The Rockets' Red Glare
First, to the relief of many, the space shuttle Discovery was launched on July 4th after weather delays on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.
Why the holding of breath? Because the Discovery is an obsolete vehicle and NASA doesn't exactly inspire confidence these days.
As it is, several pieces of foam -- the material that broke off and doomed the shuttle Columbia -- flaked off Discovery after its launch, but the particles broke loose after a critical time period had elapsed.Less happy was the news that the wingnut provocateurs in North Korea test fired at least six missile over the Sea of Japan on Wednesday morning, including a Taepodong 2 intercontinental missile that went kaboom or kabang or kasomething 42 seconds after it was launched. A seventh missile was launched later in the day.
The launchings came in defiance of warnings from the U.S., Japan, South Korea and China and are a cause for concern since the smaller missiles hypothetically could reach North Korea's closest neighbors and the Taepodong 2 could hit the western U.S.
North Korea's "enigmatic leader," as Kim Jong Il is invariably called, is so crazy or crazy smart in defying the very countries that have provided his impoverished country with material aid that I get brain lock trying to figure him out. So I won't.Less happy still was the news that Palestinian militants continued their goodwill initiative by firing a homemade rocket about five miles into Israel on Tuesday, hitting an empty high school. Israel responded with an airstrike on Wednesday that caused extensive damage to the Interior Ministry in Gaza City.
While militants have frequently fired homemade rockets a short distance into Israel, the impact point was unusually deep and it was the first time that a city center, in this case Ashkelon, was hit.
I'll say it again: While I frequently have been critical of Israel in the past and undoubtedly will in the future, I absolutely support its response to Hamas' aggression. Hamas, confronted with the reality of leading a people and not merely inciting them, has resorted to biting the hands that feed it. A real winning strategy.