imgChapter 9Power, Conflict, and Coalition

Politics [is] a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.

—Ambrose Bierce

Early in the morning of February 1, 2003, the U.S. space shuttle Columbia was returning to earth from a smooth and successful mission. Suddenly something went terribly wrong. The crew was flooded with emergency signals—the noise of alarms and the glare of indicator lights signaling massive system failure. The craft tumbled out of control and was finally blown apart. Cabin and crew were destroyed (Wald and Schwartz, 2003a, 2003b).

After months of investigation, a blue-ribbon commission concluded that Columbia ...

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