No budget deal: The Democrats continue to refuse to give in at all, and the bulk of the Republican caucus has shown some spine and refused to cave.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.

Well hallelujah and amen! No budget deal: The Democrats continue to refuse to give in at all, and the Republicans have shown some spine and refused to cave.

This deadlock has been a team effort, from both sides. To say it is entirely the fault of one party or the other is to reveal your partisanship.

Nonetheless, legislation requires negotiation, and the only ones refusing to negotiate at all have been the Democrats. In the real world outside of government, such pig-headedness always results in no deal at all.

Right now it looks like 17% of the government will remain shut for quite awhile. And with the debt ceiling kicking in, the federal government will find its hands tied even more. The American people are about to find out that life will go on quite successfully without their big daddy to boss them around.


Every July, to celebrate the anniversary of the start of Behind the Black in 2010, I hold a month-long fund-raising campaign to make it possible for me to continue my work here for another year.

This year's fund-raising drive however is more significant in that it is also the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.

This year's fund drive is also more important because of the growing intolerance of free speech and dissent in American culture. Increasingly people who don't like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine. I have tried to insulate myself from this tyrannical effort by not depending on Google advertising or cross-posts Facebook or Twitter. Though this prevents them from having a hold on me, it also acts to limit my exposure.

Therefore, I hope you will please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


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

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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
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  • Cotour

    The president must be forced to adhere to the Constitution, there is no other option.

  • Patrick Ritchie

    Agreed, neither party is completely at fault here.

    In many ways the current crisis proves that the system works: congress, the senate and the white house all have to cooperate for the government to function. It’s messy and I don’t endorse all the tactics being employed, but the situation is forcing all parties involved to negotiate and reach a compromise.

    If they fail to do so then government shutdown will (and should) continue.

  • I will now gaze into my crystal ball… I see brand new “extraordinary measures” to continue paying the national debt and all the entitlements. Meanwhile, I expect more of the currently shut down federal government to receive waivers or workarounds so they can reopen. I also see more money rolling off the printing presses and no-one really caring about the inflation because it doesn’t immediately affect real prices in a world a consumer credit.

    This can hold out until the election, when restarting the federal government actually makes a great campaign promise..

  • joe

    I think all of the presidents study on the constitution was in ways to subvert the constitution, he sees the constitution as a road block to his agenda to radically transform this nation, its almost as if he really wants a collapse of the greatest nation on this earth, so far he is living up to his promises, there is no compromise with this evil man.

  • Lois Johnson

    Wasn’t it amazing how efficient the government was at erecting barracades at the WWII memorial? It was like … they knew something. Or they were setting up something.

    Why would the Democrats do this? Why do they seem to be enjoying this shutdown? Is it because the executive branch now has more power than the House?

    Why do they seem to be enjoying the Affordable Care Act debacle? It is confusing people, making them anxious, making them … vulnerable?

  • Cotour

    Your correct to this degree, I believe that Obama is using his knowledge of the Constitution as the ,means of its own destruction. Would I define him as “evil” in the strictest of terms? No, he is just a true believer, he is a true believer in the Marxist / socialist model, which I believe he, as best as he can is attempting to install in America. Obama is the push back in the mind of many Americans to the abuses of power of G.Bush jr. and counter intuitively the extension in many ways to the abuses of power of G.Bush jr.. (Patriot act, NSA, NDAA) Combine that true believer intent and some competence in communications with the inability of a good many Republicans who have lost their Constitutional focus and an inability to properly and comprehensively communicate and you have the scenario playing out right now in our country. The Republicans are reacting not acting, that is not the definition of leadership.

    There has been a class of people, at least two generations deep, created by the political class that is dependent on the big government model in which they receive much of what they need to exist from that big government model. And they tend to perpetuate that model by voting for their own self interest. They have an expectation of entitlement to government monies, in other words, other peoples money. They grow up in it and assume that that model is a “normal and good” reality model. They are in reality dependent, just like big government intends.

    While I try not to see things in only black and white terms, more shades of gray and degrees of government bigness, there is a line at which if you do not have self control and wisdom and you can not stop you must become socialist / communist/ Marxist etc. And that means the destruction, not evolution of America.

  • Cotour

    I offer this segment from a news story today about the Corry Booker / Steve Lonegan Senate race as proof of the Republicans inability to properly communicate using positive imagery:

    “In recent weeks, Lonegan, the former state director of Americans for Prosperity, a group funded by the conservative Koch brothers, has appeared to close in on Booker.

    But after a series of debate performances in which Lonegan touted his conservatism, applauding Republicans in government for their role in the federal government’s shutdown, Booker began to rebound.”

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