Saturday, September 17, 2011

Paul Ryan on Tax Reform

Paul Ryan, chair of the House Budget Committee, has created a new video discussing why tax reform will help the economy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Final Five: September 16, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
September 16, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney recently sported a new pair of glasses, but quickly changed back to the old ones. His reason: he misplaced them. Perhaps they're located right beside the jobs from the last stimulus package.

Tonight's Final Five:

People want to characterize those opposed to immediately increasing funding for FEMA as uncaring. However, Ike Brannon argues on The Weekly Standard that the US Government needs to honestly account for disasters in the FEMA budget instead of waiting for the disaster to occur before allocating funds.

The President's jobs plan is a rehash of failed policies from previous attempts to stimulate the economy. What that tells us is that the government is not going to help bring us to a recovery.

Taking a break...
To laugh a little
" President Obama is more popular overseas than here. Then again, he’s created more jobs over there than here. "
-Jay Leno, 9/15/11

Now Back to The Final Five

Rick Perry's USA Today Op-Ed explains his true position on Social Security. While he stands by his Ponzi scheme comments, he says it still must be preserved for future generations.

Youth unemployment rates are soaring. The Economist takes a look at the effects of high youth unemployment in Spain.

Victor Davis Hanson argues at National Review Online that Obama came into office with one arrow in his quiver: expand government and spend more. Now that he's shot that arrow, he has nothing left to fix the economy.

Tomorrow in History: September 17
September 17, 1787 - The United States Constitution is signed by its authors and begins the ratification process. Happy Constitution Day!

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
" Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the world that a free man, contending for his liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth. "
-George Washington

Marine Asks President for Advice

Former Marine Dakota Meyer, who received the Medal of Honor yesterday, had the opportunity to sit down, have a beer, and chat with President Obama. He told "The Early Show" yesterday that he asked the President for some tips for success. Meyer stated, "He said, ‘You know, first thing, get an education and he said just take it slow and don’t try to make any rash decisions."

Perhaps the President shared some more advice with him, such as:
  • Always blame your predecessor for all your problems.
  • If you're broke, the best thing to do is to spend more money.
  • It is fine to live on food stamps and unemployment checks; after all, they create jobs.
  • Vacation as much as you like. Family must come first, after all.
  • Always talk about eating healthy, but always eat the most unhealthy foods available.
  • If someone criticizes you, blame it on whatever minority status group you're a member of.
  • Vacation: good. Vacation on someone else's money: better!
  • Do everything you can to make plenty of money. We need more millionaires giving 49% of their income to the government.

Of course, Meyer was only able to share a beer with Obama. However, for a $5 (or more) donation to the Obama 2012 campaign fund, he could have a chance for a second meeting, with dinner!

Panetta Says Pentagon Cuts Will Affect Unemployment

The Washington Post is reporting that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday that if the automatic triggers contained in the debt ceiling bill are enacted, the $1 trillion cut to Pentagon funding could add one percent to the unemployment rate.

Panetta is both right and wrong on this issue. Cutting $1 trillion will certainly affect our military much more than we would want. However, if we are going to solve our budget problems, the Pentagon will have to absorb a sizable portion of the cuts. The US spends almost as much on the military as the rest of the nations of the world combined. I am proud of our military and realize that our military spending has helped make our troops into the world's greatest force, but physical freedom will yield to financial collapse if we do not get our budget under control.

Will Independent Palestine Be Tolerant?

With all the discussion of tolerance in society, you would expect that tolerance would be an important subject when planning for a possible Palestinian state. However, it appears that while tolerance has been discussed, it seems to not be an important issue for the media. According to The Weekly Standard, Maen Areikat, the Palestinian Liberation Organization's ambassador to the United States, tolerance for homosexuals in a prospective Palestinian state "is an issue that's beyond my [authority]," he said as his voice trailed off. He then went on to state that "there would be no Jews in the West Bank or Gaza." We have to be separated, we have to work on our own national identities."

I learned in speech class that the way something is said is just as important as the words that are chosen. While the ambassador's words seem to indicate that he does not know the answer, the trailing off at the end makes one think that he is avoiding giving an answer that he does know. If he honestly did not know the answer, why trail off like he did? Furthermore, his answer shows that while Israel is (and will still be) open to Palestinians, an independent Palestine will not be open to Jews. We can only hope that a President that has preached tolerance will consider this lack of tolerance. However, given the way that he has turned his back on Israel, one must wonder what the President will do.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Final Five: September 15, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
September 15, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story

In 2009, Obama gave bailout money to banks. Now, he apparently wants his money back. The Blaze has the report of a man with an Obama mask attempting a bank robbery. Does this put him on the same level as Gumby?

Tonight's Final Five:

The US Government is not supposed to be making speculative investments, but it appears that this is exactly what happened in the Solyndra case. Despite a $535 million loan, the company still went bankrupt. A USA Today editorial explains why government loans are not a great idea.

Nearly seven in ten say that it feels like America is still in a recession. Because of this, Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post says Obama won't be running for re-election in a slight recovery, he will be running in a recession.

Taking a break...
To laugh a little
" After saying the jobs bill is paid for, President Obama now says that it will be paid for by raising taxes over 10 years. I can’t figure out if he’s the kind of guy who makes infomercials, or the kind of guy who falls for infomercials. "
-Jay Leno, 9/14/11

Now Back to The Final Five

Daniel Horowitz at RedState analyzes why the United States needs to support Israel's right to land instead of looking for a "two-state" solution.

Obama's jobs plan is similar to his stimulus package: more government spending. Even better, Obama can't lose with this plan: any success can be attributed to it and any failures "could always have been worse" without it. Thomas Sowell shows the ridiculousness of Obama's arguments at Townhall.com.

Jay Cost at The Weekly Standard explains why the jobs bill will not save Obama's job. He says it won't pass, it's full of tax hikes, it's just another stimulus, and it extends the impression of a tax and spend liberal. Now, all the Republicans have to do is take advantage of Obama's jobs plan.

Tomorrow in History: September 16
September 16, 1959 - In a live demonstration from New York City, the Xerox 914 is introduced as the first photocopier.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
" A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves ... and include all men capable of bearing arms. "
-Richard Henry Lee

Super MariObama 2

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Final Five: September 14, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
September 14, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story

Don't break up with this girlfriend (or even better, don't get involved with her in the first place). A Dutch woman has been arrested for stalking for alledgedly calling her ex-boyfriend 65,000 times in a year.

Tonight's Final Five:

Are Obama's speeches more fluff or rhetoric? Frank Donatelli examines five myths from the President's speech for Politico.

Americans chose "hope and change" in 2008, but this is not what they thought they were voting for. The Daily Telegraph's Toby Harnden examines why "hope and change" will not get Obama a second term.

Taking a break...
To laugh a little
" In his speech, President Obama introduced a $400 billion plan called the “American Jobs Act.” They would have had a more creative name, but the guy that comes up with names got laid off six months ago. "
-Conan O'Brien, 9/12/11

Now Back to The Final Five

The President is missing a basic fundamental of the free market system: the President doesn't create jobs, but he can destroy them. Given this lack of understanding, perhaps it would have been best for him to stay on vacation.

What happens when Obama has "called" on Congress to do something? Judging from past experience, it's bad policy.

Obama's jobs plan is likely to fail for the same reasons that the last one failed. However, by moving some of that to the private sector, it might be able to become successful after all. Robert Litan makes the case on the Huffington Post.

Tomorrow in History: September 15
September 15, 1981 - Sandra Day O'Connor is confirmed by the Senate as the first female justice on the US Supreme Court.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
" Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it. "
-John Adams

AP's "Fact Check" Lacking Facts

The AP did some fact checking on Monday's Republican debate and showed some areas where there were "factual stretches." While some of the criticism is valid, there are some where the AP's claims just don't fit with the debate. (You can read the full AP article at The Blaze.)

FACT CHECK #1:

PERRY: On Social Security for younger workers, “No one’s had the courage to stand up and say, here is how we’re going to reform it.” THE FACTS: Many have done just that. Former President George W. Bush and a variety of Republicans since, including some running for president now, have stood for the position that Social Security should be partially privatized, enabling younger workers to divert some of their payroll taxes to individual investment accounts while the entitlement program is kept whole for those already using it or close to retirement.
While it is true that many people have talked about fixing Social Security and some have tossed around ideas of how to do it, actual plans have been in short supply. This is the difference between Obama announcing a "plan" in a speech and actually submitting a plan to Congress several days later. Congress can act upon the second; it can do nothing about the first.

FACT CHECK #2:

MITT ROMNEY: “The real issue is, in writing his book, Gov. Perry pointed out that in his view that Social Security is unconstitutional, that this is not something the federal government ought to be involved in, that instead it should be given back to the states.” THE FACTS: Perry indeed roundly criticized Social Security in his book, but not quite to the point of calling it unconstitutional. In words he is trying to walk back now, Perry branded the program the “best example” of the “fraud” and “bad disease” spread by Washington in Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Perry furthermore criticized the Supreme Court of that era for “abdicating its role as the protector of constitutional federalism.” That falls somewhere short of declaring Social Security unconstitutional. Perry now has abandoned such rhetoric, adopting the conventional Republican view in a USA Today column Monday that its finances must be made whole to protect current and imminent retirees and make it viable for “generations to come.”
Just because Perry sees problems with Social Security doesn't mean that he wants to get rid of it. Personally, I believe that Social Security is unconstitutional, but I also believe that we must honor our commitments to everyone who has already paid into the system. It is unconstitutional in that it should never have been set up, but it now must be allowed to survive (in a reformed state) so that the government keeps its promises to taxpayers.

FACT CHECK #3:

PERRY: The $814 billion economic stimulus program pushed by President Barack Obama “created zero jobs.” THE FACTS: There is no support for that assertion. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said last year that the stimulus increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million as of mid-2010. It cut the unemployment rate between 0.7 and 1.8 percentage points, the CBO found. Economists debate whether the stimulus lived up to its promise or was worth the cost, but no one seriously argues that it created no jobs. Many believe it helped to end the recession even while falling short of its employment goals.
The Department of Labor reported a net gain of zero jobs for the month of August. Since some stimulus money has yet to be spent, it cannot be attributed to the "drying up" of stimulus money. It is debatable how much impact it had in the past, but in the present, it is not creating jobs.

Ponzi or No Ponzi: Social Security Is In Trouble

Much has been made of Rick Perry's claims that social security is a "Ponzi Scheme" and a "monstrous lie". Recent debates have focused on these words. Unfortunately, by focusing on the rhetoric, Republicans are ignoring the facts: Social Security is in trouble.

First, Perry's Ponzi claims are at least close. A Ponzi scheme takes money coming in to pay for money going out. Social Security does this. It is worse than a Ponzi scheme in some ways, because Americans have no choice (short of leaving the country) but to support the plan. However, it is better than a Ponzi scheme in other ways because at least Social Security tells you about its payment system. I could fill this page going back and forth between Ponzi scheme, better than a Ponzi scheme, and worse than a Ponzi scheme. Ultimately, while Social Security may not exactly be a Ponzi scheme, it is certainly a close cousin.

Second, focusing on wording hides the fact that no one really has a plan to fix Social Security. While Romney, Bachmann, and the other candidates attack Perry for his choice of wording, no one is discussing what can actually be done to keep the system solvent.

Social Security is already paying out more than it takes in, although the trust fund will continue to increase in value due to interest. Soon, it will begin cashing in on the principal of its bonds and forcing American taxpayers to make up the difference through their income taxes. Now is not the time to be debating how someone chooses their words; now is the time to be debating how we are going to solve the problem.

TSA Bill Author Calls Agency 'A Complete Fiasco'

Rep. John Mica (R-FL) authored the bill that created the TSA in the days after 9/11. However, according to The Blaze, he is now disappointed in his agency and rates its job as a D-. Mica says that the TSA has failed to detect threats; it has only responded to threats that were discovered through other means.
“Everything they have done has been reactive. They take shoes off because of [shoe-bomber] Richard Reid, passengers are patted down because of the diaper bomber, and you can’t pack liquids because the British uncovered a plot using liquids…It’s an agency that is always one step out of step.”
Mica goes on to say that the agency needs to be privatized.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Final Five: September 13, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
September 13, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story

In this satirical story on the Huffington Post, Spencer Green discusses the replacement for Republican debates: bear wrestling. It might just be me, but it sounds like the party might be trying to lure Sarah Palin back into the race with this one.

Tonight's Final Five:

The President is always reminding us how horrible the economy was when he took office. However, Michael Boskin at the Wall Street Journal examines the numbers and argues that Obama has not helped the situation.

Did World War II really bring us out of the Great Depression? Weekly Standard columnist Arthur Herman writes that the war actually hindered a recovery that was already in the works.

Taking a break...
To laugh a little
" A man wearing an Obama mask robbed a bank. Either that or Obama has an exciting new plan to reduce the deficit. "
-Conan O'Brien, 9/12/11

Now Back to The Final Five

How much of the money from the last stimulus actually went to job creation? The Wall Street Journal shows how money from the last stimulus failed to even go to projects that were promised.

With Congressional approval ratings around 13%, Lee Hamilton at Politico examines what Congress can do to improve its standing with the American public.

Paul Krugman's comments on 9/11 were disgusting. However, was it the worst thing ever said in relation to the attacks? RedState lists ten ways Americans should not commemorate 9/11.

Tomorrow in History: September 13
September 14, 1814 - Francis Scott Key wrote a poem titled Defense of Fort McHenry, which would later become the words to our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
" Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. "
-George Washington

Government Housing for $330,000

The Washington Examiner is reporting that the town of Bethesda, Maryland, has decided to spend $4 million to house 12 homeless people for one year (a total cost of $330,000 per person). The facility will have six studio apartments and six one-bedroom apartments, along with "a community room, fitness center, computer center, laundry facility, outdoor enclosed courtyard and storage space for the tenants."

I would write a comment here about how this program could be cut to save money, but of course, if somebody dares to say that this is an unnecessary expense that could be cut, that person will immediately be characterized as wanting to throw the homeless on the streets. I think I'll stay silent and let the above facts speak for themselves.

Want More Jobs? We Need More Job Creators

USA Today has a report covering the decline in the self-employed. 2.1 million fewer people are now self-employed than in December 2006, the peak of self-employment.

USA Today calls this trend "troubling." Troubling is probably an understatement. If we want to create more jobs, we must have more job creators. Why are Americans not willing to start businesses? Four reasons:

1) America has become a nation of wussies. This is most evident in the younger generation. A child skins his knee and runs home crying to mommy. A child gets in trouble at school, and the parent has to rush to the child's defense in the school office. Even in my own life, it took me years to start riding a bike after I fell and broke my leg. America became great because when people failed, they didn't cry and give up; they got up and figured out how to do it better the next time. When people too afraid to take risks, they will never start a successful business.

2) Most Americans are not willing to put in the work required to start a business. Americans have become used to ideas such as the 40-hour workweek, paid holidays, paid vacation, and paid sick and personal days. As a business owner, you get none of these. You are expected to put in long hours, and if you do not work, you make no money that day. (And, you can try charging one and a half times the price once you've worked forty hours, but I wouldn't count on too many sales!)

3) Government regulation has become too strict. It used to be that you could start a business with just the money you needed to create your product. However, now you have to ensure compliance with a myriad of regulations. The cost of compliance can eat up hundreds or even thousands of dollars before you are even allowed to make your first dollar. Two people I know looked into starting businesses but stopped due to the cost of regulatory compliance.

4) Too much debt and not enough savings. Capital is necessary to start or expand any business. However, with Americans drowning in debt (just like their government), they lack the necessary capital to start a business. Because of their debts, they also lack the credit necessary to start a business. Without access to the needed capital, no business can be started.

As evidenced by the declining number of self-employed, America doesn't just need more jobs, it needs more job-creating businesses. America suffers from a lack of risk-takers, a lack of hard workers, too much regulation, and too much debt. If America is going to remain the economic capital of the world, it must continue to create job creators.

Do Something Your Congressman Won't Do

Now, you can do something that your Congressman probably won't do: read the bill! Here's the full text of the American Jobs Act.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Final Five: September 12, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
September 12, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story

Have you ever thought about downloading a smartphone app to treat your acne? Despite how crazy it sounds, nearly 15,000 people have downloaded two apps that claim to treat acne.

Tonight's Final Five:

Did you know that the more you make, the less you get back in benefits? Do you think that Social Security is afloat right now? Learn ten lies Social Security wants you to believe at Smart Money.

President Obama's plan is nothing new. His current (and future) plan failed: no jobs were created last month. According to Erick Erickson at RedState, even if Obama gets his jobs plan, it will fail, and then voters will know who to blame.

Taking a break...
To laugh a little
"President Obama introduced his $447 billion jobs plan. A lot of economists say it could work — if we had $447 billion."
-Jay Leno, 9/9/11

Now Back to The Final Five

While Obama didn't directly vindicate Paul Ryan in his speech last week, his ideas did provide that vindication. Obama's call to reform Medicare is exactly what Paul Ryan called for earlier. Jeffrey Anderson at The Weekly Standard analyzes Obama's speech and the Ryan budget.

With unemployment over 9 percent, the NRLB is preparing new rules that will hurt job creation. Diana Furchtgott-Roth describes the hypocricy on Real Clear Markets. Happy (lack of) Labor Day, America.

Since the President and his advisers do not understand how the economy works, Herbert Meyer at American Thinker provides an lesson in economics for liberals.

Tomorrow in History: September 13
September 13, 1956 - IBM introduces the RAMAC 305, the first computer disk storage unit. It required a 30 ft. by 50 ft. room.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, so much as downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation."
-John Adams

Should Congress "Pass the Bill"?

While there is a part of me that is shocked by what I am about to say, I am going to say it anyway: Congress should pass the Obama jobs bill. Here is why I feel that Congress should pass this bill:

1) It is not a horrible proposal. While there are some parts of the bill I oppose, I do support several of the proposals. Overall, the bill is not great, and it certainly is not perfect, but it is also not awful. Normally, I would oppose this bill, but with the arguments below, I feel that Congress would be right to pass it.

2) Fighting jobs is a bad idea. There's something in Washington that is more despised than the President: Congress. If Republicans oppose a bill to "create jobs," it will look worse than passing some bad parts of the current proposal. However, this argument could be a moot point if Republicans decide to submit their own jobs proposal.

3) Passing this bill places the burden of success on the President. With the election approaching next year, passing this proposal will allow Americans to see the job creation record (or lack thereof) of the current administration. When this bill fails (as solid economic models show that it will), the Americans will know who to blame: the President.

4) The bill will have to be offset, or Obama could face the debate he dreads. Much of the discussion has involved how the money will be raised for the proposals. Obama claimed that they will be offset with spending cuts. However, even if they are not offset and financed with debt, it could work out to the Republicans advantage. One of the big hangups in the debt ceiling debate was the amount of the increase. Obama wanted an increase that would last beyond the election. The amount of this spending package, if not offset by cuts elsewhere, could push the debt ceiling debate into the late 2012, right as the election is nearing. Obama will not want to see reminders of his massive deficits brought up right before the election, so he will likely do whatever it takes to see this spending offset.

Despite Obama's claims, this bill does not need to be passed "right away." Time should be given to debate the merits of this bill in both houses. However, I feel that despite its negative sides, Congress should go ahead and pass this bill. It will not do much in the way of job creation, and it certainly will not help debt reduction, but it will help Americans understand that the President they elected three years ago is clueless on job creation.

Pass What Bill?

In his speech Thursday, President Obama reiterated the necessity of passing his jobs proposal quickly. In case you missed it or can't remember, National Review has put together a video of the President's statements:


However, Newsmax is reporting that Obama will submit his plan to Congress today. Let me make sure I have this straight: this bill is so important to fix our economy that it needs to be passed right away (as evidenced by Obama's 14 repetitions of the statement), but it is took him four days just to get it across town to be considered for a vote. Instead of telling Congress to "pass this bill right away," maybe the President should tell his own staff "get this bill to the Capitol right away." Given these facts, should Congress really be expected to take this proposal seriously enough to "pass it right away?"

Obama's Records

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Unique Perspective on 9/11

Frank Culbertson had the unique experience of being the only American not on Earth on September 11, 2001. As captain on board the International Space Station, Culbertson was able to record what he saw from space, both in video and in a public letter.

NASA Photo

Here was his public letter:
September 12, 2001; 19:34 hours

I haven’t written very much about specifics of this mission during the month I’ve been here, mainly for two reasons: the first being that there has been very little time to do that kind of writing, and secondly because I’m not sure how comfortable I am sharing thoughts I share with family and friends with the rest of the world.

Well, obviously the world changed today. What I say or do is very minor compared to the significance of what happened to our country today when it was attacked by …. by whom? Terrorists is all we know, I guess. Hard to know at whom to direct our anger and fear…

I had just finished a number of tasks this morning, the most time-consuming being the physical exams of all crew members. In a private conversation following that, the flight surgeon told me they were having a very bad day on the ground. I had no idea…

He described the situation to me as best he knew it at ~0900 CDT. I was flabbergasted, then horrified. My first thought was that this wasn’t a real conversation, that I was still listening to one of my Tom Clancy tapes. It just didn’t seem possible on this scale in our country. I couldn’t even imagine the particulars, even before the news of further destruction began coming in.

Vladimir came over pretty quickly, sensing that something very serious was being discussed. I waved Michael into the module as well. They were also amazed and stunned. After we signed off, I tried to explain to Vladimir and Michael as best I could the potential magnitude of this act of terror in downtown Manhattan and at the Pentagon. They clearly understood and were very sympathetic.

I glanced at the World Map on the computer to see where over the world we were and noticed that we were coming southeast out of Canada and would be passing over New England in a few minutes. I zipped around the station until I found a window that would give me a view of NYC and grabbed the nearest camera. It happened to be a video camera, and I was looking south from the window of Michael’s cabin.

The smoke seemed to have an odd bloom to it at the base of the column that was streaming south of the city. After reading one of the news articles we just received, I believe we were looking at NY around the time of, or shortly after, the collapse of the second tower. How horrible…

I panned the camera all along the East Coast to the south to see if I could see any other smoke around Washington, or anywhere else, but nothing was visible.

It was pretty difficult to think about work after that, though we had some to do, but on the next orbit we crossed the US further south. All three of us were working one or two cameras to try to get views of New York or Washington. There was haze over Washington, but no specific source could be seen. It all looked incredible from two to three hundred miles away. I can’t imagine the tragic scenes on the ground.

Other than the emotional impact of our country being attacked and thousands of our citizens and maybe some friends being killed, the most overwhelming feeling being where I am is one of isolation.

Next day….

I guess the fatigue and emotional strain got the best of me. I couldn’t stay awake and continue to write. Today was still difficult, but we started getting more information, plus we had the honor of talking directly with the Center Director, Roy Estess, who assured us that the ground teams would continue to work and ensure our safety, as well as the safe operation of the Station. We also heard from our Administrator, Mr. Goldin, who added that the partners in the Program are all totally committed to continuing safe operations and support. These were never questions for me. I know all these people! The ground teams have been incredibly supportive, very understanding of the impact of the news, and have tried to be as helpful as possible. They have all been very professional and focused though I can’t imagine the distraction of this type of news coming in and the thought that government buildings might be at risk. They never skipped a beat, even when relocating control centers. And a group of senior personnel and friends gave us a pretty thorough briefing on what was known and what was being done in the government and at NASA on Tuesday afternoon, which was very helpful and kind of them to do in the midst of all the turmoil. The Russian TsUP has also been supportive and helpful, trying to uplink news articles when our own assets were inoperable, and saying kind words…

My crewmates have been great, too. They know it’s been a tough day for me and the folks on the ground, and they’ve tried to be as even keeled and helpful as possible. Michael even fixed me my favorite Borscht soup for dinner. And they give me plenty of room to think when I needed it. They are very sympathetic and of course outraged at whoever would do this.

I know so many people in Washington, so many people who travel to DC and NYC, so many who are pilots, that I felt sure I would receive at least a few pieces of bad news over the next few days. I got the first one today when I learned that the Captain of the American Airlines jet that hit the Pentagon was Chic Burlingame, a classmate of mine. I met Chic during plebe summer when we were in the D&B together, and we had lots of classes together. I can’t imagine what he must of gone through, and now I hear that he may have risen further than we can even think of by possibly preventing his plane from being the one to attack the White House. What a terrible loss, but I’m sure Chic was fighting bravely to the end. And tears don’t flow the same in space…

It’s difficult to describe how it feels to be the only American completely off the planet at a time such as this. The feeling that I should be there with all of you, dealing with this, helping in some way, is overwhelming. I know that we are on the threshold (or beyond) of a terrible shift in the history of the world. Many things will never be the same again after September 11, 2001. Not just for the thousands and thousands of people directly affected by these horrendous acts of terrorism, but probably for all of us. We will find ourselves feeling differently about dozens of things, including probably space exploration, unfortunately.

It’s horrible to see smoke pouring from wounds in your own country from such a fantastic vantage point. The dichotomy of being on a spacecraft dedicated to improving life on the earth and watching life being destroyed by such willful, terrible acts is jolting to the psyche, no matter who you are. And the knowledge that everything will be different than when we launched by the time we land is a little disconcerting. I have confidence in our country and in our leadership that we will do everything possible to better defend her and our families, and to bring justice for what has been done. I have confidence that the good people at NASA will do everything necessary to continue our mission safely and return us safely at the right time. And I miss all of you very much. I can’t be there with you in person, and we have a long way to go to complete our mission, but be certain that my heart is with you, and know you are in my prayers.

Humbly,
Frank

We Will Never Forget

This video was shown in my church this morning. It was produced by North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California.

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September 11th

As we remember the 2,977 who died in the attacks ten years ago, The Defense of Freedom Blog would also like to give a thank you to the men and women across this great nation who would respond in the same way the New York Fire and Police Departments did on 9/11/01.