- New England, United States
- Hi and welcome to my Blog. I use this space as my mental scratchpad. Love it...hate it...agree or disagree...whatever works. I hope you will choose to leave a comment. If you do, know that I respect thoughtful dialogue, intelligent sarcasm, and rational, sane, arguments. Have fun. Please feel free to link to my site and let others know about it. If you wish to use or publish any of my work, you may request permission by e-mailing me through my profile page. Thanks!
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Here are just a few examples of where I agree with Senator Thompson:
1. Illegal aliens should not be given any preferences just because they happened to make it in to the country and evade capture long enough. They certainly do not deserve the rights or benefits of a citizen or resident alien, nor especially protection under our laws. Remember, they flouted our laws to get in here in the first place, Now they (supported by the ACLU and Democratic party hierarchy) want those same laws to wok in their favor when it suits them? I don't think so. A sovereign nation has the right to control the flow of people into its borders and to deal with those who enter illegally.
2. Tax cuts stimulate the economy. Every time taxes get lowered, people save more, invest more, spend more, work more and general revenues to the government actually increase. Every time taxes go up, people stop saving, investing and spending...tax increases, unemployment and inflation follow. This is not theory, it's economic and historic fact.
3. The death penalty works, and is fair. We must not as a society or nation dictate to states how to prosecute criminals. Local judges, not federal ones, must be allowed to make local decisions based on locally passed laws. Pressure groups like the ACLU and Amnesty International must not be given federal forums to lobby against issues rightfully belonging to states.
4. Abortion is not a national or Presidential issue. It should be left to the states. Rowe v. Wade was not wrong in its support for legal abortion, but rather in it usurpation of state authority over how to best manage this delicate and personal issue locally.
Detractors say "he's an actor playing the role of President." To that, I say..."So what?" These same arguments were made a generation ago about President Reagan. They have as little relevance now as they did then. Let's face it, actors have always been involved in things outside sound stages - often with great success. Does that mean that we should not pay attention or support them?
* Are Oprah Winfrey's efforts to help the poor in Africa to be chided because she is an actress?
* Should we have not contributed to hurricane Katrina relief just because Sean Penn said we should?
* Were Tom Hanks' efforts to promote human space flight shallow because he played an astronaut in a movie?
Certainly not! Celebrities actually have distinct advantages in politics: knowing how to handle the media; being able to sell themselves and, as follows, their ideas; being able to speak clearly and engagingly in public. These are some things our current President lacks in abundance - and I say this even though I voted for him twice. President Clinton, on the other hand, could sell flannel long johns in the desert, make you feel honored for the chance to buy them and eager to put them on. Had he not not run for public office, President Clinton might have made it big as an actor or salesman.
Some people will say he was a lazy Senator. To this, I say that having your name on as many pieces of legislation as possible is more about self aggrandizement and less about active legislating. Supporting a bill by voting for it is doing the job he was sent to do. Some say he made his money as a Washington insider, and now wants to play the outsider. Well, he is an outsider because his approach to running for and being president would be outside the normal pattern of behavior for most candidates or Presidents - low key, firm, and approachable. He also has a better understanding of the tactics of lobbyists, having been one himself, and is better suited than most for handling them.
Besides all that, I just feel like I can trust him. I feel completely comfortable with the thought of him as President. I haven't felt that with any candidate since 1980 and 84 (Reagan).
While I am still learning about all of Senator Thompson's positions, I have heard enough to know I like what he is saying. Most candidates, regardless of party, want the same end results for our nation and citizens: liberty, prosperity, security and happiness. What we really vote for is the method, or path, we want to take to get there. In the end, we vote for who we feel will lead us where we need to go in the most efficient and/or appropriate way. I believe Fred Thompson is that person.
So, Fred, won't you please run for President?
Monday, June 11, 2007
Science is about investigating, discovering, explaining and understanding. Engineering is about imagining, planning, creating and inventing. Scientists probe the mysteries of the universe and look for the laws that govern how things happen. Engineers use those laws to make things happen on command. Scientists ask "Why?" Engineers say "Because!" I'm a mix of the two. With a BS in Aerospace Engineering and a MS in Mechanical Engineering under my belt, I have worked in a variety of fields. Sometimes I've been an engineer, sometimes a scientist, sometimes both. Both jobs are tough, but they can also be very rewarding...much like writing. One thing engineers and scientists don't always do well, however, is selling their work.
Discovery and invention require money. Without it, ideas die, and gadgets just gather dust on shelves. No one organization I can think of suffers from this dilemma more than the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA. Born 50 years ago from the former National Advisory Council for Aeronautics (NACA), NASA was to be the agency that would lead America to the stars. In just 12 years, we went from rockets that blew up on the pad, to the moon...six times. It looked like there were no limits. But that was thirty eight years ago. Today, we are stuck in Earth orbit going around in circles at 17,500 miles an hour. Such is the current state of our space program. The reason? NASA is suffering from PRDS - Public Relations Deficiency Syndrome.
Here's an example. To date, over 100 extra-solar planets have been discovered. Recently, one was found possibly approaching the size and composition of Earth. What do the scientists always say when interviewed? "This can help us figure out how the universe began?" I know I'm a techno-weenie and supposed to be really into this stuff...but...SO WHAT? What good is this to us? Is NASA planning on starting their own universe somewhere? Maybe the government is looking to license the technology, or franchise it out in "Universes R Us" stores. Maybe do-it-yourself kits, like Tinker Toys® or Legos®.
I understand the implications such information holds, and the possible benefits. And the general public, by-and-large is not stupid, many of them get it, too. But, as the people who have to foot the bill, we need, want, expect, and are entitled to more. If NASA wants to put us in space again, then they must gather public support for it and the reasons must be more compelling, and promise more tangible pay-offs than just knowledge. But as smart as these rocket guys are, they just don't get it. NASA needs to explain things in ways that address specific problems.
- Perfecting methods to discover extra-solar planets can help develop methods for future spacecraft navigation.
- Being able to detect and view Earth-sized objects around distant stars increases an interstellar ships chances of detecting and avoiding interstellar material that can damage it.
- Long range detection methods will also improves our ability to find Earth-bound objects much farther away - giving us more time to react.
- Being better able to determine the composition of distant planets and atmospheres allows us to better search for resources on our own planet, and monitor our environment.
- Putting men back on the moon could lead to permanently manned manufacturing facilities which would not contribute to the pollution of our atmosphere, water and land.
- Lunar-based telescopes could be bigger and more elaborate than those in orbit, allowing improved capabilities for the first few bullet items above.
- Manned space exploration would increase the need for on-ship recycling of all manner of waste into usable materials that don't pollute. This would trickle down to Earth and help us control our waste.
- Large scale manned and unmanned exploration will prompt major improvements in clean and efficient energy sources such as fuel cells and solar power.
There, that wasn't so hard was it? And I don't even work in the space business. Imagine what those guys could think of if they try. Maybe they already have, but they just need to find their voices. This isn't lip-service, either. There are true, real and highly tangible benefits to the Earth for space exploratin. But, as the Mercury Astronauts realized in the movie "The Right Stuff," "No bucks…no Buck Rogers." If NASA wants to go anywhere and do anything, they need to step up and start talking to the American people about what's in it for them.
It sounds like Michael Griffin needs to plan a trip to Madison Avenue before the moon!
Sunday, June 10, 2007
The problem with this type of sappy, happy-slappy stuff is that while it may be fine for kindergarten right before milk and cookies and nap time, it doesn't make it in the real world. Life is messy, dangerous and people can be downright mean. It's bad enough our schools have sterilized our children's environments to the point where they can no longer take a punch, literally or figuratively, but now they are trying to do it to adults as well. You can't just tell people to be careful and hope they never fall. They will fall...and when they do, it's going to hurt.
When I was growing up in the 70's, I was fortunate enough to have parents from the Greatest Generation. They knew about tough...they knew because they lived it. My parents gave me advice and warnings, and then sent me on my way knowing I would fall, get hurt (emotionally and physically), embarrass myself and fail. When things happened, they weren't automatically fixed for me. Most often, my parents would explain why the thing happened, then tell me to go make it right. This approach gave me scars, again, both emotionally and physically but I wouldn't trade them because they helped thicken my skin - something sadly lacking in many people growing up today.
I'm certainly not advocating that people start engaging in reckless, dangerous, discourteous or hateful behavior. Far from it. What needs to happen, however, is that as best as we try to get along or be safe, we need to be prepared for failure, how to deal with it and, most importantly, how to get past it. We also need to understand that sometimes, the failures come from outside our immediate sphere of influence. Sometimes we and those with whom we are immediately associating are trying our best. Sometimes, it's someone or something else causing problems. We need to be prepared for those situations, too.
We live in a world with many people who don't share our concerns or dreams, and on a planet that doesn't know or care that we are even here. Both our fellow inhabitants of Earth, and even the Earth itself can cause us pain. Again, life often is messy, disorganized, chaotic and, yes, downright dangerous. We can't always change other people or the planet to suit ourselves, and we will be forever debating the merits of trying. But, we can change ourselves. Alongside things like courtesy, respect, caution and compassion we can and must adopt in ourselves and instill in our children the additional characteristics of determination, perseverance and