The Razor's Edge

Mike Hanson in a nutshell [according to some of my more endearing hate mail]: "you are nothing more than a misogynistic, crypto-fascist, Amerikkkan pig and I hope you choke and die on the dollars you steal from the oppressed" Email Mike: m_hanson76 hotmail dot com

The Blade That Slashes Progressives!

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Pick of the day

A great piece from Zontics

guess it depends on your definition of "free"

Molly Ivins could barely contain her glee when Reporters Without Borders ranked the U.S. only 17th in the world press freedom rankings. I wonder how Ms. Ivins would feel if the U.S. treated reporters who criticize President Bush the way that France treats UK papers who criticize Chirac:

The Sun could be forced to pay a £30,000 fine after branding the French president Jacques Chirac a "worm" in a special French edition handed out on the streets of Paris.
"CHIRAC EST UN VER" declared the Sun's front-page splash in the best "up yours Delors" tradition. The page featured a graphic illustration of a worm with the head of the French president emerging from a map of France.

The tabloid's controversial stance breaks a French law that makes it a criminal offence to insult the president. Breaking the law carries a fine up 45,000 euros.
Did I mention that Reporters Without Borders listed France as number 11 in their rankings.

While I'm on the subject, here's what RWB said were the criteria for their rankings:

The index was drawn up by asking journalists, researchers and legal experts to answer 50 questions about the whole range of press freedom violations (such as murders or arrests of journalists, censorship, pressure, state monopolies in various fields, punishment of press law offences and regulation of the media). The final list includes 139 countries. The others were not included in the absence of reliable information.

I don't know who the hell they asked to rank the U.S., but I have a feeling that our respondents were a lot more self-critical than the French respondents.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

My Take on the War Protest

Yes, yes I know it was a week and a half ago and nearly everyone in the blogshere has had their say on the subject [most of which were very well done I might add], but I guess I just could not let it go.

I spent that weekend in beautiful Keystone Colorado skiing its many runs and consuming vast quantities of Fat Tire and Coors and I honestly completely forgot about the protest. The only time the conversation went even remotely close to politics was when I spent the majority of Sunday skiing with two Air Force academy students.

I had a conversation with my sister the other night and we got to discussing the war and the protests when she told me that “Bush was a dickhead”. Now, she now lives in Sydney Australia, and is constantly exposed to a steady stream of Comrade John Pilgeresque mainstream left wing media bullshit, but I think that that one statement sums up the vast majority of the “mainstream” anti-war movement: its more about hating W than it is about opposing military action in Iraq.

Now I know that the protestors will deny this they will say its not about George Bush.


They also claim that the protest are in no way supportive of Saddam Hussein,


They will say that this is not about any latent anti-American sentiment.


Some claim that this is ‘grassroots’ and is not just made up of the ex-Vietnam protest groupies.

More bullshit!

And, above all, this is not a collection of the hard-left, Marxist, ‘usual suspects’ which full the ranks of nearly every protest of this sort.

But you only have to scratch the surface to see what its all about.

Its not about war, these things rarely are.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Goldberg hits this nail on the head

Why will a liberal talk radio channel fail? Why do conservatives dominate this form of the media?

Conspiracy or simple market realities? I think Jonah Goldberg handled this issue rather well.

Another reason why talk radio is right-wing is that most of America, or talk-radio-listening America, believes the mainstream media is liberal. They believe this because, well, it's true. And talk radio serves as a truth squad for people who don't trust Peter Jennings. Sure, the press isn't as liberal as Eric Alterman and the guys at The Nation would like it to be, but then again the Democratic party isn't as liberal as The Nation would like it to be. In other words, if you think Dick Gephardt, Joe Lieberman, and John Kerry are too right-wing, of course you're going to think the New York Times isn't liberal.

But let's not squabble about the liberal-media thing. Been there, done that, got the snow globe.

What's funny is that Franken's backers are banking on precisely what Franken shockingly didn't know until recently: Conservatives are more entertaining than liberals. Oh, of course it's true that professional — and very funny — entertainers and comedy writers tend to be liberal. But the key here is that they are professional entertainers, not professional liberals. And therein lies all the difference.


France to the World: How dare you say we condone brutal dictators!

Unless you are speaking of Saddam Hussein or Robert Mugabe .

Robert Mugabe fuelled controversy over his invitation to the Franco-African summit in Paris yesterday when he heaped praise on President Chirac for the “tremendous hospitality” he had received.

His words appeared to discredit M Chirac’s claims to have given the Zimbabwean President a dressing-down over his human rights record at a private meeting on Thursday night. They added to speculation that M Chirac’s real aim in issuing the invitation had been to woo Zimbabwe’s President as part of his attempt to extend French influence into Anglophone Africa. Mr Mugabe, who was put up with his wife and entourage in a luxurious Paris hotel at the French Government’s expense, said: “We felt at home here.”

He told Radio France Internationale in an interview shortly before flying back to Harare: “We have received tremendous hospitality, and we are leaving with a very good impression of France.” His remarks will be an embarrassment to M Chirac, who said he had invited Mr Mugabe to Paris despite a European Union travel ban so that he could tell the Zimbabwean President “face to face” of his concerns.

If France’s head of state did criticise Mr Mugabe, the message did not get through. In a long, rambling answer to the radio interviewer, Mr Mugabe praised M Chirac for overriding objections to his invitation from Britain and other EU countries. “It has been an excellent summit, truly excellent,” Mr Mugabe said.

“President Chirac insisted that we should come because some other members of the European Union did not want President Mugabe here. He had to put his foot down on principle, and we regard him as a principled person, absolutely principled. He is the kind of leader we regard as very important, given the state of the international community.”

But please read the reast, its quite a revealing look at Chirac’s character.


Kucinich, more like a real Democrat every day

Whatever your stand on the abortion issue, it would be safe to say that consistency is key in any position. After all, it was most likely due to Al Gore’s gun control flip flop that cost him his home state of Tennessee.

Now that Comrade Dennis Kucinich is a presidential hopeful, we see this once ‘principled’ politician flip on abortion just so he can curry favor with the DNC and the left in general.

During his eight years in the House, Kucinich voted with abortion-rights advocates barely 10 percent of the time. Twice in the past three years, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America, gave him a rating of "zero."

On the stump this past week, and in an interview with The Chronicle, Kucinich now describes himself as "pro-choice." He said he has undergone a slow evolution that has led him to the conclusion that legal abortions are not only constitutionally sound, but also fundamental to a woman's equality.

A slow evolution eh?

Thursday, February 20, 2003
Winnie Mandela as a Human Shield in Iraq?

Would this be the same Winnie Mandela, former wife of Nelson "How to be a Good Communist
” Mandela, who had three teenagers tortured to death?

Why, I do believe it is.

I tell you, this anti-war movement gains more credible people every single day!


Apparently not all celebs are jackasses

PEMBROKE, N.C. (AP) - Actor James Earl Jones, the deep voice behind Darth Vader of the "Star Wars" movies, said he doesn't oppose U.S. military action in Iraq, provided the country gets involved as soon as necessary and stays to finish the job.

"We can no longer play games," Jones said Tuesday at the Givens Performing Art Center. "I was not against the war in Bosnia. I was against it taking so long. I was not against the war in Somalia. Again, it took too long, and we didn't finish the job. We should've stayed and finished the job. About this pending war, I just think we should've finished that war the first time." Jones, who spoke as part of the distinguished speaker series at UNC Pembroke, also touched on other serious subjects.

From a man who knows a little about the dark side.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003
Miracles do Happen

This is the first time I have ever agreed with something Robert Fisk has written .

I wanna tell you that the cause of this problem is the fucking medieval Arabs and their wish to enslave us all – and I tell you that it is because we want to save the Jews from the fucking savage Arabs who want to throw them into the sea that we are about to fuck Saddam. And that is the fucking truth.

But unfortunately Fisky was just repeating some “redneck reality” he overheard during the taping of a show he was doing in Austin Texas.

Naturally though, anyone who would support military action in Iraq must be some loudmouthed, racist, ill educated, redneck.

You would almost think that after Fisk received his own dose of ‘redneck reality’ in Pakistan where he was nearly beaten to death by a mob, he might just come around. But I suppose miracles don’t happen that often.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Hysteria Watch

Mythology and iconography aside, I believe that -- beyond our wealth -- there is less and less that distinguishes the capacity of Americans to live their ordinary lives from people in Indonesia under Suharto, or Chile under Pinochet, or the Philippines (for 50 years, a U.S. colony) under Marcos. Or Iraq under Saddam Hussein, or Russia under Stalin, or Germany under Hitler. In all of these cases, the vast majority of people lived their lives with only a peripheral nod to the abuses of their government; politics was something people simply tried to ignore, lest they, as with an occasional neighbor, simply disappear.

Geov Parrish

Aside from the ludicrous nature of Parrish’s [as well as his fellow travelers] allegations, what really pisses me off about people like him is the comfortable isolation in which they live and make these comments.

There is this total bullshit argument about the repression of dissent that is so ridiculous that it does not even pass the laugh test.

They sit in their large comfortable homes, sipping organic tea, eating their organic salads, zooming from protest to protest in their BMW’s and Volvo’s all the while decrying the ‘conditions’ in which they live in. The have the nerve to compare the US to Chile, the USSR, and Iraq without any realization what that really means [I also find it interesting that Parrish failed to mention some of the more enlightened leftwing dictatorships he shilled/shills for like North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc].

How many of these persecuted dissenters have really experienced true repression?

How many of them have experienced state sponsored famines like those in North Korea?

How many of them have been imprisoned for owning prohibited books such as Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations like the Cubans?

Have any of them had their wives and daughters raped and killed for protesting the government like they do in Iraq?

Do they know of any friends who have been sent to re-education facilities [slave camps] to purge them of counter-revolutionary ideals like Vietnam?

How many of them were rounded up in stadiums and executed or tortured for their political beliefs like what happened in Chile?

There is this notion that somehow because the vast bulk of American body politic does not believe in their ideology and frequently mocks and marginalizes them, that this is somehow a grand conspiracy to crush political dissent through any means necessary.

They see conspiracies all around them to explain their wide scale rejection and self-marginalization.

After all, they are so smart and so determined to create a utopia here on earth that the only people who would oppose them are the powers that be, and these powers that be manipulate the average ordinary man into submission through propaganda and force. No honest person would resist submitting to their kindness and compassion unless they were being coerced not to. Right?

Give me a break.

The cancellation of Donahue and the fact that clowns like Noam Chomsky aren’t on the 11:00 news does not mean that political repression is widespread.

Just because people do not like what you have to say does not mean you are being oppressed. You still have the right to your precious “teach-ins”, marches, rallies and all your assorted outlets of expression.

No one is going to take that away from you, most certainly myself.

But cut the poor oppressed me bullshit. Not only does it make you look look like a pack of fucking clowns, it minimizes the experience of those who truly have been persecuted throughout history.

Monday, February 10, 2003
Ranger Tillman

Last June, former Arizona Cardinal defensive back, Pat Tillman joined the Army
in hopes that he and his brother would manage to become part of the elite US Army Rangers.

It seems as if he has done it.

For those keeping score, Tillman and his brother, Kevin, are now full-fledged Army Rangers. They completed infantry training. They became certified airborne parachutists. And just before Christmas, they graduated from RIP, the Ranger Indoctrination Program that separates great men from the really good ones.

Of course, no one doubted Tillman would get to this point when he walked away from the decadent life of a professional athlete and a contract that would've paid him $3.6 million over a three-year period.

After he told a friend at Arizona State that life had become "too (bleeping) easy," no one thought Tillman wouldn't succeed at scaling mountain cliffs, slogging through dangerous swamps and jumping five times out of a perfectly good airplane.

But it's a different world now. If the United States attacks Iraq in the coming weeks, chances are good that Rangers will be first on the scene. And that could mean deployment of the Tillman brothers, who are now part of the 75th Ranger Regiment, a brotherhood of three battalions and 2,300 men.

"He will move with his unit for whatever that unit is involved in, be it training or real world," said Carol Darby, spokesperson for the Army Special Operations command. "He's a full-fledged Ranger now. He's ready for combat."

Good for him.


Strange coincidence?

After reading about the Miguel Estrada nomination to the US Court
of Appeals for the DC Circuit, and the threats to filibuster a vote on the Senate floor for his nomination, I decided to look a bit deeper into who he was and why the opposition was so strong and vocal.

It seems that the usual list of organizations [People for the American Way, NOW, etc. etc] were behind the attempts to block his filibuster, and then I found this on the Move On website .


As we mourn Columbia, and as the drumbeat for war intensifies, we face another crucial challenge – this week is the key to whether the Bush administration will succeed in packing our courts with right-wing ideologues. We need your help.

Our best hope is to demand that Democrats dig in and filibuster extremist nominations. The first test vote will be on Miguel Estrada, a stealth right-wing extremist who has never served as a judge, and who has taken pains to hide his views on the law from the public. Yet Estrada has been nominated to the second-most powerful court in the country, and is widely thought to be Bush's top choice for a seat on the Supreme Court.

The Senate will consider the Estrada nomination early this week. Please call your Senators now.

As you know, federal judges decide the law in key areas including reproductive choice, the environment, elections, civil & constitutional rights, health care, and privacy. President Bush recently nominated 30 people for federal judgeships. If confirmed for lifetime appointments, these judges will have an impact on our lives for decades to come.

We saw Estrada coming, and on January 23rd MoveOn members, in partnership with Working Assets and People for the American Way, held meetings in Senate offices around the country on the nominations. Then last week, we flooded the phone lines of wavering Senators. As a result, the committee vote was along party lines, setting up the possibility of filibuster on the Senate floor.

[The message continues on for some length.]

Move on is an organization founded during the Clinton Impeachment by two Silicon Valley residents, and continues today to act as another arm of various liberal causes.

To my surprise, I found the same exact message on the website for the CPUSA [Communist Party of the United States of America].

Coincidence, or do birds of a feather really flock together?

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

A ‘different’ take on Powell's speech at the UN

From our friends at Indymedia, the intellectual heavyweights of the left.

After that miserable performance... (english)
Uncle Tom 6:20pm Wed Feb 5 '03

...the 'house negro' should be sent packing back to the cotton fields...

The man is a disgrace to his race!

Truly insightful!!

The Left’s Take on the Columbia

I would have hoped that’s some of these fucks would have had the courtesy to keep the politicking to a minimum, but I suppose I should not be too surprised.

Jake Bashir, Counterpunch

Does anyone believe that there is a real need for anyone to actually be present on these flights? Remote controlled robots could have controlled any experiments. Not a single individual on that mission was necessary for its completion. The selection of each individual served an ideological or bureaucratic political purpose. Merit is irrelevant; NASA has the entire world to choose from, they can get whoever they want including talented British or Canadian Pakistanis or Muslim African Americans, Iranians or Arabs.

- It was not lost on anyone in the Muslim world, that the Israeli, Ilan Ramon, was the pilot who bombed the Iraqi nuclear power plant in 1981.

- The Christian piousness of the African American was noted in almost every article.

- And how could one ignore the significance of a Hindu woman on this mission

Columbia was not the Enterprise. It was not noble or peaceful or transformative of the human spirit. It was destined to be crass war propaganda whether the crew lived or died.

Cancel the Show

After reading that the word dickhead comes to mind.

Geov Parrish

As has been endlessly reported, the Columbia's science-oriented mission in its last, ill-fated voyage was a rarity these days. Such reports rarely explained why science is such a low priority for the modern NASA: It has become an agency almost entirely given over to military, and secondarily corporate, priorities. Those priorities are on display each time satellite imagery enables the United States to send precision bombs down some Iraqi air vent or on to some Afghan wedding party. The civilian commercial priorities will be on increasingly visible display in coming decades, as mechanized missions begin exploring, and exploiting, the mineral wealth of the rest of our solar system.

Ever since the first Star Wars research funding, NASA has steered sharply away from the program remembered by most Americans (and most of the rest of the world) over the age of about 45. At one time, the American space launches, especially the moon shots, were widely seen as representing the aspirations of not just the United States, but all humanity. Now, the U.S. space program is mostly more pedestrian and parochial: an effort to seize the military high ground and to ensure for American companies the wealth of all the planets, including ours.

That’s right, its all the fault of that nasty ol military industrial complex. Bravo Geov, bravo.

James Ridgeway

Critics say we're continuing to dump billions into a program that never amounted to much to begin with. "It's unfortunate that lives were lost in a mission that did not advance science in a meaningful way, and that is exactly what we have to avoid in the future," Francis Slakey, a Georgetown University physics professor who writes on space issues, told the Voice.

Done right, manned space travel may simply cost more than it's worth. Over and over, critics have argued that unmanned flights are the safest and most efficient way to probe space. But as NASA poured money into its publicity-generating junkets, financing for unmanned missions suffered. The grand idea was to build a space platform that could serve as the starting point for sending people to Mars. In the meantime shuttle crews occupied themselves with more workaday tasks, like conducting experiments into the effects of weightlessness on kidney stones.

Now Jim, just because a manned space flight program wont hasten the building of a dictatorship of the proletariat you so eagerly dream of, that does not make it a bad idea.

Dr. Jerry Kroth, Counterpunch

The loss of the Columbia space shuttle is suffused with symbols begging for attention. Columbia is named, in part, after Christopher Columbus and symbolically points to the very discovery of the American nation. Strangely, on the threshold of America's preemptive invasion of Iraq to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction, the shuttle's hold contained the first Israeli astronaut who in 1981 himself participated in a preemptive attack on an Iraqi nuclear reactor to eliminate its capacity for developing weapons of mass destruction. An uncanny echo, but certainly not the only one.

As we are on the precipice of a war with Iraq, the whole Arab world screams that it is not Iraq but America's relationship with Israel and the Palestinian crisis that is the root cause of all Arab anti-American sentiment and certainly all terrorism. Suddenly the Columbia crashes with an Israeli astronaut over George Bush's home state as debris rains down on "Palestine, Texas." One cannot help but hear these mysterious reverberations.

I have heard about historical revisionism before, but I gotta upgrade my bullshit meter to swallow that.

Yoichi Clark Shimatsu, Alternet

Ramon was a living symbol of Israeli-American aerospace cooperation, which has included the Arrow interception technology incorporated into Patriot missiles (used in the Gulf War) and the sale of U.S.-built F-16s and helicopter gunships sent by the Ariel Sharon government to attack Palestinian villages in the West Bank.

Ramon was no bystander in the Mideast conflict. He received flight training at a U.S. Air Force base in Utah in the 1970s, became a pilot in the Israeli Air Force and was part of an Israeli bombing mission that destroyed an Iraqi nuclear power plant in 1986.

His military role aboard Columbia went beyond symbolic value. Ramon's research mission involved dual-use technology, an Israeli-built multi-spectral camera that probes the effect of sandstorms on climate change. The all-weather camera is also a key technology for military spy satellites and unmanned drones searching for targets obscured by dust, smoke and clouds. These murky atmospheric conditions exactly fit the scenario of the looming war against Iraq.

After all, someone had to tie Iraq/Zionism into this.

You know, sometimes I think I should just rename this site to

I kind of like the sound of that.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003
This is so fucking funny!

You have to see it for yourself.

High God Damn Time!

Pentagon adviser: France 'no longer ally'
By Martin Walker
UPI Chief International Correspondent
From the International Desk

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- France is no longer an ally of the United States and the NATO alliance "must develop a strategy to contain our erstwhile ally or we will not be talking about a NATO alliance" the head of the Pentagon's top advisory board said in Washington Tuesday.

Richard Perle, a former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and now chairman of the Pentagon's Policy Advisory Board, condemned French and German policy on Iraq in the strongest terms at a public seminar organized by Iraqi exiles and American Middle East and security officials.

"France is no longer the ally it once was," Perle said. And he went on to accuse French President Jacques Chirac of believing "deep in his soul that Saddam Hussein is preferable to any likely successor."

French leaders have insisted the country will oppose any military action against Iraq without a second resolution by the United Nations Security Council, where it holds one of five crucial veto powers. Last November France did vote for Resolution 1441, which promised "serious consequences" if Iraq did not cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors verifying that Iraq has indeed dismantled its programs for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

"I have long thought that there were forces in France intent on reducing the American role in the world. That is more troubling than the stance of a German chancellor, who has been largely rejected by his own people," Perle said, referring to the sharp electoral defeat suffered by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's party in state elections Sunday.

Perle’s last comment is one that I have been kicking around for quite a while.

One of the whole concepts behind the EU was to create a European center of diplomatic, economic and economic power. What better way for the new EU to assert itself diplomatically than to block the United States over Iraq.

It would not only ensure France of continued, and nearly exclusive, economic ties between Baghdad and Paris, but it would also be a kind of diplomatic coming out party. A show of force for the new EU and its two largest members: France and Germany.

This new declaration by Perle as well as a letter in support of the US position from the leaders of EU members Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Denmark, plus future members Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic seem to be fragmenting France and Germany’s dominance over the EU.

What to make of this? I guess only time will tell.

Funniest thing I read all day

I hope he did not write this with a straight face

But, in this case, the main target of his article is "International A.N.S.W.E.R.," a left leaning activist group with many goals, one of which is the prevention of war. He accuses this group of being a "front group for the communist Workers World Party. The Workers World Party is, literally, a Stalinist organization." He offers no proof for any of this.

He then goes on to say that International A.N.S.W.E.R. supported the butchers of Tiananmen Square, that it supports Saddam Hussein, that it supports North Korea in its efforts to enforce mass starvation on its citizens, that it supported Slobodan Milosevic, that it supports the mullahs of Iran, the narco-gangsters of Colombia and the bus-bombers of Hamas. None of this is valid, but the fact it has been written in an allegedly trustworthy newspaper will give it the currency of truth and will almost certainly persuade those who are unwilling to think carefully in the first

Paul Harris Columnist (Canada)

Harris’ main beef is with the addition of Michael Kelly to the Washington Post. Most feel the Post is a relatively left of center paper and he is infuriated that they would hire a neo-con like Kelly.

And so how does he criticize him? By trying to white-wash the fact that International A.N.S.W.E.R. is not a front for the Worlds Worker’s Party.

But even such radicals as those over at Infoshop see the true Stalinist nature of International A.N.S.W.E.R.

A "front" group is any group or organization which is created by a parent group, which subsequently hides its involvement with the front group. The reasons for creating front groups vary. Right wing political groups frequently create fake environmental organizations. In the case of the Workers World Party, they create front groups because they understand that their politics alienates many working people. It's easy to get involved with a benign group called "the International Action Center," which people don't associate with the Stalinist politics of the WWP. However, the IAC's ties to the WWP have become widely exposed, which perhaps explains why the WWP/IAC people created the A.N.S.W.E.R. anti-war coalition.

The Worker's World Party is responsible for the following front groups: the International Action Center, A.N.S.W.E.R. anti-war coalition, Mumia 2000, Iraq Sanctions Challenge, National Peoples Campaign and the People's Video Network.

What evidence do you have that A.N.S.W.E.R. is a front group for the WWP?
Given that authoritarian sectarian groups tend to stay with the tactics that work for them, it's quite simple to trace the connections between the WWP and A.N.S.W.E.R. Sometimes this is as easy as looking at which groups are individuals are involved when a group starts. Another easy method is to look at who speaks to the media at A.N.S.W.E.R. press conferences. In the case of A.N.S.W.E.R., WWP member Brian Becker is frequently the spokesperson for A.N.S.W.E.R. at press conferences and in media interviews. The beauty of front groups is that they can establish media credibility for a leader who can hide their links with the more politically problematic parent group. You can also look at who speaks at A.N.S.W.E.R. sponsored events: you will find activists such as Larry Holmes, Ramsey Clark, and Leslie Feinberg who all identify themselves as being part of front groups run by the WWP. Feinberg has identified herself as being a member of the IAC, when in reality she is the editor of Workers World, the newspaper of the WWP.

I eagerly await his reply.

Saturday, February 01, 2003
Commonplace, but never ordinary

Back in the middle ages, people built large magnificent cathedrals. Although a smaller more simple structure would have been sufficient, these were symbols of faith. Faith in the supreme and a faith in the future.

NASA is very much one of our modern cathedrals. When we dedicated ourselves to building a manned space flight program, we dedicated ourselves to the idea that we humans have a future and we are willing to invest in that future. Sure, we could do most of the work NASA does with robots and probes, but that’s not the entire point of the program. We put people in space at great risk to their own safety because we believe we have a future there and that man has a future in general, and pioneers are always at risk.

These people were some of the best we as a country and as a world have produced. Dedicated, intelligent, hard working, focused and brave.

It’s a shame that they had to pay the ultimate price for their dedication.

Commander Rick D. Husband

Born July 12, 1957, in Amarillo, Texas. Married. Two children. He enjoyed singing, water and snow skiing, cycling, and spending time with his family.
After graduation from Texas Tech University in May 1980, Husband was commissioned a second lieutenant in the USAF and attended pilot training at Vance Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma. He graduated in October 1981, and was assigned to F-4 training at Homestead AFB, Florida. After completion of F-4 training in September 1982, Husband was assigned to Moody AFB, Georgia flying the F-4E. From September to November 1985, he attended F-4 Instructor School at Homestead AFB and was assigned as an F-4E instructor pilot and academic instructor at George AFB, California in December 1985. In December 1987, Husband was assigned to Edwards AFB, California, where he attended the USAF Test Pilot School. Upon completion of Test Pilot School, Husband served as a test pilot flying the F-4 and all five models of the F-15.
Husband was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in December 1994. He reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995 to begin a year of training and evaluation.

Pilot William C. McCool (COMMANDER, USN)

Born September 23, 1961 in San Diego, California. Married. He enjoyed running, mountain biking, back country hiking/camping, swimming, playing guitar, chess.

Eagle Scout; graduated second of 1,083 in the Class of 1983 at the US Naval Academy; presented “Outstanding Student” and “Best DT-II Thesis” awards as graduate of U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Class 101; awarded Navy Commendation Medals (2), Navy Achievement Medals (2), and various other service awards.

Selected by NASA in April 1996, McCool reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. He completed two years of training and evaluation, and is qualified for flight assignment as a pilot. Initially assigned to the Computer Support Branch, McCool also served as Technical Assistant to the Director of Flight Crew Operations, and worked Shuttle cockpit upgrade issues for the Astronaut Office.

Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla

Born in Karnal, India. Chawla enjoyed flying, hiking, back-packing, and reading. She held Certificated Flight Instructor's license with airplane and glider ratings, Commercial Pilot's licenses for single- and multi-engine land and seaplanes, and Gliders, and instrument rating for airplanes.

Graduated from Tagore School, Karnal, India, in 1976. Bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College, India, 1982. Master of science degree in aerospace engineering from University of Texas, 1984. Doctorate of philosophy in aerospace engineering from University of Colorado, 1988.

Selected by NASA in December 1994, Kalpana Chawla reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995 as an astronaut candidate in the 15th Group of Astronauts. After completing a year of training and evaluation, she was assigned as crew representative to work technical issues for the Astronaut Office EVA/Robotics and Computer Branches.

Mission Specialists David M. Brown, (CAPTAIN, USN)

Born April 16, 1956 in Arlington, Virginia. Single. Enjoyed flying and bicycle touring. Was a four year collegiate varsity gymnast. While in college he performed in the Circus Kingdom as an acrobat, 7 foot unicyclist and stilt walker. His parents, Paul and Dorothy Brown, reside in Washington, Virginia.

Brown joined the Navy after his internship at the Medical University of South Carolina. Upon completion of flight surgeon training in 1984, he reported to the Navy Branch Hospital in Adak, Alaska, as Director of Medical Services. He was then assigned to Carrier Airwing Fifteen which deployed aboard the USS Carl Vinson in the western Pacific. In 1988, he was the only flight surgeon in a ten year period to be chosen for pilot training. He was ultimately designated a naval aviator in 1990 in Beeville, Texas, ranking number one in his class. Brown was then sent for training and carrier qualification in the A-6E Intruder. In 1991 he reported to the Naval Strike Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada, where he served as a Strike Leader Attack Training Syllabus Instructor and a Contingency Cell Planning Officer. Additionally, he was qualified in the F-18 Hornet and deployed from Japan in 1992 aboard the USS Independence flying the A-6E with VA-115. In 1995, he reported to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School as their flight surgeon where he also flew the T-38 Talon.

Selected by NASA in April 1996, Brown reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, he is eligible for flight assignment as a mission specialist. He was initially assigned to support payload development for the International Space Station, followed by the astronaut support team responsible for orbiter cockpit setup, crew strap-in, and landing recovery. He is currently assigned to the crew of STS-107 scheduled to launch in 2003.

Mission Specialist Michael P. Anderson (Lieutenant Colonel, USAF)

Born December 25, 1959, in Plattsburgh, New York. Considered Spokane, Washington, to be his hometown. Married. He enjoyed photography, chess, computers, and tennis.

Distinguished graduate USAF Communication Electronics Officers course. Recipient of the Armed Forces Communication Electronics Associations Academic Excellence Award 1983. Received the USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training Academic Achievement Award for Class 87-08 Vance AFB. Awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, the USAF Meritorious Service Medal, and the USAF Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

Anderson graduated form the University of Washington in 1981 and was commissioned a second lieutenant. After completing a year of technical training at Keesler AFB Mississippi he was assigned to Randolph AFB Texas. At Randolph he served as Chief of Communication Maintenance for the 2015 Communication Squadron and later as Director of Information System Maintenance for the 1920 Information System Group. In 1986 he was selected to attend Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, Oklahoma. Upon graduation he was assigned to the 2nd Airborne Command and Control Squadron, Offutt AFB Nebraska as an EC 135 pilot, flying the Strategic Air Commands airborne command post code-named "Looking Glass". From January 1991 to September 1992 he served as an aircraft commander and instructor pilot in the 920th Air Refueling Squadron, Wurtsmith AFB Michigan. From September 1992 to February 1995 he was assigned as an instructor pilot and tactics officer in the 380 Air Refueling Wing, Plattsburgh AFB New York. Anderson has logged over 3000 hours in various models of the KC-135 and the T-38A aircraft.

Selected by NASA in December 1994, Anderson reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995. He completed a year of training and evaluation, and is qualified for flight crew assignment as a mission specialist. Anderson was initially assigned technical duties in the Flight Support Branch of the Astronaut Office.

Mission Specialist Laurel B. Clark (Lieutenant Colonel, USAF)

Born in Iowa, but considered Racine, Wisconsin, to be her hometown. Married with one child. She enjoyed scuba diving, hiking, camping, biking, parachuting, flying, traveling. Her parents reside in New Mexico.

Navy Commendation Medals (3); National Defense Medal, and Overseas Service Ribbon

EXPERIENCE: During medical school she did active duty training with the Diving Medicine Department at the Naval Experimental Diving Unit in March 1987. After completing medical school, Dr. Clark underwent postgraduate Medical education in Pediatrics from 1987-1988 at Naval Hospital Bethesda, Maryland. The following year she completed Navy undersea medical officer training at the Naval Undersea Medical Institute in Groton Connecticut and diving medical officer training at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, Florida, and was designated a Radiation Health Officer and Undersea Medical Officer. She was then assigned as the Submarine Squadron Fourteen Medical Department Head in Holy Loch Scotland. During that assignment she dove with US Navy divers and Naval Special Warfare Unit Two Seals and performed numerous medical evacuations from US submarines. After two years of operational experience she was designated as a Naval Submarine Medical Officer and Diving Medical Officer. She underwent 6 months of aeromedical training at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute in Pensacola, Florida and was designated as a Naval Flight Surgeon. She was stationed at MCAS Yuma, Arizona and assigned as Flight Surgeon for a Marine Corps AV-8B Night Attack Harrier Squadron (VMA 211). She made numerous deployments, including one overseas to the Western Pacific, practiced medicine in austere environments, and flew on multiple aircraft. Her squadron won the Marine Attack Squadron of the year for its successful deployment. She was then assigned as the Group Flight Surgeon for the Marine Aircraft Group (MAG 13). Prior to her selection as an astronaut candidate she served as a Flight Surgeon for the Naval Flight Officer advanced training squadron (VT-86) in Pensacola, Florida. LCDR Clark is Board Certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and holds a Wisconsin Medical License. Her military qualifications include Radiation Health Officer, Undersea Medical Officer, Diving Medical Officer, Submarine Medical Officer, and Naval Flight Surgeon. She is a Basic Life Support Instructor, Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider, Advanced Trauma Life Support Provider, and Hyperbaric Chamber Advisor.

Selected by NASA in April 1996, Dr. Clark reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. After completing two years of training and evaluation, she was qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist.

Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon. (Colonel, Israel Air Force)

Born June 20,1954 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Married to Rona. They have four children. He enjoyed snow skiing, squash. His parents reside in Beer Sheva, Israel.

In 1974, Ramon graduated as a fighter pilot from the Israel Air Force (IAF) Flight School. From 1974-1976 he participated in A-4 Basic Training and Operations. 1976-1980 was spent in Mirage III-C training and operations. In 1980, as one of the IAF's establishment team of the first F-16 Squadron in Israel, he attended the F-16 Training Course at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. From 1981-1983, he served as the Deputy Squadron Commander B, F-16 Squadron. From 1983-1987, he attended the University of Tel Aviv. From 1988-1990, he served as Deputy Squadron Commander A, F-4 Phantom Squadron. During 1990, he attended the Squadron Commanders Course. From 1990-1992, he served as Squadron Commander, F-16 Squadron. From 1992-1994, he was Head of the Aircraft Branch in the Operations Requirement Department. In 1994, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and assigned as Head of the Department of Operational Requirement for Weapon Development and Acquisition. He stayed at this post until 1998.

In 1997, Colonel Ramon was selected as a Payload Specialist. He is designated to train as prime for a Space Shuttle mission with a payload that includes a multispectral camera for recording desert aerosol. In July 1998, he reported for training at the Johnson Space Center, Houston. He is currently assigned to STS-107 scheduled to launch in 2003.

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