Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
There’s been plenty of Monday-morning quarterbacking regarding President Bush’s lofty inaugural speech. The Washington Post’s Dan Froomkin (also a Salon contributor) has a good roundup — the consensus appears to be that Bush overreached big time with all the fiery, stratospheric oratory focused on foreign policy.
“The initial reaction to President Bush’s second inaugural speech, in which he vowed to end tyranny everywhere, was that it sounded awfully ambitious,” Froomkin writes. “But now comes word from the White House that Bush wasn’t actually setting out a new agenda at all. He was simply describing what his approach has been all along. And that has invited additional concerns, among them that revisionism may be pushing aside reality checking in the Bush White House.
“In hindsight, the White House is apparently suggesting, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq weren’t so much about bringing Osama bin Laden to justice and destroying Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. They were about lighting the flame of freedom.
“And in spite of the mixed success in both countries, Bush continues to express unfaltering confidence in his world view.”
“While Bush has been visionary in his goals, he has not provided much practical wisdom on how to attain them in a complex world,” Zakaria writes. “This lack of attention to the long, hard slog of actually promoting democracy might explain why things have gone so poorly in the most important practical application of the Bush Doctrine so far — Iraq. Convinced that bringing freedom to a country meant simply getting rid of the tyrant, the Bush administration seems to have done virtually no serious postwar planning to keep law and order, let alone to build the institutions of a democratic state.”
The Bush problem of rhetoric vs. reality was on the minds of some staunch conservatives, too.
“The speech did not deal with specifics — 9/11, terrorism, particular alliances, Iraq. It was, instead, assertively abstract,” writes the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan, herself a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan. “Ending tyranny in the world? Well that’s an ambition, and if you’re going to have an ambition it might as well be a big one. But this declaration, which is not wrong by any means, seemed to me to land somewhere between dreamy and disturbing. Tyranny is a very bad thing and quite wicked, but one doesn’t expect we’re going to eradicate it any time soon. Again, this is not heaven, it’s earth.”
The speech led Noonan to wonder if the Bush White House didn’t “have a case of what I have called in the past ‘mission inebriation.’ A sense that there are few legitimate boundaries to the desires born in the goodness of their good hearts. One wonders if they shouldn’t ease up, calm down, breathe deep, get more securely grounded. The most moving speeches summon us to the cause of what is actually possible. Perfection in the life of man on earth is not.”
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.
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