Archive for April, 2012

Fallen Tyrants, a lesson for others!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2012 by sheriffali

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor was convicted Thursday of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity for supporting brutal rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone in return for “blood diamonds.” Taylor is the first head of state convicted by an international court since the post-World War II Nuremberg military tribunal.


He is part of a long parade of modern leaders accused of war crimes. Here is what happened to some others: LAURENT GBAGBO The former Ivory Coast president is also jailed in The Hague awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The crimes were allegedly committed as he attempted to cling to power last year after losing a presidential election.


OMAR AL-BASHIR The ICC accused the Sudanese president of orchestrating genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur and issued an arrest warrant for him. However, he remains free in Sudan, which is locked into hostilities with South Sudan. The U.N. estimates that 300,000 people died and 2.7 million were displaced in the Darfur conflict.

MOAMMAR GADHAFI Libya’s leader became the first ruler killed in the Arab Spring uprisings that swept the region in 2011. He ruled for nearly 42 years with an eccentric brutality, turning Libya into an isolated pariah, then an oil power courted by the West, then back again. The rebels who toppled him were backed by a NATO bombing campaign.

SADDAM HUSSEIN The former Iraqi dictator was hanged at age 69 in 2006 after an Iraqi trial. His brutality kept him in power through war with Iran, defeat in Kuwait, rebellions by northern Kurds and southern Shiite Muslims and international sanctions. A U.S.-led invasion drove him from power in 2003.

GEN. AUGUSTO PINOCHET The former Chilean president died in 2006 at age 91 in a military hospital, ending a decade of intensifying efforts to bring him to trial for human rights abuses blamed on his regime. He had terrorized his opponents for 17 years after taking power in a bloody coup in 1973.


SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC The former Serb leader was found dead in 2006 in his prison cell in The Hague, Netherlands. That abruptly ended his four-year U.N. war crimes trial for orchestrating a decade of conflict in the Balkans which left 250,000 dead and the Yugoslav federation torn asunder. He was 64.

IDI AMIN Uganda’s deposed dictator lived in exile in Saudi Arabia until his death around the age of 80 in 2003. His regime was notorious for torturing and killing suspected opponents in the 1970s. His cruel, extravagant ways led to social disintegration and economic decline in his landlocked African nation.

POL POT The toppled Khmer Rouge leader died in the Cambodian jungle at age 73 in 1998, cheating pursuers who believed they were days away from capturing him for prosecution in the deaths of as many as 2 million countrymen. He ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, seeking to create a Marxist agrarian regime but leaving one person in five dead of starvation, illness or execution.

ADOLF HITLER The Nazi dictator, who committed suicide in his Berlin bunker in 1945, was responsible for the Holocaust and the deaths of millions during World War II. KARL DOENITZ The only other head of state convicted by an international court. The Nazi naval commander briefly led Germany after Adolf Hitler’s suicide and was convicted by a military tribunal at Nuremberg after World War II.

RADOVAN KARADZIC Prosecutors at the U.N.’s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal are close to wrapping up their case against the former Bosnian Serb leader. He is charged with genocide and other war crimes stemming from Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war.




President Obama says Romney is stuck with conservative views!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2012 by sheriffali

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney can’t disavow the conservative views he embraced as candidate during the Republican presidential primaries, President Barack Obama says in a new interview. However, Obama acknowledges that he too is struggling against public skepticism because of the slow economic recovery.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Obama covered a range of topics, from his relations with the Pentagon to his reflections on race to his two acclaimed though abbreviated moments of public singing.


“I can sing,” he said matter-of-factly. “I wasn’t worried about being able to hit those notes.” The interview, conducted earlier this month by Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, will appear in the issue of the magazine that hits newsstands Friday. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the interview ahead of publication.

For Obama, the magazine interview and its cover portrait will complete a week of outreach to young voters, including a two-day tour of three college campuses in key election swing states and an appearance on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

Analyzing the election campaign ahead of him, Obama avoided characterizing Romney as a flip-flopper, a common criticism Romney faced during the Republican primary contests, and instead tagged him as a candidate who willfully embraces the Republican Party’s most conservative views.

“I don’t think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, ‘Everything I’ve said for the last six months, I didn’t mean,'” Obama said. “I’m assuming that he meant it. When you’re running for president, people are paying attention to what you’re saying.”

Obama’s answer underscores an approach his advisers have been emphasizing lately, casting the race as one of sharp contrasts between two distinct candidates, parties and ideologies. He said his own political burden is describing to Americans the progress that has occurred during his administration and how, if sustained, it could lead to economic security. “There’s understandable skepticism,” he said, “because things are still tough out there.”

Discussing his relationship with the military, Obama said, in the clearest terms yet, that he had to rein in the Pentagon as he sought to close down the war in Iraq on schedule and re-focus the military effort in Afghanistan. He said that with the help of then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, he made it clear to the military brass that “I very much believe in civilian control of our military, and that military decisions are in service of strategies and broader conceptions of diplomacy that are made here in this White House.”

“They know I care about them and I respect them, and I think they respect me and listen to what I say,” he said. “They understand that I’m the commander in chief.” He said the operation to kill Osama bin Laden illustrated the “constructive relationship” he has developed with the Pentagon.

On Iraq, he said he had fulfilled his promise to end the war responsibly. “It wasn’t as fast as some people would have liked,” he said. “It was probably faster than some folks in the Pentagon would have liked.”

Reflecting on whether there had been a change in racial politics since he became president, Obama said he has never accepted the idea that his election represented a “post-racial period.” Still, he said, he often hears people remark about the importance to black children of having an African-American president and African-American first lady.

“That’s hugely important,” he added, “but you shouldn’t also underestimate the fact that there are a whole bunch of little white girls and white boys all across the country who just take it for granted that there’s an African-American president. That’s the president they’re growing up with, and that’s changing attitudes.”

No interview with Rolling Stone is complete without cultural touchstones. Obama recalled watching singer Mick Jagger rehearse for his appearance during a February White House tribute to the blues and was impressed by the respect the Rolling Stones frontman displayed toward lesser-known and younger musicians. He said Jagger recalled the generosity he had experienced upon meeting blues greats like Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King, and displayed “the sense of him wanting to do that same thing, that it all comes full circle.”

As he often does, Obama said he is not a fan of television news, though he admitted to liking Comedy Central’s satirical “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, whom he called “brilliant.” ”It’s amazing to me the degree to which he’s able to cut through a bunch of the nonsense,” the president said.Image

Our children’s future and the generations to come!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2012 by sheriffali



Ninety eight percent {98%} of the American people are being deprived of the benefits that should be implemented by the House of Representatives and the Senate.


The Republican controlled House of Representatives are blocking any and all meaningful legislation because they hold the majority and Republicans in the Senate are doing the same, because the Democrats do not have sixty votes to break the “Filibuster and Cloture Rule 22.”


If the Bills that are blocked in the House of Representatives and Filibustered in the Senate by the Republicans were in the interest of the American people, that would be admirable, however, the Republicans are using these methods “as a deceitful means to a deceitful end!”


Just imagine that these are the same people that literally tossed us into deep and unforgiving waters from 2001 through 2008, when they controlled the House, Senate and the Right Wing Supreme Court, and yet, without any sense of conscience or shame, their aspiration isn’t to make your life better, it is “to once again control The White House, The House of Representatives and The Senate, come November 2012!


Are the American people going to allow this to happen on November 6, 2012? Well, I am not sure because I “know” that the American people are goodhearted human beings, but I also know “that they are big on mouth and short on memory!”


The proof is that it only took two years [November 2008 through November 2010] for the American people to reinstall the Republicans in control of the House of Representatives and increase the Republicans number in the Senate, despite the “calamity” these same people imposed on us!


One cannot attribute this type of behavior to have any nexus with logic, this is just plain “dumb!”


To those that are criticizing Obama as some kind of dictator stop the whining! You have been saying that since he took office, and continually compared him to Stalin and Hitler for wanting to give the nation health care.


You’ve unfairly never accepted him as President in part and let us face facts; it is because of his race. For his first two years in office, he honestly tried to reach out to Republicans again and again only to be responded to in the most undignified and insulting manner a president has had to suffer in modern history. The “Party of No” has been using obstructionism as a political tactic to put their party’s chances of victory ahead of critical national priorities.


And now the president finally is doing something about it. He is not, however, becoming a dictator or doing anything unconstitutional. He is not declaring martial law or declaring some new powers the office has never had. He’s finally using some of the powers that he’s thus far been reluctant to use.


I applaud his decision. He honestly tried bipartisanship for years only to have Republicans in Congress act like a bunch of petulant children who refuse to play at all if they can’t be in charge. Our nation has too many serious problems to wait for Republican officials to start acting like adults.


Sheriff AliImage

6 – year-old African American child handcuffed and jailed for throwing tantrum at kindergartner; 12 – year-old Hispanic child is being tried as an adult; but yet, George Zimmerman is allowed bail!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20, 2012 by sheriffali

Most of the time if you are a “minority” [non-white], justice is blind, deaf and dumb, and that is a fact!

If TRAYVON MARTIN was the “shooter,” he would have been charged for First Degree Murder and ordered to stand trial as an adult despite being 17 years of age at the time of his death.


A 6 year old child in Georgia was handcuffed and taken to jail because the child was misbehaving. She is African American.


In another case in Florida, a 12 year old Hispanic child is being tried as an adult for murder!


And yet, George Zimmerman whose father is a retired Magistrate, killed Trayvon Martin in “cold-blood,”  was allowed to walk around for 53 days; subsequently arrested and charged for 2nd degree murder [a non-bail-able offense] but yet granted a $150,000.00 bond so that he can go back to his normal life while Trayvon Martin decomposed body continues to deteriorate.  


Bottom line is; most of the time if you are a “minority” [non-white], justice is blind, deaf and dumb, and that is a fact!

Sheriff Ali

Police in the US state of Georgia handcuffed a kindergartner with her arms behind her back after the girl threw a tantrum. The police chief defended the action as a safety measure.

The girl’s family demanded Tuesday that their central Georgia city change policy so that other children aren’t treated the same way. They say the child was shaken up by the ordeal.

While it’s unusual to see a young child handcuffed in school, it’s not unheard of. School officials around America have wrestled with the issue of when it’s appropriate to call police on a student.

Salecia Johnson, 6, was accused of tearing items off the walls and throwing books and toys in an outburst Friday at Creekside Elementary School in Milledgeville, according to a police report.

Police said a small shelf thrown by the child struck the principal in the leg during the fracas. The child also jumped on a paper shredder and tried to break a glass frame, the police report states.

The school called police. When an officer tried to calm the child in the principal’s office, she resisted, police say. She “was restrained by placing her hands behind her back and handcuffed,” a police report states.

A juvenile complaint was filed, accusing the girl of simple battery and damage to property.

The police department’s policy is to handcuff people when they are taken to the police station, regardless of their age, interim Police Chief Dray Swicord said. He said the child was restrained with steel cuffs, the only kind the department uses.

“The reason we handcuff detainees is for the safety of themselves as well as the officer,” he said Tuesday.

The girl’s aunt, Candace Ruff, went with the child’s mother to pick her up from the police station. She said Salecia had been in a holding cell and complained about the handcuffs.

“She said they were really tight. She said they really hurt her wrists,” Ruff said. “She was so shaken up when we went there to pick her up.”

The police chief said the girl was taken to the police department’s squad room, not a holding cell, and officers there tried to calm her and gave her a Coke.

Officials at Creekside Elementary did not immediately return calls Tuesday.

The girl was suspended and can’t return to school until August, her mother, Constance Ruff, told WMAZ-TV, which first reported the story.

“We would not like to see this happen to another child, because it’s horrifying. It’s devastating,” her aunt told The Associated Press.

Milledgeville is about 145 kilometres southeast of Atlanta.

Source: APImage

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Wendy’s, Kraft Foods, Mars and many other companies are running for cover for indirectly supporting Bad Laws!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2012 by sheriffali

“American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC] wrote and continues to write prototypes of State Laws to promote corporate and conservative interests, spreading them from one State Capital to others, financed by business leaders, this forty-year old organization is run by right-wing extremists


With News Agencies alerting the public to the damage caused by ALEC; voter ID laws that marginalize minorities and the elderly; antiunion bills that hurt middle class and the total destruction of the Environmental Regulations that protects our society and way of life, the Council known as ALEC has become better known for their egregiously pernicious machinations.


American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC] and the National Rifle Association [NRA] have played a big role in the passage of the “STAND YOUR GROUND” self defense laws around the country. It is self evident that the Original Statute passed in Florida in 2005 and signed into law by then Governor Jeb Bush was a main factor in the local police inability to arrest George Zimmerman after he killed the teenager, TRAYVON MARTIN.


The pernicious killing of the teenager that permeated pressure from activists and consumers who formed a grass-root COUNTERWEIGHT to Corporate Treasuries; caused the above Companies and others to have stopped funding [ALEC].


This pressure by Consumers is likely to continue as long as State Lawmakers are more responsive to the needs of big donors than the public interest.


The former Miami Police Chief John Timoney called the “Stand your ground” law a “recipe for disaster,” and he said he and other Police Chiefs had correctly predicted it would lead to more violent road-rage incidents and drug killings. Indeed, “justifiable homicides” inFlorida have triple since 2005.


Former Governor Jeb Bush signed into law in 2005 the “Stand your ground” law against the objections of Law Enforcement groups. The N.R.A. pushedFlorida’s “Stand your ground” law through the State Legislature.


ALEC bemoaned the opposition it is facing and claimed it is only interested in job creation, government accountability and pro-business policies. ALEC like the NRA makes no mention of its role in pushing a law that Police Departments believe is increasing gun violence and deaths. That’s probably because big business is beginning to realize that the “Stand Your Ground” laws are indefensible.


Sheriff AliImage


Posted in Uncategorized on April 16, 2012 by sheriffali

Think of the music from the song…

(Take these chains from my heart and set me free)



Newt, take these pains from my heart and set me free

How the hell Romney is going to be the nominee?

Mitt lies faster than he can run

Now, the GOP White House hope is gone,

And all my pain just lingers on!


If the GOP finds somebody new

Newt, what do you think that would do?

Rick, we would still be tattooed and blue

Romney will always wear the flip-flopper shoe

And yes, our pain just liners on!


Newt, please give my heart some sympathy

Even the Pope can’t believe what he sees,

And just take a good look at Mitt Romney

All he’s doing is counting money,

We should have never listened to Sean Hannity!


© Sheriff Ali 2012Image

Congressman Allen West is a stupid man and like all stupid people, he continually says “stupid things!”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2012 by sheriffali

Republican Rep. Allen West said he believes 75-plus House Democrats are members of the Communist Party, a claim that echoed Joe McCarthy’s unsubstantiated 1950s charges that communists had infiltrated the top ranks of the U.S. government.

Addressing a town-hall meeting Tuesday in Florida, the freshman lawmaker was asked how many members of the American legislature are “card-carrying Marxists.” West said “there are about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party.” He did not provide names.

West’s office said Wednesday that the congressman stood by the comments and was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the largest group within the House Democratic caucus.

“The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies,” said Angela Melvin, a spokeswoman for West. “The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself. These individuals certainly aren’t proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom.”

West’s office cited a May 2010 article on health care that appeared in the Communist Party USA pre-convention publication that described the Progressive Caucus and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., as allies of the party but not members. The article, however, carried the disclaimer that Communist Party USA “takes no responsibility for the opinions expressed in this article or other articles in the pre-convention discussion.”

Reps. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the co-chairs of the caucus, rejected West’s claim. “Allen West is denigrating the millions of Americans who voted to elect Congressional Progressive Caucus members, and he is ignoring the oath they took to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution — just like he did,” the two said in a statement. “Calling fellow members of Congress ‘communists’ is reminiscent of the days when Joe McCarthy divided Americans with name-calling and modern-day witch hunts that don’t advance policies to benefit people’s lives.”

Grijalva and Ellison said West “repeatedly polarizes the American people instead of focusing on their interests. When people like Rep. West have no ideals or principles, they rely on personal attacks.”

The caucus, founded in 1991, includes 75 House members and one senator and describes its goals as economic fairness, civil rights, environmental protection, energy independence and global security. The Palm Beach Post first reported the congressman’s comments.

During the Cold War, McCarthy, a Republican senator from Wisconsin, claimed that communists and Soviet spies had burrowed their way into the federal government. He never produced the documentation to back up his claims.


Source: AP



Hillary is not going to President Obama’s Democratic convention in Charlotte. Evidently, she’s going to wait for her own.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2012 by sheriffali

State of cool by Maureen Dowd!


Hillary is not going to President Obama’s Democratic convention in Charlotte. Evidently, she’s going to wait for her own.

There were intriguing developments on the presidential trail Tuesday, and I don’t mean Rick Santorum dropping out.

Hillary Clinton cemented her newly cool image and set off fresh chatter about her future when she met at the State Department with two young men who created a popular Internet meme  showing photos of the secretary of state on a military plane, wearing big sunglasses, checking her BlackBerry and looking as if she’s ready to ice somebody.

The pictures, as Raymond Chandler would say, make Hillary look “as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.”

The meme, which exploded on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, was dreamed up last Wednesday by Hillary fans Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe, communications specialists here in Washington, at the gay sports bar Nellie’s.

It features invented tongue-in-cheek texts between the don’t-mess-with-me Hillary in dark shades and other famous people pictured on their gadgets.

When Mitt Romney texts “Any advice?” to Hillary, she replies: “Drink.” She rejects a “friend” request from Mark Zuckerberg, cuts off Joe Biden when he tries to tell a bar joke, instructs a cooing Ryan Gosling to call her “Madam Secretary,” blows off Jon Stewart by saying she’s already booked on Colbert, and wields a put-down from “The Devil Wears Prada” on Anna Wintour.

When the president asks, “Hey Hil, Whatchu doing?” she ripostes: “Running the world.” And when a young woman texts, “It’s 3 am and I think something’s happening,” Hillary snaps: “On it.”

I asked the dazzling Diana Walker — the Time magazine photographer who took one of the totemic pictures of Hillary on a C-17 flight last fall from Malta to Tripoli for a cover story on “Hillary and the Rise of Smart Power” — what made her black-and-white shot such a sensation.

“I don’t think she was meaning to be cool,” Walker said. “She just reached in her bag to get some glasses to read her BlackBerry before the plane took off for Tripoli.”

Walker told me she got a letter from a young woman, a friend of her son’s, who said she stared at the image for a long time. “It truly sent chills down my spine,” the woman wrote, “and I immediately shared it with my daughter because of the power it portrayed.”

With women under attack, that sense of serene toughness has strong appeal.

The Hillary flurry is telling.

During the 2008 Democratic primary, Barack Obama had a lock on young people, technology chic and the press. Hillary was regarded by kids as the lady who’d been around a long time, wearing headbands and pantsuits. She had a paranoid relationship with the press and an antiquated take on technology.

Now she’s quick to laugh at herself and take advantage of the positive buzz, even posting her own captions with trendy argot on the “Texts From Hillary” site.

As Jonathan Darman, who covered Hillary’s campaign for Newsweek, noted: “The speed with which she’s embraced it suggests something has really changed in her. If this were 2008, the conversation around her would have been: 1) What is Tumblr? 2) What is Facebook? and 3) How do we get them to take down the Tumblr and/or how do we destroy Facebook?”

Hillary has a history of being more popular when she seems less in control. The Monica fiasco made her such a sympathetic figure that she glided into a Senate seat. Losing to Obama and becoming his hard-working subordinate has, at times, won her higher approval ratings than the president.

So now that she seems ready to leave the stage at 64 and take a deserved nap, she is at her least polarizing.

Her savvy public image gambit on Tuesday sent a signal she may not be leaving the stage forever. She has not only shored up her techie cred and popularity with young people. Hillary, who kept the press at a distance in 2008, is now well-liked by the press corps traveling with her around the world. Unlike Obama, she seems to enjoy going out with reporters and having a cocktail after a hard day of trilats.

In another sign she’s in vogue, she’s the model for a character, Elaine Barrish Hammond, a defeated presidential contender and divorced former first lady who becomes secretary of state, in a new TV show called “Political Animals” scheduled to air this summer on the USA Network. Hillary will be conjured up by Sigourney Weaver, wearing a ruby-red pantsuit in the first scene and described in the script this way: “Even in the pantsuit she’s breathtaking. Brilliant and indefatigable — Elaine is a force and a beauty. … she has a regal countenance. If America had a queen, it would be Elaine.”



“No matter how good or bad you think life is, wake up each day and be thankful for life. Someone somewhere else is fighting to survive.”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2012 by sheriffali

We were told to give thanks in everything, not in some things or the things we enjoy or whenever we feel like it, but in everything. The more we do that, the less we could complain and eventually realize that when we thought we had nothing to be grateful for, we actually had a lot.

We are to give thanks by faith knowing that God will never leave us nor forsake us; there is always an answer, and so even when we do not know what the answer is, or how it will come, we should give thanks.

When the storms flood our lives and everywhere you turn all the doors are closed, look for an open window;, if you’re in the deepest, darkest pit, make a joyful sound, it will echo;, when your world comes crashing down on you and you fall on your knees, cry out to God in prayer, He has already heard you, for His Son was His grant for our salvation, the battle He has already won, rise up, have faith and walk on those flood waters.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.” 



Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2012 by sheriffali

NASA’s scientifically productive and publicly popular Kepler mission, launched three years ago to seek evidence for Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of stars in the Milky Way galaxy, was one of nine maturing astrophysics programs that won endorsement for an extension this week, following an agency sponsored Senior Review Committee evaluation.


But the 2012 Science Review of Operating Missions in the NASA Astrophysics Division included a stern note for the all-stars as well: cut operating costs.


The SRC, which this year included representatives from a dozen universities, other government agencies and industry, will convene again in two years to reassess their recommendations and the responses.


The good news for the lineup, whose heavy hitters include the 22-year-old Hubble Space Telescope and the 13-year-old Chandra X-ray Observatory, was support by the peer review process for operations through 2016 in eight cases and 2014 in the other.


“The SRC strongly urges the HST to consider all possible avenues, vigorously pursuing ways to accelerate cost reductions without compromising mission safety even if some science is not enabled,” the panel cautioned the Hubble team in the April 4 report that included the Kepler extension recommendation. “To keep HST operating while maintaining the overall balance of NASA’s astrophysics program, it will be necessary to seek further cost reductions, even at the expense of some observing efficiency.”


NASA’s proposed 2013 budget of $17.7 billion, a match for this year, will go unchanged through 2017, according to the out-year projections. Within the top line, astrophysics declines to $659 million for 2013, and then rises to no more than $710 million over the same period. The spending plan reflects the difficult choices NASA faces as it contends with the over budget James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble’s successor, which now carries a separate budget line as it strives for a 2018 liftoff.


Kepler, though praised for finding more than 2,000 exoplanet candidates among the 170,000 stars within its view, was not spared similar advice.

“The Kepler mission is an outstanding success,” the SRC wrote, noting the project’s unique place among NASA’s overall goals of understanding the evolution of the universe and the prospects for life beyond Earth. “A large fraction of the cost is for science operations, and the mission should consider carefully how they can reduce these and other costs in the extended phase.”


 He first ‘A’ in NASA’s acronym name — Aeronautics — will play a leading role in the final flights of its recently retired spacecraft program. The space agency will take to the air Thursday (April 5) to prepare for the first in a series of deliveries of space shuttles to museums.


Set to deploy two out of its four orbiters later this month, NASA will first to Washington, D.C. for its display by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. If weather allows, a modified Boeing 747 will convey the 30-year shuttle program’s fleet leader from the Kennedy Space Center in Fla. to Washington Dulles International Airport on the morning of Tuesday, April 17.


On the way, NASA’s shuttle carrier aircraft with Discovery flying piggyback will pass over the nation’s capital, setting up the possibility of flyovers of the city’s monuments and federal buildings. The exact route will rely on the weather, and for security reasons may not be released until the day of the flight.


 *Discovery’s final ferry flight could provide a rare photo op of the orbiter and shuttle carrier aircraft over Washington, D.C. Here the shuttle Endeavour flies over Houston, Texas in 2008.* (NASA)To be ready for what may be a photo opportunity though, NASA will dispatch two T-38 training jets into the skies over Washington, DC on Thursday to scope out the view.


“They’re going to be flying to various locations and taking photographic imagery to scout out possible routes and the areas that they might want to fly over if weather will permit on the day of Discovery’s arrival,” NASA spokesman Mike Curie said. “These flights will help determine how viable it might be to do a flyover of Washington with the shuttle carrier aircraft.”


 *Air and space*


NASA is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to navigate the restricted airspace over the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The two T-38 training jets will fly approximately 1,500 feet (457 meters) above Washington between 9:30 and 11 a.m. EDT (1330 and 1500 GMT).


NASA put out the advance word of the activity so as not to concern those who may spot the jets flying overhead.



 *2007 photo of NASA T-38 training jets flying in tandem.* (NASA)The white and blue T-38s, which are sometimes referred to as “white rockets” for their narrow fuselage, were used by shuttle astronauts to gain experience and proficiency working in dynamic environments. The jets were also used as chase planes for the shuttles when they returned from orbit.


The T-38 pilots for Thursday’s scouting flight will be NASA trainers rather than astronauts.


One or more of the T-38s may rendezvous with the shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA) when it arrives on April 17 to deliver Discovery.


 *Mission markings*


Discovery’s final ferry flight will mark the 38th time it has taken to the air atop NASA 905, the original of two shuttle carrier aircraft. NASA retired its second earlier this year.



 *Recently-applied note the ferry flight history of NASA’s original shuttle carrier aircraft.* (Tony Landis) NASA 905 is scheduled to fly into Kennedy Space Center from Dryden Flight Research Center in Calif. on April 10. Four days later, Discovery will be lowered onto the SCA’s back using the Mate-Demate Device, a large, gantry-like steel structure designed to load and unload orbiters for their ferry flights.


At Dulles, large cranes will fill the same role in reverse, lowering Discovery to the ground so it can be towed to the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center located adjacent to the airport.


An arrival ceremony, including a parade of space shuttle Discovery’s former astronaut crew members, is planned for April 19. The event will launch the Smithsonian’s four day public festival celebrating the orbiter’s addition to the National Collection.


The shuttle carrier aircraft will meanwhile be paired with another orbiter, the prototype Enterprise, which will depart for New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday, April 23, weather permitting. Later this summer, Enterprise will be barged around Manhattan to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.


NASA 905, which in preparation for its museum deliveries was amended with painted mission markings showing the tally of all of its ferry flights, will fly its last, to Los Angeles in September. The orbiter will then be rolled over land to the California Science Center the following month.