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The tab has been picked up by TexasOne, a coalition of the state’s Fortune 500 companies, privately held enterprises, plus city chamber and community-based economic development councils.

THE FINAL FRONTIER

A round of applause for NASA, oft beleaguered but always hopeful. The space agency has issued a “Request for Information” from creative folk, asking for suggestions on how to re-purpose three historic mobile launch platforms languishing and unused at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The behemoth, two-story steel structures cradled and maneuvered Saturn rockets and space shuttles before they roared off the planet; each weighs around 8.2 million pounds, and is 160 feet long and 135 feet wide. The platforms were built in 1967 and boast myriad pathways, compartments, plumbing and electrical systems; they are also eligible to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

NASA seeks ideas for commercial use, deconstruction or some alternative that benefits the earthbound. Like a nightclub or a fun house, maybe? The request, NASA says, is “the latest in the work to transform Kennedy into a multi-user spaceport for both government and commercial clients and support NASA’s future spaceflight programs and initiatives.

GREASING THE WHEELS

“Most voters do not believe there is a level playing field when it comes to businesses that have ties to the political elite. Seventy-one percent of likely U.S. voters say the federal government helps businesses that are politically connected and hurts those that are not,” says a Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Aug. 13-14.

“Just 13 percent think the government treats all businesses the same,” the pollster adds.

HELLO AND GOODBYE

Fracking has come between them.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will not accompany President Obama on his ballyhooed bus tour of the Empire State on Thursday, an event that would normally constitute a photo op of the first magnitude for the fellow Democrats. Mr. Cuomo will greet the president on his arrival in Buffalo, then stroll off and hope that no one notices.

Why? Simple: Mr. Obama supports hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, Mr. Cuomo does not. New York, in fact, has banned fracking, though the economically strapped regions in the central part of the state have the most potential yield.

Oh, but it’s complicated. Fearful that fracking could damage the local soil and water supplies, local wine-makers and environmentalists have condemned the practice. Mr. Cuomo, meanwhile, is still waiting on a state report evaluating the potential health risks at stake.

Activists with New Yorkers Against Fracking plan rallies in Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton, all stops on Mr. Obama’s visit. His support of fracking, they say, is “reckless.”

POLL DU JOUR

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