Thursday, Apr 19th

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Space: Measuring Bangs and Bucks

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For cosmic tire-kickers, NASA's Mars rovers were always special.  Then, Curiosity came along:  twice as long and five times heavier.  The mission was like shot-putting a Mini Cooper 352 million miles, then perfectly hitting an entry window to the planet -- a zone measuring about 3 by 19 kilometers, a microscopic target after that long a distance.

You hit the thin atmosphere at 13,200 miles an hour -- 3-point-7 miles per second -- a real need to slow down, fast:  enter friction and deployed heat shield, then 'chute, slowing from 900 miles an hour to 180 in just two minutes, then sky crane, to surface.

Cross your fingers, and hope a long list of mission-critical events, all closely timed and exactingly choreographed, happen precisely on cue.  No pressure:  We're just trying out a trunkful of new landing operations, is all -- Talk about a mission with lots of precisely-moving parts!


The Most Expensive Space There Is

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There's nothing like a spectacular success to bring out the hordes of troglodyte critics in droves. The very second NASA's car-sized rover, Curiosity, was safely set down on Mars last week, the drumbeats of money agony were begun by umpteen tribes of assorted knuckle draggers.

Leave it to the myopic to miss this:  NASA's budget is less than 1% of the federal budget.  The most expensive "space program" we all pay for in this country is the vacuum between the ears of confused and ignorant people.

We pay for that space, for that vacant and unused real estate, in so many ways, and so often, not the least being in lost opportunities for men and women, as well as for our entire species.


Leakage from Beyond Beyond

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You have to hand it to Willard Romney:  Whenever he needs to make a clutch play, and reach right in and pull a rabbit out of his hat, he always reaches right in and confidently pulls out roadkill instead.

That big-eyed deer staring into the headlights at Willard's side, about to be figuratively mounted on history's grillwork, is Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).  He's the one who the fun-loving people on the Romney tour bus have dangled onto the roadway, in the lane of oncoming traffic, as new veep road sport.

Ryan, sporting his signature Eddie Munster haircut, is now the wan Number Two man on Romney's commodious, but small-sheeted roll call for veep.  With Ryan now seated in a tight position behind Number One, there is both a sense of urgency and relief to a party plumbing the depths, and the outer limits, of exactly how much  [self-censored]  any country can take.


Going down with the ship

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Mitt Romney stood in front of the battleship USS Wisconsin to announce his VP choice. It really was fitting that he stood in front of a ship that was obsolete and useless when it was built, just like the Ryan budget. Also fitting was that he stood in front of a ship that Ronald Reagan dragged out of mothballs and fooled away billions of dollars on. Reagan did this in order to mask the collapsing economy he was creating with his trickle down voodoo economics.


Reagan added 400 ships to the Navy built around the four Iowa class floating money drains to "confront the Soviets". He did this because the Evil Empire had secret nuclear submarines, according to Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. The CIA said no they didn't, but that only meant the Russians were keeping them secret.



Update from the Asylum

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Well, how about that:  An always-blindfolded Willard Romney has finally chucked a dart at the photos staff had taped up on the wall, picking a running mate:  Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

OK -- so, checking the scorecard:  That makes a presumptive presidential candidate who's had everything he's ever wanted from the moment of birth... to a veep wannabe who has a burning need to take everything else left away from absolutely everyone else.  Perfect!

Note to Republican Party:  Stop pussyfooting around and get on with it.  Get real -- rename yourselves the Great American Fascist Faction (GAFF) and get it over with.  It's been one lock-stepping gaffe after another with you boneheads, and it's showing no sign of any let-up.


A Visit with the END

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Note:  Full disclosure, and for the record, I continue to be impressed with the reporting from the Evver-Luven News Division.  Their staff always manages to ferret out the most unusual stories, somehow beating all other news agencies to the punch.

The following account by their reporter, Royal Shambles, is one such example.

* * * * *

As press conferences go, it was an un-shocking, non-breakthrough announcement from the Regional Integrated Group-Householded Television Network Association of Associations and Amalgamated Organizations, Unlimited, sporting specific advice for television viewers this political season:  "Hit the 'off' button and turn on your mind!"


The Good-Bad-Ugly & Stupefying, Pt. 2

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Clint Eastwood has endorsed million dollar baby, Willard Romney, for President.  Of the United States, that is, to be clear.  The Mardis Gras parade, directed by Fellini in a Dali-esque style, marches on, magnum force.

Is there an angle here, Clint?  Some Hollywood hijinks, macho box-office stunt, or some other mighty-mojo attempt from your various acting-directing-producing and many other auspices?

Romney for President of the delusional Self-Entitled Power-Climber's Society makes sense, or even for the turgid, "Let Them Eat Cake" Debutantes Cotillion, sure -- but for the leader of our nation, 312 million and more people?  To interact with heads of state as Insulter or Court Jester du jour?  Another ardent ducker of military service for Commander in Chief?


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