join Expedition 16 as flight engineer after launching to the International Space Station on mission STS-123. Image credit: NASA

Following my original S/SW blog plan: "IDEAS & REFLECTIONS - my observations and commentary on people and events that affect the USA or the rest of the world."

Today's post recognizes several instances of news that spotlight excellence.

IDEAS - NASA Mission STS-123 is one of the world's most excellent examples of international cooperation. Russia, Canada, Europe, Japan and the United States are involved in a magnificently noble enterprise, building and maintaining the International Space Station (links to various space agencies).

Space Program Successes:

  • "European Space Cargo Ship Tests Going Well" (3/14/08) at To quote:

    Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) cargo vessel March 14 successfully completed a key test of its emergency-abort sequence, performing a collision-avoidance maneuver that ground teams hope will never be needed when the time comes to dock with the international space station, European Space Agency (ESA) officials said.

  • "1JA mission - Experiment Logistics Module" - [is the] Pressurized Section (ELM-PS) of the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo," and [it] has Japanese Astronaut Takao Doi aboard; [it] was successfully launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

  • French ESA astronaut -

    . . . LĂ©opold Eyharts has activated the first experiment inside the European Columbus laboratory. The WAICO experiment, which investigates the effect of gravity on plant root growth, has started inside the module's Biolab facility.

  • Yuri Ivanovich Malenchenko, Soyuz TMA Commander-
    In Oct. 2006 he started training as an ISS 16 crew flight engineer and Soyuz commander.
    Honors: Awarded the Hero of the Russian Federation medal, the National Hero of Kazakhstan medal, Military award of excellence, Meritorious Service medals (3), Commendation medal, Achievement medal, Medal “70 years of the Soviet Armed Forces”.

House FISA Successes: REFLECTIONS - Today is a good day in U.S. politics, again. It has been a while since there has much to celebrate in the partisan political realm. It started to turn on Thursday night with this story about what went on in the U.S. House of Representatives. Good satire: "The Secret Is Out: There Was No Big Secret," (3/14/08) by Dana Milbank at the Washington Post. To quote:

"I ask unanimous consent," said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), that "the House resolve itself into secret session."


"I will bring information . . . to the secret session that some members are aware of but others are not," promised a coy Minority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.), declaring it his solemn "obligation to bring information and communicate information that is confidential and that I believe ought to be kept secret."

Hush, hush!

Main Stream Media Successes: OBSERVATIONS -- It ended Friday with the House Democrats rolling back the Bush administration's fear-mongering attacks. The two most important mainstream media papers have finally begun to write good stories on this issue.

  • Good insight: "House Passes a Surveillance Bill Not to Bush's Liking," (3/15/08) by Jonathan Weisman at the Washington Post. To quote:

  • Lawmakers from both parties said the gulf between the administration and House Democratic leaders is now so wide that the issue may not be resolved until a new president takes office next year.

  • Fact-checking: "House Votes to Reject Immunity for Phone Companies Involved in Wiretaps" (3/15/08) by Eric Lichtblau at the New York Times. To quote:

    By giving the courts the power to hear classified evidence in a civil suit, the plan seeks to partly respond to the phone companies argument that they have been unable to defend themselves against charges of violating customers’ privacy and breaking the law.

Dignity: COMMENTARY - PEOPLE -- "On My Faith and My Church," (3/14/08) by Barack Obama at Politics on the Huffington Post. To quote:

All of the statements that have been the subject of controversy are ones that I vehemently condemn. They in no way reflect my attitudes and directly contradict my profound love for this country.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

Technorati tags:

No comments: