3/3/2024: Operation Lone Star; 97 Books; Artemis

3/3/2024: Operation Lone Star; 97 Books; Artemis

Texas-Mexico Border

  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star to deter illegal border crossings, deploying thousands of police and soldiers and installing barriers.
  • Governor Abbott criticized the federal government for failing to fulfill its border obligations and ordered the State National Guard to block the border patrol from Shelby Park.
  • Despite increased manpower and barriers, migrants continue to find ways to cross the border illegally.
  • Governor Abbott plans to barricade all illegal crossing areas, turning the border into a "war zone."
  • The Biden Administration has carried out 4 million expulsions and deportations but has also allowed a record 3 million people to remain in the country during immigration proceedings.
  • A new law signed by Governor Abbott authorizes Texas law enforcement agencies to arrest migrants for illegally crossing the border, bypassing the federal immigration system.
  • Critics argue that the law is broadly written, raising concerns about racial profiling, but Texas law enforcement can only stop cars and check immigration status based on reasonable suspicion, not solely on someone's Latino appearance.
  • A federal judge temporarily blocked the law while it's being challenged in court.
  • Governor Abbott argues that Texas is being invaded and has the right to defend itself, but critics say that using the word "invasion" is inflammatory and could lead to violence.

Book Banning

  • There is a growing movement to ban certain books from public schools, inspired by groups like Moms for Liberty.
  • Buford, South Carolina, faced a battle over book banning when two people demanded the removal of 97 books.
  • The school board followed established procedures, allowing parents to opt out of their children checking out certain books, but activists threatened librarians and board members.
  • Superintendent Frank Rodriguez pulled the books from circulation due to fears of violence.
  • Book bans are being demanded across the country based on amateur volunteer reviews from websites like BookLooks, often in the hands of Moms for Liberty.
  • Moms for Liberty is a conservative group that opposes diversity and inclusion initiatives in schools and supports Florida laws that limit lessons on race and sexual orientation.
  • Critics accuse Moms for Liberty of having an anti-gay ideology, but the group denies this and claims to have gay members.
  • After a year of community discussions and deliberations, Buford voted to return 92 out of 97 challenged books to school libraries.

NASA's Artemis Program

  • NASA's Artemis program aims to send people back to the Moon and establish an outpost at the South Pole, but it faces significant cost and timeline challenges.
  • The cost per launch of the Artemis campaign is estimated to be $4.2 billion, and most components of the SLS rocket end up in the ocean after each launch.
  • NASA has contracted SpaceX to use its Starship Mega rocket as the lunar lander for the first Artemis astronauts, but SpaceX has faced technical challenges and delays with its Starship development.
  • NASA's contract with SpaceX requires an unmanned lunar landing before attempting one with astronauts, but the agency still maintains that the mission can happen by the end of 2026.
  • SpaceX's Starship has yet to reach orbit despite numerous launches last year, raising concerns about potential delays in NASA's timeline for human missions to the Moon.
  • NASA has expressed concerns about China's plans to send humans to the Moon by the end of the decade and has signed a new $3 billion contract with Blue Origin to build another lunar lander as a backup option.
  • Blue Origin's lunar lander is designed to be reusable and refueled in orbit, potentially reducing costs for future missions.
  • Blue Origin aims to land its cargo lander on the Moon within 12 to 16 months and is working with NASA on the Artemis 5 mission to land humans on the Moon by 2029.
  • Blue Origin's long-term goal is to establish lunar permanence and eventually land humans on Mars, viewing the Moon as a stepping stone to Mars exploration.

Herculaneum Scrolls

  • Researchers have successfully deciphered one of the brittle carbonized scrolls from the ancient city of Herculaneum, which was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

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