Wait . . . What?

That was my reaction upon reading that NASA’s primary goal is to improve relations with Muslims. 

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a recent interview that his “foremost” mission as the head of America’s space exploration agency is to improve relations with the Muslim world. 

Though international diplomacy would seem well outside NASA’s orbit, Bolden said in an interview with Al Jazeera that strengthening those ties was among the top tasks President Obama assigned him. He said better interaction with the Muslim world would ultimately advance space travel. 

“When I became the NASA administrator — or before I became the NASA administrator — he charged me with three things. One was 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 … and math and engineering,” Bolden said in the interview. 

I always understood NASA to be about space exploration.  Maybe science and math inspiration came along with it.  Expanding international relationships?  Maybe for things like the space station, but that seems like a side goal, or a means to an end more so than an actual goal.  But to help the Muslim nations feel good about their historic contribution to science?  What the hell does that even mean?  How is it in our interest to give self esteem points to a religious or cultural group?  Particularly a group that tends to have a problem with trying to kill us?  And, even if it were in our interest, or anyone’s interest, why would it be up to NASA to do it?  I don’t even have an outrage about it; it’s just bizarre. 

Bush’s guy makes a bit more sense:

“NASA … represents the best of America. Its purpose is not to inspire Muslims or any other cultural entity,” Michael Griffin, who served as NASA administrator during the latter half of the Bush administration, told FoxNews.com. . . .

“If by doing great things, people are inspired, well then that’s wonderful,” Griffin said. “If you get it in the wrong order … it becomes an empty shell.” 

Griffin added: “That is exactly what is in danger of happening.” 

He also said that while welcome, Muslim-nation cooperation is not vital for U.S. advancements in space exploration. 

“There is no technology they have that we need,” Griffin said. 

The former administrator stressed that any criticism should be directed at Obama, not Bolden, since NASA merely carries out policy. 

So, what’s the White House have to say about all of this? 

The White House stood by Bolden on Tuesday. Spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a written statement to FoxNews.com that Obama “wants NASA to engage with the world’s best scientists and engineers as we work together to push the boundaries of exploration. 

“Meeting that mandate requires NASA to partner with countries around the world like Russia and Japan, as well as collaboration with Israel and with many Muslim-majority countries. The space race began as a global competition, but, today, it is a global collaboration,” he said. 

Bob Jacobs, NASA’s assistant administrator for public affairs, echoed that point. However, he said that Bolden was speaking of priorities when it came to “outreach” and not about NASA’s primary missions of “science, aeronautics and space exploration.” He said the “core mission” is exploration and that it was unfortunate Bolden’s comments are now being viewed through a “partisan prism.” 

First, I love how actual quotes are now a “partisan prism.”  Second, it seems like we’ve got one of two things going on, and I’m not sure which one is more troubling.  Either 1) We’ve got the head of a major federal agency going off half-cocked on an unfriendly television network and pandering to other countries by misstating his agency’s goals, or 2) the administration really is making a point of telling agencies to improve Muslim self-esteem, for reasons we can only guess.  Whether it’s the “primary goal” or not is unimportant; if Bolden is telling the truth here, the administration is obviously giving it a position of importance.  At best, this means that the adminstration has no concept of what the government’s, or it’s agencies’, proper role is and no sense of priority in a time of economic stress. 

Related: Ann Althouse says: “Oh, admit it! The point of science is to feel good about how we can do science.”

The Root: Taking us into the deep, dark world of underground hair braiders

Illinois, having solved all of the more pressing issues in their state, is attempting to pass a law that would require that hair braiders be licensed. 

The bill, expected to be signed by the governor in coming weeks, will require existing hair braiders who have shown they have practiced their craft for at least two years to get a license for a fee. Going forward, those who are new to the industry will be able to obtain a license after 300 hours of training in braiding and creating intricate styles, as well as sanitation.Prior to the bill, hair braiders were subject to the more rigorous standards of traditional hair stylists, estheticians and barbers–who only can obtain a license after receiving a degree, taking up to 1,500 hours and costing $15,000. There are more than 60,000 cosmetologists in the state of Illinois.

But, don’t worry, the article gives us a lot of good reasons why it is necessary to hamper the ability of small business owners who are mostly African American women to practice their craft. 

Charemi Jones, an “occasional braid wearer,” has experienced it all when it comes to hair-related drama. The Chicago police officer’s hair has been braided so tight she had to take Ibuprofen to ease headaches. And once she had a braid rip away from her scalp while she was sleeping.

Now, I’m going to go ahead and take the article at its word when it says that this woman has “experienced it all” and interpret that to mean that she has experienced the worst problems that can occur from unlicensed hair braiding.  Headaches that required over the counter medication.  (If you got a headache, couldn’t you just, you know, take the braid out?)  Oh, and one time some of the hair fell out.  Which would be . . . annoying?  There’s more:

But most current and former braid wearers, who’ve faced everything from hair loss to just bad service, agree that something needs to be done to protect consumers.  “I’ve seen brushes full with someone else’s hair when I sat down in the chair for a blow dry; locks and braids falling off because they were twisted too tightly….

Again, with the “everything.”  Now, I’ve never had my hair professionally braided, so maybe it requires you to be, say, chained down in some irreversible way as soon as you walk into the shop, but I would think that if I experienced bad service or saw brushes full with someone else’s hair, I would leave. 

Also, as an aside, my sister is a school teacher, and she has a lot of students with these sorts of braided styles.  She says that, when their heads itch, they can’t scratch around the braids, so you see the girls just smack their heads periodically to stop the itching.  I’m sure they look super-cute doing that.

How many great lines are there in this Mark Steyn peice?

My opinion-writing hero Mark Steyn somehow manages to tie California porn regulations to the health care bill, and it’s just awesome. 

the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to set up a committee to examine whether condoms should be required on all pornographic film shoots within the Golden State. California has run out of money, but it hasn’t yet run out of things to regulate.  …….

 In the future, if a porn actress finds 75 men waiting for her on the set, they’ll be bureaucrats from Sacramento’s Condom Enforcement Squad. ……

If you’ve ever been in the filthy, infected wards of Britain’s National Health Service, it may make more sense after the passage of Obamacare to require hospitals to bring themselves up to the same hygiene standards as the average Bangkok porn shoot……

That’s 16,500 new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, who’ll be needed to check whether you – yes, you, Mr. and Mrs. Hopendope of 27 Hopeychangey Gardens – are in compliance with the 15 tax increases and dozens of new federal mandates ……..

 Mr. Obama is government, and government is Mr. Obama. That’s all he knows and all he’s ever known. ……

 If you have children, they’ll live in smaller homes, drive smaller cars, live smaller lives. If you don’t have children, you had better hope your neighbors do, because someone needs to spawn a working population large enough to pay for the unsustainable entitlements the Obama party has suckered you into thinking you’re entitled to. ……..

If we could “spread the wealth around” in relation to Mr. Steyn’s talent, we’d all be geniuses.

The Subversive Activities Registration Act

In South Carolina, terrorists and government-overthrowers must register with the government.

There’s a $5 fee

More at United Liberty.

Can I get Redhead Certification?

Because, you know, you might want to do business with redheads.  I’ll bet that you don’t do much business with redheads at all, you gingerist, you!

The reason that I ask this is, of course, that I have recently learned (courtesy of Amy Alkon) that some companies are all but required to get minority certification so that they can be included on business’s “vendor diversity lists” in order to allow those vendors to give themselves a big happy over the fact that they are hiring minorities.  Here’s what happens:

Certification is a review process designed to ensure that a small business is actually owned, controlled, and operated by the applicants. Most certifications are granted for Minority or Women owned businesses, Small Disadvantaged Businesses, and Underutilized businesses. Certification agencies implement the processes for government and private sector entities and ensure that only firms that meet the eligibility criteria of the individual programs are properly certified.

My dad works for the feds, and he’s complained about having to work specifically with minority or women owned businesses to me before.  He says that they are required to do so, but they generally get poor service and much higher prices than he believes that they would if they just shopped on the open market like anyone else.  But I guess when being a certain color or having certain sex organs gives you a leg up, you can afford to let a few other things drop. 

“We’re not even dealing with any constitutionality here.”

CNS news collects Democrats’ opinions on why they believe that the healthcare proposals are Constitutional. 

The general consensus: something along the lines of “Why should the constitution matter to things that the government does?”

“I don’t trust Comcast with my liver.”

Says Glenn Reynolds about a piece comparing government healthcare and cable monopolies.