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. mslman71

    This is quite frankly the dumbest thing I have heard in some time. Yeah I know, everything Obama touches turns to gold, so somehow there must be a way to fit this square peg of stupidity in the round hold of good ideas.

    I remember the days of Apollo. They were so important to me as a child that 20+ years and several degrees later I made my career in the aerospace industry. I have spent three or so years during the inception of ISS as a contractor along side my CS counterparts at NASA. I'm sad to admit that I'm glad I no longer directly work with the agency and feel terribly sorry for my old friends and colleagues who work there. The previous round of so-called visions out of the WH has everyone scratching there head and asking, whiskey tango foxtrot? No one has a clue what this man wants NASA to really do besides adopt the same horsepucky policy of big long winded speeches full of unicorn tears and rainbow dreams. Real science and engineering? Nah, who needs it? All the advancements in aerospace technology, nah. Transportation? Nope. Safety (atmospheric and space)? No, that was a waste too, right?

    Stupid speeches didn't inspire me to pursue mathematics, science, and engineering. Hard core real accomplishments did.

    This isn't within NASA's charter. Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. I can't believe we've come to this as a country. Thank god (or whoever) I got to experience a few years of an America that actually did amazing things. Too bad my kids will only get to read about it in the history books, if they haven't removed stories of what we've done for fear of offending someone, somewhere.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mike

    One way ticket.... one way ticket.... one way ticket to the moon.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. Heinlein

    The administration is correct in seeking apologies from the nations of Islam. The moon is one of Islam's holiest symbols and our astronauts walked all over it with their dirty infidel shoes, leaving foot-prints and great-satan flags for all to see. Sons of monkeys and pigs! How dare they?

    July 6, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  4. A

    I took two things from this article.

    1. Look at the audience of the interview, Al-Jazeera. I would bet top dollar that the interview questions/answers were purposely skewed in order to play to that angle.

    2. The interview never says that NASA will be shifting focus, it claims that Bolden himself, as the administrator, will be focusing on something.

    To draw my points together. NASA will obviously not be doing PR work, and to think otherwise is pretty foolish. Read between the lines here and see that the real PR work was this interview itself. NASA is probably running dozens of top secret research projects. Just because we do not know about them, does not mean that nothing is being done.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Unit34AHunt

    NASA's core mission is science, regardless of what the new agenda tries to be. Political correctness and diplomatic overtures to Moslems – a people who are prima facie dedicated to living in the tenth century – should be left to the US State Department. The NASA Director should be fired if one could assume a rational replacement could be found. But since the agenda is being set by our President, replacing the director probably would not help.

    Too bad James Webb doesn't run the place any more. We need someone like him.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. Steven

    So how is that Hope and change thing going for ya???????

    July 6, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steven

    SO HOW IS THAT HOPE AND CHANGE THING GOING FOR YA??? Obama hopes to run down America, and change our America to be more like Muslim countries. God help us.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Going great actually considering what we've been through for 8 LONG years

      July 6, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mw

    i am neither a conservative nor a blogger, just a person who has been interested in space exploration for about 15 years. countless astronauts, engineers etc have stated that their passion for their field has come in part from the moon landing. this has been a source of inspiration for countless others, including myself. what kennedy did for NASA and space exploration was incredible. he didn't talk about it, he didn't create programs for people to "feel good" about themselves. he set a goal and NASA reached it.

    hopefully we can become a nation of "doers" again, and not "sayers". shame on obama's administration for diminishing such an important program.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. George Kenney


    For the record Columbus did not discover the USA...he did not even find North America... Additionally remember Columbus' benefactors Ferdinand and Isabella's main priority was to establish wealth in order to rid their culture of every last vestige of Muslim influence. "Spanish society drove itself," historian J.H. Elliot writes, "on a ruthless, ultimately self-defeating quest for an unattainable purity."

    July 6, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. Donna

    Now the Muslims are involved in NASA. What will be next? ovama is changing the US alright. Seems like every time I read an article it is getting us more and more u der Mjslims. We need to stop all his muslim connections.
    This post is difficult because CNN has put an Anderson Cooper ad right over the top of the comment box. I have no idea if this will even show up. What is CNN doing? It's happended before so I don't post. I'm trying this time. but can't see what I type. Sorry if it is unreadable.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • JSP

      Another republican that is so dumb he can't even speak English. And you tools think you can beat Obama? LOLOLOL

      July 6, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chino

    Read between the lines: Obama wants to give the Muslims ballistic missile technology. This is what Clinton did for the Chinese in the 90s that literally launched them into superpower status. Why is everyone debating Muslim contribution to humanity- I get that. You don't need NASA- which Obama dismembered its Constellation program, is retiring the Space Shuttle, (along with canceling our missile defense shield)- to make Muslims feel good about themselves. Obama is giving away more of our highly classified secrets to weaken our country and to make our enemies stronger.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. Donna

    CNN is blocking me
    with a big ad across
    the comment box.
    They did it twice.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. Steven

    Defeat the Sith Lord we must. In November, let us defeat the dark side of the force.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. kevin John Gil

    Hey Obama, I know where you can send those Muslim Astronauts – Straight to URANUS! Hi Ohhhh!

    July 6, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. Donna

    3rd time I'm blocked
    with an ad then it goes
    away seconds after
    it is posted. what is
    going on? Help

    July 6, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
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