The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates.

The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates.

The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates.

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Feb. 1 2003 11:19 AM

Signifying Everything

First Fray reactions to the Space Shuttle disaster.

Palestine, TX: The first Fray reactions to the disintegration of the Space Shuttle Columbia  are filled with prayers for the astronauts and their families. Shelia repeats the Challenger memorial here:

We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, ....., as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."

And while there are partisan snipes back and forth, Cicero points to a bigger problem here (and here):

The Columbia most likely went down as a combination of mechanical failure and body fatigue. Twenty-two years in service is too long. I blame government for this, but not specifically the conservatives. NASA assured our government that a shuttle is good for 100 missions, discounting chronological age as unimportant. It's not the conservative government's fault. It is government's fault, period.

Finally, locdog makes this comparison with the attacks on September 11th and America's national image:

in no way could this tragedy ever compare to what we experienced on that black day except one, and in that one it perhaps exceeds it. NASA has never been about anything practical. but throughout its existence, it has served as the most visible symbol of our technological might, intrepid spirit, and national pride. it is one of the few worthless government programs that no one minds seeing the billions pour into because everything that we like to believe is good about ourselves rides up with those brave young men and women in a burst of sound and fury, signifying everything … part of america dies with every NASA tragedy, a part not told in the numbers or the dollars ... 8:15 a.m.


Friday, Jan. 31, 2002

Syllogisms at ten paces: Michael Kinsley pits Bush's evident gravitas against the logic of the State of the Union here. J_Mann takes issue here:

"your policy is not logically consistent" is an argument only slightly more convincing than "I don't like your grammar." The questions should be (1) will the world be better off if we topple Saddam and (2) will we be better off if we topple Saddam. Kinsley doesn't answer either question.

Mann already has several good responses, including this  from Gamebird, apropos of the point that "Kinsley doesn't answer either question":