NASA’s Giant Leap Backwards Towards Moon Landing

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Posted: Apr 21, 2021 12:01 AM

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

NASA just announced that it will use SpaceX’s Starship to return Americans to the moon within the next few years. The announcement has understandably left many scratching their heads.    

The space agency that spent decades battling costly delays and the occasional tragedy is now handing over $2 billion and the lives of its astronauts to a company that just intentionally disregarded Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety regulations and accidentally blew up four rockets in a row.     

This decision has disaster written all over it.    

For the past six months, NASA watched as SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk and his band of rule-breakers lost all four of their Starship prototypes, with one December launch happening despite the FAA explicitly forbidding liftoff due to public endangerment concerns. As the FAA feared, that rocket exploded just off the coast of a small Texas town. Thankfully, no one was hurt.   

Despite the concern expressed by regulators and even Congress over the events, Musk has shown no remorse, opting instead to chastise the government’s public safety standards. Oddly, NASA is rewarding Musk’s irresponsible behavior by handing him the keys to America’s preeminent space landing program.

NASA has never lost a life during a moon mission, and I’m confident that no one wishes to see this streak end. This upcoming mission will be the most dangerous yet, and with the way things stand now, it seems highly irresponsible to award a vital contract to Musk.    

It’s not as if Musk’s Starship explosions are a fluke occurrence within his operations. In recent weeks, his auto-making enterprise, Tesla, has also demonstrated little concern for public safety. 

Over the objections of America’s transportation safety regulators, Musk has pushed dangerous driving software onto America’s roads, which has resulted in a growing number of casualties since the start of the year. Yet, Musk is still planning on rolling out his software to the public in the coming weeks as if there is no reason for concern. 

Successfully accomplishing NASA’s Artemis permanent moon base program, as well as the Gateway moon-orbiting space station, will require the strongest of safety measures to avoid disaster. And strong safety measures and Musk go together like sardines and chocolate cake.

There’s still some hope that incoming NASA administrator Bill Nelson will review the situation once he’s confirmed later this month. Nelson, a former U.S. Senator from Florida, has never been afraid to confront SpaceX after its lapses in quality control.   

Back in 2015, after a cargo mission ended in a fireball, Sen. Nelson personally met with SpaceX and NASA officials to figure out what went wrong. He made clear afterward that while lost cargo could be tolerated, lost lives could not.   

 If NASA doesn’t take its commitment to safety seriously, the moon mission could end up like Musk’s other endeavors – up in smoke. The last thing Americans want is a national tragedy because NASA trusted someone who has no regard for safety.

 Drew Johnson is a government watchdog who serves as a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.

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Sin of Planned Parenthood Is Abortion, Not Margaret Sanger

The president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Alexis McGill Johnson, has used The New York Times as a confessional to fess up to the racist history of Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger.

“We must reckon with Margaret Sanger’s association with white supremacist groups and eugenics,” she writes.

Sanger’s involvement with the notoriously racist eugenics movement in the 1920s, and her population-control motivations to limit the procreation of “undesirables,” is something pro-lifers, particularly black pro-lifers, have been writing about for years.

But Planned Parenthood has always been in denial about these very ugly truths.

Now, apparently, the power and pressure of “wokeness” is even getting the leadership of the nation’s largest abortion provider to step forward and unburden themselves from their sins.

But coming to terms with sin means knowing what sin is. And here, unfortunately, Planned Parenthood’s president totally misses the point.

The problem today is not what was but what is. The “sin” of Planned Parenthood is its horrible work in leading the nation in the destruction of human life.

Per its annual report, in fiscal year 2019-2020, Planned Parenthood performed 354,871 abortions. This is roughly one-third of all abortions performed in the country.

The recognition we need from Planned Parenthood is the recognition of the sanctity of life, not public confession of the racist history of its founder.

Regarding racism, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 34% of abortions performed in the U.S. in 2018 were on black women. Given that black women constitute 13% of the female population, the incidence of abortion among black women is out of proportion by almost a factor of three.

It is reasonable to assume that this is representative of the disproportionate number of black women on whom Planned Parenthood performs abortions.

As part of Planned Parenthood’s great cleansing, Johnson notes that “Planned Parenthood of Greater New York renamed its Manhattan health center in 2020,” which apparently bore Sanger’s name.

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley wrote in 2018, “In New York City, thousands more black babies are aborted than born alive each year, and the abortion rate among black mothers is more than three times higher than it is for white mothers. “

The problem is the wholesale termination of black unborn babies, not the name of the center in Manhattan where Planned Parenthood performs these abortions. New York City is one of the abortion capitals of the nation, and Planned Parenthood wants to take the edge off by renaming its abortion center.

Does Planned Parenthood target black women for abortions? Why is the incidence of abortion so high among black women?

A 2012 study by Protecting Black Life found that 79% of Planned Parenthood abortion facilities were within walking distance of minority neighborhoods.

Abortion rates tend to be higher among unmarried women because of a higher likelihood of unwanted pregnancy. The culture of abortion, aggressively promoted by Planned Parenthood, has disproportionately affected black marriage rates.

In 1970, three years before the Roe v. Wade decision, 76% of white adults age 25 and older were married, compared with 60% of blacks. By 2014, the rate dropped to 60% for whites, but it dropped to 35% for blacks.

Johnson takes one step further into the moral abyss, noting that Planned Parenthood is remiss for having “excluded trans and nonbinary people” from its programs.

She writes that Planned Parenthood pledges “to fight the many types of dehumanization we are seeing right now.”

Dehumanization has one cause, of which Planned Parenthood is among the guiltiest in the nation: lack of respect for the sanctity of life.

Confessing what we all know — that Margaret Sanger was a racist — does not solve this problem.

Reverence for the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of life in the womb solves it.

This is what we are looking for from Planned Parenthood. Nothing less.

Star Parker is president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and host of the weekly television show “Cure America with Star Parker.” 

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Gunfight for Election Integrity

A gunfight for election integrity is raging in a few state legislatures, with our political future hanging in the balance. Whoever controls election procedures will control the outcome, and then be able to pass any laws they like.

According to the AP VoteCast survey of more than 110,000 voters across the nation, 67 percent of ballots submitted by mail were marked for Joe Biden, while 65 percent of citizens who voted in person on Election Day voted for Donald Trump.

Earlier this year, the liberal media breathlessly warned that hundreds of bills to improve election security had been introduced in 47 state legislatures. But as sessions are winding down in many states, not enough has been achieved yet.

The Texas legislature adjourns in six weeks and does not meet next year, but so far has accomplished nothing on this issue. In contrast with Georgia, which at least requires a weak form of voter ID for mail-in voting, the pending Texas legislation falls short of even that.

The Lone Star State has mottos like “Remember the Alamo!” and “Come and Take It” (aside from an image of a cannon), but its lack of safeguards against fraud enabled Democrats to improve their presidential results by 3.4% in 2020 compared with 2016. This ballot-harvesting trend, if not reversed, puts the state on track for a Democrat takeover in presidential elections later this decade.

Without winning Texas, no Republican can win the White House. Yet the margin of victory by Trump in Texas in 2020 was among his narrowest anywhere, less than 6 points, amid increasing ballot stuffing there that even included drive-through voting by Democrats who never left their car while casting ballots.

Only Georgia and Iowa have passed election integrity laws since the fiasco of the last election, and their laws merely nibble at the margins of the vast fraud of ballot harvesting to stuff ballot boxes by mail and drop boxes. The Iowa law shortens the early voting period from 29 to 20 days, requires most (not all) mailed-in ballots to be received by Election Day, and prohibits mailing unrequested absentee ballot forms.

That is a far cry from the essential reforms outlined by Trump in his speech on February 28th. But some Texas Republican leaders mistakenly think that insignificant changes like those enacted in Iowa will be enough to mollify Trump supporters who are outraged by voting shenanigans.

In the last election, nearly 70% of voters cast their ballots prior to Election Day, many prior to the final debate when Joe Biden vowed to shut down the traditional energy industry on which millions of jobs rely. When Biden terminated the Keystone pipeline shortly after he took office, some early voters were surprised but of course, there is no practical way for millions of early voters to change their votes.

Last week a large group of conservatives sent a coalition letter to Governor Greg Abbott, complaining that both Texas election bills (HB6 and SB7) fail to stop the obvious means by which elections are stolen: mail-in voting. The Texas bills do not require meaningful identification for mail-in ballots, despite how Georgia recently plugged that gap in part.

Georgia required the inclusion of a voter’s driver’s license number on mail-in ballots. It is unclear how much this will reduce ballot harvesting because well-funded liberal groups may be able to obtain lists of driver’s license numbers to pre-fill ballots and then vote improperly for others anyway.

Strict signature verification was once required in states that allow mail-in voting, but Georgia, Pennsylvania, and other states dropped those requirements through judicial activism or collusive settlements with liberal election officials. Democrats argue that some elderly people have irregular signatures, but banks require signatures on checks and voting is just as important.

Anyone who dislikes extra requirements for mail-in voting has the option to vote in person, as was customary. The notion that verification of mail-in ballots is unfair should be flatly rejected.

Nearly 10% of the ballots cast in Texas were by mail in the last election, an increase of five times over the last decade. That far exceeds the diminishing margin in Texas separating Republican and Democrat presidential candidates.

Without verifying the authenticity of mail-in ballots, more elections will be stolen. The best approach, as Trump stated, is to prohibit nearly all mail-in voting, and if allowed then there must be strict verification of identification and signatures.

Texas Governor Abbott can expect a challenge from both his right and his left next year, including a possible campaign by the popular Oscar-winning Matthew McConaughey, who led Abbott in a recent poll. Supporting ineffective election integrity legislation which does nothing to halt election fraud could doom Abbott’s political future.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

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The Derek Chauvin Verdict Is In…But Police Use of Force Is Never Cut and Dry

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Posted: Apr 20, 2021 7:45 PM

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

A Minnesota jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts. Chauvin was afforded the process to which he was due. After a mere 10 hours of deliberations, this jury made short work of sorting through the evidence and the wisdom of their verdict will be tested by appellate courts and historians.

This swift verdict, however, does not mean the Chauvin defense was without merit nor was the prosecution’s case cut and dry. A different jury could have decided differently. Why? Because police use of force is oftentimes not as clear cut as the knee-jerk reactionists would have you believe. In fact, it usually resides somewhere in the gray area. I recently tweeted that I didn’t envy Derek Chauvin’s lawyers having to rely on the nebulous legalities surrounding the issue of “causation” because the application of that legal term of art is always in the eye of the beholder – or in this case, as determined by the subjective determination of the particular prosecutor and ultimately the trial jury. 

The three charges brought by the Chauvin prosecutor were:

– Second Degree Unintentional Murder – alleges Chauvin caused Floyd’s death without intent while committing or attempting to commit felony third-degree assault in that he committed the intentional infliction of substantial bodily harm.

– Third-degree murder – alleges Chauvin caused Floyd’s death by “perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.”

– Second-degree manslaughter – alleges Chauvin caused Floyd’s death by “culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm.”

To be clear – this case was not a “whodunnit.” We know someone tragically died and there was no mystery that needed to be solved. But there was much left to be decided.

Let’s have a look at all the words in those charges that required this jury to make a judgement call.

– Intentional

– Substantial

– Eminently dangerous

– Depraved Mind

– Without regard

– Unreasonable

Twelve people could consider the same evidence as presented in court and conceivably have 12 different opinions as to whether these words apply to the circumstances of Mr. Floyd’s tragic death. There is one word though that is the ultimate in legal wiggle words: causation.

Each charge contains the essential element of causation. This means that as to each charge the prosecution needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Derek Chauvin caused the death of Mr. Floyd. More precisely, the prosecution had to prove that Chauvin’s actions were a “substantial causal factor” and when you have so many different factors that all converge at the moment of someone’s death, causation can often be difficult to prove to one person with any degree of certainty – let alone to a group of 12.

Outside the context of the Chauvin case, the legal analysis of police use of force in general is not only fact-dependent, it is highly dependent on the specific circumstances faced by the officer on-scene. In Graham v Conner, Justice Rehnquist told us that police use of force is to be judged not with the clear vision of 20/20 hindsight, but to use an objective standard. In other words, to view it from the perspective of the officer on scene in the heat of the moment and then ask: what would a hypothetical objectively reasonable officer do in like or similar circumstances? 

“The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments – in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving – about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation,” he said. “The test of reasonableness is not capable of precise definition or mechanical application.”

This is known as the “objective reasonableness” standard. As if this weren’t confusing enough on its own, we are left to our own devices to imagine in our minds this hypothetical – if not mythical – perfectly reasonable police officer who always makes the right judgment call, to place said officer inside our factual scenario, and then discern for ourselves whether our imaginary perfectly-reasonable officer would have done the same or substantially the same thing as the real-life officer.

In other words – it’s not cut and dry. So, when the next police officer is the focus of every headline and every Twitter blue check mark tells you to be outraged, consider keeping an open mind, letting a thorough investigation uncover all relevant facts and circumstances and letting the administrative and legal processes run their course.

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Wife Loots Target In Name Of Racial Justice, Still Somehow Spends $250

MINNEAPOLIS, MN—Local woman Chloe Larson heard that there were protests going on in the name of racial justice. She wasn't really interested, though, until she heard that protesters were looting a local Target. Larson immediately jumped up and shouted "For George Floyd!" as she grabbed her bag and headed out the door.

The post Wife Loots Target In Name Of Racial Justice, Still Somehow Spends $250 appeared first on The Babylon Bee.

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