Back In The Soyuz Again?

The good news is that we probably won’t have to abandon the International Space Station after all. The bad news is that we’re still dependent on the Russians to get our astronauts there.

NASA Confirms Russian Soyuz Failure Findings

An independent NASA panel reviewing data related to the Aug. 24 failure of the Russian Soyuz rocket transporting cargo to the International Space Station has confirmed that the Russian space agency correctly identified the cause of the problem and is taking appropriate steps to resolve it before the rocket’s next launch scheduled for Oct. 30, said William H. Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, determined that the most likely cause of the failure was contamination in the rocket’s fuel lines or stabilizer valve, which caused low fuel supply to the gas generator, Gerstenmaier told lawmakers Oct. 12 during a hearing of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s space and aeronautics panel.

See also:
NASA review clears way for manned Soyuz flights
Russian Soyuz Recovery Strategy Endorsed
NASA ‘confident’ Russia’s Soyuz rocket safe
NASA says Soyuz rockets safe for American astronauts
Russian Rocket Failure Shouldn’t Force Space Station Evacuation, NASA Tells Lawmakers
NASA Gives Blessing for Soyuz Rocket, Which is Ready for Takeoff [PHOTOS]
August’s Russian rocket failure is unlikely to force evacuation of the International Space Station
NASA Says Russian Soyuz Flight Risk Low
NASA offers Congress assurances over space station

Hopefully, the Russians have come to the correct conclusion as to what the glitch was on last August’s failed resupply flight and have taken the proper actions to fix the problem.

/although I’d feel a whole lot better if the next Soyuz flight, the first since the August crash, wasn’t manned, just in case the Russians still have it wrong

Minnesota, We Have Shutdown

Gee, the Republican legislature, swept into power for the first time in forty years to reduce the size of government, has already passed the largest budget in Minnesota state history.

But petulant Mr. Wouldn’t Even Be Governor but for Tom Horner is obsessed with raising taxes to spend even more, so here we are.

No Talks Expected Before Tuesday for Minnesota Shutdown

Minnesota lawmakers are back in their districts. Some are facing voters for the first time since the government shutdown. That reception may go a long way in determining how long the shutdown will last.

. . .

Reporter: “Do you feel like you went back on a campaign promise of some kind to not shut down government?”

Dayton: “Unfortunately, the two parts of that promise came into conflict with each other because I felt it was ultimately more important to raise the revenue necessary to meet a fair, middle compromise position”

Dayton says a deal fell apart when republicans sought agreement on social policies like abortion.

Kurt Zellers – (R) Minnesota: “To say that this blew up over policy…again, to Amy ‘s point this isn’t true.”

House speaker Kurt Zellers and senate majority leader Amy Koch say the breakdown came over tax increases. They offered non-tax revenue to meet the governor’s demands–and deny they wanted a shutdown.

See also:
Minnesota government shuts down over budget impasse
Minnesota government shuts down over budget woes
Minnesota government shuts down after tax plan torpedoes budget
Minnesota government shutdown puts Tim Pawlenty in spotlight
Minnesota Dem gov fights GOP’s ‘no new tax’ stance
Minnesotans frustrated, angry over state government shutdown
Minnesotans feel pinch of government shutdowns
Minnesota budget row shuts public services
In Minnesota Shutdown, Wider Budget Conflict Comes to a Head
Minnesota shutdown: The shape of things to come?
Lori Sturdevant: Scorched earth politics
Shutdown not seen harming Minnesota’s reputation
Who’s Shutting Down Minnesota?

Despite the shutdown, life in Minnesota goes on, most people don’t even notice, and every day the shutdown continues the State saves money.

/so hang in there Republicans, this is why you were swept into power, to reduce the size of state government and hold the line on taxes, keep the shutdown going as long as it takes until Dayton caves on his tax raising obsession

Running On Empty

Actually, we’re running beyond empty now. The United States can’t legally borrow any more money until Congress acts to raise the debt ceiling.

US government hits debt ceiling, lighting 11-week fuse

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner informed Congress on Monday that the United States has reached its legal debt limit, setting off a ticking time bomb that could explode in less than three months if lawmakers can’t bridge differences and allow more government borrowing.

In hitting the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling – the limit on how much the government can borrow – the Obama administration on Monday began temporarily halting payments to the retirement and federal pension accounts of federal workers and started borrowing from those funds, to be restored later.

Geithner sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., warning that the government can move money around for about 11 weeks but if a new debt ceiling isn’t agreed to by Aug. 2, the U.S. government could effectively default on its obligations to its creditors. He warned of “catastrophic economic consequences for citizens” unless Congress raises the debt ceiling.

An increase of about $2 trillion is expected, enough to get the issue past the 2012 elections before Congress would have to lift it again.

Republicans who control the House of Representatives vow to link raising the debt ceiling to cuts in government spending of at least equal measure. In a combative statement Monday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, upped the ante.

“As I have said numerous times, there will be no debt limit increase without serious budget reforms and significant spending cuts, cuts that are greater than any increase in the debt limit.” Boehner has called previously for $2 trillion in spending cuts as part of any deal to raise the debt ceiling.

See also:
US hits $14 trillion debt limit
US Hits Debt Ceiling, But Treasury Market Rules Out Default For Now
Deja Vu, But No Disaster: U.S. Government Hits Debt Ceiling
U.S. Hits Debt Limit, Sky Doesn’t Fall
U.S. hit debt limit today
Treasury Tapping Federal Retirement Accounts to Stave Off Default
Turbo Tim Raids Pension Plans
With Debt Limit Maxed Out, Lawmakers Hold Firm On Remedy
Rep. Jordan: U.S. won’t default if debt ceiling isn’t raised
U.S. National Debt Clock

Well, we hit the debt ceiling and, despite all the Democrat Chicken Little hysteria, the Sun didn’t explode, the seas didn’t boil, and the markets didn’t plunge thousands of points. Go figure.

/all I can say is that the Republicans had better stand firm and hold their ground this time and hold out for concrete, verifiable spending cuts that at least equal the amount of any debt limit increase

Springtime For Taliban

Here we go again.

Taliban declares ‘spring offensive’

The Taliban has announced the launch of a spring offensive against foreign troops in Afghanistan as well as Afghan security forces and government officials.

Saturday’s declaration comes a day after high-ranking US military officers predicted such a move from the group.

Dubbed the “Badar” offensive, the fresh onslaught “will target foreign forces, high-ranking officials of President Hamid Karzai’s government, members of the cabinet and lawmakers, as well as the heads of foreign and local companies working for the NATO-led coalition,” the Taliban said in a statement.

See also:
Taliban warns of spring offensive
Afghanistan: Taliban announce spring offensive
Taliban declares start to spring offensive in Afghanistan
Afghan Taliban: Surge to Begin Sunday
Taliban militants declare new offensive
Taliban announce spring offensive in Afghanistan
Taliban announce beginning of its ‘spring offensive’
NATO dismisses Taliban offensive as propaganda
Afghan Taliban declare start to spring offensive
Taliban declare start of spring offensive
Taliban announce beginning of spring offensive; NATO downplays it

Let’s hope that our troops have rules of engagement that allow them to actually engage and kill the enemy or at least be allowed to carry loaded weapons to defend themselves.

/what a hellhole, is it still even worth being there?

Who The Hell Are We Fighting And Dying For?

WTF?

Lawmakers Say Karzai Threatened to Join Taliban

Afghan lawmakers say President Hamid Karzai used a closed meeting to lash out at Western critics of his government, saying the Taliban would become a “legitimate resistance movement” if outside meddling in Afghan affairs continued.

The lawmakers say Mr. Karzai also suggested that he might join the Taliban if outside pressure does not stop.

According to several members of the Afghan parliament, Mr. Karzai made the comments during a private meeting with a group of lawmakers Saturday.

In an interview with BBC television Monday, Mr. Karzai said he stands by remarks last week blaming international embassies and organizations for fraud in the August 20 presidential elections.

The White House called Mr. Karzai’s remarks “troubling”, but said a planned meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Mr. Karzai next month in Washington is still scheduled.

See also:
Afghan President Hamid Karzai Threatens to Join Taliban
Karzai ‘threatened to join Taliban’
Karzai to lawmakers: ‘I might join the Taliban’
Karzai threatens to join Taliban
Karzai threatens to join Taliban
Is Karzai friend or foe to the United States?
AP Analysis: Karzai remarks risk US-Afghan rift
U.S. to Afghan Leader: Watch What You Say
News Wrap: U.S. Expresses Concerns Over Karzai’s Taliban Remarks
U.S. turns up the heat and Karzai smolders
Karzai says he’ll join the Taliban if UN keeps pressuring him
For U.S., Karzai proves to be a very troublesome ally
Afghanistan, a bottomless pit

Let’s see, so we’re propping up Karzai’s government and protecting him from the Taliban and he’s threatening to join the Taliban if we keep insisting that he actually do something about the rampant corruption in his government, is that about it? My, my, that’s certainly a helpful attitude. Do we have any real allies in the region?

/if we’re not careful, one of these days we could find ourselves literally fighting all sides just to physically get our troops out of Afghanistan

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