Give it up Dubya

So Bush wants to go back to the moon and then on to Mars. And he wants to increase NASA's budget. This is the same organization that blew up a shuttle last year and has a horrible track record of competence and safety.

Message to Bush: Yes, man will one day reach Mars. But it won't be because of NASA. It will be due to entrepreneurs who find a cheap way to do so, engineers with real-world know-how, frontierists with a drive to get away from the reaches of the ever-expanding state, and people with a true vision of how to get it done. The private space industry is in its infancy with a lot of room to grow, and the only thing NASA can do is get in its way. So give it up, and give me my money back.

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Now that our deficit is

Now that our deficit is growing like there's no tomorrow, it's nice that Bush is thinking ahead for even more sources of debt. Something's got to keep this economy going.

The next thing you'll hear is how many jobs it'll "create". I suppose that's one of the reasons he's proposing this - to "create" jobs.

The only problem is, the

The only problem is, the jobs will be coming from unwilling contributors' pockets also.

NASA: welfare program for

NASA: welfare program for rocket scientists and aerospace engineers.

"give me my money back"...

"give me my money back"... and don't send an infant to do a man's job. i'm torn, halfway between spending more than the country has to offer on space travel, and giving it all to people who don't have a quarter of the experience in space travel as the government. yes, i want to make it a non-monopoly. yes, i don't want to make it a media frensy about those who died trying. i don't believe that anyone can win here. i don't believe that the government can win sending more and more people up in space to prove that "we have the most in space." i don't believe that sending a massive amount of money to mars will tell us anything spectacular and will bring back anyone who has died. i don't believe that a corporation will be able to accomplish the feats NASA has accomplished as far as space travel in the next 15 years... which will make an executive bored with the exploration itself, to be stereotypical. i don't know who is right.. but i'm pretty sure that spending all of my hard-earned money to send a balloon (and car) to mars is assinine. and i'm pretty sure the government doesn't give a damn.

You know, about two months

You know, about two months ago I was, innocently enough, standing in line at my local Albertson's with what were to become my grocery purchases. What I always do is scan the tabloids. I do, however, feel intensely ashamed every time I do this, so I try to dust off my shame by finishing up with a quick browse through a reputable magazine.

Well, after quickly scanning the latest Lisa Marie/Nick Cage, Jacko, and Laci foolishness I turned my attention to a Popular Mechanics special edition about space exploration in the coming century. It was a long line, someone had coupons, there was a price check or two... anyway, I had time to get a general appraisal of the entire book, front to back. Every artists' rendition of the coming spacecraft and technologies, every ebullient gushings of enthusiasm from all of the authors contributing, EVERYTHING... presupposed that each mission, means to get there, and technological innovation to come down the pike would be at the behest of the state. Every spacecraft had the flag of some government on it or the logo of the space agencies attached to each (as if those won't change in a hundred years). I realized just then two things.

1. The free market view of space travel will have a long way coming to gain any kind of credence.

2. I held in my hands a piece of, well... science fiction and not prescient forecasting.

I think the space program

I think the space program has always been less about space for its own sake, than about channeling billions of $$ into R&D, and tens (or hundreds) of billions of $$ into the high-tech and aerospace industries.

If you take away the role of the state since 1941 in subsidizing R&D, and in providing a guaranteed market for the surplus output of much of the manufacturing sector, what you have left won't even be recognizable.

The country was driven into war sixty years ago because state capitalism had promoted overaccumulation to the point that overbuilt industry couldn't dispose of its product. During the war, industry was even further overbuilt (the total value of plant and equipment, under the war economy, increased about 2/3). So a return to anything resembling a peace economy would have resulted in a massive depression. The government came to the rescue, with the Cold War "defense" budget and the space program, creating the electronics and aviation industry virtually from scratch.