Former Astronaut Lisa Nowak Recommended for “Less Than Honorable Discharge” from U.S. Navy

Ah, the complications that arise when romantic commitments go awry. Perhaps most tragic is when it’s all played out in public and the personal pain of all parties concerned becomes fodder for the media.

Such is the case with Lisa Nowak, who was an astronaut for NASA until gaining infamy for being the explosive tip of a love triangle.  Nowak, who was a mission specialist in robotics on the space shuttle Discovery in 2006, went from being a woman worthy of emulation for the strides she made in a male-dominated field (she was a Naval Flight Officer and achieved the rank of Captain) to just another person driven to despair by romantic entanglements.

Nowak is back in the news of late as a Navy panel has recommended downgrading her rank to Commander and refusing to give her an honorable discharge.

From Fox News:

A Navy panel says the service should discharge former astronaut Lisa Nowak, who lost her NASA job over a bizarre airport attack on a romantic rival.

The panel made the recommendation Thursday after a daylong hearing at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville.

The recommendation now goes to the Naval Personnel Command. A final decision will be made by the Secretary of the Navy.

The panel recommended downgrading Nowak from captain to commander and giving her a discharge of “other than honorable.”

So what exactly did Nowak do?  It was pretty sensationalized back in the winter of 2007, but basically she went to the Orlando International Airport armed with paraphernalia ranging from pepper spray to a black wig to a BB gun with the alleged purpose of kidnapping Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman, the girlfriend of Nowak’s kinda sorta secret boyfriend William Oefelein, who was also an astronaut.

Despite being pepper sprayed by Nowak while sitting in her car, Shipman managed to reach the parking lot booth and get help.

Nowak was arrested at the airport and charged with attempted kidnapping, battery, attempted vehicle burglary with battery, and destruction of evidence (an officer saw Nowak trying to put some stuff into a trash container).

Obviously—and with good reason—Nowak was fired from her NASA assignment.  She pled guilty to felony burglary charges and misdemeanor battery through the court system and was sentenced to a year of probation, although her fate with the military—including possible charges in that venue—have been looming over her.

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Art Student’s “Machine” Simulates Menstruation

Every twenty-eight days, I curse Eve from the bottom of my soul. “I hope that freaking apple was delicious, you selfish jerk!” is about the nicest thing that comes out of my mouth. While menstruation has become everything from an art medium to a convenient excuse for men to write off the “misbehavior” of women, it’s still a subject that tends to skeeve people out.

And I’m one of them. It’s bad enough to have horrible cramps (abdomen, back, and legs), stained underwear, violent diarrhea at the onset, bloating, a headache that lasts throughout, the inconvenience of sanitary napkins and tampons (I am seriously looking into the diva cup), the impact on your sex life (I had a memorable and utterly humiliating experience once where my period was done … but then somehow restarted again while in a compromising position—I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed in my life), being aware of the smell, food cravings, and I could go on but I’m sure you get the point.

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New Emergency Contraceptive Gives Women a Five Day Window

A new emergency contraceptive pill has just been approved by the FDA. And finally, it’s something that I can get behind.

The pill, Ella, can be taken up to five days after sex, as opposed to the three day window you have with Plan B. It is also being reported that the effectiveness of Ella does not decrease from day one to five. Women who take Ella have been shown to have a 1.8 percent chance of getting pregnant (Plan B users have a 2.6 percent chance).

It works by blocking the release of the hormone progesterone, which delays ovulation. There is also evidence that it makes the womb less hospitable to a fertilized egg.

For now, Ella will be a prescription only option. However, I feel that this is okay, given the large window. The only obstacle I see here (which is also mentioned in the NY Times article linked above) is pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for the pill if they find it’s moral-merit questionable. This is not just a problem for prescribed medication, however. Though Plan B can be bought over the counter … well … it’s literally over the counter. It is not …

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Would you Smile if a Post-It Note on a Public Bathroom Mirror Told you To?

Positive thinking is a pretty powerful thing. I’ve found that looking at things in a positive way—even things that are by no stretch of the imagination good—makes life easier, happier, and far more pleasant. This has been a learning curve for me, as I have a propensity toward a more sarcastic and at times even cynical outlook on things. What I’ve ultimately learned, though, is that finding humor in everything, no matter how horrible it may be, is my way of finding the positive.

Florida blogger Caitlin Boyle takes a different approach on Operation Beautiful, a blog that focuses on pick-me-ups written on Post-It notes and placed on bathroom mirrors and other places where women might need … well, a pick-me-up.

It turns out that a lot of women took Boyle’s idea to heart, and she received an outpouring of positive sticky notes from all over the world. In fact, it took off so quickly and with such velocity that she has compiled them into a book called OPERATION BEAUTIFUL: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-It Note At a Time.

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