Jack On Friday, January 28, 2011

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This week, the President delivered his State of the Union Address, focused on jobs and the economy, and he took those ideas on the road traveling to Upstate New York and Wisconsin.

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Jack On Thursday, January 27, 2011

On January 28, 1986, space shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into flight, killing all seven crewmembers on board. It was the first time NASA had lost astronauts during a spaceflight.

Few who were alive 25 years ago can forget that day, nor the iconic footage and photographs of the pale, corkscrewing plumes in the sky where Challenger had just been. The failure of a pressure seal in one of the two solid-rocket boosters was later identified as the cause of the shuttle's breakup.

The disaster must have been especially personal for Charles Bolden, now NASA's chief, who was a member of the astronaut corps at the time. In fact, he had just concluded a shuttle mission 10 days prior to Challenger's launch in 1986. Bolden and NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver will honor the Challenger crew as part of NASA's annual Day of Remembrance by laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on the morning of January 27. Similar events are planned for Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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Jack On Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, “The United States plans to send 1,400 additional Marines to Afghanistan to boost its struggle forces ahead of the spring fighting season".

The United States, which lead a 2001 attack of Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban, has about 100,000 troops in the country, and President Barack Obama is under stress to show results so he can begin a promised withdrawal this year.
"The Marine battalion could start arriving on the ground as early as mid January. The forces would mostly be deployed in the south, around Kandahar, where the U.S. has determined troops over the past several months." the paper said. It cited unidentified officials.
The Taliban are at their strongest since they were ousted form power, while operations against the insurgency have intensified since 2008. More than 700 foreign troops were killed in Afghanistan last year, and civilian wounded were at record levels.
Obama said last month, that enough progress was being made in the operation to meet his pledge to start withdrawing U.S. troops by July and hand over security to Afghan forces by 2014.