Mitt Romney and Shooting from the Hip

Thomas Jefferson on the US nickel

Thomas Jefferson – a man often quoted by gun owners – wrote “When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property, and justly liable to the inspection and vigilance of public opinion.” Would Jefferson trust Mitt Romney’s style of campaign?

[trust me]
Ask most gun owners to justify their stance on gun control and they’ll probably cite something like you can’t trust the government and therefore you need guns to defend yourself against potential tyranny from it.

Now consider:

  1. Gov Romney wiped all his administration’s email records after he finished his term as Governor of Massachusetts.
  2. Gov Romney has only released a partial 2010 tax return and plans on releasing his 2011 tax return in October.  No other tax returns will be released.
  3. Gov Romney won’t reveal any specifics about his tax plan.
  4. Gov Romney won’t let a reporter ask about some of the most pressing topics of the day (Rep Akins and abortion) during a private interview.

These issues don’t even include the confusion over what role Gov Romney had at Bain Capital in shipping American jobs offshore, or what he did in his role as a registered lobbyist for the Salt Lake City Olympics while simultaneously running the organization.

You can find the phrase “In God We Trust” on American currency.  But last I checked Mitt Romney isn’t God.  So why are all these anti-gun-control people, who are so suspicious of government, so willing to trust Mitt Romney?

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Christmas in August: Todd Akin and Jujutsu

George C Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge

Ghost of Christmas Present: If these shadows remain unaltered by the future, none other of my species will find him here. But if he is to die, then let him die…and decrease the surplus population!

Ebenezer Scrooge: You use my own words against me?

Ghost of Christmas Present: Yes! So perhaps, in the future, you will hold your tongue until you have discovered where the surplus population is and who it is. It may well be that, in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child.

[stupid is as stupid does]
Nearly 30% of Americans believe the Sun goes around the Earth.  This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.  (And for the those who believe the superiority of European culture over Americans, please note that 1 in 3 members of the EU believe the same erroneous thing.  And for those of you reading this who believe the Sun goes around the Earth, please note that 1 in 3 is a higher percentage than 30%.)

Now, if this scientifically illiteracy is distinctly understood, you will understand why political campaigns look the way they do.  And why?

Because, sure, people want to claim they base their political choices on facts and rational judgements.  But, the truth is: they don’t.  And why?

Because a sizable portion of the population is stupid.

I wish there were another way to state it.  I am, after all, part of the home team on this planet.  Remember that wacky uncle everyone tries to avoid on holiday gatherings?  He’s like these people who have seemed to missed the last 450 years of scientific observations.  Hell, even the Pope has come clean on the heliocentric theory and apologized about the tiff the Church had with Galileo’s promotion of it — albeit about 400 years too late.  Then again, this was just a “theory” after all.  How was the Pope to know it meant it was a fact?  (Psssst!  Evolution is a theory, too.  Just like Gravity.)

Unfortunately, these stupid people, who believe the Sun goes around the Earth, can help decide elections.  More on these morons in a moment.

The art of jujitsu is based on the idea that the best offense is to use your opponent’s offense against him.  Why use your own energy when your opponent’s will do?  In politics, this maneuver is much more difficult than it looks.  But if you are part of the Democratic party in a state that is rather conservative, you need to be good at it to survive.  Sen Claire McCaskill is a Democrat in Missouri — a Red State based on the way it swung in the past 4 presidential elections (it went against Pres Obama in 2008).

You better believe Sen McCaskill understands the politics of dancing.  She couldn’t still be in the dance hall otherwise. Her Senate seat is being competed this year and there were an array of Republicans eager to (a) win the primary in the hopes of (b) gaining her seat.

What did Sen McCaskill do in response?  Like all good politicians, she learned from history.  And history says Continue Reading

How NASA discourages people from going into Engineering and Science

Official NASA meatball logo

NASA’s official logo is known as the “meatball”. I’m guessing it has to do with the many NASA meatball administrative moves over the years (in contrast to the excellence of most of its engineering and science). NASA has another logo known as the “worm” – again a nod to those magnificent administrators I’m guessing.

[I’m a rocketman]
The United States is the only country thus far that has been able to put a spacecraft on the surface of Mars.  To date, it has done it 6 times – 3 soft landings (2 Viking craft in 1976 and the Phoenix lander in 2008) and 3 “hard” landings on bouncing airbags (Pathfinder in 1997 and 2 Mars Exploration Rovers in 2004).

Are you ready?

U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!

Sorry for the jingoism but the reality is that to pitch an object out of Earth orbit, have it travel some 50 million miles (give or take depending on planet positions), and have this package end up on the Martian surface intact and in good working order (the really important part!) is pretty damned tough.  How tough?  Well, so tough that the engineers on these projects use those hardened, grave, macho-sounding acronyms that are a left-over from the test pilot days of NASA’s Mercury Program.

The key acronym for us is EDL.  That is: “Entry, Descent, & Landing.”   That’s:

  1. Entry into the (Martian) atmosphere,
  2. Descent through the (Martian) atmosphere, and finally
  3. Landing on the (Martian) surface.

It’s an incredibly complex process as you might imagine and the real kicker is Continue Reading