Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another Smackdown As Only the Bad Astonomer Can Do

Yes, this blog has fallen into some disrepair. Twitter and Facebook have been competing hard for my attention, and I'm not the only one in that situation.

But one man still with plenty to say is our good friend Phil Plait, who takes Senator McCain to task for, well...just read below the fold.

So, Senator McCain, let me make this clear: you, amateur exorcist and creationist Bobby Jindal, and the rest of your backwards-facing antiscience reality-denying brethren may huff and puff and say ridiculous things — and I’m sure you’ll continue to do so — but a lot of people see right through it, and a majority of the American voting population rejected it last November.

John McCain still really hates science | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

, , , ,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Instruction Manual for Life

Eight minutes, well spent.

This Senator Won't Be Ridiculing Corporate Aviation Departments Anytime Soon

The mother of Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, passed away recently. The senator, already deeply involved in activities in Congress, now had to plan a trip back to Ohio to memorialize his mother. But no convenient commercial flights were available, and he had to get back to the Senate to cast a crucial vote for the economic stimulus plan. So what is a government executive going to do? He turns to the largest corporate aviation department in the entire world: the U.S. government. He was able to attend his mother's wake and make it back to Washington in time to cast the winning vote.

Certainly our condolences are with Senator Brown. But let's put this in some context. Congresscritters have been piling on the drama on executives from corporate america over a perceived extravagance, without any thought given to the damage it has been doing to an industry in just as precarious waters as the financial and automotive industries. Every time we hear grandstanding for sound bites, jobs are being lost. By the thousands.

Corporations across the country have aviation departments to get business done in many more places and with much greater efficiencies than from what they can get through scheduled airlines. It's the secret the airlines don't want you to know. It's a part of a $50 billion a year industry employing hundreds of thousands of people across the country. To ridicule it now as mere extravagance comes at a steep price. I have an intelligent readership. Do your research, read beyond the headlines and write your lawmaker. Don't let puffery on the hill bring down an entire industry.

.:: Aero-News Network: The Aviation and Aerospace World's Daily/Real-Time News and Information Service ::.

, , ,

Monday, February 09, 2009

My First Big Disappointment with Obama

Before there was TARP, President Bush's Faith Based Initiative's program was one of the biggest money grabs going. Any group that could claim to be a positive force in society could get bags of cash with almost no accountability or oversight. It was a program that waved at the First Amendment and promoted a wide array of discredited ideas from politically motivated religious groups.

I thought for sure that one of the first things our new President would eliminate (with extreme prejudice) was the odious Faith Based Initiative program. Instead, President Obama signed an executive order which actually expanded (!) the program and placed a young Pentecostal minister in charge of it. D.J. Grothe of the Center for Inquiry writes a lengthy and well stated indictment of the program in the article linked below. I do not agree with him 100% on all points, but he states his case very forcefully and eloquently.
As it now stands, Obama’s expanded faith based initiative offers only more likelihood of division and church-state entanglements, civil rights violations and government funding of evangelism. It is a threat to a woman’s right to choose, and supports the anti-gay and anti-woman conservative “pro-marriage” agenda. And it is naive about the impact of interfaith dialogue abroad.

My First Big Disappointment with Obama | Center for Inquiry

, ,