Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

House Republicans push for big spending in Defense and NIH budgets

Failure theater: Two different House committees have chosen to ignore the budget cutting recommendations of the Trump administration and add billions to the budget of the National Institute of Health while approving — against the objections of the administration — the creation of a military “space corps.”

The first story is especially galling. Instead of cutting NIH’s budget to $25.9 billion, which is about what the agency got in the early 2000s, the increase to NIH would raise its budget from $31.8 billion to $35.2 billion. Worse, the House proposal would continue the policy where NIH pays the overhead for any research grants, which has been an amazing cash cow for American universities, most of which are leftwing partisan operations whose focus these days is often nothing more than defeating Republicans and pushing agenda-driven science.

Trump was right to push for those cuts. The Republicans are fools to eliminate them.

As for the second story, as I noted yesterday, the limitations of the Outer Space Treaty are almost certainly what is pushing Congress now to create a separate military space division. That and a greedy desire to establish another bureaucracy where they can take credit for any additional pork barrel funding. While such a force will certainly be necessary should the Outer Space Treaty not be revised to allow sovereignty and the establishment of internationally recognized borders, it is simply too early to do so now. The result will be a bureaucratic mess that will only act to waste money and possibly hinder private development in space.

But then, that’s what too many Republicans, like Democrats, want. They aren’t really interested in the needs of the country. They are interested in pork and power, for themselves.


My July fund-raiser for Behind the Black is now over. The support from my readers was unprecedented, making this July campaign the best ever, twice over. What a marvelous way to celebrate the website's tenth anniversary!

Thank you! The number of donations in July, and continuing now at the beginning of August, is too many for me to thank you all personally. Please forgive me by accepting my thank you here, in public, on the website.

If you did not donate or subscribe in July and still wish to, note that the tip jar remains available year round.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


  • Mitch S.

    Other day i heard someone on the radio say we can’t blame Trump for not getting his agenda done because he’s facing such strong Democratic opposition.
    WRONG! – the biggest problem isn’t the Democrats, it’s the Republicans.

    All those other people who stood on the primary debate stages with Trump – what are you doing to get the things you claimed to stand for put into law/policy?

    The (republican) President AND the Sec of D both pleading with the republican controlled congress not to waste money on a “Space command” and the thing passes anyway.

    Yikes, the swamp creatures are strong – let’s see if anyone in congress is willing to stand up to them, and remember them at election time.

  • Orion314

    Many seem to forget last summer when the President told the Republicans to go make love to themselves, and threatened to run as an indie…Politicians of both stripes, do not forget something like that, nor do they ever forgive,,,,

  • LocalFluff

    Gotta love your president. There’s no one like him. And he somehow makes sure there never were.

    In Paris, as I saw it moments ago, he held mister Macron in his straight arm at his throat while kicking and whisking up there in the air. Saying that if this little guy, who admittedly has had a hair cut already, if he also shaves off that disgusting thing that’s growing around his ears, he might even get a job one day.

    So you like diplomacy? (While squeezing the throat). As in some corruptocrat getting a diploma paper from his king, and you claim to be French!? I didn’t hear you, my tremendous friend, don’t I interest you enough to make you speak out loud and clear? (Squeezing harder). Grrghu. I still don’t hear you. (Squeezing even harder). Now you’re talking! How hard was that? Not hard enough?

  • LocalFluff

    Mrs Macron till Melania in the background:
    “-No, that’s far from enough. You should see what I do to him in our basement. He’s a little crybaby.”

  • Diane Wilson

    If these things make it into the final bill, then it’s time for Trump’s first veto.

    When was the last time a President vetoed his own party? Some of these Congresscritters need that kind of wake-up call.

  • Cotour


    “All those other people who stood on the primary debate stages with Trump – what are you doing to get the things you claimed to stand for put into law/policy?”

    I do not think that any of those potential candidates are running for reelection. And that in the end will be the underlying justification for not just ripping off the infected bandage that Obamacare is off the backs of the American people.

    And when all is said and done I believe that the leadership of both party’s wants the single payer model.

  • Dick Eagleson


    I quite agree about the NIH. About the Space Corps, not so much. What follows is a copy and re-paste of something I just put on your previous post anent a Space Corps.


    I think your gyros are tumbled on this one.

    The Space Corps is not being proposed because of anything having to do with the OST, but because the U.S. has more vital space assets – military, civilian and dual-use – in various Earth orbits than any other nation and yet has no way whatsoever to actively defend any of them against attack. Space has been a responsibility of USAF for decades. USAF has, to put it mildly, consistently and flagrantly dropped the ball.

    The infamous Chinese ASAT test took place a decade ago. In that time, USAF has done a grand total of nothing toward providing active defense capability against direct-ascent ASAT weapons. Instead, it has repeatedly siphoned off money appropriated for space to cover deficits in bottomless-pit aircraft programs, notably the F-35. The Chinese have continued to develop direct-ascent ASAT weaponry and have now demonstrated the capability to reach satellites all the way from LEO to GEO altitudes. The Russians have built and deployed “stalker-sats” which, in recent times, have paid a number of up-close-and-personal visits to a number of civilian GEO comsats. At the moment, the U.S. has no capability at all to counter any of this. That is entirely USAF’s fault.

    Space is probably the most Rodney Dangerfield-like mission area within USAF’s purview in that it “don’t get no respect.” Anent career path and promotions, Space Command has always been a USAF backwater. It’s highest-ranking officer wears three stars. It’s funding is, essentially, a slush fund for whatever the fighter and bomber people need to cover their own deficits.

    The initial proposal is to stand up a “Space Corps” within USAF that would have roughly the same relationship to USAF as the Marine Corps does to the Navy. That would include separate career and promotion tracks and its own 4-star Commandant with a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Personally, I’d like to skip the intermediate step of a Corps and go directly to a fully-stand-alone Space Force analogous to what was done in the late 40’s in separating what is now USAF from the Army. The Marines do a lot better than USAF’s current Space Command at getting and effectively using resources, but still not, in my opinion, at a level commensurate with their contributions to U.S. national defense.

    A putative U.S. Space Corps/Force needs to be able to develop and deploy means of actively defending not only U.S. space-based assets from attack by hostile powers, but to deny said powers the use of their own space-based assets in the event of war. It also needs to provide space-based defense against hostile attack modes that transit space – ICBM’s and IRBM’s.

    All this can be done via unmanned orbital hardware. The U.S. commercial launch sector now leads the world in low-cost lift to LEO and beyond and it’s just getting warmed up. The U.S. military needs to leverage this unique capability to deploy so much defensive space weaponry that no opponent can possibly take enough of it out in a surprise attack to justify the effort. USAF, plainly, has no real intention of doing so as presently constituted. Hence, the Space Corps/Force idea.

    There are additional space missions of a type more directly analogous to those of the current U.S. Coast Guard. Some of these would probably benefit from the presence of human “Coasties” in orbit. Search and rescue in space and medical evacuation from space are two such. A more pressing chore that doesn’t require human presence is orbital debris mitigation.

    These are not missions that a Space Corps/Force would necessarily be best oriented or equipped to perform. I prefer a separate military arm to do these things. I think the U.S. High Guard – as I prefer it be named – be tasked to do these much more civilian-like missions.

    I expect to be publishing more on these matters in future, but these are large subject matter areas and the research is time-consuming.

  • David N Levy

    Almost all basic biomedical research is performed at universities using NIH funding. Cut that off significantly and the pipeline for new treatments will dry up. Most people don’t understand the difference between basic and applied research and how basic research is the sine qua non for drug development and other therapeutics, but that’s the way it works. You cannot expect drug companies to perform this research because the path to profit is too tenuous, for example studying how a fly gene causes developmental changes in flies may look today like a nonsense study but these kind of studies, for which there is no clear path to profit for up to 20 years are the basis for much of how we are developing gene therapies and even anti-HIV treatments now.

  • wayne

    My daughter works in drug-discovery, her company (top 4) spent $10 billion last year on R&D and is spending $12 billion this year, basic & applied research.

  • Cotour

    Related: When government comes to own you.

    Single payer, national healthcare, what ever you want to call it, in the end the government owns you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *