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Obama's Evolving Stance On NASA 941

Posted by CmdrTaco
mknewman writes "The Houston Chronicle is reporting a change in Obama's stance on NASA, saying his position on space exploration continued to evolve Sunday as the Illinois Democrat endorsed a congressional plan to add $2 billion to NASA's budget and agreed to back at least one more space shuttle mission."
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Obama's Evolving Stance On NASA

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  • Let's end the ruse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday August 18, 2008 @09:51AM (#24644279)

    If you adjust for inflation, NASA's budget is about half [wikipedia.org] of what it was during the space race years in the 60's. You can't go to Mars on that. You probably can't even go back to the moon on that. And a paltry $2 billion isn't going to make much of a difference.

    Obama is no more serious about NASA's lofty aspirations that Bush or Clinton. It's just political pandering for Florida. And I am tired of hearing promises from politicians that they know damn well they can never deliver on.

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    • However... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp&Gmail,com> on Monday August 18, 2008 @09:58AM (#24644357) Homepage Journal

      "Obama is no more serious about NASA's lofty aspirations that Bush or Clinton. It's just political pandering for Florida. And I am tired of hearing promises from politicians that they know damn well they can never deliver on."

      Usually, I'd agree with that, however, I think you're ignoring the "new cold war" aspect here. China is developing an aggressive space program, and if they say they're going to the moon, they mean it.

      Frankly, I think McCain is a little more inclined to beef up NASA precisely because of that aspect, and Obama will say damn near anything to win Florida. But it's also possible that he's reconsidered his positions on space because if he becomes President, he knows people aren't going to let him slide on the space race.

      • Re:However... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Cheeko (165493) on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:29AM (#24644787) Homepage Journal

        Not to mention the recent renewal of "old cold war" tensions.

        One thing commonly pointed to by politicians in reducing spending on NASA is the current cooperation with other countries. If Russian turns into a rival again, then I suspect space rivalry will again follow. Nothing like a little nationalism to shake the purse strings.

    • by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Monday August 18, 2008 @09:59AM (#24644369)

      Obama is no more serious about NASA's lofty aspirations that Bush or Clinton. It's just political pandering for Florida. And I am tired of hearing promises from politicians that they know damn well they can never deliver on.

      Of curse he is. The candidates are going to say whatever they have to and then do whatever they want when in office.

      I'm voting Libertarian when I can and then voting against the incumbent - regardless of what party he belongs to. We need term limits in Congress. If we got rid of this career politician horseshit, we'd have MUCH better representation in Washington.

      • by ArcherB (796902) on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:28AM (#24644781) Journal

        I'm voting Libertarian when I can and then voting against the incumbent - regardless of what party he belongs to.

        If you vote Libertarian, aren't you already voting against the incumbent?

        • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:57AM (#24645327)

          If you vote Libertarian, aren't you already voting against the incumbent?

          Some will say that by voting Libertarian he is in fact helping the incumbent. At least this is what the other party will always whine about.

          Personally I think this is silly. Look at the last presidential election:

          There is nothing wrong with Ralph Nader or anyone else running as a third party. The reason the democrats didn't win the last presidential election wasn't because of Ralph Nader but because they failed to appeal to the people who voted for Ralph Nader. Of course, it's always easier to blame someone else for their shortcomings...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sheldon (2322)

        We need term limits in Congress.

        Why? So the unelected bureaucrats can run the Government? I don't think so. If an incumbent is really bad, they get kicked out by the voters.

        What you are really saying here is that the electorate is a bunch of stupid morons who you don't trust, and you'd prefer a monarchy. But who gets to pick the monarchy?

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday August 18, 2008 @11:02AM (#24645419) Journal
          The problem isn't the lack of term limits, it's the seniority system in committees. The way the game is set up, the longer a congress-human has held their position, the more senior they are in committees, which is where the real power is. If you vote against the incumbent, you are voting for less power in Washington to be exercised on your behalf, while districts that vote for the incumbent get more power.
      • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:56AM (#24645303)

        We need term limits in Congress.

        As a voter you have every right to vote against incumbents if you wish. Making term limits a law simply covers up for the fact that most voters don't pay attention. Forcing them to choose someone new doesn't really address that. Making them have to suffer with the person they put in office until the next election does teach a lesson that sometimes gets learned. Term limits will require a constitutional amendment and I suppose I don't have to lecture you on the odds of that happening (not good, in case you don't know).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SydShamino (547793)

        We need term limits in Congress. If we got rid of this career politician horseshit, we'd have MUCH better representation in Washington.

        Of course, because our country would be in much better shape if it was run solely by the self employed and the independently wealthy - you know, the kind of people who can afford to run for office knowing they'd be back on the streets looking for a job in two years.

        Or do you mean to force every politician who wants to keep serving the country and not cater to special interests to instead find their favorite PAC or lobbyist and start "lining up" their post-service job?

      • by OakLEE (91103) on Monday August 18, 2008 @02:21PM (#24648625)

        We need term limits in Congress.

        I was for term limits in California when they were first enacted, much for the same reasons as you. That said, they have been a plain and unmitigated disaster for this state because of the many unintended consequences they have produced.

        First, there was gerrymandering. Since it was now impossible for an individual to hold a district for 20 to 30 years, the Democratically controlled legislature drew safe districts that would vote Democrat for the next 20 to 30 years. Republicans went along with this because the ones in power also got enough safe districts to hold up approval of the annual budget (which requires a 2/3 vote to pass).

        Second, as a biproduct of gerrymandering, politics in the California became highly partisan. Since almost all legislative districts in California consistently vote 60/40 in favor one party, the real election became the primary. Of course, one wins the primary by appearing the fringes of his or her party. Thus, our state legislators and senators started to further toward both the left and right. Most moderates never made it to the general election.

        Third, the rank partisanship, led to gridlock in the legislature, especially with the state budget. Democrats refuse to cut spending in tough times, and Republicans refuse to raise taxes, regardless of the need to do so. What should be a process of compromise, is reduced to an annual game of chicken because neither side wants to back down from their ideological rhetoric.

        Fourth, these budget problems are exacerbated even further by the increased influence of lobbyist groups in the capitol. This is perhaps the most insidious consequence of term limits. Because legislators and senators are out after 6 and 8 years respectively, they often have very little time to learn the legislative process and become experts on the subjects their committees govern. Thus they have to rely on lobbyist groups for information and viewpoints. Think K Street in DC but much worse.

        There are a host of other maladies that term limits have wrought on this state, like the political musical chairs our politicians play, but these four are by far the worst. Term limits is the best example of the law of unintended consequences. For every problem they solved did they created another equally bad or worse one.

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:02AM (#24644403) Journal

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

      That's a nice lyric from The Who but there are actual real differences between Obama & Bush. He seems to list specifics of a planned removal [barackobama.com] from Iraq:

      Barack Obama believes we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: ending the war. The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government. Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 â" more than 7 years after the war began.

      I think what's lacking when it comes to candidates is there's no accountability. I like to see goals listed out that are achievable, realistic & measurable. But when they are elected and these goals melt away or the politician is so deluded the think they're achieving these goals, I just cringe.

      It happens to every politician every election for every position. You're right in saying that everyone's tired of failed promises. But there are some larger issues that Obama has (at least for now) claimed definite goals for. I'm not an Obama supporter but I can find his plans for removal from Iraq for better or for worse.

      If Obama can't deliver $2 billion to NASA, I'll be pissed. This may be political pandering (in fact, I'll guarantee it is) but I really don't care. I would like to see more money devoted to NASA and our progress to human proliferation through space.

      The odds are high that if elected he'll never follow his Iraq plans or he'll alter them or claim there's new data that makes it impossible ... but what can I do but vote for the candidate that at least (for now) is saying what I want my Commander in Chief to say?

      • by flitty (981864) on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:07AM (#24644457)

        President Bush opposes the $2 billion in funding, saying it would be fiscally irresponsible.

        HA! Upwards of $464 BILLION in debt is just fine for Bushie, but 2 BIL for funding for NASA, that's crossing the line. Thanks for the laugh early on monday morning.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by LehiNephi (695428)
        but what can I do but vote for the candidate that at least (for now) is saying what I want my Commander in Chief to say?

        I'd rather take a candidate that'll tell me the honest truth, even if it isn't popular. Setting a timeline for withdrawl pretty much tells Iran/Al Qaida/whoever else "just lay low for a year and a half, then you'll have free rein." It's naive foreign policy.
      • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:50AM (#24645205) Homepage Journal

        I think what's lacking when it comes to candidates is there's no accountability. I like to see goals listed out that are achievable, realistic & measurable. But when they are elected and these goals melt away or the politician is so deluded the think they're achieving these goals, I just cringe.

        What's even worse is that politicians' political policies are almost never policies or plans at all, usually they're just wishlists of what they hope to achieve: Create X million jobs, achieve X level of energy independence, etc., invest in currently unproven or infeasible technology Y to achieve Z. Listing _whats_ is easy. There's rarely any discussion on _how_ these whats will be achieved. The hows are hard, and usually painful for government, industry or the public, if not all three.

        And then there's Obama saying "The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government." or elsewhere where he's said words to the effect "We'll remove them as conditions allow, in order to prevent chaos and civil war erupting in a vacuum." Well, DUH! That's what they're doing now. Does anyone think Bush is trying to deliberately keep them there _longer_ than necessary? Wait, there are those people that would argue that he has been in order to let the contractors milk as much out of it as possible... it certainly would explain why it took 4 years to get with the program. Nevertheless, I believe the U.S. has _always_ been committed to getting troops out as fast as possible without leaving things worse than when we went in. So Obama's statement is nothing more than a visit from Captain Obvious.

        Most campaigning these days, by any candidate from either party, seems to fall into one of two categories: Christmas lists of what he or she _will_ accomplish (or often simply give away), with little or no consideration to how, or wordy attempts to state with eloquence and apparent profundity, the blindingly obvious.

        Frankly, almost anyone could do either one of these things. Too bad there are those pesky details that make the difference between someone who is talking out of some orifice other than his mouth and someone who is speaking from real experience, careful research, proper consultation and detailed consideration.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sheldon (2322)

      And I am tired of hearing promises from politicians that they know damn well they can never deliver on.

      I for one am damned happy that some politicians haven't been able to deliver on their promises.

  • 11-12% Increase (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday August 18, 2008 @09:51AM (#24644281) Journal
    Just to give you an idea on how much $2 billion might help NASA, there are some stats [wikipedia.org] for NASA's budget. In 2007 they had a budget of $15.861 billion and for this year they are using $17.318 billion. If you adjust for inflation, NASA has averaged $16.290 billion dollars per year which means this $2 billion would be about a 11.5-12.2% increase in its annual budget.

    By comparison, the DoD budget was $439.3 billion in 2007 [wikipedia.org] but my gripe with U.S. fiscal spending is probably a bit off topic here.
    • Re:11-12% Increase (Score:4, Insightful)

      by antirelic (1030688) on Monday August 18, 2008 @11:47AM (#24646157) Journal

      In all fairness, that $439.3 billion in 2007 went largely to ensure the stability of the entire western world. Lets face it, the European governments, as much as their sheeple love to hate the "evil Americans", rely almost entirely on the United States military to ensure international stability.

      http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/05/22/europe/defense.php [iht.com]

      If your not convinced how heavily the EU relies on the US, take a look at whats happening in Georgia. Europe is waiting for a country nearly 5,000 miles away to do "something" to make the Russians play nice. Lets not forget the whole "cold war" thing where the US placed nearly a "million" men in Europe to deter soviet aggression. Of course thats forgotten.. silly me.

      There is ALOT of national interest tied to what the US military does for the US, as opposed to the advantages provided by NASA. One can speculate all day long what NASA "might" achieve with significant advances in funding, but history has shown time and time again what happens when a nation reduces its military capacity ala funding.

      Of course, comparing military spending to space spending is an irrational argument anyway. Of course we should increase our funding for space exploration and the advancement of science and technology. However, the question is how to best get our tax dollars worth out of it. Is NASA really the only way to go?

  • by LoadWB (592248) on Monday August 18, 2008 @09:59AM (#24644367) Journal

    It is interesting to me how when one politician changes his stance due to recognition of the will of the people, he is vilified as a panderer or "flip-flopper." Yet it is called evolutionary when the other does the same thing.

    Could we not just as easily say that both are listening to the people who would put them in office? Or at least letting us think they are listening to us.

  • Evolution? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday August 18, 2008 @09:59AM (#24644375) Homepage

    Is Obama's stance really evolving? I think it's clear that his policy on NASA is a result of intelligent design.

  • by oneiros27 (46144) on Monday August 18, 2008 @09:59AM (#24644385) Homepage

    "Considering Obama's shifting positions, he cannot be trusted to fully support NASA's mission to Mars," said the RNC's Conant. "The only thing Barack Obama knows about sending a man to the moon is that it's a good applause line."

    Yes, because it's much better to tell people we're going to go to Mars, and then not give them sufficient money to do so, resulting in other programs getting cut. Even John Glenn referred to Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration" as an unfunded mandate [space.com].

    And it's not like this is the only unfunded mandate shoved down NASA's throat -- how much is HSPD-12 costing all of the agencies?

    Disclaimer : I've been a contractor at NASA, and one of my projects lost their funding for more than year because of the Mars program ... by the time we got funding again, we couldn't get the team back together, because they had been assigned to other projects.

    • I'm not sure how much knowledge you have in this area, to speak authoritatively on it? But my big question would be; Why does NASA expect they *deserve* more federal funding, when it appears they've been making too many mistakes and mis-steps in recent years?

      I mean, the obvious issue that comes to most people's minds was the shuttle explosion, apparently caused by poor engineering decisions, and subsequent cover-ups of them. But those who follow NASA a little more closely might remember such things as the

      • by Geno Z Heinlein (659438) on Monday August 18, 2008 @11:06AM (#24645489)

        I mean, the obvious issue that comes to most people's minds was the shuttle explosion, apparently caused by poor engineering decisions, and subsequent cover-ups of them.

        Not poor engineering decisions, poor management decisions. In both cases, engineers warned of the problems, and were cockblocked by management, mostly due to funding issues. NASA is our most important program, and one of our worst funded.

        The sad thing is, if the bloated life-sucking tick that is DoD were cut down to size, we'd have plenty of money for both education and Constellation. As I say in my sig, Five percent of one year's DoD budget puts us on Mars. [colorado.edu] Even at padded government rates, we could put a team of four scientists and infrastructure for settlement on Mars for about 30 billion dollars. (Zubrin has suggested a private firm could do it for only seven billion.) Space geeks who haven't read The Case For Mars should make it a priority. All of the info is online at the link above; the paperback is almost always on the shelf at my local B&N; and it's only $11 at Amazon.

        Zubrin has outlined a straightforward plan to settle an entire other planet at relatively low cost. What the hell is the hold-up? How is it this is not the most obvious project in the solar system?

        Can we get a mars.slashdot.org subdomain?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Colonel Korn (1258968)

        I mean, the obvious issue that comes to most people's minds was the shuttle explosion, apparently caused by poor engineering decisions, and subsequent cover-ups of them.

        That was entirely caused by a budget cut between 2001 and 2002. There was a well funded program to permanently solve the problem that caused that accident, but NASA decided that since it had never had catastrophic consequences before, it would, along with the majority of other programs, have its solution canceled. The mistake, I suppose, was in choosing to cut that program, but without he massive funding cuts that occurred that year, I don't think NASA would have lost that shuttle.

  • Oh noes! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dolohov (114209) on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:03AM (#24644411)

    He changed his mind! It's clearly pandering of the worst sort!

    I really wish we could get rid of this ridiculous focus on changing views. Emerson summed it up nicely, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." In this case, it would have been foolish of Obama to be consistent -- he was wrong. He was persuaded otherwise. Is this somehow a bad thing, a moral failure? Yeah, it was advantageous of him to come to this conclusion, but it's almost always advantageous to change from a wrong conclusion to a correct one.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I don't have a problem with a pol changing his mind, but you ALWAYS have to take timing into account. Any position change made within the context of a campaign is immediately suspect.
    • Re:Oh noes! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ScentCone (795499) on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:30AM (#24644811)
      but it's almost always advantageous to change from a wrong conclusion to a correct one

      It's not about changing your mind. It's about evaluating why someone held their previous position.

      Did they simply have bad information?

      Have they suddenly had a fundamental philosophical change that alters how you should look at their entire world view, and every policy pronouncement of theirs that is built on that platform?

      Is their value system still only half baked, and this is just a sign of them slowly getting their act together?

      Remember, Obama is the guy that just the other night (in that quasi-debate-format thing he attended with McCain in Colorado) who, when asked about when "human" life begins in the womb (as it relates, of course, to the abortion issue) said "that's above my pay grade." Wow. Never mind WHERE you are on that issue, isn't that - right there - THE most fundamental thing you have to wrestle with ... science-wise, value-wise, and in all other ways before you should be talking about how you think that issue should be handled legislatively and judicially? For the record, I agree with him on being pro-choice, but I'm hugely annoyed with him (though hardly surprised) that it turns out he's been pandering on that issue for votes, rather than having a solid sense - personally - on how to think and communicate on that issue. Or worse (and this seems more typical of him), he DOES have such, and he's trying to continue to dance around answering so that he doesn't risk annoying the people who are supporting him only because he hasn't offended their sensibilities yet.

      Why wonder about his real thoughts on space/science when one of the signature hot-button science/philosphy issues of modern times seems to be beyond his much-lauded intellect and communications skills to talk about? That was a VERY telling moment, if you ask me.
      • Re:Oh noes! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by eln (21727) on Monday August 18, 2008 @11:02AM (#24645413) Homepage

        The "when does life begin" question was clearly intended to give the assembled crowd (all rabidly pro-life evangelicals) a canned applause line for McCain and an uncomfortable moment for Obama. Obama fumbled with it because he couldn't just come out and say he was pro-choice in a crowd full of pro-lifers that he was attempting to pander to, and he couldn't have said "life begins at conception" like McCain did because he would alienate his base. Of course, McCain's response, although beloved by the "moral majority" types, is also wrought with potential craziness (is a miscarriage neglicent homicide?).

        "Above my pay grade" is a pretty silly response for someone running for the highest office in the land (although I think he was probably trying to say that only God can make that determination, rather than saying some higher Earthly official could do so), but it's difficult to say what a good answer would have been in that particular circumstance.

        • Re:Oh noes! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ScentCone (795499) on Monday August 18, 2008 @11:23AM (#24645729)
          but it's difficult to say what a good answer would have been in that particular circumstance

          How about a little honesty, instead of Clintonian slipperyness and weasle-wording it? How about, "There's no point trying to pin down a day on the calender when the nervous system of a fetus is not, and then - an hour later - is sophisticated and functional enough that we'd all call it a baby human. But likewise, I'm very comfortable saying that everyone in this room has swatted a mosquito with a nervous system vastly more advanced than that of the dozen cells in an early embryo. This issue isn't about pinning down a date, it's about erring widely on one side or the other of a long period of time, and using reason." Well, perhaps a little more soft-sell than that... but isn't that supposed to be - in the absence of any other real experience - his actual main selling point?
        • by snowwrestler (896305) on Monday August 18, 2008 @01:04PM (#24647427)

          Here's what I'd say, but such a nuanced approach would almost certainly fail before evangelicals: Life begins at conception, but the government's interest in a citizen begins at viable birth. So while I might believe that a 2-month fetus is "alive", there is no practical way for the law to treat it independently of the mother...at most you could force a C-section and then it would die anyway.

          The government, being a constitutional republic of free people, does not have the legal authority to force mothers to carry the baby until it is viable. If it did, it would ALSO have the power to force mothers to get pregnant in the first place, or to take children from their parents for no reason whatsoever. Abortion is legal not because anyone likes it, but because it is on one side of a bright line that we don't want government to cross.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by khallow (566160)

        Remember, Obama is the guy that just the other night (in that quasi-debate-format thing he attended with McCain in Colorado) who, when asked about when "human" life begins in the womb (as it relates, of course, to the abortion issue) said "that's above my pay grade." Wow. Never mind WHERE you are on that issue, isn't that - right there - THE most fundamental thing you have to wrestle with ... science-wise, value-wise, and in all other ways before you should be talking about how you think that issue should be handled legislatively and judicially?

        NO. I think the worry over when human life begins is a typical unnecessary distraction in this area. My take is that a consistent basis for law is much more important than the supposed ethical dilemmas. You can resolve the former and there's no method (aside from eliminating natural birth) for resolving the ethical/moral conflicts. Further, it's not the job of the President, Congress, or the Court to decide ethical matters. Thus, I don't see public policy towards abortion being in the scope of federal gover

  • by mykepredko (40154) on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:04AM (#24644415) Homepage

    Reading the article, it really just comes across as Obama trying to push the shuttle layoffs to the right so they don't take place during his first term in office.

    It's unfortunate, but I would really like to see him and McCain come up with a strong vision for space to spur international and private sector investments with a corresponding push in maths, sciences and engineering.

    As trite as they may be, I could get excited about a candidate that pushed:

    • Solar Power Satellites
    • Mining of the moon and asteroids
    • Manufacturing of proteins and other molecules that can't be done efficiently on Earth
    • etc.

    Note that I don't say "NASA". I think NASA has a very important role to play in the development of space technology but at some point they have to be out of the business of LEO (Low Earth Orbit) operations.

    myke

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 4D6963 (933028)

      1. Solar power satellites? You mean satellites with large solar panels that would beam power back on Earth? Why?? Do you have any idea how little in panel area you can send in orbit, how inefficient it would be to beam power to Earth and how astronomically cost inefficient it would be compared to putting solar panels on every rooftop in California or even covering a part of Nevada with those?

      2. I seem the recall that it has been calculated that mining Helium 3 on the moon would be cost inefficient and furt

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        In the last story I did a rough calculation of the cost of building the planned solar plant in geosync orbit instead of California. The bottom line was about half a trillion dollars, on top of maintenance costs, just to lift the panels (not counting any support infrastructure, the technology to beam the power back to Earth, and so on).

        Orbital solar plants are really only cost-effective if you can mine the materials from asteroids in near earth orbits. Launching them from factories on the moon might be fe

  • ROI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by olddotter (638430) on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:13AM (#24644561) Homepage

    I think the return the US gets for its NASA spending is greatly under calculated. The last space race caused the US to focus on creating engineers and scientists through education. Look around you for the benefits.

    Today I sometimes feel we are raising generations of people who will order a "Bud" because they can't read or pronounce Budweiser.

  • by jameskojiro (705701) on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:21AM (#24644667) Journal

    It's perfectly acceptable to waste billions of dollars paying uneducated dolts to sit around and do nothing but create more useless babies.

    But it's not acceptable to pay smart eggy headed scientists a whole lot less, people who have to be really fracking smart to actually work and do sciencey stuff using their brains and finding out stuff about the universe and world we live in.

    Plus the scientists don't usually have a mess off leech-like children, if a NASA engineer does mate it is usually one child or two, which is below replacement levels. Plus their children are usually made to go to school and actually do somethign with their lives because the smart eggy headed scientist types are usually better at raising children that their child crapping counterparts.

    I say, End all welfare programs and shovel all that money to NASA, we may have to worry about not having enough people, but by golly we will damned well have our permanent base on the moon, so when all of the breeding stock left on earth blow themselves up over their little sky god we can at least re-colonize the earth, or at least still preserve the best of humanity.

    • by dave420 (699308) on Monday August 18, 2008 @11:16AM (#24645619)
      That's a great idea! Once all the welfare programs are ended, and NASA gets funding, maybe NASA can help society stabilise itself after the hospitals and prisons are full of people dying from starvation and people stealing to survive! That's a great idea! Fucking 'tard. Fix welfare - make it rehabilitation into the workforce - don't scrap it. That has to be the most selfish, short-sighted comment I've read on /. in a while. Just because *you* might not need welfare doesn't mean it's not required by society. Jesus christ I'm amazed someone has to spell it out to you, but then you seem like an American Republican, so I guess I shouldn't be that shocked. Though I bet you're going to tell me you're a Libertarian, which you think is something different from republican. Insanity: you have it.
    • you obviously know nothing of welfare nor have you ever been poor. Get some fucking perspective before you mouth off quite so much. Moreover, see how long your society sustains itself if you leave the poor to starve in the streets. You will long for the day you had an underfunded NASA budget. I can't believe how highly you were moderated for such a ridiculous comment.
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@nOsPAm.gmail.com> on Monday August 18, 2008 @11:04AM (#24645455) Homepage Journal

    I'm a staunch Republican, but, I think trying to characterize his policy shifts as a sort of a flip flopper is rather inconsistent with what he's trying to do. Obama is just a left wing pol trying to guide his opinion about how government should be run in response to an evolving set of facts on the ground and I really don't have a problem with him changing his mind as long as he stays consistent with his core beliefs of being a hardcore liberal.

    Where Kerry had a problem was that he made a political career out of being a total pacifist, lead anti-war protests across the USA and was instrumental in ending the USA's commitment to Viet Nam, but then he turned around and voted for the Invasion of Iraq in 2002 to get pick up a few votes and then ran not as a Dove but as a Wartime leader during the Democratic convention. That's a huge flip flop.

    But what Obama is doing is nothing of the sort. He might, ideally, like, to get rid of NASA because he'd rather spend the money on something else... a lot of Dems feel that way. Walter Mondale famously tried to gut the Apollo moon landings because he wanted bread and butter for the poor. So, its not a big flip flop for Obama to shift on NASA back and forth because the whole left wing has been doing it for a long time.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday August 18, 2008 @11:30AM (#24645839) Homepage Journal

    If I were going to be president six months from now, I'd make sure that we returned to the Moon, in force. I'd spend what it takes to put a permanent solar power base there, lasering back to a network of satellites and delivering cheap, clean power around the world. Once the base was staffed and ample power generated, I'd start mining the rare minerals that are going to run out on Earth within the next 20-100 years. I'd give contractors who are majority American owned, and use majority American subcontractors, the highest priority for taking part in the project, and aim at creating a space launch industry as dominated by commercial carriers as are airliners, while keeping a reliable government capacity operating, just like in air travel.

    The US would start to look admirable around the entire world again. Except in the boardrooms and war rooms of our worst enemies, who are using our foreign oil dependence to enslave us and the world, who'd hate us as we put them out of business.

    It took only 7 years for the US to go from subsonic jets to landing on the Moon, with a nation engaged in the Cold War, a hot war in Vietnam, a much lower economic productivity, a much smaller pool of engineers, much more primitive technology, and no proven example of going to the Moon to reassure us. Even before exploiting the Moon's resources industrially, we've already benefited hugely from the scientific, engineering, industrial and patriotic rewards of the visionary investment. We could return to the Moon, and lead the world out of so many problems we've helped create and are most threatened by.

    • by p0tat03 (985078) on Monday August 18, 2008 @01:10PM (#24647535)

      with a nation engaged in the Cold War, a hot war in Vietnam, a much lower economic productivity, a much smaller pool of engineers, much more primitive technology, and no proven example of going to the Moon to reassure us.

      And a culture that was a bit smarter than it is today, that actually cared about the nation's scientific accomplishments. Seriously, do you think a man landing on Mars today would get the same TV audience? Americans have gotten far less educated and far dumber between the 60s and now. It's a horrible stereotype but it's based in truth - the average American would be more interested in American Idol than steering their own country away from the road to irrelevance and obscurity.

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Monday August 18, 2008 @11:54AM (#24646257)
    I would love to see the exact same story with his "evolving" position on giving telecoms immunity for spying on us. He voted for allowing it and he should change his position to oppose it and actively purse having this stopped.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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