Thu, Jan 15, 2009
Choice Of Jonathan Scott Gration Draws Criticism From Florida
Recent reports of comments attributed to NASA Administrator
Michael Griffin have made it clear he doesn't expect to hold the
post after Inauguration Day. The former rocket scientist has been
criticized by some, called a genius by others... but has certainly
been unafraid to ruffle feathers and has, at times, eloquently
skewered his critics in public statements.
Now, MSNBC reports President-elect Obama, who campaigned on a
promise to make space exploration a lower priority, has chosen a
replacement for the
sometimes colorful Griffin.
Retired Air Force Major General Jonathan Scott Gration is a
decorated jet fighter pilot reared by missionary parents in Africa,
and who reportedly spoke Swahili before he did English. He'll
reportedly be Obama's choice to head NASA.
Mention of Gration's name is already drawing fire, even from
within the Democratic Party.
Former astronaut and current Florida senior Senator Bill Nelson,
who actively campaigned with Obama, apparently takes a dim view of
Gration's lack of space-program experience. The expected nominee's
only role with NASA came in 1982 as a White House Fellow for NASA's
deputy administrator Hans Mark.
Senator Nelson's comment upon hearing of Gration's likely
nomination was, "I think President Bush made a mistake when he
appointed someone without NASA experience in Sean O'Keefe to head
the agency." O'Keefe was the NASA Administrator who ended up
resigning after the Columbia disaster.
If the new president hopes for a smooth confirmation process for
Gration, he'd do well to get the Florida senator on board. Nelson
is the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics,
and Related Sciences, which will be charged with evaluating
Gration's credentials before the full Senate is asked to
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