||[Jan. 17th, 2004|02:06 pm]
|||||Eminem - White America||]|
Thanks to President Shrub, we are abandoning real science for science fiction.
In the quest to put a permanent settlement on the moon and to send people to Mars, NASA is abandoning the Hubble Telescope. Why? Because they can't get a shuttle mission to the telescope before the shuttle is retired, and they have orders to spend their money on developing Mission to Mars.
Yeah, we can only wish it was Disney.
Don't get me wrong: I have always been a HUGE fan of NASA and manned space flight. I remember the thrill of the first man on the moon, and I sat late night vigils with the rest of America when the Apollo 13 crew was struggling for survival. If there was a permanent outpost on the moon, I would do everything I could to get myself there. If I could leave for Mars tomorrow, knowing that I could never make a return trip, I would be on that ship.
But when I look at the figures that the Shrubbery is pledging to commit to this project, I can but cringe. A billion dollars a year for the next decade? That's what's known as feasibility study money. Sure, to you and me that's big bucks, but we're spending close to 100 times that amount just trying to keep the lights on in Iraq. A sober estimate of what it would take to create a permanent settlement on the moon and land on Mars would be in the neighborhood of a trillion dollars. Plus annual infusions of billions to support said space colony.
The reality is that this is not happening. Because it's not justifiable, economically. The benefits are just not there to make the investment worthwhile. But while President G. W. HowdieDoodie is busy being No Jack Kennedy, Hubble will go out of focus and our lens on the origins of the Universe will go dark.
So, why is this happening? Junior never evinced a particular fascination with the space program before now. A cynic mught suggest that he is trying to set himself up as the next Jack Kennedy, but I cannot credit that much guile to the man - mostly because he is so painfully stupid. This conversation is the genisis of the idea that I imagine:
End of November, White House office, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld listening to a phone ringing on conference call. A click as the line is picked up.
Rumsfeld: Mr. President? It's Don. I'm here with Dick Cheney. How are you?
George Herbert Walker Bush: Oh, fine! I'm surprised to hear from you boys on Thanksgiving! Barbara, it's Dick and Don! Yeah! Barbara says hi.
Rumsfeld: Give her our best. Mr. President, we've called to talk about George.
Bush: Oh, dear. What's that boy up to?
Cheney: He's starting to...ask questions. Interfere with things. You told us this wouldn't happen.
Bush: You aren't keeping him busy enough. I told you - he's like a monkey. Not that bright, but likely to cause mischief.
Rumsfeld: Well, invading Iraq was a good suggestion, but he's so enthusiastic he wants to invade other countries. And get involved in domestic policy. This just won't do.
Bush: Hmmmm. Well, when he thought he should be involved in the family business down here, I gave him the Texas Rangers....
Cheney: [snorts] And look how well that turned out.
Bush: Yes, but it kept him from wrecking more of the family business. He needs something that looks important but is really expendable.
Cheney and Rumsfeld looks at each other, frowning. Then they simultaneously smile.
Cheney and Rumsfeld: NASA!!!!
Bush: [laughing] That's a great idea guys!
Rumsfeld: Yeah, and it's not like Sammy Sosa is an astronaut....