Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Space program is going to run out of steam, it appears. This would be a shame. Even though we need to cut the federal budget deficit somehow, eliminating our human-crewed space program is not the way to do it. It is an easy target, because the benefits are not readily apparent, and opponents howl about supposed cost excesses. But there is more here than meets the eye.

We have a huge investment in the International Space Station. We need to, at the very least, continue to tend this complex. Promises have been made to many international partners. We should not just break them. Do we just throw away $100 billion? Not a good idea. Our prestige and leadership are on the line.

Up until now, we have managed to maintain a technically advanced space program, even discovering something new on occasion, such as ways to combat body mass atrophy while in orbit for lengthy stays. (Of course, our unmanned probes also return a lot of good information.) If we abandon our Shuttle and any other human-crewed initiatives, we are abandoning one of the last things we excel at as a nation. In my opinion, this will lower our image even further internationally, and possibly contribute to a further drop in the value of a dollar. We could be seen as a shortsighted second-rate country, only concerned with needs right in front of our nose, nothing further out. It would be better to keep funding a modest human-crewed presence if only to forestall the loss in image, and concurrent real loss in potential outcomes economically or even militarily.

Speaking of which. Our military budget is many, many times what NASA takes. We have troops deployed around the globe. Since when do we have to control every little brushfire around the world. Might we not cut back on this a little, and apply the funds to a peaceful, world-inspiring endeavor like an international mission to Mars? This would be money spent on international cooperation, and the advancement of peaceful uses of science. Money invested in the betterment of humanity, instead of the destruction of same. Any sane person can surely see the logic in this.

Another value the Space Program has is inspiration of the citizenry. It is awe-inspiring and hope-engendering to see us participating in the human movement out into the Solar System and beyond. I don't care if it was started by a prior, Republican administration. It is an inspiration to the human race. To cut it out in favor of a short-sighted political gain would be the utmost foolishness.

Our young people deserve better things to look forward to than endless warfare with terrorists, and scratching for a living. At least give them the twinkling of a chance at reaching the stars. It is the least we can do for the future of our race, no matter how miserable we are in the present time.

Please support a human-crewed space program. Your kids or nices/nephews may thank you for it one day. If not, their children surely will. Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Downtrodden Peoples

Whether it be blacks in the US
Reduced to slavery, then virtual servitude;
A century-long struggle towards civil rights
Inner city hardened, cruelty to each other --
Eventually a final integration of sorts...

Or, native Americans herded into reservations,
Institutions for reprogramming with a new culture.
Drinking, lethargy, no motivation, no hope...

Or, Indian lower-caste slumdogs, untouchables,
Reduced to a life of crime, servitude, considered
lower life forms by those "above" them

Or any one of a number of other downtrodden cultures,
Going back to the enslavement of Jews by Egyptians in
Ancient times, and beyond.

We are so good at making victims of a portion of humanity!
All in the name of profit. The benefits of this are
slim and none; perhaps we should strive for a final
Integration of all disadvantaged groups of people.
The Human Race would shed an ugly carapace,
Reach a new level of enlightenment enhancing all.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Good news

President Obama and some of the positive things he has done.

. Most recently, he hosted the ‘beer summit’ with the police officer and professor. This demonstrated to me creative thinking and a way to strike a common chord, to sit down and discuss differences with people. This is not your fathers stodgy presidency, but a contemporary and dynamic one.

- He promoted a cash rebate program that directly helped out poor working people, enabling many to trade in their old wrecks and get into a new vehicle. A direct benefit to the American people, as well as a stimulus to the auto companies.

- Health care reform. Nearly everyone with a major disease has been through the nightmare of getting treatments approved (and often rejected) by the big insurance companies. Nearly every other major civilized country in the world, including most of Europe, have adopted some kind of government healthcare. Their citizens are healthier, and their life expectancy is better than ours. We already are given care on the basis of wealth only, and are worse off for this. It has got to change. Obama is showing the courage to confront this growing problem. Most other politicians have ducked the issue, as they do any difficult, complex issue. Sound bites are easier than dealing with reality. Pres. Obama is confronting reality.

- The Space Program. Obama has designated a commission to get feedback from people for and against it, to honor the wishes and desires of the American people. Like it or not, he has thrown it all open for public discussion.

- Energy and the enviornment. The Obama administration has shown much more enthusiasm , backed up by federal dollars, to support deployment of alternative energy technologies, from Ethanol to Wind to Solar and Geothermal. The EERE/DOE alone has seen huge funding increases, and the USDA also for their farm-oriented alternative energy programs. This will help make the US more militarily and financially secure, as well as help the environment. All Bush ever seemed to do was help his buddies in the oil industry.

- International relations. He offered to “hit the reset button” on Russian-American relations, and in one stroke lessened intertantional tensions. More creative problem-solving there. He has improved America’s image around the world. Now we are seen not as a rogue, cowboy nation but once again as a mature, civilized nation prepared to honor international commitments.

I could go on, but the main point is this: While the fringe elements rant and rave about origins of birth and so on, this mainstream President is out there doing the heavy lifting, fighting the good fight, and improving things for this country and for the entire world. I say to hell with the liars and troublemakers: I support my president 110%. Thanks for reading.