Obama Makes A Come Back

Grind for September 5th, 2018
“I know, from the three visits I made to him, the blended composite of love and fear that exists only in a boy’s notion of his father.” – Donald Miller

To Infinity And Beyond

The Headline

UAE is blasting into space

The Grind

The United Arab Emirates announced on Monday it would be sending two astronauts to the International Space Station in 2019.

The mission will be a first for the UAE, which has invested $5.4 billion in a very ambitious space program unique to the Middle East.

Goals of the space program include:

— Launching the first Arab-built satellite, “KhalifaSat,” into space this October

— Sending the “Hope Mars Probe” into orbit around Mars by 2020

— Working with NASA and the ESA to train four Emirati civilians for a journey into space

— Establishing a human colony of 600,000 people on Mars by 2117

The Details

Dubai’s space program is unique to the Middle East, and the UAE hopes to become a regional hub for space technology as it moves away from oil and gas.

“This region was a strong contributor to society over 1,000 years ago,” says Salem Humaid AlMarri, assistant director general for science and technology at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai.

“It’s time that we come back, it’s not impossible…The UAE is leading by example. We are showing that we can do it.”

The UAE’s dreams of space exploration are part of a global competition that has China aiming for the moon and Trump dreaming about weaponizing space. It’s not surprising the Middle East would want to participate – if nothing else just to have the expertise to be able to send a person into space.

Back In Action

The Headline

Obama jumps into midterm elections, but steers clear of red states

The Grind

Former President Barack Obama will be breaking his post-presidential silence this month as he hits the campaign trail in support of Democratic candidates running for federal and state positions this November.

The upcoming midterms, which are widely seen as a sort of referendum on Trump’s performance, will decide control of the House and Senate as well as more than 30 gubernatorial races.

The Details

Obama in August announced his support for 81 Democrats. According to aides, the former president will be focusing on local races and lesser-known candidates in an effort to build the Democratic bench and to give the party more influence in the 2020 congressional redistricting.

Obama’s endorsement list failed to include prominent Senators like Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Claire McCaskill (Missouri), and Joe Donnelly (Indiana).

“I guess if you’re a Democrat running in a super red district, you wouldn’t want him to show up,” says political analyst Geoffrey Skelley. “But in most of the races that have a chance of being competitive, his endorsement would be mostly welcomed.”

The primary concern for Democrats running in red states is that support from Obama will fire up Trump’s voter base and lead to increased turnout on the Right. Others candidates worry that support from Obama could harm their chances of attracting Independent voters.

“Surrogates are fine but we don’t need them,” says Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), whose state in 2016 overwhelmingly voted for Trump. “The race is myself and Matt Rosendale and that’s the way we want to keep it.”

Did you know… All polar bears are left-handed.