January 15, 2004
Five Years Late
When I was in elementary school, I had a Space: 1999 lunchbox. For those of you who aren't up on your '70's sci-fi, the premise of the show is that the moon is being used as both a scientific, military, & industrial center by the year 1999. Everything is cool until a bunch of toxic waste left on the dark side of the moon blows up and knocks it out of Earth orbit, sending it into deep space and leaving the poor humans stranded on Moonbase Alpha to wander the cosmos forever.
Pretty bleak, I know. And, let's face it, rediculous. Any explosion on the moon's surface strong enough to knock it out of orbit is also likely to turn Moonbase Alpha into a giant-sized garlic press for the people inside. But science fiction has always fibbed just a little bit with the science. Between the refreshingly realistic Eagle landers, Martin Landau as a very un-Kirk-like Commander Koenig, Barry Morse, the original Lt. Gerald from "The Fugitive", as the resident loopy scientist, and a super-hot shape-changing alien babe, the show was waaaay cool.
And, judging by today's announcement, slightly prescient.
I must admit, I have mixed feelings about Bush's announcement of NASA's new goals. I'm a science baby, so anything that can return us to active space exploration gives me a nice warm fuzzy. In addition, a number of scientists suggest that the moon may have vast depositories of the element Helium-3, that I believe some say could be used to actually make cold fusion a reality, thus replacing our need for fossil fuels, eliminating the stranglehold that Saudi Arabia & Co. have on the world economy, and removing virtually all funding resources for Islamic terrorists. The moon could be the next gold rush while simultaneously bringing Mid-East peace.
Of course, the operative term there is "could".
Remember, these are the same people who don't believe in global warming, so their science may be, shall we say, "questionable", if you know what I mean.
And let's get down to brass tacks: who's going to pay for all of this? According to the International Monetary Fund, Bush's fiscal policy will have bankrupted the world economy long before any next generation space vehicle has even had the chance to roll off of an assembly line.
Who knows, maybe we'll just be a global monarchy by then and God-King Jorge Epiphanes the Second will just decree all personal property forfeit in pursuit of the Holy Pilgrimage to the Heavens and above.....
A Full Accounting
Next Tuesday, the day after what is shaping up to be a bloodbath in the Iowa Democratic Caucuses, is the State of the Union Address. Now, while I suspect everything Bush has proposed in the last week, such as making it legal to exploit undocumented workers (and just what do you think that's going to do to your wages & benefits when IBM can hire illegal aliens who'll work for peanuts just as well as the California grape growers?), or going to the Moon (more on THAT later), there are other things that are actually part of his job. You know, little things like promoting the general welfare and ensuring the blessings of liberty. All that jazz.
So, the good folks at www.TomPaine.com have compiled a little score card of what's actually happened since Bush took office, relative to what he's actually talking about. Use at your leisure.
Oh, and, just in case you have some real horror stories on the state of your own personal union, Howard Dean wants to hear them.