NASA

While this has nothing to do with the state of Wisconsin politics at the moment its a great distraction! Here is Neil DeGrasse Tyson testimony of the Past, Present and Future of Nasa:

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

— Antoine St. Exupery

Currently, NASA’s Mars science exploration budget is being decimated, we are not going back to the Moon, and plans for astronauts to visit Mars are delayed until the 2030s—on funding not yet allocated, overseen by a congress and president to be named later.

During the late 1950s through the early 1970s, every few weeks an article, cover story, or headline would extol the “city of tomorrow,” the “home of tomorrow,” the “transportation of tomorrow.” Despite such optimism, that period was one of the gloomiest in U.S. history, with a level of unrest not seen since the Civil War. The Cold War threatened total annihilation, a hot war killed a hundred servicemen each week, the civil rights movement played out in daily confrontations, and multiple assassinations and urban riots poisoned the landscape.

The only people doing much dreaming back then were scientists, engineers, and technologists. Their visions of tomorrow derive from their formal training as discoverers. And what inspired them was America’s bold and visible investment on the space frontier.

Exploration of the unknown might not strike everyone as a priority. Yet audacious visions have the power to alter mind-states—to change assumptions of what is possible. When a nation permits itself to dream big, those dreams pervade its citizens’ ambitions. They energize the electorate. During the Apollo era, you didn’t need government programs to convince people that doing science and engineering was good for the country. It was self-evident. And even those not formally trained in technical fields embraced what those fields meant for the collective national future.

For a while there, the United States led the world in nearly every metric of economic strength that mattered. Scientific and technological innovation is the engine of economic growth—a pattern that has been especially true since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. That’s the climate out of which the New York World’s Fair emerged, with its iconic Unisphere—displaying three rings—evoking the three orbits of John Glenn in his Mercury 7 capsule.

During this age of space exploration, any jobs that went overseas were the kind nobody wanted anyway. Those that stayed in this country were the consequence of persistent streams of innovation that could not be outsourced, because other nations could not compete at our level. In fact, most of the world’s nations stood awestruck by our accomplishments.

Let’s be honest with one anther. We went to the Moon because we were at war with the Soviet Union. To think otherwise is delusion, leading some to suppose the only reason we’re not on Mars already is the absence of visionary leaders, or of political will, or of money. No. When you perceive your security to be at risk, money flows like rivers to protect us.

But there exists another driver of great ambitions, almost as potent as war. That’s the promise of wealth. Fully funded missions to Mars and beyond, commanded by astronauts who, today, are in middle school, would reboot America’s capacity to innovate as no other force in society can. What matters here are not spin-offs (although I could list a few: Accurate affordable Lasik surgery, Scratch resistant lenses, Cordless power tools, Tempurfoam, Cochlear implants, the drive to miniaturize of electronics…) but cultural shifts in how the electorate views the role of science and technology in our daily lives.

As the 1970s drew to a close, we stopped advancing a space frontier. The “tomorrow” articles faded. And we spent the next several decades coasting on the innovations conceived by earlier dreamers. They knew that seemingly impossible things were possible—the older among them had enabled, and the younger among them had witnessed the Apollo voyages to the Moon—the greatest adventure there ever was. If all you do is coast, eventually you slow down, while others catch up and pass you by.

All these piecemeal symptoms that we see and feel—the nation is going broke, it’s mired in debt, we don’t have as many scientists, jobs are going overseas—are not isolated problems. They’re part of the absence of ambition that consumes you when you stop having dreams. Space is a multidimensional enterprise that taps the frontiers of many disciplines: biology, chemistry, physics, astrophysics, geology, atmospherics, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering. These classic subjects are the foundation of the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math—and they are all represented in the NASA portfolio.

Epic space adventures plant seeds of economic growth, because doing what’s never been done before is intellectually seductive (whether deemed practical or not), and innovation follows, just as day follows night. When you innovate, you lead the world, you keep your jobs, and concerns over tariffs and trade imbalances evaporate. The call for this adventure would echo loudly across society and down the educational pipeline.

At what cost? The spending portfolio of the United States currently allocates fifty times as much money to social programs and education than it does to NASA. The 2008 bank bailout of $750 billion was greater than all the money NASA had received in its half-century history; two years’ U.S. military spending exceeds it as well. Right now, NASA’s annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow.

How much would you pay to “launch” our economy?

How much would you pay for the universe?

29% of likely GOP primary voters in Mississippi think interracial marriage should be illegal

Apparently there’s a lot of likely Republican primary voters in Mississippi who still believe interracial marriage should be illegal;

Q24 Do you think that interracial marriage should be legal or illegal?
Legal ……………………………………………………… 54%
Illegal …………………………………………………….. 29%
Not sure …………………………………………………. 17%

Those 29% of likely GOP primary voters in Mississippi are precisely the types of folks that the Republican presidential contenders are trying to out-conservative each other to woo, and that’s saying something about the state of the Republican Party.

CNN: Santorum to win Alabama primary, Romney ahead in Mississippi

CNN is projecting Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum will win the Alabama Republican presidential primary, and as I write this Santorum is also leading in the Mississippi primary, where with 79% of the vote counted, he had 35% of the vote, followed by Newt Gingrich at 30%. Republican “frontrunner” Mitt Romney trailed with 28% of the vote, while Rep. Ron Paul had just 5%.

If these results hold true and Rick Santorum does win both the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, I can’t see a logical way forward for Newt Gingrich, while Mitt Romney will continue to suffer as the “frontrunner” who simply couldn’t close the deal with evangelical christian conservatives.

Scott Walker: My wife would like it if I went back to the private sector and make some real money

This is beyond absurd:

What’s truly absurd about Gov. Walker’s comment that his wife would like it if he went back to the private sector and made some real money is the fact that Scott Walker has never actually worked in the private sector. Scott Walker has been an elected official for 19 of the 44 years he’s been on planet Earth, and his only work experience as an adult consists of 4 years spent working full-time in marketing and fundraising at the American Red Cross, a nonprofit organization.

What’s also absurd is the fact that Scott Walker apparently thinks his six-figure salary as Governor of the State of Wisconsin isn’t “real money,” because I know a bunch of hardworking public employees who could only wish they made six figures to do their jobs.

Sure, Scott Walker could probably make some money in the private sector now that he’s spent virtually his entire adult life as an elected official, but it’s not as if Scott Walker was making a mint in the private sector before he ran for elected office.

Just Curious

I was doing some Intertube research on the rights to vote and bear arms. While doing so I came across an interesting question and would like to pose it here.

Which right would you rather lose, the right to vote or the right to bear arms? Explain why.

Quote of the Day

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

— Abraham Lincoln in his first Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861.

Wisconsin Progress: just say no to fake Democratic primaries

During the last round of recall elections against those Republican State Senators who voted in lockstep with Gov. Scott Walker’s attack on collective bargaining rights for public employees, Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald made it clear he supported fake Democrats running in primaries against Democratic challengers to the incumbent Republican State Senators. At the time, it was estimated those fake Democrats running would cost tens of thousands of dollars in additional primary costs, additional costs Sen. Fitzgerald had no problem foisting upon taxpayers in order to try to delay the democratic process.

Now that Sen. Fitzgerald himself is the target of a recall election and faces what looks to be a tough fight, there seems little doubt we can expect him to defend his own seat even more vigorously than he defended the seats of his Republican colleagues, and in anticipation of dirty tricks by Sen. Fitzgerald, Wisconsin Progress sent out an email encouraging voters to sign a petition encouraging Sen. Fitzgerald and his three Republican colleagues facing recalls from running fake Democrats in order to delay the inevitable.

Last summer, the Senate Republicans ran fake Democrats in the recall elections to try and trick voters and steal the election. These fake Democrats forced local municipalities to hold meaningless primary elections and cost taxpayers millions of dollars. After the elections were over, some Republicans even claimed that running fake candidates helped some of their Republican incumbents win their elections!

We are now hearing rumors that the Republicans may run fake candidates again!

We can’t let the Republicans run fake Democrats again. These dirty tricks have no place in Wisconsin politics.

Be sure to sign Wisconsin Progress’ petition today to encourage Sen. Scott Fitzgerald to run an honest campaign free from shenanigans and hijinks,

It’s primary day for Republicans in Mississippi & Alabama

Later today voters in Mississippi and Alabama will go to the polls to cast their votes to decide who they prefer as the Republican presidential nominee, and though there aren’t as many states in play today as there were on Super Tuesday, the stakes still seem to be pretty high.

For Rick Santorum, a victory tomorrow in one or both of the states could bring about the end of Newt Gingrich’s “Southern Strategy” – not to mention his presidential aspirations – while a victory (or victories) by Mitt Romney in either state could show that he’s finally able to “seal the deal” with evangelical conservative voters.

Frankly, I’d love to see Rick Santorum win in both states today, because I’d love to see him knock Newt Gingrich out of the Republican presidential race, setting up a showdown with Mitt Romney.

Don Pridemore: women in abusive relationships should not seek divorces

Republican State Rep. Don “white” Pridemore, speaking in support of the bill he co-sponsored with State Sen. Glenn Grothman that says single parenting is a contributing factor to child abuse (emphasis added):

The bill’s co-sponsor, Representative Don Pridemore, told TODAY’S TMJ4 he thinks even in abusive relationships, there are other options than divorce.

“If they can refind those reasons and get back to why they got married in the first place it might help,” said Representative Don Pridemore.

Once again Republicans show that when it comes to women, they’d prefer the “good old days” when abused women (or women in general) were nothing but second-class citizens.