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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Another "Redwood" Has Fallen

The only NASA astronaut to fly in all of NASA's early missions from Mercury to Apollo, Wally Schirra, has died. We have lost another "Redwood." The Redwoods are the giants of the trees, and Mr. Schirra was a people giant. Instead of romance, Wally spoke truth:

"Mostly it's lousy out there," Schirra said in 1981 on the occasion of the first space shuttle flight. "It's a hostile environment, and it's trying to kill you. The outside temperature goes from a minus 450 degrees to a plus 300 degrees. You sit in a flying Thermos bottle."

It's interesting that while the NASA family mourns Schirra's passing, the GOP Presidential candidates are mourning the passing of Mr. Reagan. And the Democrats feel the same about JFK.

No one will mourn the passing of the Al Qaida figure who participated in the killing of the Christian Science Monitor reporter.

It's fascinating, if its true, that the Sunni insurgents are turning against the Al Qaida cowboys in their midst who rode in from out of town. I would bet on the locals in that contest.

The twist in Iraq is that the majority are not Sunnis, but Shiites - and the Shiite leader Al Sadr has become a loose cannon again by quitting Parliament. Our guys are caught in the middle of two groups who hate each other and no one has worked out a real political settlement. Until they do, our troops will die in the crossfire.

It's too bad we aren't spending more of our time following Wally's footsteps -- investing in space and medical advances instead of draining our treasury of trillions of dollars on a raging civil war between two groups who have hated each other for centuries (since the Prophet died).

Once the Titanic hit the iceberg, appointing a new "Czar" to Captain the ship would not have made a difference in the outcome. We've been scrapping the iceberg since the invasion of Iraq. The question now is whether the damage done is terminal at this point.

Let's hope not, or we will have fewer space flights and more American deaths in a war far from home...

If I were running for President, I would pledge to convene a Middle East conference that included Syria and Iran, and focus on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian issue that has fueled terrorism. We would set goals to be energy independent and global technology leaders in the 21st century, from bio-fuels to bio-med...

Why? Because if we don't do this, we will lose our No. 1 position.

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