Friday, May 12, 2006
Yesterday, the House passed a $513B defense authorization bill.
The bill included language allowing military chaplains to pray
"according to the dictates of the chaplain's own conscience."
Current rules call for nonsectarian prayers, or a moment of
silence, at mandatory public gatherings. Focus on the Family,
The Christian Coalition, and other evangelical Christian groups
had urged the President to issue an executive order guaranteeing
the right of chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus. When Bush
failed to act, Republicans on Armed Services added the provision
to the defense authorization bill. An amendment offered in
committee by Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), calling on chaplains to
show "sensitivity, respect and tolerance for all faiths," was
defeated on a party-line vote. Rules did not allow floor debate.
The most severe security flaw ever found in a voting system has
been discovered by a Finnish expert working for a non-profit
group. A professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins told the
NY Times that he, "almost had a heart attack," when he learned of
the problem. This was not some innocent design error that wasn't
caught. Diebold, the company that makes the machines, built in a
secret "back door" to "update the software." It could be opened
in minutes if someone knows the code. Don't worry, the code is a
proprietary secret of Diebold. Of course, there was that 2003
fund-raising letter to Ohio Republicans from the Diebold CEO that
said, "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its votes to the
President" (WN 12 Dec 03) .
Michael Griffin told his science advisory committee this week
that he could not keep the commitment he made a year ago not to
shift money from science to human space flight. I wasn't on the
committee, but I tried to imagine how it might have gone if I had
been. MG: The problem is the ISS. RP: What problem? MG: We
have to finish it by 2010. RP: Why is that a problem? MG:
Because the shuttle doesn't work. RP: If we fix the shuttle and
finish the ISS, what do we do next? MG: We drop the ISS in the
ocean. RP: Why don't we do that now? MG: Because we must honor
our commitment to our ISS partners first. RP: But what about
your commitment to space science? MG: That will have to wait
until we get back from Mars. RP: We're going to Mars? MG: When
we get back from the moon. RP: We're going to the moon? MG:
Just as soon as we build a new spacecraft. RP: What's holding
that up? MG: The problem is the ISS.
But we are told that "Bigfoot aficionados" from across the
country will be there June 16-18. The press release came from
the University Relations Office at Utah State University. Can we
get extra credit for this?