[Space exploration] is in financial trouble. Yet by many standards, such missions are inexpensive. Mariner Jupiter/Saturn costs about the same as the American aircraft shot down in Vietnam in the week in which I am writing these words (Christmas 1972). The Viking mission itself costs about a fortnight of the Vietnam war.
I find these comparisons particularly poignant: life versus death, hope versus fear. Space exploration and the highly mechanized destruction of people use similar technology and manufacturers, and similar human qualities of organization and daring. Can we not make the transition from automated aerospace killing to automated aerospace exploration of the solar system in which we live?"
His thoughts on discovery versus destruction, from the same 1971 panel on Mars exploration that gave us Ray Bradbury’s romantic ode to Darwin and exploration.
How appropriate this is today. It puts our priorities squarely in view, like a mirror to the soul of mankind. Do we like what we see?
(via Brain Pickings)
Spin is normal in politics, but Romney is pioneering a cynical strategy of reducing fact and truth to pure partisanship.
Granted, presidential candidates are no strangers to disingenuous or overstated claims; it’s pretty much endemic to the business. But Romney is doing something very different and far more pernicious. Quite simply, the United States has never been witness to a presidential candidate, in modern American history, who lies as frequently, as flagrantly and as brazenly as Mitt Romney.
Now, in general, those of us in the pundit class are really not supposed to accuse politicians of lying – they mislead, they embellish, they mischaracterize, etc. Indeed, there is natural tendency for nominally objective reporters, in particular, to stay away from loaded terms such as lying. Which is precisely why Romney’s repeated lies are so effective. In fact, lying is really the only appropriate word to use here, because, well, Romney lies a lot. But that’s a criticism you’re only likely to hear from partisans.
This is perhaps the most interesting and disturbing element of Romney’s tireless obfuscation: that even when corrected, it has little impact on the presumptive GOP nominee’s behavior. This is happening at a time when fact-checking operations in major media outlets have increased significantly, yet that appears to have no effect on the Romney campaign.
What is the proper response when, even after it’s pointed out that the candidate is not telling the truth, he keeps doing it? Romney actually has a telling rejoinder for this. When a reporter challenged his oft-stated assertion that President Obama had made the economy worse (factually, not correct), he denied ever saying it in the first place. It’s a lie on top of a lie.
You really need to read the whole (short) piece to absorb the magnitude of Romney’s brazen lying, and to understand the complete and utter failure of the American pundit class and national political media to do their job of informing voters about not just what a candidate says, but what is the objective truth.
Let’s just take a minute and think about what Washington State might accomplish in a few months.
First, there is Referendum 74. Earlier this year the Washington State legislature voted to allow gay marriage, with Governor Gregoire signing it amid much celebration. She was the Grand Marshal at this week’s Seattle Pride Parade for good reason. However, opponents wanted a chance at a public vote, and got enough signatures to put it on this Fall’s ballot. One of the most recent polls has gay marriage winning the Referendum 51% to 42%.
Then there is also Initiative 502.
Washington State Initiative Measure No. 502 (I-502) would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over twenty-one; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues. (source)
I-502 is backed by Pete Holmes, the Seattle City Attorney, John McKay, current Seattle University School of Law Professor and former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington (one of the 9 attorneys infamously fired by Alberto Gonzalez), and Rick Steves, travel expert and political commentator. The most recent poll has 50% in favor of and 37% opposed to I-502.
If things continue on this trend, Washington State will have, in the same election, made Marijuana and gay marriage legal. Yes, other states have gay marriage, but not enough. And yes, other states have decriminalized marijuana, but none have made it legal. This could be quite an epic victory for liberals.
More than half of every dollar we pay into taxes goes toward military spending, according to an analysis posted by Al-Jazeera earlier this week.
The video illustrates a conversation between radio host Dennis Bernstein and journalist Dave Lindorff.
“People have to realize that 53 cents of every dollar that they are paying into taxes is going to the military,” Lindorff says. “It’s an astonishing figure. There is an enormous, enormous amount of money being blown on war and killing and destruction.”
Of the proposed $3 trillion budget, Lindorff says, $717 billion would be allocated to the Pentagon budget; a $158 billion “contingency fund” would be used for military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan; $40 billion in “black box” intelligence spending
“They never tell us how much they spend on the CIA, NSA and DIA, and all these different intelligence activities, which are all war-related,” he says. An error in testimony about two years ago an error in Congressional testimony led to the revelation that the covert intelligence budget was around $37 billion, Lindorff says, adding that he suspects the budget is really closer to $60 billion or $70 billion.
Militarism at its best.
But no we need to get right of NPR to balance the budget!