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. swampfox

    Cnn is scared little people, they are afraid to offend their muslim brothers and sensor heavely But they have no problem with race baiting stories by soledad obrien

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

      Soledad O' Brian is all about racial harmony, just as BP is all about corporate responsibilty. They both project an image that is not in keeping with their actual agenda.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. oldone

    Strange how the 3 things that President Obama wanted Charles Bolden to accomplish have nothing to do with space.
    NASA is just another convenient tool for this Administraton. Some times I wonder who runs this country, our elected officials in Congress or this self-appointed dictator and his socialist staff.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kambiz

    wow, reading all these offensive comments, made me write something too. President Barak Obama is basically reminding the world, that the math was taken off of Qur'an, Islam has played major role in today's science. Not to repair the relationship with muslims, he just appreciates that fact and we all should. Otherwise god knows if today we would have computers if it was not for quran which basically brought math to the world. Peace..

    July 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rob H.

    So then are we out to find Allah in the heavens?

    July 6, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SHAWN

    Obama should fire this NASA guy. If that happens we will see pretty soon a big blast UP in the space & a word saying "ALLAHA OH! AKBAR, ALLA IS GREAT".

    July 6, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ahnold

    it doesn't matter that Muslims have invented anything. NASA is supposed to be conducting space research, not act as a propaganda machine. This administration needs to be stopped.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff

    So the NASA spin is this is just "Conservative" bloggers making a big deal about nothing. Is it any wonder were falling further and further behind technologically because of this kind of PC BS?

    July 6, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Otis

    Why is this story burried in "Today's Intriguing People"? MY taxpayer dollars are too hard earned to use for anything other than the advancement of scientific knowledge which NASA inefficiently devours. The Muslim world has Islam has 1.57 billion adherents, making up 23% of the world population... but what have they done? Figured out how to make bombs and suicide vests to kill innocents throughout the world including our own NYC! Their latest contribution to science is how to determine the perfect rock size to inflict cruel and inhuman torture when stoning a woman without killing her outright and how many lashes it takes to break a woman without killing her. The Jewish world has under 16-million left and fewer still if you eliminate mixed-marriages and non-practicing Jews, but no group of people has given more to the world in science and mathematics, philosophy and literature than those few.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Vanilla Gorilla

    The Arabic/Muslim countries were copy cats when it comes to science and math – the Chinese and Egyptians were a thousand years ahead of them – and there are cultures in South America that beat them too.
    The foolish statements by ObaMao only reinforce the perception and fear that he is indeed a Muslim masquerading as a Christian. He makes Carter look competent and that would take some doing. One term of ObaMao is too much.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Otis

    Hey CNN. Not only can't you tell a story right, but you can't even sequence replies correctly.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ahnold

    its too bad we need to cancel the space shuttle but we need to make muslims feel good about themselves.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. oldone

    Why all the fuss about who invented Math? If God wanted us to use the Metric system he would have given us 10 fingers.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LostInSpace

    Obama is just bringing Affirmative Action into the space age. Why limit yourself for the best and the brightest, when you get to check a checkbox instead. Oh look... another first!

    July 6, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John C

    Everyone knows that Bush cancelled the space program. RIght around the time President Obama decided to invade Afghanistan.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Brad Morse

    I read this story yeasterday on Fox news with my mouth wide open. I can not say what was on my mind because the FBI or someone would come question me but just as you guys I was shocked. I looked on CNN again last night and did not see the story, proof of who is not fair and balanced.

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