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. Karl

    Obama supporters, congratulations once again! This is the type of "CHANGE" that you have enable. God help this country. God help us all. Obama's damage will be irreversible. But even as our country is flushed, it still remains an "I must save face" game for the liberals.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan2

      Wow, you nailed it with the "Save Face" rationale for continued Dem support of Obama. It couldn't be from his handling of the economy, Gov spending, Israel, the oil spill, etc. Putting EGO ahead of the future of this incredible Nation is foolish on a historic level!

      July 6, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Karl

    . Obama supporters, congratulations once again! This is the type of "CHANGE" that you have enable. God help this country. God help us all. Obama's damage will be irreversible. But even as our country is flushed, it still remains an "I must save face" game for the liberals.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JEH

    i am still speechless. Not only has CNN "hid" this story hear but no other organization or media outlet has come out and go against this. Its one thing to stall the space program and pay other countries to send our astronauts to orbit, but our scientists are leaving too, all the other countries will have the technology we should have. I won't even get started on the Muslim angle, it just proves how much we need a new president. This is the same group of people about to stone a woman to death for adultry. Its appalling what is going on here.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sgranger

    Shouldn't NASA's foremost mission have something to do with, I dunno – SPACE?

    July 6, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lulzmacher

    NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    Leave all the BS to the State Department.

    July 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dennis

    Once again, all I can say is WHAT!!!!!!!!!!! Get rid of this guy.

    July 6, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Margaret

    This is so nuts it makes me wonder if someone has been misquoted or something taken out of context. Eliminating the lunar program was bad enough, but now this? NASA, the heart grieves....

    July 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JSP

    We've reached out to the Muslim world enough. They do not want our help. Time to leave. Oh, and NASA should be spending that time and energy on inspiring our own young people to get into math and science, especially seeing as our nation's students are underachieving BIG-TIME. I support Obama, but he needs to stop wasting time and resourses reaching out to people that don't appreciate it (especially republicans).

    July 6, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Robert C. Ristow

    Muslims historical contributions to science, math, and engineering? What type of rock (science), thrown at what trajectory ( engineering ), by how many men (math ) does it take to stone a woman to death!!!

    July 6, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. cdcmaximus

    im so sick of ........" lets reach out to the muslim world" and "lets not offend islam"
    muslims and islam in general have to take care of their own problems such as........ joining the 21rst century.

    July 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Alan2

    Wow, diverting our priorities (no mater how UNRELATED) to improving relations with Muslims. Jobs, the economy, the war and our futures ALL on the back burner so America becomes more Muslim-friendly. Does he seek to make us the new Muslim destination now that Europe is completely over-run?

    July 6, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Alan2

    The most obvious Muslim contribution has been the suicide bomber.....makes a Momma proud!

    July 6, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mark

    Clearly, there is some dispute among Imams as to whether space is halal. Though the Jews long ago declared it a kosher environment, there are arguments among Obama's top Islamic advisers that NASA has somehow offended Allah by sending men and machines into orbit before it was deemed acceptable by Shariah jurists. The Russian, French, Chinese, and North Korean space agencies have been exempted from these proceedings as they have all supplied Islamic countries and extremists with weapons, military training, and in at least two cases, nuclear materials. While most Americans have been deeply offended by the president's redirecting NASA to make Muslims "fell better", Obama dismissed such dissent stating "Hey! They're only Christians... and most of those live in flyover states". Attempts at contacting the president and the Attorney General for comments were met without success as both Obama and Holder were attending a summit for the New Black Panthers.

    July 6, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Alan2

    Let's not live in the past!!!!! The great Muslim intellect and science is GONE, having been destroyed by Fundamentalism. The output from Muslim nations now is the most BASE contributions.....most notably terrorism, violence and encouraging their children to KILL themselves for political agenda.

    July 6, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. pooraggies247

    Flying carpets are not "officially" space ships. However, they do take a sort of genius to operate.

    July 6, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
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