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And what in the world were they doing in the plane's "laboratory"?

Conducting experiments?

* headdesk *
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Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning.

I remember him as the running-mate of my parents' favored candidate, the President of Massachusetts, in 1972, when I was 9 years old. But let's learn more.

Sargent Shriver - Wikipedia.

Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr. (November 9, 1915 – January 18, 2011) was an American politician and activist. Known as R. Sargent Shriver or Sarge, he is best known as part of the Kennedy family, as the driving force behind the creation of the Peace Corps, and as the Democratic Party's candidate for U.S. vice president — having replaced nominee Thomas Eagleton, who resigned from the ticket — during the 1972 U.S. presidential election. Shriver died at the age of 95 on January 18, 2011.

I notice that among the many worthy programs he's credited with founding, there's Head Start. A certain little girl of my acquaintance is a beneficiary of the Early Head Start program, and I dare say she's the better for it.


Shriver served as the first Peace Corps director in the administration of his brother-in-law, President John F. Kennedy. He also led President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" and was Democrat George McGovern's running mate in 1972.

"He was a man of giant love, energy, enthusiasm, and commitment," the Shriver family said in a statement, noting that he was surrounded by his five children, five children in-law and his 19 grandchildren.

"He lived to make the world a more joyful, faithful, and compassionate place," the family said. "He centered everything on his faith and his family. He worked on stages both large and small but in the end, he will be best known for his love of others." ...

One of those five children, Maria Shriver, is married to California's outgoing Republican governor Arnold Shwarzenegger. She's also the author of several children's books, including What's Happening to Grandpa?, a story about a young girl and her grandfather, who has Alzheimer's disease. (Sargent Shriver announced in 2003 that he had AD.)

BBC has more.


Shriver, whose full name was Robert Sargent Shriver Jr., was 95. He had suffered for years from Alzheimer's disease.

The family released a statement, saying Shriver died Tuesday "surrounded by his five children, five children in-law, and his 19 grandchildren."

"He lived to make the world a more joyful, faithful, and compassionate place," the family's statement said. "He worked on stages both large and small but in the end, he will be best known for his love of others. No one ever came into his presence without feeling his passion and his enthusiasm for them."

President Barack Obama said he was "deeply saddened" over the death of Shriver, whom he called "one of the brightest lights of the greatest generation."

Go read the rest.
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You might have caught the item about the planned robot astronaut on the Space Shuttle, named Robonaut-2:
'Robonaut 2, or R2 for short, will be the first human-like robot to become a permanent resident at the space station when it arrives on a shuttle mission slated to September. The robot consists of a head and torso with two arms and two hands.

The dexterous robot not only resembles a human, but is specifically designed to operate like one. With the help of advanced control, sensor and vision technologies, R2 is built to use its arms and hands to operate the same tools that station astronauts use.

In the future, the greatest benefits of humanoid robots in space may be as assistants or stand-ins for astronauts during spacewalks or for other tasks that are too difficult or dangerous for humans, NASA scientists said.

"The project exemplifies the promise that a future generation of robots can have both in space and on Earth, not as replacements for humans but as companions that can carry out key supporting roles," said John Olson, director of NASA's Exploration Systems Integration Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ...'

And then there's the X-37:
'The Boeing X-37 Advanced Technology Demonstrator is an unpiloted demonstration spaceplane that is intended to test future launch technologies while in orbit and during atmospheric reentry. It is a reusable robotic spacecraft that is a 120 percent–scaled derivative of the X-40A. The X-37 had its first flight as a drop test on April 7, 2006 at Edwards AFB. The spacecraft will be launched as a United States Air Force mission, rather than a NASA mission, in April 2010.'

Debka says that mission is slated for this Thursday:
'Blastoff of the unmanned X-37B space plane from Kennedy Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Space Center was delayed until Thursday, April 22, to allow Discovery to return to earth at the nearby Kennedy Space Center. With many of its features kept secret, the project has sparked speculation that the little Orbital Test Vehicle is the space version of the US Predator drone.'

Well, sure. Robots in space! Better yet, heavily armed robotic spacecraft!

I mean, what could go wrong?
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John from Franklin: I for one am sick and tired of all these Jews coming on C-SPAN and other stations and pushing us to go to war against our Muslim friends. They're willing to spend the last drop of American blood and treasure to get their way in the world. They have way too much power in this country. People like Wolfowitz and Feith an the other neo-cons -- they jewed us into Iraq -- and now we're going to spend the next 60 years rehabilitating our soldiers -- I'm sick and tired of it.

C-SPAN host: Any comment on that?

Scheuer: Yeah. I think that American foreign policy is ultimately up to the American people. One of the big things we have not been able to discuss for the past 30 years is the Israelis. Whether we want to be involved in fighting Israel's wars in the future is something that Americans should be able to talk about. They may vote yes. They may want to see their kids killed in Iraq or somewhere else to defend Israel. But the question is: we need to talk about it. Ultimately Israel is a country that is of no particular worth the United States.

C-SPAN host: You mean strategically?

Scheuer: Strategically. They have no resources we need. Their manpower is minimal. Their association with us is a negative for the United States. Now that's a fact. What you want to do about that fact is entirely different. But for anyone to stand up in the United States and day that support for Israel doesn't hurt us in the Muslim world is to just defy reality.
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... I wanted to tell you about us, how wicked we are.
And yet also to say that the Star—you know the star I mean—
Is for some of us clearly visible still in the east at midnight rising, and all the night long burns serene—
And that on such nights on unaccustomed knees we kneel and in sweet discomfort
Pray for hours, and mean it, to be better than we are.
I am not one of these, I fear;
I loved you always for the things I read
About you in a book we had.
I did not meet you for the first time through the incense and stale smell
Of a room seldom aired, where people purred of heaven and howled of hell.
I used to read all day, when I was ten:
—You and Don Quijote were my heroes then.

Perhaps because of him I have been kind
Often with my heart, before consulting my mind.
I might have been wiser, had I learned direct from you—
Learned to make curlicues in the sand or on a scratch-pad while deciding what to say or do ...
Such as, "Sin—the waves come in—all pushing pebbles—each alone ...
I have it!—Let him among them who is without sin!—cast the first stone!"

I learned so young to know you, I could never see
Why we should not be playmates; you were wonderful,—
Oh, you were shiny!—and for some strange reason, fond of me.
But nothing will be done. I can do nothing. Nothing at all.
Only remember what you said, your voice, the way you said it,—
For it never was like something read, it was something heard, even while I read it—
And try to be wiser and kinder, in a world where Pity from place to place
Flees under cover of darkness, hiding her face;
Give Pity breathing-space.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay
from Make Bright the Arrows
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Obama appoints Hagel to intelligence post. Arutz Sheva: 'Jewish Republican party officials and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) are among several groups that have called on U.S. President Barack Obama to rescind his appointment of former senator Chuck Hagel as co-chairman of his Intelligence Advisory Board. Hagel made clear his attitude towards Israel when he spoke at the pro-Arab and self-proclaimed pro-Israel Jerusalem Street lobby last week. ...'

Jewish terrorist suspect Teitel arrested in Israel. Debka: 'DEBKAfile reports that at the end of a 12-year search, the police and Shin Bet finally caught up with the Yaacov Taitel, 37, from Shevut Rachel, whom they suspect of a long series of terrorist crimes. They arrested him in the Har Nof district of Jerusalem Oct. 9. Two of those crimes are the murders of an Arab taxi driver in June 1997 and an Arab shepherd in August of that year. His home was found stocked with an assortment of firearms, including a sniper's rifle, and a bomb-making facility. The police and Shin Beit report that Yaacov Taitel, who was born in Florida, USA, operated solo and was self-taught in the use of firearms and explosives. He was first arrested in 2000 after years aboard but released for lack of evidence. He then turned to Jewish targets. In November 2006, an explosive charge was found at the Eili police station with the slogan: "Sodomites get out?" The accused has campaigned extensively against the gay community and its annual parades.'

UK secular Muslims stand up to extremists. Azarmehr:
UK's secular Muslims today decided to stand up against the Islamic political extremists, the Al Muhajiroun, who call for the abolition of democracy and imposition of Sharia Law in Britain. And guess what? the Al-Muhajiroun decided not to show up!

The Iranians who showed up today to support the secular Muslims also explained the forthcoming 4th November protests in Iran. Hopefully many people from today will stand in solidarity with the Iranian people and the Green Movement on Wednesday, outside the Islamic Republic Embassy between 6-9 pm. Lets show the world that the Green Movement is alive and moving forward.

The Spirit of Man has more:
Brace yourself for more anti-regime protests in the days ahead across the country.

Mousavi has hinted at new rallies while the criminal mullahs and their IRGC killers warned of more crackdown on November 4th protests. But the most heart warming news of all was the recent pledge by brave Iranian students to go back to street protests. The Islamic regime is shaken and suffering from big internal struggles. We need to do our part here to help the brave men and women who risk their lives to go out against this deadly regime.

[Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning.]
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Via OpFor, Fox News:

American sea Captain Richard Phillips was safely rescued Sunday from four Somali pirates, who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, a U.S. intelligence official said.

Three of the pirates were killed and one was in custody after what appeared to be a swift firefight off the Somali coast, the official said.

Initial reports indicate Phillips jumped overboard for a second time and the military was able to take advantage of the situation.

AP via Breitbart:

The U.S. Navy has rescued the American sea captain held by Somali pirates.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said hostage Richard Phillips was not hurt in what appeared to be a swift firefight off the Somali coast on Sunday. Phillips was safely transported to a Navy warship nearby.

In from the Cold:

Details on the rescue have not been released, but Phillips apparently triggered the operation by jumping from the lifeboat where he was being held captive. The Navy opened fire, preventing the pirates from recapturing the American merchant captain. Phillips was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge, which was monitoring the situation.

The rescue took place around nightfall (Somali time). There is some speculation that Captain Phillips deliberately waited for that time, knowing that U.S. forces--including SEAL elements operating from the Bainbridge--have a distinct advantage in terms of night-fighting equipment and tactics.


After “a swift firefight that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been holding” Captain Richard Phillips “for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa,” the U.S. Navy freed that kidnapped man and captured the surviving kidnapper.

Kudos to the heroes of our armed forces.

Since President Obama signed off on this mission, I congratulate him on acting decisively to release the captain without agreeing to any of the pirates’ demands. Kudos, Mr. President, you got this one right.

Blogger Tigerhawk (via Glenn) has two questions: “What will we do with the prisoner? Do we believe that this action is sufficient to restore deterrence against piracy?“

While we need do much more to keep the sea lanes open and free from such threats, we should be celebrating today. Credit is due to our armed forces and the President. He ordered the rescue plan; they executed it. It’s a good day for America.

Let’s hope the President’s success today spurs him to act so aggressively when similar threats arise and to prevent them from happening.

Remarks. Amen to that.
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The Belmont Club:

'The answer to what the Russians plan to do with Georgia has been given. They plan to conquer it. ... ' Updates and analysis in the comments.

In from the Cold:

' ... At this point, there seems to be little doubt about Moscow's ultimate aim: removal of the Saakashvilli regime, which has been a persistent thorn in Russia's side. While U.S. transports are redeploying 4,000 Georgian troops from Iraq, their arrival will make little difference in the battle to come. With an overwhelming advantage in firepower (and complete control of the skies), the fall of Tblisi is only days away, at best.

... With the west offering little more than strongly worded statements, Russia has little reason to discontinue its offensive. Indeed, there is some debate as to what the U.S. and its allies could reasonably do, given the pace of the Russian invasion.

Well, for starters, NATO should consider a deployment of air defenses to Tblisi and other strategic locations in Georgia. There is evidence that the Russians are bombing indiscriminately, causing significant civilian casualties. Moving NATO Patriot batteries into Georgia, backed by alliance air and battle management assets, would prevent Moscow from attacking civilian targets and critical infrastructure, including those oil pipelines. ... '


'On vacation and woefully disconnected from most of the civilized world (and marginally civilized, as it may be), did I miss anyone noting the likely connection between the Kurdish PKK’s bombing of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline in Turkey a mere 72 hours ahead of Russian tanks rolling on Georgia?

If someone has clearly and I have missed it in disconnection, good. If not, call me crazy, but let’s keep in mind that the PKK is a communist group - the Kurdistan Worker’s Party - and therefor the type of rebel group that stays near Putin’s KGB heart. ... '


'It's increasingly clear that the Russians had this on tap for quite sometime, and had bided their time-- and cloaked their intentions well-- for the right moment. Ugly, very ugly. It is difficult to place blame on the Georgians, although they might have (vastly) underestimated the Russian response. I feel very sorry for them, because they're getting a heavy dose of old-style Red Army firepower. And there's not much we can do to help them in the direct sense. The Black Sea is closed to us, in any case.'


'Putin has made quite clear that the only acceptable solution for him is annexing the Sudetenland, er, South Ossetia (and quite possibly Abkhazia, which might also require the Georgian port of Poti) and a Georgia with essentially no military power and back firmly under Moscow's control. I.E. forget democracy, forget elections, and most of all forget NATO and any thought of becoming Westernized. Yet, is that all that he is after?

Things to watch for over the next 48 hours to tell if that is all that is going to happen include:

• Landing of troops or other forces at or near Poti
• Escalation of bombing within Georgia, and efforts to secure complete control of the airspace over all of Georgia
• The combined arms forces advancing to or beyond the border of South Ossetia

For those that are still fixated on the idea that Georgia started this and Russia simply responded, answer me how what appears to be multiple combined-arms groups just happened to be able to respond so quickly, including the sortie of parts of the Black Sea fleet? It takes a lot of time, planning, and even movement and stockpiling of logistics to make that happen. The troubling question raised is how was it missed by -- apparently -- so many?'

Information Dissemination:

'As we have been surfing the Russian blogs, diaries, and news sources, some things have been popping up that have caught our attention.

- The Georgian Army has been disabled in terms of its communications. The military communication systems have been compromised. This has created a lot of confusion among the troops, often described as chaos. The Georgian Army is not trained to operate under conditions of communications disruption.

- Russia is keeping the International Red Cross and other such agencies from working within the territories their troops are operating in, including South Ossetia. There may be a number of reasons ranging from assuming ownership of the medical care of citizens for national reasons, but also to conceal casualty numbers both civilian and military.

- There is some complaining on the Russian side regarding Israel. While virtually all media blames the Ukraine for every weapon system that kills a Russian soldier or any civilian, there is some sort of anti-vehicle weapon that locals are suggesting is Israeli in origin, and it is apparently lethal. We searched arms databases for exports and couldn't come up with anything, it may not be Israeli. There is a rumor circulating that some 50 armored vehicles and tanks have been destroyed by this weapon. The Russian UN ambassador was reportedly asked about it in the press conference today. I have not seen a transcript, but he reportedly did not answer the question.

- Russian military casualties appear to be high, and we note the number is being concealed intentionally. We are reminded of Afghanistan here. ... '

Full articles at the links.
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WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Mary delivered an 8-pound, 6-ounce baby boy on Wednesday, the first child for her and her female partner of 15 years, Heather Poe.

Samuel David Cheney was born at 9:46 a.m. at Sibley Hospital in Washington, the vice president's office announced. Vice President Cheney and his wife, Lynne, paid a visit to their new — and sixth — grandchild a few hours later.

Gay Patriot bloggers weigh in:

I'm not going to get political here, just wishing all the best to Mary, Heather, and Samuel David. And let's keep working together for equality and fairness for all families.

PS - And the first person who makes a wisecrack about the previous post is gonna get banned in about a half a heartbeat!
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Freedom For Egyptians:
I do not know why Global Voices is insisting on referring to me as "He writes" here and here. I am a very proud "She":) I resent the treatment of being reduced to a "He" with all due respect to all the "He"s ..... Just a remark, because every time I read "He writes", I laugh......

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... and this time he's going to hit Baghdad as well as Kurdistan.
I’ll be spending some quality time in Iraq over the next two and a half months doing consulting work, journalism, and video – first in the northern Kurdistan region and then in Baghdad and the heart of the Sunni Triangle.

My first job starts two weeks from now and will be another private consulting gig in Kurdistan with my business partner Patrick Lasswell. This will be my fourth trip to the region, which is becoming a regular beat for me now. I’m more comfortable there than I was when I first visited. The people, the terrain, the logistics, and the job are all familiar. The learning curve has flattened out, which means I can multitask now. ...

I’ll be there for a month or so, then will come home for a short break. Then I’m off to Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle for two weeks with the American military.

I’ve been coordinating a trip to Baghdad with the Department of Defense for months now. If the original plan worked out I would have been home from Baghdad already. But DoD is a bureaucracy at the end of the day. The troop surge means I'm even lower on their priority list -- which is, of course, understandable. My schedule keeps getting pushed back, but they promise to fly me there and provide me with as much access as possible. Theoretically now I’m going at the end of April.

Patrick's site is here:

It's weird to think that I went out drinking with these guys just a week ago.
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Zilla Huma Usman, the minister for social welfare in Punjab province and an ally of President Pervez Musharraf, was killed as she was about to deliver a speech to dozens of party activists, by a “fanatic”, who believed that she was dressed inappropriately and that women should not be involved in politics, officials said.

“He is basically a fanatic,” Raja Basharat, the Punjab Law Minister, said. “He is against the involvement of women in politics and government affairs.” A police statement added: “He considers it contrary to the teachings of Allah for a woman to become a minister or a ruler. That’s why he committed this action.”

HT: [ profile] kc_anathema.

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