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Government Moon NASA Space The Almighty Buck Science Politics

Former Astronauts Call Obama NASA Plans "Catastrophic" 555

krou writes "Talking to the BBC at a private function held at the Royal Society in London, former astronauts Jim Lovell and Eugene Cernan both spoke out about Obama's decision to postpone further moon missions. Lovell claimed that 'it will have catastrophic consequences in our ability to explore space and the spin-offs we get from space technology,' while Cernan noted he was 'disappointed' to have been the last person to land on the moon. Said Cernan: 'I think America has a responsibility to maintain its leadership in technology and its moral leadership ... to seek knowledge. Curiosity's the essence of human existence.' Neil Armstrong, who was also at the event, avoided commenting on the subject."
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Former Astronauts Call Obama NASA Plans "Catastrophic"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 13, 2010 @06:40PM (#31467356)
    American can, should, must and will blow up the moon [].
  • Priorities. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @06:42PM (#31467372)
    I'd rather have health care than a trip to the moon for 4 people.

    Maybe if we hadn't squandered a trillion dollars on the unnecessary war in Iraq we could afford things like going to the moon again.
  • Re:Priorities. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 13, 2010 @06:44PM (#31467388)

    Or if we don't squander all that money on Health Care, we could go to the moon and beyond...

  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @06:46PM (#31467404)

    You've got to cut something if the country is too politically polarized to raise enough revenue to cover expenditures. Sending tourists to a dry barren rock seems pretty low on the priority list, especially when robots can achieve the same science goals at a small fraction of the cost.

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Boronx ( 228853 ) <> on Saturday March 13, 2010 @06:46PM (#31467408) Homepage Journal

    Since insuring everyone can actually save money, we can do both.

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cheerio Boy ( 82178 ) * on Saturday March 13, 2010 @06:47PM (#31467422) Homepage Journal

    I'd rather have health care than a trip to the moon for 4 people. Maybe if we hadn't squandered a trillion dollars on the unnecessary war in Iraq we could afford things like going to the moon again.


    A big portion of our bleeding economy is flowing out the giant bullet hole labeled "War against terror." and if we just stopped a _single_ _war_ that we're involved with we'd have a ton of money to put towards all sorts of stuff.

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dfetter ( 2035 ) <> on Saturday March 13, 2010 @06:53PM (#31467464) Homepage Journal

    It's not just the "War on Terror." It's all the wars. We face no external threats, militarily speaking. It's time for us to discard our empire.

  • Different research (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 13, 2010 @06:53PM (#31467474)

    Bringing men to the moon currently wouldn't add anything of value. It was possible in the '60s, doing it now would not bring any advancement. Space money is better spent on research for new propulsion systems and ways to get off the Earth. When that is done, THEN go to the moon.

  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @06:54PM (#31467480)

    Cutting NASA with respect to the deficit is like putting a bandaid on your finger while ignoring the sucking wound in your chest.

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kurokame ( 1764228 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:02PM (#31467552)
    Access to health care is still a big problem in the USA. But huge swaths of modern medicine are the result of human space travel. It's hard to find anything today that isn't in some way reliant on space-related research.

    Further Research [].

    I'm not saying that postponing a manned return to the Moon is catastrophic by itself - but we depend on space travel for so much today that scaling back our efforts there amounts to saving pennies today (NASA's budget is a tiny drop in the federal budget!) by throwing away potentially massive results tomorrow. And this is aside from how important exploration is in purely human terms.
  • What "empire" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:02PM (#31467558)

    We face no external threats, militarily speaking. It's time for us to discard our empire.

    And what "empire" is that exactly? Do you demand we let go of Puerto Rico?

    Other than that we have a number of military actions in areas where we are supporting democratic governments - Iraq and Iran - that are not in any way part of a U.S. "empire" (for better or worse).

    As for the lack of military threats, I suggest to tell that to the people attacking our military and citizens. Perhaps they will stop once they realize they do not exist.

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:02PM (#31467564)
    Yeah well when you get cancer, reject treatment because after all, there is no correlation between access to health insurance and longevity.
  • by Jon Abbott ( 723 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:03PM (#31467570) Homepage

    While I agree with you that cuts are necessary, it must be said that Obama is increasing NASA's funding [] despite canceling Project Constellation. The cancellation seems more politically driven than anything relating to the federal budget. Even if NASA's $18 billion budget were left the same, it would still be only 0.5% of the total federal budget. The real pork [] can be found in the $901 billion defense budget and the $696 billion social security program.

  • by berj ( 754323 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:05PM (#31467596)

    I think you're missing all of the collateral benefits that came from the space race. You're probably typing on one right now.

  • by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:08PM (#31467616)

    >Cutting NASA with respect to the deficit is like putting a bandaid on your finger while ignoring the sucking wound in your chest.

    Actually not. A little bit of money here, a little bit of money there, an earmark there, another over there, and not before long you're swimming in red ink.

    It's unfortunate that the republicans had to piss away the equivalent of moon trip in Iraq that we now need to have this discussion. If people don't like this, they need to hold those people who continue to be loudmouths on TV legally accountable for their decisions (Cheney, Rove).

  • by Rooked_One ( 591287 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:08PM (#31467622) Journal
    if the republicans got elected the same thing would be going on - very little funding to NASA etc... Now, I can't help but wonder if both sides are really just one side... The all have two things in common. They got elected, and they want to stay elected. That's politics 101.
  • by Trip6 ( 1184883 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:17PM (#31467684)

    Why don't more private rich guys step up and fund moon missions?

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:26PM (#31467752)
    It's only a pyramid scheme if America ceases to exist... Also, great outlook there. Let's not keep people alive too long, because that could cost some money!....
  • by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:29PM (#31467786)
    It got modded troll, but it's 100% true. The Iraq war wasn't a necessary war, at all. It has wasted a trillion dollars, and we have nothing to show for it but a bunch of fresh graves. The money we wasted in Iraq is the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. 9 billion dollars in Iraq is totally unaccounted for, and the Republican deficit hawks didn't seem to care when it happened and they don't seem to care now. We wasted enough money in Iraq to pay for universal health care, AND a trip to the moon.
  • Re:Priorities. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:33PM (#31467822)
    It depends on what your definition of 'sqander' is.

    I think providing health care for our own citizens would be a valuable thing.

    Iraq has already cost a trillion dollars, and we aren't at the 10 year mark yet. I don't remember one scintilla of debate about how much that was going to cost. Of course at the time Colin Powell was busy waving vials of talcum powder in front of the UN, and the Secretary of State was talking about "proof in the form of a mushroom cloud". That type of fear-mongering tends to shut up anyone worrying about weather the war is necessary, or how much money we're spending on it.
  • by Imsdal ( 930595 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:44PM (#31467894)
    You think he's typing on Velcro? Myself, I am typing on a keyboard. They were around before the space race.

    The idea that space exploration is giving us (humanity as a whole) good value for money is, frankly, ridiculous. The billions and billions of dollars spent has of course brought some benefits and some cool inventions. But spending that same money on other kinds of research would with a very high probability have yielded more benefits. But I do agree that it would have yielded less fame to the old whiners from TFA.
  • Re:Priorities. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @07:55PM (#31468000)
    It's amazing listening to them pretend to care about the future of science, after the whole stem-cell research debacle of W's term.
  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @08:09PM (#31468106) Homepage Journal

    Aldrin is arguing against a repeat of "Flags and Footprints" on the moon. He is right. The best option you and I have of going into space is a self sustaining space transport industry.

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @08:38PM (#31468334) Homepage

    Adapting a past quote:

    There is no correlation between access to health insurance and longevity.

    There is no correlation between benefits to society and money seeking ambition.

  • In the year 2137: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hartree ( 191324 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @08:39PM (#31468340)

    A child on the Ghanaian Space Agency base on Europa asks her father, "Almost every nation on Earth has built outposts and colonies in the Solar system except America. What happened to them, Daddy?".

    "Oh, they decided to stay home and play Dark Orbit instead."

  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @08:44PM (#31468362)
    think of the children. why do you hate freedom? why are you against choice? the reds will eat your babies.

    there's probably a few others i'm missing

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @08:51PM (#31468422) Homepage

    Why would they military attack you, if they already own a nice chunk of your economy []? They won't kill you, they'll own you.

  • Re:What "empire" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @09:04PM (#31468522)

    "Other than that we have a number of military actions in areas where we are supporting democratic governments - Iraq and Iran"

    We could be said to support the Iranian government by providing an external threat.but you seem to have gotten your countries mixed up as did the brilliant folks who modded your post Insightful.

    BTW, "empires" need not involve permanent occupation after killing off opponents any more than those who wage unconventional war need permanently submit to conventional firepower after being beaten once, twice, or more times...

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amRadioHed ( 463061 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @09:32PM (#31468718)

    If doing nothing costs more than an additional trillion over 10 years because of the continuously rising costs of health care in America, then paying only an extra trillion is a way to save money.

  • Re:What "empire" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @09:41PM (#31468762)

    How does what you were referring to relate to my referration to your referral?

    Wait ... what?

    I don't care what he said. I was responding to you. You suggested that the only reason "they" are attacking is because "we" are in "their" country. How in the world do you come to that conclusion?

    Leave aside the fact that Al Qaeda doesn't actually have a country per-say, and that even if they were based out of a specific nation it wouldn't be "theirs" by any stretch of the imagination ... even if we ignore all that, there's still the fact that wars and attacks of all stripes tend to be motivated by a vast variety of factors. You don't get to ignore them all and just blame your personal pet-cause.

  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @09:48PM (#31468802)

    First of all, the amazing Mars rovers (by far the greatest NASA success since Hubble) were designed and built at JPL by NASA scientists. (wiki []) And it's exactly projects like this that will get breathing room when the vanity missions about "getting a man to x" get shelved. Compare this mission to the far more expensive ISS when you're wondering about the best way for NASA to add to scientific knowledge.

    I admit that there is great value in evenutally establishing human settlements off the Earth, but these will have to be huge, in order to be self-sufficient. Robots will have to build them before the humans arrive. This is what we should be aiming at. Until we get to that point, it makes little sense to be sending humans to the moon or Mars. What I want is a good robotic sample-return mission to/from Mars. After that, we should resume artificial biosphere research, because that's what Mars needs if anyone serious is to go there.

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xylantiel ( 177496 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @09:53PM (#31468840)

    I'm not saying that postponing a manned return to the Moon is catastrophic by itself

    If you're interested in NASA doing R&D (which you seem to be) you're on the wrong side of this argument. The whole point is to get NASA out of the mud and back to actually doing R&D on things that haven't already been done over and over.

    To me this comes down to the fact that there are three ways to "get stuff into space":

    1. spend gobs of money reinventing the wheel to do it in-house at NASA, in some way that inherently doesn't compete with the private aerospace companies
    2. contract it out to US aerospace, which is already done for all the unmanned missions that are actually accomplishing things
    3. contract it out to the russians, who honestly are doing a pretty good job

    Seems like the first (which is what the constellation program does) is just stupid. Obama's plan is basically to choose the second. Then let NASA get back to doing science and R&D for genuine manned solar system exploration. The vision for space exploration's "return to the moon" was pointless from day 1 and everyone knew it, including Bush (that's why he pretended it was a mission to mars, which it simply was not). Obama's plan is much more likely to actually accomplish the real goals of furthering both manned and unmanned space exploration on the limited budget that congress is willing to allocate to it.

  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @09:56PM (#31468860)
    While your point makes sense, I actually suspect that you're wrong. If you give grants to people to "think of something cool", they might not come up with much. But when you give them an inspiring and difficult mission which is impossible with any known technology, they will come up with stuff which in retrospect will probably be cooler than if the same money were directly allocated for cool-stuff-finding. In NASA's glory days, geniuses mustered all the intellectual energy they had to make the missions work, and the constraints of budget and physics made them come up with brilliant inventions. I don't think there was a more direct path to those same inventions. I think that this is why there are DARPA challenges: It brings in brilliant engineers and forces them to think outside of the box (but with definite goals). This was one of the (few) ways in which the Cold War had a positive side-effect.
  • Re:Priorities. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Low Ranked Craig ( 1327799 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @10:19PM (#31469012)

    It's only a pyramid scheme if America ceases to exist

    At the rate we're racking up debt, it's very possible that America won't exist in a couple of decades, at least not financially, and certainly not as we know it...

  • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @10:19PM (#31469014) Homepage
    Check out the analysis [] at the "Houston Chronicle". The analysis states, "President Obama 'dramatically broke' a campaign pledge when he announced plans to cancel NASA's $108 billion Bush-era Constellation program to return astronauts to the moon by 2020.

    That's the conclusion of an independent fact-checking organization known as PolitiFact.

    The organization's nonpartisan assessment is expected to be widely quoted by supporters of NASA who are trying to reverse Obama's decision on Capitol Hill. "

    Like many politicians before him, Barack Hussein Obama broke a campaign promise. He outright lied in order to get the votes independent voters.

    Many news wires are now reporting that Obama broke his presidential-campaign promise to fund Constellation. In response, his supporters (of whom many are African-American) -- e. g., Beelzebud [] -- are pumping messages into the blogs and online forums to defend Obama.

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ADHVfFsvjLIViaglKlqo ( 1766800 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @10:43PM (#31469152)

    Well, except for the Smithsonian, Hughes Medial Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, as well as countless private colleges and other philanthropic organizations. Do you think those were started by the Government?

    "The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced." - Andrew Carnegie

  • Re:What "empire" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @10:56PM (#31469236)

    We are a collection of fairly divided states and territories. Really, none of the old definitions apply anymore.

    So the Army of Kentucky decided it would be a good move to go into Bagdad? You tried to win an argument by redefining the language to something other than what everyone else uses - not a very pleasant trick but increasingly common.
    People haven't really changed, it's as much an empire as the Roman Republic was with client states and outposts. An empire that resembled it more closely was the Austrian-Hungarian empire in the late 1800s, you might want to read what Mark Twain wrote about that and you'll see a few similarities with the USA today. It's not necessarily a good or bad thing, it's just a label. What the empire actually does is the important thing

  • It's only a pyramid scheme if America ceases to exist.

    IT's a pyramid scheme because it depends on the activity of new workers to pay for old ones. Because there are not enough new workers, social security, like many other entitlements, is imploding.

    It -could- have not been a pyramid scheme had the USA not embarked on almost 50 years of free trade madness. Because of free trade, the USA had to continuously devalue the dollar to stay at least somewhat in the game, and would devalue again, if the asians weren't foolishly buying as many of them as can be printed. So... savings values face a constant erosion, people look for growth stocks to compensate, more money flows overseas, the dollar is devalued more to compensate, repeat loop, and the country gets gutted.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 13, 2010 @11:18PM (#31469384)

    I find it interesting you call him a gadfly, the definition of which is "One who upsets the status quo by posing upsetting or novel questions, or attempt to stimulate innovation by proving an irritant."

    Did you even read his post? The space program should be about innovation and reaching towards objectives that are meaningful and new. Not about repeating what was done decades ago and abdicating all other goals due to the excessive and expanding costs to showboat without accomplishing much of import.

    The constellation program has become a joke and it's shameful to see the people involved with it scrambling to save it for purely self-serving reasons, they'd rather see our space program circle down the toilet as long as they're getting paid.

    We need vision, we need to stretch, we need to adapt.

  • by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @11:57PM (#31469586) Journal

    But I think the US Government is right to cut the apron strings between manned lunar exploration and public funding.

    One of the biggest issues for lunar activities is going to be infrastructure. That means getting electricity, oxygen, water, food, etc. There are lots of really great theories as to how to do this. What we need is to do is actually start trying these out.

    There's uranium on the moon. How do we get to it? How do we use it in a nuclear reactor on the moon? Are we better off with solar? What do we do when we're rotated away from the sun? If we build lots of solar power stations, how do we get the power from there to a moon base?

    There's water-ice on the moon, in theory. How do we get to it? How do we use it to create oxygen and water? Do we build our moon bases right next to it? What's that going to do to our ability to get in and out (this water-ice is usually located in dark cold craters which are not necessarily the best landing spots for ships). How do you build a water pipeline on the moon? We can supposedly get oxygen by heating moon rocks. Is that more or less efficient?

    How about food? Growing vegetables is nice, sure, and animals are inefficient but tasty. But do you want to stick with a vegetarian diet in order to live on the moon?

    Developing the technologies for that is going to cost big money--and that's just so people can live on the moon. Then we have to talk about making money from the moon.

    Part of the issue with mining the moon is that there really isn't anything up there that we can't get down here on Earth. About the only thing I've heard of is Helium-3 which may be useful in Nuclear Fusion. But getting the Helium-3 from the Moon to the Earth is going to be pricey. Some ideas, such as fusion plants in orbit may make that cost go down, but you still have to get the electricity to the grid on Earth and if you come up with an efficient way to do it, why not use solar instead of fusion?

    So you don't want to mine stuff on the Moon and send the ore back to Earth because it will always be more expensive than just mining it on the Earth. What you really want to do is mine it, refine it, make products out of it, and use those products on the Moon. Here's where private industry comes in. Yeah, they'll do that stuff if they have a market. But for there to be a market, there needs to be entities there to create the demand. Those entities aren't going to be there unless there's some kind of infrastructure in place for them to survive.

    For example, I've commented previously that I think the Moon is a great place to build space ships. You have gravity on the Moon, unlike in Earth orbit, so you don't need any fancy system to transport, say, molten iron from point A to point B--let it flow downhill like we do on Earth. A dropped screw isn't going to go whizzing around the planet for the next 100 years, it will fall to the ground where it can be picked up. But the gravity on the Moon is 1/6th that of the Earth. So you can use 1/6th the fuel to lift an object into lunar orbit than you would into Earth orbit--or you can lift something six times heavier. And going outside the Earth/Moon environment will need less fuel if you leave from the moon than if you leave from Earth.

    But, again, you need that infrastructure before you can start doing such things. Private industry is not going to pay for the R&D of that infrastructure. They might be willing to pay for the R&D of how to mine and build stuff on the Moon if a customer will come along who will pay them for the finished products (whose prices will contain the R&D). That someone is going to be a Government entity (US or otherwise).

    There are now threads of private funding for human activities in low earth orbit. These threads should be encouraged to grow.


    By the way, most of that isn't entirely "private" funding. One of their biggest customers will still be the good ol' US

  • by Garrett Fox ( 970174 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @11:58PM (#31469590) Homepage
    That's based on the assumption that the whole point is to do science, while we stay at home and watch it on TV.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 14, 2010 @12:03AM (#31469612)

    I don't understand.. look at all the computational power, design automation and advancements in basic materials science since 1969. We should be able to send care packages to the moon via FedEx today.

    Personally I would rather see better space based telescopes and remote probes than manned missions in the near term. For the money its just more interesting and provides the highest cost/benefit returns in terms of research/knowledge.

    At some point mass production, machine intelligence and less global availability of cheap labor will rapidly start to push more and more people out of the workforce as production becomes more and more automated.

    Forget the manned missions to mars... hows about an attempt at something impossible like building a large (>1million ppl) city on mars or terraforming the whole planet. No new tech needs to be invented to get people to mars and back so whats the point in shooting that low? Maybe I watch too much star trek and expect too much or maybe you can't empty a lake with a bucket.

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @12:03AM (#31469620)

    The Obama Plan calls for the US to trade in 30 years of on orbit experience launching a 100 ton Space Shuttle, to allow some rich adventurers to rediscover Gemini technology. It makes absolutely no sense.

    One of the things we learned about the Shuttle was that it was a disaster for the US space program. You can have a hugely expensive launch vehicle or you can have a space program. That's the dichotomy that NASA has faced for the past 30 years. We found that out in light of the fallout from the Challenger accident. In 1990, we should have been putting together a cheaper replacement for the Shuttle. Instead, twenty years later we still haven't done so. This is the greatest failure of the US space program, that we chose the Shuttle over a manned space program.

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @12:33AM (#31469770)

    Buzz Aldrin is a well known gadfly and has little influence compared Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, and Harrison Schmidt.

    I doubt that is true. But you believe what you want.

    The thing that bothers me here is we've had numerous plans to go to the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere. The last such one, Constellation which for all practical purposes was the Ares I launch vehicle with some fuzzy destination goals. None of the leadership at NASA under Griffin would ever be accountable for the resulting failure.

    Obama might be setting the US up for another space program failure. He certainly has been turning gold into lead in various other areas of government policy. There's no reason to expect that his magic touch would work differently for NASA. But the killing of Ares I (and Constellation due to its dependence on the vehicle) was necessary. Sure the lack of long term goals is throwing up all sorts of warning signs for me. But not as bad as the announcement of the Ares program.

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jayveekay ( 735967 ) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @01:12AM (#31469940)

    Yeah, Obama's record-high deficit spending has nothing at all to do with our budget problems.

    This thread is about U.S. government spending, based upon budgets and laws passed by the Congress and signed into law by various U.S. Presidents. When you call the U.S. government deficit spending "Obama's deficit spending" as if he was a dictator, you lose credibility as a rational fiscal conservative (which I am).

    For example, a large portion of the current deficit is due to greatly reduced tax receipts caused by the recession that began prior to Obama taking office. Other large portions of the deficit are based upon mandated federal spending on programs like Medicare that were vastly expanded by the U.S. government prior to Obama's inauguration and which have been rising quickly due to demographic changes and soaring medical costs charged by providers.

    I would like to see the federal government seriously address these fiscal problems, and I don't believe that Obama nor the current congress have done so. But to call this problem "Obama's deficit", as if he were the sole cause, is so ridculous that it makes you look thoughtless.

  • Re:Priorities. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gangien ( 151940 ) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @01:36AM (#31470046) Homepage

    sure. the thing is the best form of universal healthcare is the free market.

  • by MakinBacon ( 1476701 ) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @01:56AM (#31470142)

    In WW2 you got hit by the Japanese and invaded Germany. In 2001 you got hit by a multinational group of thugs and invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. I'm not seeing a big difference there. Anyone who can argue that Iraq was unjustified can just as easily argue that American involvement in Germany was unjustified. Of course, they don't, because their views are inconsistent, but I was simply pointing out that both positions are equally "logical".

    Actually, we declared war on Japan following their unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor, and then the Germans and Italians (their allies) declared war on us, thus dragging us into the war in Europe. In the War on Terror, we invaded Afghanistan because their government was providing a safe haven for a terrorist organization that slaughtered innocent people, and then invaded Iraq because Bush lied and said they were trying to gather up WMDs with which they planned to blow us to Kingdom Come.

    There is a huge difference between our motives for invading Iraq and our motives for invading Germany.

  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @02:23AM (#31470252) Journal

    Anyone who can argue that Iraq was unjustified can just as easily argue that American involvement in Germany was unjustified.

    Japan and Germany were allied. Germany encouraged Japan to attack the US.

    Iraq had never had any relationship to Afghanistan or Al Qaeda.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 14, 2010 @02:24AM (#31470254)

    I completely agree with Aldrin and simply don't understand that anybody is willing to put this story up on the news. When Bush introduced the new plan 6 years ago a lot of people at NASA were rightly protesting against it. Rightly so. We don't need to go to Mars, nor need we go to the moon without a good reason. That money better spent elsewhere.

  • by paganizer ( 566360 ) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .1evorgeht.> on Sunday March 14, 2010 @02:56AM (#31470382) Homepage Journal

    What comes to mind when I say "long term survival of the human race"?

  • by gtbritishskull ( 1435843 ) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @05:29AM (#31470890)
    This financial crisis basically showed us that the free market cannot be trusted. It is what got us into this mess in the first place. The government listened to the free market worshipers who said that if left alone, the free market would do the "right thing". Everything would price itself correctly and there would be peace and harmony. What actually happened was that we were shown that the free market is a product of human beings and subject to the whims of human emotion. We had an enormous speculative bubble, cause by people assuming the market would keep going up regardless of what the facts were telling them. That was optimism feeding optimism. If the government had not stepped in, the opposite would have happened. Pessimism would have fed pessimism (and did). The markets crashed, but without government assurances and interventions they would have crashed much further. While it would have caused many businesses to fail (and taught them a good lesson) all of the people who made the decisions would have floated down on their golden parachutes while the average American would have been the one to suffer. While that may have made you happy in your ideal world, in the real world it is real people who lose their homes and lose their jobs. It is real people who die when riots happen. This isn't a game you can just start over if you screw things up. It is people's lives you are playing with.
  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @07:33AM (#31471294)
    It seems to me that the health care bill would double health care spending (medicare + social security) at least.

    The UK pays less per person to insure everyone than the US pays to insure a minority. They do more than twice as much with less. If we went with something closer to what every other civilized nation on the planet has, we'll cover more people with better care for a decrease in spending.

    But you are right in the practical sense, the Republicans will ensure that any Obama plan is sabotaged with pieces that will make it horrible. And neither want to touch the AMA or insurance. So we'll end up with what we are leaning towards now, failing to pay your personal money to a private insurance company will be illegal. Rather than the sensible measure everyone else does and make the government the default insurance company for everyone (with the option to opt for better care with private insurance), we'll force people to buy private insurance and spend public money to increase red tape and bureaucracy, not end it. And others have the medical profession run by the government, rather than a private organization with goals directly against the best interests of the people, but whose actions have the force of law.

    We could easily cut costs and more than double coverage by mimicking Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any number of countries in Europe. But we won't. We'll do the worst possible implementation of it for increased cost and no better coverage. And I blame the Republicrats. The Republicans claim government is bad and shouldn't be trusted, while working hard to make it as large as possible. Democrats say to trust the government while every Democrat elected (save Carter) didn't do anything he said he was going to do and so are, by definition, untrustworthy. Both parties do the opposite of what they say, and they only work together when they think it gives more power to the government in a way they can exploit later. When the voters stop playing the two-party game, the US will be the greatest nation again. Until then, it's the race to the bottom, and we are out of the top 10 now (and top 20, and top 30...). I give the US 20 years before people start trying to leave en masse. 30 or so until Mexico starts building a fence to keep Americans out. It can be easily stopped any time between now and then, it just takes moving to a preference or instant runoff ballot.
  • by lennier ( 44736 ) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @09:09PM (#31476704) Homepage

    What comes to mind when I say "long term survival of the human race"?

    Keeping Earth habitable, as opposed to popping a few tin cans that need constant resupply into orbit and calling it 'colonisation'.

    Space has a lot of vacuum, a few rocks, almost no oxygen or water, and zero biomass. Exactly how is that supposed to contribute to human survival?

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.