July 6th, 2010
08:26 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Charles Bolden

Recent comments made by the NASA administrator have become fodder for conservative bloggers and left some space buffs wondering just what really is NASA's mission.

"When I became the NASA administrator, [President Obama] charged me with three things," Bolden said in an interview with Al-Jazeera. "One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering."

The website NASA Watch reported Bolden's interview comments a few days ago, but they seem to have hit the fan in a larger-scale Monday.

Bryan York of The San Francisco Examiner wrote in response: "From moon landings to promoting self-esteem: It would be difficult to imagine a more dramatic shift in focus for an agency famous for reaching the heavens."

NASA Watch: Charlie Bolden: Stealth Middle East diplomat?

The San Francisco Examiner: NASA's new mission: Building ties to the Muslim world

Noa Baum

The status of relations between Israelis and Palestinians, people with competing allegiances to the same piece of real estate, is on the table as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Tuesday with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Baum, who was born in Israel and raised in Jerusalem, now lives near Washington. She is a storyteller who performs a one-woman piece called "A Land Twice Promised" in which she adopts two personas, an Israeli and a Palestinian mother. Her message: There are competing narratives and peace is not possible without accepting the narrative of "the other."

The genesis of this piece was born when Baum moved to the United States and developed a friendship with a Palestinian woman.

"Sometimes when someone has lost so much," she says, "there is no room for the story of 'the other.' But those stories are vitally important."

Noa Baum: Peacebuilding: 'A Land Twice Promised'

Max Bergmann

Along with tens of millions of others, Bergmann's attentions will be diverted Tuesday by the first of two semifinals in the World Cup football tournament.

Bergmann is co-proprietor of the blog Association Football, where junkies of the beautiful and sometimes not-so-beautiful game exchange opinions.

Bergmann is a fan of Tottenham Hotspurs, a London team in the English Premier League, and D.C. United in Major League Soccer. Bergmann's day job is policy analyst at the Center for American Progress and blogging for Think Progress. He also has written op-eds for numerous newspapers and magazines.

But Bergmann has his priorities straight. The World Cup is, after all, the World Cup. Incidentally, "Association Football" was an early name for the sport created in England now known as soccer (er, football).

The Netherlands play Uruguay on Tuesday, the winner advancing to the Sunday final. The second semifinal on Wednesday pits Germany against Spain.

Association Football

Cullen Jones

On a sweltering day, nothing cools better than a swim. Jones knows that more African-Americans need to learn that skill.

A study commissioned by USA Swimming and conducted by the University of Memphis found that nearly 70 percent of African-American children and 58 percent of Hispanic children have low or no swim ability. Forty percent of Caucasians are in the same predicament. Black kids are three times more likely to drown than white children.

From nearly drowning at a Pennsylvania water park as a 5-year-old - "I remember how it feels to get lightheaded and that terrible feeling that you are drowning," he told Black Voices - Jones grew to be an Olympic swimmer. As part of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, he became to the second African-American to win a gold medal in the sport.

Jones, 26, is the primary face of Make a Splash, a project of the USA Swimming Foundation.

Black Voices: Olympic star Cullen Jones saving lives by teaching black and Latino kids to swim

USA Swimming Foundation: Make a Splash

USA Swimming: Constraints impacting minority swimming participation (PDF)

Mike Pearson

The former Associated Press and Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter is a new member of the Association of Personal Historians and has embarked on a project to record the oral histories of people in the Gulf Coast region affected by the oil disaster.

"The simple mission is to find stories of people who love the Gulf and its inhabitants, who make their living from it, who have grown up with it in their back yards, and to tell and preserve those stories," Pearson wrote in an e-mail to Association of Personal Historians members, who record and preserve family histories.

Pearson has created a website, The Gulf and Me, where he will publish the stories, photos and video from his trip. He also is soliciting nominations for people to interview and stories to tell.

The Gulf and Me


Filed under: Most Intriguing People
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Balanced Historian

    Muslims invented the figures for describing numbers, and that's where they languished for thousands of years. Some old white Europeans like Newton, Leibnitz, and LaPlace finally did something useful with them. Humanity was born in Africa and the Middle East, and to prove it, the inhabitants have refused to relinquish primordial primitivism. Now the entire continent suffers for lack of basic medicines and technologies invented elsewhere.

    Bolden may be an adequate astronaut, but he is living proof of the folly of affirmative action. Can you imagine Neil Armstrong listening to Obama nanner on about his political wishes for NASA, once our proudest bureau of technical achievement, now reduced to being a socialist/progressive propaganda tool.

    July 6, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. forpeace

    Muslims do not need a self esteem boost. History will never deny Muslim contribution to what humanity achieved today in the various fields of science, astronomy, medicine, maths and others...if it was not for the Muslims saving the Greek genius, developing and enhancing the knowledge the whole human civilization is proud of, we would not be where we are today. Every civilization knew a rise and a decline and the Muslims are no exception, they once enlightened the world when it was in its darkest ages for thousands of years, the least we can do is teach it in our schools, recognize their scholars and make their books available for our children to learn from.

    The west developed a big ego and forgot they once were drowning in the darkness, ignorance and bloody wars. I am not sure who need a boost of self-esteem.

    July 6, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  3. sameeker

    Why does the government think that they have to appease every group out there? We don't owe the muzzies anything but a nuke. Political correctness will be the death of this country. Remember what happened when Europe tried to appease Hitler?

    July 6, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. mark sherwood

    What a clown Obama is for doing this!! What have the Muslims do to dserve this, nothing but kill!! 2012 can't come soon enough!!

    July 6, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • JSP

      You can't even type a coherent sentence. Your opinion is as laughable as your grammar. Obama will be gone in 2016, then it's Hillary's turn. Sorry nazi, I mean, dude.

      July 6, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. P Shankar

    Funny about islamic maths? Learnt from indians
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_trigonometry

    July 6, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • rivirivi

      You mean maybe "Copied from Indians"

      July 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mark from Minnesota

    Joe, you are right on

    July 6, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. demmieKrat

    I think NASA should inform Muslims that Mecca is actually on the Moon and we're giving free one-way rides!

    July 6, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • JSP

      EPIC FAIL of a joke.

      July 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. demmieKrat

    I think NASA should inform Muslims that Mecca is actually on the Moon and we're giving free one-way rides!!!!!

    July 6, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. bob85446

    Its very apparent that obamaland will last only one term. Even his liberal supporters realize he is not the man for the job.
    Come November he will lose his majority in congress. There will be smiles all over America when Pelosi and reid step down from there leadership roles. I use leadership as a pun.

    July 6, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. Galactus999

    The real problem here is that NASA is once again without a clear objective. All this PR stuff is a waste of time and resources. We should be focusing on the Science and on the Engineering.The rest is fluff.

    July 6, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. John

    Never before has there been an incompetent man in the oval office. From suing the State of Arizona for enforcing the law to now using NASA to reach out and help the Muslims?????? What an utter embarrassment and one sad joke we call our president, BO.. What an utter fool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 6, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. Akmhed

    It is the will of the western world to send the third world into space so that europeans and north americans can have earth all to themselves. How can good Muslims face Mecca to pray if they mining for helium3 on the far side of the moon?

    July 6, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  13. forpeace

    Just remember that this land knew the most ignorant, blood thirsty, and lawless horse riders illustrated in western movies to idolize your dark past. If it is an indication of anything it will be an indication that terror, occupation and genocide originate here.

    July 6, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. gadfly

    FACT #1: "Dominantly Muslim nations" HAVE made great contributions in the past.

    FACT #2: Better relations with "dominantly Muslim nations" will be beneficial for everyone.

    FACT #3: Condescendingly telling "dominantly Muslim nations" "Hey guys, you should FEEL good because you USED to be the leader in some stuff a long time ago" will NOT in fact make them feel GOOD nor better relations with them–it will simply look what it is: a cheap, patronizing ploy.

    FACT #4: Trying to "re-inspire children to want to get into science and math" is a wonderful.

    FACT #5: Attempting to "expand our international relationships" is great.

    FACT #6: NONE OF THIS HAS ANYTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH THE VERY REAL, IMPORTANT, AND INSPIRING TAKS THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ACCMPLISHED BY NASA (which, if memory serves me correctly, actually stands for "National AERONAUTICS and SPACE Administration" rather than the "National All-of-you are Special Administration"). When we are able to co-opt an agency like NASA into an agenda of "self-esteem building" around the world (with the exception, of course, of those nasty, snooty Americans who ESTABLISHED it to begin with), you can count on the fact that the US of A is in for a long, arduous ride.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      Fact: Mulslim dominated nations ONLY bring violence death and destruction. Why would we buddy up with that. They have no problem killing each other. They have no problem killing others.
      Fact: If they are school in science maybe they can make better bombs.
      Fact: If they are schooled in math they can count the people they kill on their own and won't have to wait for CNN

      July 6, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. swin5

    The Bible tells us that when Ishmael and his mother (Hagar – Abraham's slave and mistress) were banished by Abe out to the desert, God said that Ishmael would EVENTUALLY give birth to a great people. HOWEVER, before that would occur, and I presume up until the second coming, there would be enmity between Ishmael's descendants and all other people. God went on to say that Ishmael's descendants would not even be able to get along with each other and that they would live in hostility with their own brothers.

    You may not believe in the Bible but tell me if this doesn't completely and accurately describe the Muslim world today. They don't get along with anybody else and they don't get along with each other. The Muslim world is in conflict with EVERY SINGLE country in which they share a border. They couldn't get along with the Christians in Lebanon and ended up destroying that country, they can't get along with the Jews in Israel, they can't get along with the Hindus in India (one of the world's largest peaceful nations), and they can't even get along with the atheists in Russia. Their own countries can't get along with each other (Iran – Iraq war an example) and WITHIN each of their own countries they don't even get along with themselves – witness the unrest in Saudi Arabia and their neanderthal treatment of women.

    A church here in western Pennsylvania got in politically incorrect trouble a while back for posting this message on their sign out front – 'Remember, Islam is the enemy'. How true, how true. But now we have a Muslim president in disguise who thinks he's going to change all this. Yeah, right!

    July 6, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
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