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Spaceman-Turned-Politician Can Call Himself 'Astronaut' On Ballot 181

Posted by timothy
from the well-would-you-call-yourself-a-politician? dept.
New submitter si622test1 writes "A judge has determined that the ex-astronaut-turned-politician who was sued by California Republicans for putting 'astronaut' as his occupation while running for Congress will be allowed to do so, saying that Hernandez is an astronaut for 'more than the time spent riding a rocket.'"
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Spaceman-Turned-Politician Can Call Himself 'Astronaut' On Ballot

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  • by voidmstr (143616) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:30AM (#39585659) Homepage

    We wrote him a song (music video) http://pocho.com/this-is-ground-control-to-major-juan-song-for-a-latino-astronaut/

    • by k6mfw (1182893)
      I wonder if there are those that bring up this character from the 20th century, Jose Jimenez. Real popular back then, and resurrected by Scott Glenn in the movie, The Right Stuff (which no comedian will dare nowadays)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncBSOyte6lA [youtube.com]
      And speaking of Streisand Effect (nobody knew of this election before this whole "title" fiasco), could extra publicity increase awareness so in future Hernandez can win governor position? (I don't think Calif ever had a latino governor).
  • by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:31AM (#39585669)

    Misread the name of his opponent as Jeff Dahmer at first. That would have been an interesting race.

    • by Endo13 (1000782)

      I misread it as Jeff Dunham at first, which would also have been interesting.

      On topic, I'm glad this guy won this case. I'm not a democrat, but I have high respect for astronauts, whether current or former, and I support his right to use that as his occupation if he wishes.

      • by iamhassi (659463)
        Yeah, I'm not sure why they were fighting it in the first place. Did they want him to put retired astronaut? I could see that, but to say he wasn't a astronaut at all is wrong.
        • by compro01 (777531)

          They might've wanted him listed as "engineer". Would stand out less.

          • by nschubach (922175)

            I'm sure that's what it is. If you put an exotic title on the ballot, I'm sure more people would vote for you by title alone.

      • by icebike (68054) *

        I'm glad this guy won this case. I'm not a democrat, but I have high respect for astronauts, whether current or former, and I support his right to use that as his occupation if he wishes.

        How could it possibly NOT have won?

        After all, Judges are called Judges long after they retire, Senators are called senator for life. All without even bothering with the word "former". Seems like only the Military seem to have the decency to add "Ret." after their name and rank upon retirement.

        • And all of those are wrong. We have strong reasons for disallowing of titles in this country. YOu are not supposed to call a non-active Senator, Senator, its not a lifetime title. Newt is no longer Mr. Speaker.
          • I was in full agreement with icebike until you said:

            We have strong reasons for disallowing of titles in this country.

            And I found that point to be very powerful. We can hardly call ourselves an egalitarian society while we allow people to rack up titles from roles they no longer fill. In my mind I'm wondering what it could have looked like if Colin Powell had made a run for President back in the day, and people started referring to him as President-General.

            I think the only title we really ought to allow people to keep is Mr. President. And even then because it's so rar

          • by icebike (68054) *

            These are not titles, and certainly not entitlements.

            Senator, General, Admiral, Judge, are simply a Rank, or Job Description. They differ from Duke, Count, King, in that they are something you EARN, by bullet, ballot, study, or just hard work. One's contribution to society via these professions are simply recognized as an honorarium. These are utterly different than titles in the British sense.

            • The key part you are missing is that most 'British' titles WERE earned, often at the tip of a sword. It is the descendants to whom the titles were passed that did nothing to earn them where the true evil of titles begins. It is not a far jump to go from lifetime titles for a temporary job to passing those titles to their descendants. To be quite frank, Senator is not that 'lofty' of a position, certainly not enough to be titled for life.
              • by icebike (68054) *

                It is not a far jump to go from lifetime titles for a temporary job to passing those titles to their descendants.

                Write back when a Senator or General's offspring is free to use the title. Till then, you have vastly misstated the issue.

                Most British (as well as continental) titles, Duke, Lord, etc. were always handed down via linage or marriage, and they in historic times the had real power, as the Kings representative. Knights (Sir) are about the only title that was earned on the battle field, and it came with virtually no privilege.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Funny)

      by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @12:39PM (#39588007)

      Except that Dahmer is dead and cannot run for office. This is California, not Chicago.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:31AM (#39585677)

    which are you going to vote for?

    shameful what the republicans stoop to. I know both parties are scum but the repubs just seem to redefine what scum means.

    fight any way you can, right? do whatever you can to win.

    this is the US, in a nutshell.

    • by sycodon (149926) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:37AM (#39585755)

      Yeah!

      Next thing ya know, they will be spilling the court sealed details of their opponents divorce records or something.

    • And it's likely to backfire on the Republicans. You've just given him a bunch of perfectly free publicity of the worst sort - your opponent comes off as the good guy. Likely a significant fraction of the voting population would never had cottoned on to the fact that he is / was an astronaut. Now everybody knows. And if there is a generic hero in the 21st Century, it's got to be astronauts.

      Even if you don't really care about NASA and space exploration, astronauts still have a pretty good (albeit not tota

    • by Dishevel (1105119)

      I agree with you mostly.
      Although there are limits I would say.
      Some career politician who did 4 years in the Army 25 years ago should not be able to put Soldier as his occupation.
      But if you were flying in space in the last few years. I think you can put astronaut as your occupation.
      Although in a few years when he runs again if he is just doing political stuff I do not think he should be able to use Astronaut as his occupation.
      He can though list it as a previous job.

      • by everett (154868)

        Regarding your Army analogy, see Eisenhower.

      • by scot4875 (542869)

        Very nearly anyone can get into the army. Listing "soldier" as an occupation isn't very impressive, and it can be downright misleading for someone who barely spent any time doing it.

        Only the very best of the very best get to be astronauts. The dude earned the title and can list it wherever he pleases, regardless of what he's spent the previous decade(s) doing.

        --Jeremy

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      These are California Republicans. They know they have no chance of winning the state but they do have a chance in the central valley where Hernandez is running. These CA guys have a habit of declaring that they lost the election because of voter fraud, immigrants voting illegally, and so forth. They do like to point out the letter of the law in election cases.

      In this example there is a law that says something to the effect that you list your profession from the year before filing for an election. Hernan

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:32AM (#39585681) Journal
    It's more than just an occupation. You can say "I used to be an accountant" but, like being a Senator or a Congressman or the President, you've earned that title for the rest of your life.
    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:35AM (#39585733)

      In that case, I want to be Paper Delivery Guy Clerk's Assistant Dishwasher Warehouse Delivery Guy Resident Assistant Network Intern Network Consultant Steve!

      I think I earned it. I was a damned good dishwasher.

      • Go for it! I mean, do we really need to regulate job titles now? If so, resumes are about to get a lot less colorful...
        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          We regulate quite a few of them. I can't technically call myself an engineer in my state even though I am one and employers don't really care that I don't have the legal title. Lawyer, dentist, M.D., dietitian, and others are protected nationwide and for damn good reason imo.

          Paper boy? Shit, if you want that title then I don't even care if you've ever slung a rolled up piece of bird cage liner into the mud before.

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            In the legal sense, Engineer, or Professional Engineer, has a specific meaning, and that's why you can't go around calling yourself that, even though you have studied some form of engineering. Engineers are usually the ones who have to sign off on a project, and legally that means that they have examined everything, and have found it to be meeting standards, and that the calculations show that it will actually work. And they're also held responsible for that.

            • My college psych professor mentioned that even though he had a doctorate in psychology, he isn't legally allowed to call himself Dr. in NY state, but he can in some other states. Of course, we all called him Dr. Bob anyway. Best part about his class was virtual lab rats - no PETA to worry about so you could shock the living hell out of them.

              • "And that is how we found a shockingly high prevalence for misanthropy among the Psychology students." -> Dr. Bob

            • by Chris Burke (6130)

              Right, which is why it only matters for engineering professions where there are legal consequences for failure, rather than just marketplace consequences. Civil engineering in particular is a field where it matters.

        • by tqk (413719)

          Go for it! I mean, do we really need to regulate job titles now? If so, resumes are about to get a lot less colorful...

          We have laws prohibiting false advertising. I think resumes that told the truth would be an improvement.

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            But then what would recruiters do?

            • by tqk (413719)

              We have laws prohibiting false advertising. I think resumes that told the truth would be an improvement.

              But then what would recruiters do?

              I actually know three recruiters who were useful (competent) in the past, but I've met a lot more who'd be performing a service to humanity by jumping into the nearest volcano. "No, you may not re-work my resume! It already says what I want it to say, and I don't much care what *you* want it to say. If your client can't read, it'll be his loss."

    • by Surt (22457)

      I kind of wonder what the legal requirements are ... I mean, I'm an astronaut. That's my one and only desired career. Sure, they won't take me in the space program because I have glasses, but I'm actively pursuing change in that policy. I write code on the side to pay the bills while I work on my real career.

      • Well, the fact that Hernandez has actually worked as an astronaut and been to space would be one thing that differentiates him from you.

        • by Surt (22457)

          Right, but also from a significant number of people in the astronaut corps, who would all have a hard time coming up with any other job title.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Pay the russians to fly you to the ISS and you will be a legitimate astronaut.

        You can buy that title.

        • Pay the russians to fly you to the ISS and you will be a legitimate astronaut.

          No you'd be a cosmonaut. Which is a title I guess might not go too well on a US ballot. ;-)

        • by tqk (413719)

          Pay the russians to fly you to the ISS and you will be a legitimate astronaut.

          You can buy that title.

          There's "astronauts", and then there's "The Right Stuff." You can buy the former, but not the latter.

          • Actually, if I remember my NASA politics correctly, the Space Shuttles had three classes:

            • Astronauts: These were the "commanders" and "pilots" who flew the plane and made decisions about the mission.
            • Mission Specialist: Someone who had a specific job to do up there.
            • Payload Specialist: Someone who knew something about a particular payload being sent aloft--usually, themselves. John Glenn [nasa.gov], Jake Garn [nasa.gov], Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud [nasa.gov], and Christa McAuliffe [nasa.gov] were Payload Specialists on various Shuttles.

            "Payload Speci

      • 20/100 or better vision but they have to be correctable to 20/20 that is to be a Commander or Pilot and it easier for a Mission Specialist, you need 20/200 or better but again it as to be correctable to 20/20 get into the as a Astronaut program. Here are the requirements from 2004... http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/postsecondary/features/F_Astronaut_Requirements.html [nasa.gov]
        I couldn't find anything more recent.
        Also to get your Astronaut wings, you need to go up 80km (50mi) in the US, if you want Fed
    • by sribe (304414)

      It's more than just an occupation. You can say "I used to be an accountant" but, like being a Senator or a Congressman or the President, you've earned that title for the rest of your life.

      Well, in the USA, "President" is NOT a title that one carries for life. This has been accepted practice since the very first president, and the ONLY ex-president who refused to accept the loss of the title was Richard Nixon. All other presidents have been content to be referred to as "former president...", in fact, George Bush Sr was known to be quite insistent, and correct journalists on occasion--contemporaneously with Nixon having a hissy fit about being addressed as "Mr. Nixon".

    • . . . like being a Senator or a Congressman or the President . . .

      Please, please . . . do not compare the profession of astronaut with that of a politician.

      Not even in an abstract analogy.

      I mean, the US astronauts have enough problems, with their space program being outspaced and all . . .

    • by fermion (181285) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:17AM (#39586437) Homepage Journal
      Put this in context. Most people choose what they call themselves. As long as they did so professionally, it seems to be ok. For instance, Reagan was considered an actor, although his his profession prior to politics was to organize acting labor against the studios.

      Romney has been a politician for nearly 15 years but he still calls himself a job creator and businessman. Maybe the best business to be in politics.

      Carly Fiorina has not been the CEO of anything in years, yet she is still considered an business executive more than a politician. Sarah Palin did not even complete one term as Governor before quitting, and she is called Governor.

      This is a guy who has been into space, something that only maybe 500 people have done. He is an astronaut. Saying he isn't is sign of desperation.

      • But IOKIYAR. Always remember, IOKIYAR.

      • by s73v3r (963317)

        Carly Fiorina has not been the CEO of anything in years, yet she is still considered an business executive more than a politician.

        That's probably because she hasn't actually won anything politically.

      • Carly Fiorina has not been the CEO of anything in years, yet she is still considered an business executive more than a politician.

        To be fair, if you haven't actually held office, are you really a politician or just a candidate?

      • by sjbe (173966)

        Carly Fiorina has not been the CEO of anything in years, yet she is still considered an business executive more than a politician.

        And no one calls her CEO of Hewlett Packard anymore either. What's your point?

        Sarah Palin did not even complete one term as Governor before quitting, and she is called Governor.

        Not by me she isn't. She left the title when she left the job. Calling someone governor who isn't one presently doesn't make much sense.

        This is a guy who has been into space, something that only maybe 500 people have done. He is an astronaut. Saying he isn't is sign of desperation.

        He WAS an astronaut. Once you leave the job you leave the title too. John Glen WAS an astronaut, then he WAS a senator and now he is a retired astronaut and a retired senator. If you call him by either title now you are just kissing up.

    • by necro81 (917438)
      Or, to add to your list of persistent titles, military officer ranks: Colonel, Admiral, General, etc. Even once they retire, they are still entitled to refer to themselves, or be referred to as, "General So-And-So." They can put it on their tombstone, if they choose. Although NASA is a civilian agency, it has a long history of sourcing the astronaut corps from the military, and "astronaut" is viewed as a quasi-military title.
      • Or, to add to your list of persistent titles, military officer ranks: Colonel, Admiral, General, etc. Even once they retire, they are still entitled to refer to themselves, or be referred to as, "General So-And-So."

        Technically, a commissioned officer is a commissioned officer as long as they don't resign their commission. This is whether they're paid by the military or not. As long as they retain their commissioned they're entitled to the rank. If they do resign their commission (which is unusual) they technically also lose their rank and title.

        NCOs lose it when they quit though. Being NCOs.

    • by tqk (413719)

      You can say "I used to be an accountant" ...

      I take great pride in having failed miserably the accounting module in my programming course. It meant I'd never have to use Cobol.

      I can't believe someone actually sued someone else over this. Holy !@#$, you Yanquis are nuts. :-O

      ["There are, in fact, girls on the Internet. And some of them program better than you." I'll put my perl up against yours any day (and you can fit all the double entendres you want to in there. :-)]

    • Senator and congressmen are not lifetime titles, even the Mr. President is dubious and in no way are they official titles. We do not have landed gentry titles in this country for a reason.
      • by forkfail (228161)

        We do not have landed gentry titles in this country for a reason.

        But we do have a landed gentry. They were just smart enough to take the targets off their backs.

    • It's more than just an occupation. You can say "I used to be an accountant" but, like being a Senator or a Congressman or the President, you've earned that title for the rest of your life.

      Hogwash. When they leave office they are no longer a senator or a congressman or a president. Someone else has that job now and they are no longer entitled to it. I actually am a certified accountant but if I wasn't actively practicing I wouldn't call myself one. I would have no problem calling someone a Former Senator but they lose the job title when they lose the job.

      If the guy was actively working as an astronaut (even if just on ground stuff and never going back to space) I have no problem with him

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:34AM (#39585729) Journal

    I mean, if I do job X, oh... say, teaching, as a career and then resign to take up other interests, that doesn't mean I suddenly can't say that I'm a teacher when people ask me what I do for a living. My past careers are almost as much a part of who I am today as the one I'm in now.

    Okay... maybe technically, it really should say "former austronaut", but like I said... I think that's just nitpicking at a detail that's entirely irrelevant.

    • by pympdaddyc (586298) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:37AM (#39585761)

      I think that's just nitpicking at a detail that's entirely irrelevant.

      Welcome to politics!

      • by Alomex (148003)

        This is in no way a predetermined part of politics.

        This only works because we have gotten used to it and we let them get away with it. In many other countries when opponents nit pick like this they tend to get punished in the polls so it is a lot less common.

        • by Tassach (137772)

          This is in no way a predetermined part of politics.

          Politics is about getting and retaining power. Anything that helps achieve this goal is by definition part of politics. Attacking your opponent is definitely a core element of the political process.

          Sure, we can think about a utopian fantasy world where all politicians act for the public good, base policy on factual information and rational thought, eschew fallacious reasoning, Unfortunately, we live in the real world where fallacious arguments, propaganda, and outright lies are an indelible part of po

    • Well, it's not like anything would think he's running for office from space, so I doubt "former" is needed. Whichever idiot California Republican came up with the idea to sue should be booted out of the party and the state.

      Should he also be allowed to call himself 'Scientist' and 'Engineer', or 'College Grad'?

      Someone should tell the Republicans about the Streisand Effect. On second thought, no, nobody should tell them. It's better if they don't know.
    • As someone else pointed out, some people have to quit their jobs to run for office so technically, they would have to list themselves as "Campaigner". Even then that's not totally accurate as they don't receive wages so "Unemployed" should be used. Also Mr. Hernandez was an astronaut until Jan 2011 so he isn't listing something he did many careers ago.
  • If he's got the astronaut wings, then he's an astronaut.

    Now, if he's no longer in the program, then he should list it on his resume and not under current occupation, but that's not really too big of a deal.

    If the race is so close that being an astronaut would get him enough votes to make a difference, there are other issues they should probably go after first.

    • Re:Pretty Simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:20AM (#39586501)
      According to NASA, he last flew in 2009 and left NASA in January 2011 which is fairly recent. Incidentally, what does NASA call people who went through training but had not yet been in space? I think NASA called then astronauts as well. I don't see why the Republicans or anyone should care that much about it. We still call Neil Armstrong an astronaut and he hasn't been to space in the last several decades.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:37AM (#39585763)

    What the Republicans really wanted to put on the ballot was, "Uppity Brown Guy who will date your daughter and raise your taxes".

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      I can see why they sued then, 'cus if he gets to put "Astronaut who will date your daughter" on the ballot they wouldn't have a fuckin' chance!

  • And then fire man.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:43AM (#39585885)

    Congrats, California GOP. If voters didn't know the Democratic candidate was a former astronaut, they certainly do now.

  • good grief (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thud457 (234763) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:55AM (#39586089) Homepage Journal
    What a bunch of petty goddamned assholes.
    Why don't you spend some effort actually trying to help the country instead of yourselves?
  • "Allowing a candidate out of nowhere to use the profession of 'astronaut' when he hasn’t served in that profession recently is akin to allowing someone to use a title of 'sailor' when they no longer own or operate a ship,"

    - California GOP spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns

    Yes it is. What's your point?

    • by forkfail (228161)

      You note that she says "own or operate a ship" - not "crews".

      I guess to her, someone who works on a ship is either an officer or owner - or a galley slave.

  • Did no one tell them about the Streisand effect? Did no one do a risk analysis of the likely outcome of such a fight?

    With a decision making process so flawed, they deserve to lose this race.

  • by boyfaceddog (788041) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @01:17PM (#39588585) Journal

    "Allowing a candidate out of nowhere to use the profession of 'astronaut' when he hasn’t served in that profession recently is akin to allowing someone to use a title of 'sailor' when they no longer own or operate a ship," California GOP spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns said in a statement, according to the Times.

    Most people who call themselves 'sailor' don't own or operate a ship. I mean, I know what he thinks he's saying, but my gawd does this come off as arrogant and elitist. Do these guys eve listen to themselves?

    • by forkfail (228161)

      We're talking about the party that came up with the Ownership Society here.

      Captain - or galley slave.

      Owner - or owned.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Well as they base more and more opinion and uniformed ';gut feeling's we will continue to see more and more of these stupid statements.

  • by Al in SoCal (2372960) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @01:37PM (#39588865)
    It's more heresy from the Godless heathen Democrats and their witches brew called "science".
  • how you have totally lost your ways.

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