Why I Don’t Run for Office

by Daniel Brenton on August 8, 2013

in Politics

Viper -- or Congressman. Your Choice.

    An emotionally charged Facebook discussion actually leads to a question worth answering.

Start: During a Facebook discussion about everyone’s favorite whistleblower (or traitor, or dissident, or whatever you choose to call him) Mr. Edward Snowden, one of the participants made a very provocative statement:

… the government actions may be legal, but are they just? We have a president who has contempt for the Constitution and violates it whenever he wants. Which is frequently. After due process is served in the House and Senate, I would like to see Obama do a merry jig at the end of rope. I’ll even tie the noose.

(With Obama embarrassing the United States in the eyes of the world by petulantly canceling a summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, largely over the Snowden issue, support for the President in some quarters is bound to be a little weak.)

After a few other comments, I responded to this one specifically with:

… the House and Senate wouldn’t do what you describe because just about all of them should be doing the same merry jig.

Should something like that that happen, however, I would be delighted to bring the popcorn.

This level of distaste for our leaders in Washington is shared by many: a recent poll found that Congress was less popular than carnies, root canals and colonoscopies.

After this, another commenter jumped in with:

Daniel, how about you run for office instead?

Huh.

Well, first, this isn’t really a question. My first impression was that it was a “put up or shut up” statement, but the person that posed later made it obvious there no interest in public office on their part, either. But, even taking that into consideration, it’s still worthy of a response.

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“If We Could Put a Man on the Moon …”

by Daniel Brenton on March 15, 2013

in Space

Apollo 17 Landing Site
The landing site of the last Apollo mission, Apollo 17 (Click for full panorama)

    Citing space age triumphs to belittle our terrestrial failures has always been a case of Lunar apples and Earthly oranges. Here’s why.

Start: How many times have you heard that phrase?

“If we could put a man on the Moon … why can’t we end poverty here at home?”

“If we could put a man on the Moon … why can’t we put a stop to the war?”

“… end homelessness?”

“… put an end to racism?”

“… give everyone jobs that needs them?”

And, usually, the argument involves something to do with, “all that money thrown away into space.”

(This last part always struck me as pretty thick, because that money wasn’t getting packed off into space and squandered by Lunar spendthrifts — it was getting used down here.)

In all seriousness this is a good question, but the answer is actually staring right at us, if we’d think about it for a moment.

Lunar (or Martian) Apples and Earthly Oranges

In my last post, about Dennis Tito’s Inspiration Mars venture, I had a couple of comments here and on Facebook that sounded exactly like this sentiment, dismissing Tito’s idea as a pointless exercise and the use of otherwise valuable resources in a completely misguided way.

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Is There a Mars in Your Future?

March 10, 2013
The Canals of Mars

You’ve almost certainly heard about this around the same time I did, but it took a few days — and a brief comment from a friend — for it to really register with me:

Dennis Tito, the millionaire who made history in 2001 by becoming the world’s first space tourist by spending eight days on the International Space Station, has announced a project that he feels will capture the imagination of the world, and re-ignite America’s pioneering spirit. The venture is to send “[t]wo professional crew members – one man, one woman” on a 501 day flight to within a scant 100 miles of the planet Mars. [...]

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Ascension

January 28, 2013
Space Shuttle Challenger

As my Facebook friend Sam Hobbs reminded me, 27 years ago, the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-51L) was destroyed in flight due to a catastrophic failure of one of their massive solid rocket boosters. And, sadly, 46 years ago yesterday, the crew of Apollo 1 died in a fire in their spacecraft during a pre-flight simulation run.

These are moments that make grown men shed tears, and I confess I am one of those men.

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Human Commentary – Spaceship Earth

January 25, 2013
Spaceship Earth

We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody. ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

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Excuse Me, You’re in My Gratitude Adjustment

December 15, 2012
Stormy Day

Good Lord — compared to these poor folks in Newtown, Connecticut — these people who’s every single moment from this morning is a waking nightmare — my life is a festival, a feast, a rose garden.

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