Monday, August 04, 2008

More Space News, Things That Bug Me, Etc.

This story bears paying some attention to; I referenced it previously in my analysis of John McCain's space policy. We need to consider how much we care about access to space. Why? Well, Congress is showing signs that they don't want to drop the waiver to trading with Russia despite their repeated violations of the Iran-North Korea-Syra Nonproliferation Act. The choices are simple, but ugly:

  • Grant Russia the waiver. Under this plan, we would continue to have access to the International Space Station (ISS). However, if we don't punish Russia somehow, they will continue to sell arms to Iran, a nation committed to killing us and one of our chief allies, Israel. And Iran will continue to receive Russian-made weapons.
  • Drop the waiver. However, Russia doesn't always have our best interests in mind. This might be just the excuse they need to keep their oil off the market, refuse to build more Soyuz rockets, or refuse to fly American astronauts to ISS.


Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, has become the Winston Churchill of the commercial space sector, saying to his people, more or less, that he will never give up on building rockets to access ISS. And we'll need that kind of tenacity in our private sector, if we hope to have a viable substitute for Russian access (see above).


More stories on Obama's policy shift/flip-flop on gutting Constellation to fund education:,0,1723381.story?track=rss

I see no reason to change my analysis from Saturday:

Obama might be backing off his idea of slowing the Constellation Program to fund some education program; that is not, however, the same thing as saying that he would give Constellation the green light.


And then there's this: the Department of Homeland Security has now stated that they can seize and hold (that's steal in plain Chicago English) iPods, laptops, etc. I'm still p!$$ed off about the sunblock and shampoo that the Transportation Security Agency has stolen from me over the past few years. This is a little too much. Now admittedly the innocent shouldn't have anything to worry about. I'm not smuggling drugs, pot, illicit data, illegal aliens, kiddie porn, endangered species, or weapons.

Still, I resent that my government is willing to treat the innocent on the same level as the guilty--in short, that they are governing according to the lowest common denominator. The assumption should not be, "We have a small number of criminals among the traveling or border-crossing public; therefore, we shall treat everybody as criminals." This is one of those great opportunities for warrants, just cause, etc. Again, I'm not a criminal, but why should I consent to be treated as one? This is the difference between being treated as a citizen and being treated as a subject.

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