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. garc

    Well, in the largely so-called-Christan (yet interestingly not Christian in temperament) US, we have a couple of choices: Antagonize this extremely diverse population we really don't know that much about (but sure enjoy generalizing about), or maybe try to learn a little something about them and allow them to learn about our better attributes as well (you know, kindness, generosity, tolerance–the kind of stuff Jesus mentions).

    July 6, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      What does NASA have to do with that?

      July 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BSD

    Oh snap the american hating liberal left is clearly defined by the comments...Why are you people so against this nations success?

    July 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Shannana

    Just one more reason why we need to go to the polls in Nov and overturn the current 'government'. Then...I can't wait until 2012 to get rid of Obama. What ridiculousness!

    July 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. PJ

    I would hate to see my tax money being spent by NASA on the Muslim world. Let them fend for themselves. They will hate us anyway, no matter what we do for them.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. yanni

    This is the dumbest idea ever. What does Mr. OBAMA think this will accomplish? Maybe he doesn't know what the "S" stands for.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Raul

    im catholic and most muslims preserverved what most history we have today .. back there they where the most welcoming nations.. what happend form then to now who knows.. but most of history is preserved because of them. dont cofuse the current situation for the latter. last time i checked , Americans gave indians blankest full of chicken pox and mealses to kill them off .. so dont come claiming some form of saint hood via our culture. for god sakes we nuked our own soilders to test radiological effects so its ok for a nation to do it for research?

    July 6, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Christopher Hitchens

    With every passing day I am more and more convinced that Obama is the WORST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY!

    July 6, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. billclinton3


    July 6, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Vincenzo

    Obama and this admin are INSANE!! At first, I thought it was a joke about NASA's "mission" to reach out to Muslims. Does ANY American in his/her right mind think that Obama is a good President?! It's time, America; we can't wait 2 yrs. Obama must be impeached before he literally destroys our Nation. Obama= One Big Ass Mistake, America!!!

    July 6, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Owl Creek Observer

    Isn't making groups feel good about what they did centuries ago more the job of Hillary over at State? Or is Hillary now in the space business? All this hopey-changey stuff sure gets confusing.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. swampfox

    What now? Are we going to send a vehicle into space to locate the 72 virgins. This sounds dumber than a bag of hammers!

    July 6, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    CNN – You are repulsive! I voted for "Nobama" and have been very discouraged by his slow but steady erosion of our values. This NASA nonsense is about as ridiculous as it gets. Since when is NASA involved in kissing butt in the Muslim world? True colors are appearing every day. Everybody is outraged with this statement by NASA....Not just conservative bloggers.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • John C

      You even lie like a Repuclican.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. oldtimer

    Another idiot czar elected by our socialist idiot in charge.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Idaho Sean

    Yeah, with unemplyment at 9.5% (higher than anytime in the last 10yrs or more), courting muslim countries for the space program is definately a high priority.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Seth Hill

    Perhaps we could launch all the Muslims into deep space ... kind of a concept ...

    July 6, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
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