The Space Review: Making progress, and seeking stability, with SLS and Orion

The Space Review: Making progress, and seeking stability, with SLS and Orion.  It is encouraging that these projects are making progress. It has been far too long since NASA had a rocket with the thrust to launch a spacecraft out of earth orbit. Neil DeGrasse Tyson pointed out in an essay that while the Wright Brothers plane and Model T car seem quaint because of  subsequent technological advances, the Saturn V rocket (which launched the Apollo missions), one of which is lying on the lawn at Keennedy a Space Center, still seems impressive. What a great disappointment it is that that first has become last four decades now. Progress is long overdue.

The blueprint of that progress is to build Orion, practice on an asteroid, skip the Moon, and eventually go to Mars. The reason that President Obama made this so was probably because of the budget: cut out Moon missions to save money and aim toward Mars to keep the spirit alive. Otherwise the plan does nor make sense. Hopefully, economic progress will enable the President to change the plan back to making trips to the moon first.

While the Orion spacecraft is perfect for a moon mission, it’s too small to go to Mars. A trip to the Red Plant would take nine months. If something went wrong, an Apollo 13-style rescue would scarcely be possible. The astronauts in that mission were saved because it took them only two days to get home. A Mars mission would clearly need much more supplies than a moon mission and  numerous redundancies.

Furthermore, radiation would be a huge problem on a trip to Mars. A recent study showed the radiation encountered on such a voyage, when the crew would obviously lack the protection of Earth’s ozone layer and magnetic field, would cause the onset of detention. Since Mars has a weak magnetic field, which may be the reason it’s atmosphere has thinned drastically, the radiation exposure would continue.

Moon missions would be a more logical start.  The Moon is much more like Mars than any asteroid. The gravity is more similar. A base on the moon would be useful for research and would be permanent, unlike orbiting space stations. It would be an easier place to work than zero gravity.  The moon is a particularly good place for a telescope.  A base or any action would rekindle public interest and would be a good place to develop habitats for a Mars mission.

In short, we should aim for the moon and travel to Mars when we have ironed out the problem. We need space missions they fuel the imagination. It is probably no coincidence that the span of the crewed space missions through Apollo (1961-1972) nearly matches the span of the “sixties'” movement (1960-1973). Space inspires progressive and makes people receptive to change. Progressive activists, after all, are explorers. Like astronaut George Taylor in “The Planet of the Apes” they are seeking something better.

Update: the latest launch of astronauts to the Interational Space Station will take place in 5 minutes in Khazakhstan. It can be seen on and

Ronald McDonald: Explain this to the children whose classrooms you visit.

This is a prime example of rule by the rich. McDonald’s is dominant in the fast food market, it is claimed that they would have to raise prices if they raise wages. Nonsense. Their apologists need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Reclaim Reform

Outside McDonalds Headquarters in Oak Brook, IL – an affluent suburb of Chicago – fast-food workers and their supporters are arrested and treated like enemy combatants in a foreign country by warrior uniformed police. Insane over-reaction to a request for a living wage.

10339570_762022413832242_6437886347779141120_nPolice arrest fast-food workers and their supporters outside McDonald’s headquarters after a massive march closed down the office ahead of the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting.
US Uncut view of FB

Ronald McDonald is allowed into the classrooms of little children across America to spread his Happy Meal message and tug at their heartstrings by telling them all about Ronald McDonald House which helps seriously ill little children and their families. Stark capitalism robed in philanthropy; a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
We buy cheap hamburgers; full time fast-food employees feed themselves and their families by using taxpayer funded food stamps. The working poor in the wealthiest nation…

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Rubio Advocates Dismantling Social Security and Medicare. Marco Rubio has unmasked himself and unmasked his fellow Republicans in the process. At the same event that he announced his candidacy for president, the Florida senator stated that the only way to save Social Security and Medicare is to dismantle them. The right’s agenda is now out in the open for everyone to see.

This agenda must be fought with all our might. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, are the bedrock of the social safety net, which has already been depleted over the years. They save the elderly, the poor, and the sick from having to depend entirely on the whims of HMOs and the stock market. Medicare actually has lower over head than private sector insurance companies.

The notion that they are in trouble is exaggerated. Social Security is doing so well that it’s surplus is used to fund some of the government ‘s general budget. (When, in the 1980s, one senator, Daniel Moynihan of New York, introduced a bill to take Social a Security out of the general budge, BOTH parties threw a fit because they would have been embarrassed by the resulting higher deficit numbers.)  That is the only reason that it’s money appears to be running out. In fact, it’s demise has been predicted for decades but has never happened.  The GOP Social Security and Medicare eliminated because they are terrified they are very soon not going to be able to win elections.

Other ways exist to save these programs. They income threshold for receiving benefits could be decreased. Some of the military’s huge budget could be put into SS and Medicate, especially since we are no longer fighting a country but tracking a few dozen individuals and the military industrial complex secures the funding of some weapons the armed forces do not even want. The budget certainly contains enough “corporate welfare” to save all social programs. Politics is all that stands in the way. Please tell the nefarious Rubio to respect his elders and then oppose him vigorously at every turn.

Voices Rising Performances TodY

I do not have much time right now, but today The Voices Rising Choir, of which I am a part, is performing today. We will give to concerts today at 3 p.m. And 7 p.m.  They will be at the First United Methodist Church on 419 NE 1st Street in downtown Gainesville, Florida. The program will include a tributes (two songs each) to the late Nelson Mandela and the late Pete Seeger.

Public School Supporters: Attack via Restraining Order for Freedom of Information Request?

The Governor of Connecticut and a charter school group are actually trying to find ways to block Freedom of a Information Act requests from advocates of public education! What are they attempting to hide?

Reclaim Reform

Here is a stark and scary reminder of just how the corporate education reform industry’s tentacles reach into the public policy making process. In this case, a senior official with the charter school advocacy group ConnCAN corresponding – on a state account – with the Governor’s Director of Communications about a potential restraining order to stop Freedom of Information requests that are producing “negative press” for the corporate education reform industry.

[Background Info: Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D), Illinois candidate for Lieutenant Governor Paul Vallas, and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) who personally chose Vallas are serving the same financial interests of the financiers of Tea Party extremist governors who are selling-out public schools and our children. Read more HERE. -KP]

Malloy administration considered “restraining order” to stop FOI requests?

In what may be the single most bizarre development yet in the Malloy administration’s war on teachers and public…

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Why We Can’t Support Hotels Owned by the Sultan of Brunei

Why We Can’t Support Hotels Owned by the Sultan of Brunei. This is an article from Ms. Magazine about the horrible penal laws the Sultan of Brunei is about to impose These laws hurt women and LGBTIs and violate human rights. People in our country patronize his enterprise, such as his hotel. We must cut off business to him and inundate him and his government with lettered and petitions, such the one links to in this article, until he relents.