Bob Franken

UP BEYOND AIR

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

UP BEYOND AIR

Twenty-eight million dollars! That’s how much some rich person successfully bid to fly as the first passenger to beyond the edge of space. The flight is scheduled to lift off July 20, and the winner will accompany Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon who, as any Washington Post reader knows, also owns that newspaper. He doesn’t own this paper, so Jeff will have to just suck it up if I call him an American oligarch who has too much money to spend.
Bezos’ collection of playthings also includes Blue Origin, the aerospace company that is about to send its suborbital rocket New Shepard into outer space. The vessel is named after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, although it is scheduled to blast its first crew of really rich guys including Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark and the as-yet-unidentified winning bidder — and an employee of Blue Origin, maybe a flight attendant on July 20. That is the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. They will be departing from Blue Origin’s launch facility near Van Horn, Texas, possibly chosen because of West Texas’ uncanny resemblance to the moon’s surface.
The Blue Origin’s promotional pitch promised a flight “past the Kármán line — the internationally recognized boundary of space. … “Your 11-minute flight on New Shepard will be the experience of a lifetime. … With room for six astronauts, the spacious and pressurized crew capsule is environmentally controlled for comfort, and every passenger gets their own window seat. The vehicle is fully autonomous. Every person onboard is a passenger — there are no pilots.”

Read More…Read More…

INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE QUESTIONS

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE QUESTIONS

George Carlin had a hilarious routine describing his days as a parochial student. He’d try to stump the priest when Father would present an absolute:
“As good Catholics, we had to receive communion once between Ash Wednesday and Pentecost Sunday. And if we didn’t receive it, it was considered a mortal sin. Suppose that you didn’t make your Easter duty, and it’s Pentecost Sunday, the last day, and you’re on a ship at sea and the chaplain goes into a coma but you wanted to receive. And then it’s Monday, too late. But then you cross the international date line. Would that be a mortal or venial sin?”
Borrowing from Carlin, I call such obnoxiously pointless conversations “international date line questions.” You hear them in politics constantly, and in their offshoots: all the government’s laws and regulations. Alas, our eyes glaze over the first time the bureaucrats create their international date line scenarios, no matter how controversial the subject.
There is no controversy so white hot as the pandemic. And rightfully so. Covid killed 600,000-plus in the United States alone. Countless thousands also caught the coronavirus because they refused to wear a mask. It was considered by right-wingers to be an imposition on personal liberty. And never mind the hackneyed saying that “My liberty ends where yours begins.”

Read More…Read More…

ALIEN AND ALIENATING

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

ALIEN AND ALIENATING

“We know they are something; we just don’t know what they are.” How’s that for a hard-hitting report from the feds?
Later in the month, the Pentagon will issue just such a multiagency intelligence analysis in which they will have thoroughly examined the video and audio footage from what amount to military jet pilot body cameras. In these, pilots react to unexplained blobs officially referred to as unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs, or UFOs, unidentified flying objects.
Over the decades we have had a fascination with beings visiting from other planets and scouting Earth using technology that can’t be believed. And why not?
But perhaps they are from closer to home … highly classified U.S. or enemy experiments using hypersonic aircraft. President Vladimir Putin even publicly bragged that Russia has developed hypersonic jets, which could be faster than missiles or missile defenses, and invisible to radar.

Read More…Read More…

TRUMP “REINSTATED”

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

TRUMP “REINSTATED”

A typical day in the Divided States of America: The New York Times is reporting that Donald Trump — in case you’ve forgotten, the previous president — has been telling friends and associates that he will be “reinstated” by August.
“He can simply be reinstated,” Sidney Powell told a meeting of QAnon, whose slogan is “Where the inmates run the asylum.” “Biden is told to move out of the White House, and President Trump should be moved back in,” she went on. “I’m sure there’s not going to be credit for time lost, unfortunately, because the Constitution itself sets the date for inauguration, but he should definitely get the remainder of his term and make the best of it.”
Never mind that the Constitution sets a four-year term for the presidency, “reinstate” is the trending word these days in wild and wacky Trumpworld.
“It is my hope that Donald Trump is reinstated, after all the proof comes out, by the end of August,” said Mike Lindell, the My Pillow Guy, who has strange dreams. By the way, he first made his declaration on Steve Bannon’s podcast. Need I say more?
And Lindell is taking credit for predicting Trump’s triumphant return, although he thinks that Trump would have to go through the judicial process. And never mind that the Supreme Court refused to consider every effort to even hear Trump’s fantasy that the election was stolen from him, a belief he allegedly still holds to this day. If so, his next project might be renaming his residence the Mar-a-Lago-Madhouse. It’s more probable that he’s really too embarrassed to admit he lied about the whole thing.

Read More…Read More…

DISLOYAL “PATRIOTS”

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

DISLOYAL “PATRIOTS”

Surely you have heard complaints before about how holidays like Memorial Day are treated as just another day off. That we don’t give much thought to what the day means commemorating the millions of Americans who have lost their lives defending this country in wartime.
As commander in chief, the president must send soldiers into harm’s way, some never to return. Joe Biden did not lose a child in combat, but he certainly knows the intense agony of outliving a son or daughter. His son Beau Biden succumbed to brain cancer. “I know how much the loss hurts,” Biden said to Gold Star parents. “They’re the guardians of us, and we’re the guardians of their legacy.”
Another president, Abraham Lincoln, summed up their legacy in his Gettysburg Address this way: “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
The mechanism for that is the vote. Our founders left us an imperfect election system; only white men started out with voting rights. It took a bloody civil war to free slaves to participate, and then that promise was broken. Strict Jim Crow laws denied Black people the right to partake in the exquisite fruit of democracy, the vote. Then a century passed before Jim Crow blockades were dismantled. Before then women were granted suffrage, and our nation has not been suicidal enough to attempt to reverse that. But when it comes to minorities and other have-nots, there is a direct and successful attack on the fundamental ingredient of that democracy. That fundamental ingredient is the election. It defines the United States.
Regressive’s claim that they are making polling less fraudulent, but that’s a fraud. In fact, the Republican Party has betrayed the millions of troops who have given their lives to protect our elections.

Read More…Read More…