Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Close Call

Space Shuttle
It appears that those brave souls riding the Shuttle space missions were damn lucky over the years. Mr. Parsons said he could not explain why a critical part like the speed brake actuator had not been inspected for more than two decades, despite the major overhauls and examinations each shuttle underwent every three or four years.... Mr. Parsons said finding and fixing the speed brake problems had resulted from increased safety awareness after the Columbia disaster. The Columbia and its crew were lost on Feb. 1, 2003, in a re-entry accident, and the remaining shuttle fleet has been grounded ever since.

The brake issue was not found as a result of the Columbia investigation, but corrosion and other problems found on another part of the Discovery led NASA engineers to look at similar machinery, like the brake actuators, officials said.

And you want to vote for this crowd?
Did the Bush administration ignore terrorism warnings before 9/11? Justice Department documents obtained by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, show that it did. Not only did John Ashcroft completely drop terrorism as a priority — it wasn't even mentioned in his list of seven "strategic goals" — just one day before 9/11 he proposed a reduction in counterterrorism funds. .....Did the administration neglect counterterrorism even after 9/11? After 9/11 the F.B.I. requested $1.5 billion for counterterrorism operations, but the White House slashed this by two-thirds. (Meanwhile, the Bush campaign has been attacking John Kerry because he once voted for a small cut in intelligence funds.) . For more on this, read Krugman's article in the Times. Better yet, watch the 9/11 hearings on CNN - they're going to be veryinteresting. Richard Clarke appears tomorrow before the commission. Will Condi Rice appear? Looks like she is trying the big dodgeroooooo - gee, Condi, don't you want to get to the bottom of this mess? hmmm......

Freedom Tower - Irresponsible?
The total amount of energy released by the two 767's that struck the Twin Towers equaled that of a tactical nuclear weapon — almost a quarter of a kiloton. In 2006, two years before Freedom Tower is scheduled to open, a new generation of aircraft, led by the Airbus A380, will begin entering service in the world's airlines. The A380 will carry almost 82,000 gallons of fuel, more than three times as much as a 767. One hardly needs to do the math........ Dangling an iconic and indefensible target in front of terrorists is inconsistent with a strategy of reducing our vulnerabilities wherever possible. A thought provoking article - I couldn't agree more. How about a nice park? A few trees blown up sounds bettter than thousands of people.

Quote of the Day
"If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank."
Woody Allen

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