In the "Wow, this is really awkward" department, NASA chief Mike Griffin's wife has sent out an email pleading for people to sign a petition for her husband to keep his job.
She sent this to friends and family, urging them to sign an online petition that will get sent to Obama. First off, most online petitions aren't worth the paper they aren't printed on. Maybe this one will bear weight, who knows. At the time I write this it has over 2000 signatures.
But second, she had to have known this would become public. It's pretty unseemly to have this happen; it's not normally done for political appointees to ask to keep their jobs in a public way, and to have your spouse do this is a even weirder. Had it remained private that would be different, but she sent this note via email, basically guaranteeing it would get out. The petition, it should be noted, was not started by her, but by former NASA Associate Administrator Scott Horowitz.
Third, I find it hard to believe that Mike Griffin himself didn't condone this, either actively or passively. It's possible she didn't tell him she was going to do this, but she had to have found out about the petition first, and then sent that email. It doesn't seem likely that she would keep that info from Mr. Griffin. And if she did, then the misjudgment lands at her feet, not his.
As I've said before, I'm ambivalent about Griffin. He's done some good things and some bad things. His tendency to wildly spin stories bugs me a lot, but when it comes down to brass tacks he's done a lot of good for NASA. I can't imagine this will help his chances, as it might leave a bad taste with many politicians. We'll see.
Tip o' the spacesuit visor to Levi Tooker.