On last month's Fix;
the answer to last month's Fix,
"How (and should), the US expand the manned space program?"is
NASA has come under some great budget pressure of late. In the August Physics Today there was a long article centering on the plight of NASA director Dan Goldin. Goldin had already accepted a $35 billion dollar cut over 5 years under Clinton's first budget (that's 31% _less_ than what G. Bush budgeted), but this Jan. Clinton declared that an additional $5 billion would be cut through the year 2000. The Republican Congress is now looking to cut another $800 million. This last $0.8 billion is the straw that broke the camel's back. Goldin called a press conference on May 19 and said;
"I want to tell you that I have had it. Maybe Congress should just cancel the whole space program and we can all sit in the bleachers and watch as the rest of the world passes us by."
Today (Aug. 21) NPR announced that NASA is looking to privatize shuttle operations. [And I selected this topic last month. Am I prescient or what?] This should save nearly $1 billion annually. The point is, the US no longer has the financial strength to go it alone to the outer planets.
We stand at a crossroads. The cold war motivated most of the research in aeronautic and space-craft design. That motivation is now gone. Friendly (or unfriendly) competition with the USSR is no longer present. Soon, many NASA centers will be closed, it remains to be seen whether this will achieve the same attention as the cancellation of the SSC. There is, and will continue to be, an exodus of highly skilled people from the field. This will set back the manned space program by decades. If NASA does not find financial partners among other nations very soon, the expertise required to reach the outer planets in our lifetimes will be dissolved.
On a new Address;
I have taken up a new residence with the charming, vivacious and intellectually challenging Miss Sheryl Quimby. The particulars are:
408 14 Ave. SE
Rochester MN 55904
507 281 5608
On the Best Place to Live in America;
Money Magazine has once again told Americans where they should move. Rochester has come in 2'nd for the second straight year, beaten by Gainesville Florida. In fact, 4 of the top six cities were in Florida. If memory serves (and it probably does not) the order was:
On Shannon Faulkner;
Well, after 2.5 years and $3 million in ACLU sponsored legal fees, the 20 year old Shannon succeeded in becoming the first women to enter the Citadel, N. Carolina's formerly all male military prep school. She lasted exactly one week.
Monday morning she was overcome with heat stroke and spent the remainder of her time in the infirmary, despite her Dr's opinion that she could return to duty on Tuesday. The fact that she was overweight did not help matters. Even so her physical required her to complete only 18 pushups in 2 minutes while males were required to do 52. Similar adjustments were made for female cadets at West Point and the other academies. Despite the rancor that women are just as capable as men, the inescapable fact is that their entrance into these institutions has lowered standards. Now brace yourselves. I'm going to say something that you won't hear anywhere else. Men and women are different.
This is not to say that women should not be in combat. In my ignorance, I cannot see any reason why they should not fly planes or drive subs, but unless they are martial artists I don't think women should be in a position where they could have hand-to-hand combat or be expected to carry a wounded male comrade who weighs 50% more than they do. Granted, there are exceptions (the women's crew team at UW Madison comes to mind). For those exceptions I have a simple suggestion. If they can pass the same physical tests as the men, let 'em in. But do not trust the security of the nation to the fate of those who entered the armed forces to be stylish.
A good movie that I would recommend to all of you. However, if you have not seen it, want to, and don't care to have anything spoiled, stop reading this section right now.
Ok, for the rest of us ... Waterworld continues Hollywood's tradition of demonizing technology and using current liberal sacred cows to generate plots. Some time ago, Doug Wilken wrote a review of Jurassic Park where he noted that Spielberg seemed to be saying,"Oh, no, science has created another monster that it cannot control." Well, in WaterWorld:
On the Demonization of the Right;
In the Sep-Oct 1995 issue of Audubon (to which I subscribe), there are two views that are about as striking in their contrast as they could possibly be amongst those who call themselves environmentalists. The first quote below is from a letter to the editor,
As an individual who worships the outdoors and is also a scientist
immersed regularly in environmental controversies, I found Louise Levath's
"P.S. Science gets swamped" typically depressing. The reality is that
ecology is not a science that produces black or white answers. Ecology
will not provide the "silver bullets" required to win what are truly
philosophical and political rather than scientific arguments.
I strongly believe that we weaken our positions by supporting them with scientifically weak "doomsday" arguments which the public simply no longer buys. What a refreshing change it would be to have those arguments move to a higher plane, where the validity of all parties would be recognized, where those with opposing but honestly held views would not be demonized, and where the debate would be based on fact, not distortion.
The P.S. referred to above is a regular essay column at the end of each Audubon issue which is written by one of the editorial board. Almost as if on cue to counterpoint the above, this is what is written in this month's P.S.
Green Patriots, Family Values
by Douglas Chadwick
... For reasons that elude me, the new congressional leadership seems bent on denaturing the United States. Fellow Americans, they say, the time has come to stand up for fouler air. Stranger smelling water. Shrunken wildlands, fewer species. That their bizarrely retrograde notion has a chance of becoming law reflects how successfully the conservatives have cast environmentalism as part of the evil of big govt." ...
Neglect for a moment that the Clean Air, Clean Water and Environmental Protection Acts were initiated under Nixon/Ford (after all, one of my readers has argued that Reps. are still racist even though they were the party formed to stop slavery). The first author admits that the ecologists may have been less than honest, and that the opposition may have valid reasons for believing as they do. The second author (who speaks from the editorial board of Audubon) thinks that conservatives are for stinky water and foul air. I wonder who will be a better consensus builder.
Why is it that any evil spoken of a Rep. is automatically believed? Do they eat or drink? Do they have children who will inherit the planet in their turn? Apparently both questions must be answered in the positive, else they would have died off by now leaving the left untroubled. Yet asinine claims such as the above go unchallenged. I guess that facts and reason avail not against massive falsehood. It's time to counterattack with absurdity.
High Court Turns 10'th Amendment Upside-Down
by Thomas Sowell
A recent Supreme Court decision to declare state term limit laws unconstitutional is one of the strongest arguments for putting term limits on Court justices.
The issue is not whether term limits are bad policy, the issue is whether justices are carrying out their duty to uphold the Constitution or are imposing their own policies by making phony claims about what the Constitution says. Clarence Thomas' dissent says it all,
"Nothing in the Constitution deprives the people of each state to add eligibility requirements for candidates who seek to represent them in Congress. The Constitution is simply silent on this issue."
While the Constitution was silent, Justice Stevens was full of rhetoric as he tried to justify the 5-4 vote striking down state term limits. Stevens said,
"The fundamental principle of our representative democracy is that the people should choose whom they please to govern them."
Ed: Of course, we live in a representative Republic, not democracy.
There is no such statement in the Constitution. Steven's quote is from a 1969 court decision. This is not the first time Stevens has confused decisions with the Constitution. More fundamentally, the Constitution does set eligibility requirements for age and citizenship, so Stevens claim that " ... the people can elect whom they please" is so much hogwash. The crux of the issue is the 10'th Amendment:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People.
That principle has long stuck in the craw of anointed Washingtonians who want to run our lives. Steven's opinion continues, " the power to add qualifications is not within the original powers of the state and thus is not reserved under the 10'th." This turns the 10'th on its head. Instead of having all powers not mentioned being left to the States (or the People), only those exercised at the Constitution's adoption belong to the States.
If justices are going to determine cases, not on the basis of what is plainly written, but on what they claim the Founders meant, then there is a blank check for judicial activism. This case was not about term limits. It was about whether we are a nation that will be ruled by law or by judicial edict by an anointed elite who brazenly attribute their policy preferences to the Constitution. The fact that 5 justices chose to go the route of pious fraud is one of the strongest arguments for judicial term limits.
From: John Johnson
Organization: Los Alamos National Laboratory Steve, I got the impression that Truman was portrayed as out of it totally. He brought in his S. Democrat Senator as advisor and Truman was basically kept out of the loop on things. He didn't even sign the order to drop the bomb in the cable from Potsdam. So I got the impression that Truman was more incompetent than devicive. I think that he was told the 1 Million figure and he decided that if he believed that and repeated it that everyone would remember his administration more kindly. That was to cover his own ass, and in a way for him to accept blame for his own inaction. John
2. Tom Hall has some thoughts.
> Compulsory reverence is no reverence at all. That may be the first bit of across the board truth I've read in this thing. Congratulations. > "Liberals define fairness as having the odds stacked > in their favor." I prefer the less partisan dictum: "Quotas are never good." > "In an attempt to get beyond earthly concerns for a bit, > how (and should) the US expand the manned space program?" Well, it's probably a better thing for the military to do in peacetime than sit around and get frustrated. So, what's basically missing in space program? Someplace to land. Build a dang base on the moon or Mars or both. Then the astronauts can go somewhere with gravity for a while, and still be in a neat outer-spacey place where they can take those readings that seem to excite them a lot. And figure out a way to get civilians (by the dozen, not just one) into space. It could be the new hip thing to do for the rich--Club Med, safari in Africa, Polaroid of me in the Sea of Tranquility. Boy, could you charge for that! Imagine the cost of film on the dark side of the moon. Whoo! Later, Tom
Ed: How about some house pix in GIF?
3. From Doug Wilken.
From email@example.com Thu Aug 24 20:15:41 1995 Dear Steve, "How (and should) the manned space program be invigorated?"I'm not sure that it should be "invigorated." I think that cheap orbital access should be developed as a realistic and reasonable goal. To me, that makes sense anyway. Oh, did I tell you that I've had a few positions fall through due to funding cuts everywhere? I'd say the field of physics is somewhat in jeopardy. There seems to be a glut of us swarming around the nation. I got hired by the U of MN and laid off before I started: $1 Meg payroll cut in Radiology. Since then I have done home food service telemarketing, packaging in a vodka distillery (we sell it to the Russians of all places)and am now working with a crew laying cement blocks. Yep, getting that old Ph.D. -- best move I ever made. :) So what do you think about David Durenburger plea bargaining? Amazing, all this hoopla because a US Senator tried not reporting $38! How does this compare to, say, Jim Wright or the plethora of Congress-slime writing bad personal checks........ Did you hear about a sit in starvation strike by a group of fat Hispanic students at St. Cloud State? Turns out they want special treatment and the Board of control caved in. Still would like to see what would have happened to a group of Irish-Americans who went on a hunger strike. Oh, jeez, there I go getting cynical again. Later, you, you, EDITOR!-Doug
4. From an anonymous reader
From: anonymousEd: Sorry but I was unable to print the article you sent because I don't have a Mac and don't use binhex. See the banner at the top.
I was reading your publication, and would like to urge you to keep up the goodwork. I have a bit of news from Florida that you may be interested in. It seems the Orlando city commission, so enamored with their wonderful and original bureaucratic slogan:"Orlando, the city beautiful" has decided to enact an ordinance forcing residents to keep it in conformance with their ideals of beauty. The ordinance prohibits residents from keeping boats! and recreational vehicles in their front yards, on the grounds that these items are "eyesores." This ordinance, which will take effect in December, was passed yesterday (8-28-95), allowing the city to ticket violators $50 per offense. Of course there was opposition by residents, who may have to either sell their property or incur storage costs as a result. *soapbox mode on* To me, this only reinforces the extent to which property ownership in this country is a lie. Not only do you have to pay rent (property taxes) on what you ostensibly own, now you must ensure that "your" property meets the aesthetic approval of your governments and your neighbors. This brings me to a darker point, which I believe is the biggest threat to liberty. That is, that there was actually (at least according to local media) a grass roots organization of supporters. Of all the problems in our country, and of all the causes to spend time on, these people chose to expend their energies in order to be able to tell their neighbors that they can't keep an RV in their yard.! *soapbox mode off* Additionally, I am enclosing an article I wrote a couple of weeks after the O.C. bombing. It has been printed in at least 1 local libertarian publication. Fell free to print it if you feel it worthwhile. Again, keep up the good work!
I am Pentium of Borg
Division is futile
You will be approximated!
-- A frustrated Intel user.
2. Rochester, Aug. 9: Is nothing safe? Only three blocks from where I now live there was a drive-by-shooting. At about three am, several buckshot charges were sprayed at an apartment building, injuring those inside with secondary plaster splinters. Thus far, no one is in custody.
3. St. Paul, August 1: Some new laws are going into effect:
No doubt the press will regard Clinton's speech in the tobacco belt, calling for a ban on cigarette advertising and sales to minors, a courageous move motivated purely by Bill's love for the children. Why, surely to risk losing those votes for a principle he holds dear demonstrates backbone of the highest order. Only the mean spirited would mention that polls show that Clinton has a better shot at ice skating on sand then getting any electoral votes from Virginia, Kentucky or the Carolinas. And the fact that it is already illegal to sell tobacco to minors is, of course, to miss the real point which is - Bill cares.
To call for a world wide nuclear test ban on the 50'th anniversary of the A Bomb is also a masterful stroke. That such a treaty was already in place (notwithstanding France's violations) is a mere detail.
Bill must be attending the Algore school of policy. Identify something that already exists and will cost little or nothing to implement, something that everyone agrees is good, rename it and take credit for inventing it. Did someone say "Information Super-highway."
2. August 16, Wash. Post: Clinton appointed HUD Secy Henry Cisneros has announced plans to resign his position after the '96 election. The Post went on to explain that Cisneros needed the time to attend to family finances.
Ed: This is how the press refers to Cisneros paying back the govt. after it was discovered that he used taxpayer monies to keep his mistress well financed.
3. Aug 24: In the aftermath of the settlement with Randy Weaver, FBI director Louis Freah has written a standing policy change for "rules of engagement" (ROE). In the 1992 assault on Ruby Ridge, the ROE was to shoot any armed male. The new policy is to shoot only "to prevent imminent death or gross bodily harm." One wonders why this common sense approach was not used before.
Well, bearing in mind that this nation was founded by religions kooks with guns (today we call them Pilgrims) I give you the following.
Article: 39252 of alt.politics.usa.constitution Date: 8 Aug 1995 16:49:05 GMT From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Alan Malcomson) Jerry Garrison (email@example.com) wrote: : I am not sure what your point is here. A Marine goes into a situation : where it has been predetermined that he will probably see combat, i.e., a : war zone. Are you saying that the Branch Dividians were expecting to be : assaulted, so they stock-piled all of those weapons with the eventuality : in mind that they would have to fight to maintain their beliefs? That is EXACTLY what the Davidians were collecting an arsenal for...but not for the purposes you may think. : Was this result of problems with the authorities, or the previous : battles Koresch had with his mentor that resulted in gun fire? Neither. The basic tenet of the Branch Davidians was this: "Someday, Armageddon will come. It will be an earthly battle waged on behalf of unearthly powers (God and Satan). We, being truly devout Christians, plan to do all we can to help God out when His Son returns to lead us into battle." Aside from the notion of physically taking up arms to assist God personally during Armageddon, these basic principles are held throughout the various Christian faiths. The PTL Club types regularly talk about "Gog and Magog" and predict a massive armor battle in the Armageddon Valley in Israel between NATO and the various ex-Warsaw Pact armies, or perhaps China. The same "mind control" that let Koresh have the wives and daughters of his followers in order to breed "holy babies" is the "mind control" that gets Ma and Pa Kettle in the Appalaichans to fork over Little Bobby's college fund to Oral "God's Gonna Kill Me if I Don't Get $10M By Sundown" Roberts. Koresh and Company had no prophesies or ideals that encouraged STARTING Armageddon, but they planned to be ready for it when --- not if --- it came. The seeds of blind faith that led to Koresh's domination of the Davidians are strewn throughout Christendom, and that's why you have bombings in Ireland and abortion-clinic shootings here in America. Ultimately, very little of what the Branch Davidians believed in was THAT far off the "normal" Christian faith...and "I'm Jesus" crackpots are a dime a dozen. ....Ed: Cut for brevity.