Constitution and Change

Those who read this blog know I’m a strong Constitutionalist and dislike those who would change the Constitution for questionable reasons or laden down the document with non-universal personal or socio-political agendas like banning abortion, defining marriage, guaranteeing full employment, environment, abolishing electoral college, abolishing natural born clause for POTUS, and so on.

I’m sure many are now aware of the video going viral about Obama’s statement saying the Constitution of the United States is flawed and reflects the fundamental flaw of the nation. On both counts I completely disagree. No document devoted to establishing the governing precepts of a nation is ever flawless. What is remarkable is that the Constitution was so well written that it has had rare need to be altered, modified, or added to. Such changes, with rare exception, only enhanced and refined the document further. The very fact that the document could be modified in and of itself shows it’s versatility and progressiveness even in this day and age.

If Obama was referring to racial inequality at the time the Constitution was written he is confusing the attitudes and social mores of the times with what was actually written. The Framers were considerably clever in how the document was written choosing words and phrasing that could easily become universal in the future up to and beyond the inclusiveness of blacks (as latter history in the U.S. showed) while not putting off either Southern slave owners or Northerners fearful of Southern dominance in the government. The problem that arises for me is that Obama goes on to discuss redistribution of wealth via the Court and government and lamenting that the Constitution was deliberate in it role to limit the role of government in peoples lives. At least that’s how I interpreted his words. You can decide for yourself. The part that disturbs me is at the end, “redistributive change”.

It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.

The idea though that Senator Obama feels that the government should decide who makes what amount of money and everything else needs to be taken from them is anathema to me and I suspect a number of other Americans. These comments from 2001 only reinforce concerns of many over Sen. Obama’s neo-socialist leaning.

Now Senator Obama may have only said flaw in that the constitution only states what the government can’t do in regards to a person’s rights, and not what it can do. That is actually a good thing since it clearly delineates that the role of the government is to provide defense and moderate trade while leaving the people to pursue their own lives without being intruded upon as they had by the British. The problem though is that this neo-socialist leaning has continued for more than 7 years.

Case in point Sen. Obama’s has recently mentioned potential changes to the Constitution again.

Q: Yes. Exactly. Do you favor changing the Constitution?

A: I rarely favor changing the Constitution. I will say it doesn’t seem real fair that (the fact that) Jennifer was born in a hospital a few miles north as opposed to a few miles south somehow prohibits her from running for president. So it’s something I would be willing to look at. … The original native-born clause came at a time when the country was pretty unstable. … You could argue that some of those original conditions do not apply.

I don’t change constitutions lightly. So I would want to study it before I made a definitive statement on it.

Source: Obama: Aim for fundamental change | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press| 3 Oct 2008

So Obama apparently thinks it’s unfair that only native born Americans should be allowed to run for President and that the reasons for the clause are no longer valid or necessary. The reasoning behind the ensuring on natural born citizens would be allowed to be President (and later applied to Vice President) was and still is very simple: to avoid a conflict of interest with or undue influence by foreign powers. While it is unlikely an individual working for the behest of a foreign power could gain much control of the U.S. even as POTUS better to avoid the problem in the first place.

I can’t help but wonder if we are returning (or have already returned) to the so called Gilded Age when some thought the Constitution defective. I say this because much of the political corruption we see in the country from all parties is somewhat reminiscent of the scandals and fraud of that time period such as government intervention in the economy resulted in favoritism, waste and corruption. Sound familiar? (Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac/Wall Street Bailout.) Also parties had large get-out-the vote campaigns of a dubious nature (ACORN anyone?), and sensationalist news took precedence over genuine news (News reporters covering sexual escapades of celebrities versus uncovering corruption in local government, for example, or covering a politician’s marital history instead of their politics). Sounds familiar, yes?

Is this a joke?

“Are you joking? Is this a joke? Or is that a real question?”

No Senator. It’s not a joke, it’s the Presidential election.

Then again. Presidential election = joke isn’t all that far from the truth at times.

You know if Obama gets elected President I think I may have to devote a day a week to future secret GOP operative Biden gaffes. Maybe I’ll call it Biden Time. (Yes the stricken comment is a joke.)  That or to the extreme lefties who turn into rabid pit bulls over nothing.

So this weekend’s gaffe is actually starting to become more sinister than amusing. While the reporter left a lot to be desired in the manner she asked her questions but the fact is she asked wht so few others have been willing to do. Ask a question and give the candidate an open shot to answer and dispel all doubts. People do have concerns over ACORN and any political affiliations to the organization, Obama’s own “spread the wealth” comment, and Biden’s own comment about Obama being tested. Along with the valid questions you’ll get dumb questions too.

The Democratic and leftist response has been near apoplectic. Cutting off future interviews and starting a smear campaign against the reporter via party zombies is a chilling reaction to legitimate questions. If the Obama/Biden ticket is too thin skinned for simple questions and reacts this strongly, how will they react when faced with criticism during their potential Presidential administration.

If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the fire.

NASA Chief: Criticsm Hurts Morale

NASA chief: Criticism hurting agency morale- msnbc.com

I wonder what people would think if it was generally known that NASA is getting $20.2 billion to operate when compared with the $700 billion bailout? It’s tantalizing to think of what NASA could do with that much money. Sure it’ll never happen because there are greater concerns to be dealt with in the U.S. right now, but I can’t help but wonder.

Anyway, on to the article.

I applaud the Mr. Griffin for defending and supporting his engineers and workers at NASA. I doubt many question the integrity or expertise of the talented engineers, technicians, and workers of NASA but instead question the NASA leadership and judgment in its decision making process. Many of those decisions, of course, are limited by budgetary concerns but there is also an impression that NASA has become entrenched with an engineering ideology that inflexible and unwilling to consider alternate concepts or ideas that are counter to the current leadership’s “vision”.

Whether that is true or not, time will tell.

Chandrayaan-1 Launch

Chandrayaan-1 successfully launched |The Space Fellowship

The Chandrayaan-1 (trans. Mooncraft-1) lunar probe should prove quite useful for further expansion of lunar exploration, especially with instruments that will be looking for minerals on the Moon that could prove extremely useful for future development there.

Knowing the amounts of these minerals available over the surface of the Moon, magnetic anomalies, and how the Moon’s surface reacts to solar wind could help concentrate efforts as to locations of landing sites and potential lunar bases.

Congratulations the ISRO for a successful launch. Here’s hoping the lunar insertion and overall mission goes as equally well.

The following is for aerospace engineers, space geeks, and others interested in space.

Chandrayaan-1 Specifications

Mass (launch): 1,380 kg

Mass (lunar orbit): 675 kg (523 kg after impactor released)

Dimensions: 1.5 m, cube

Communications:
    Payload data transmission –  X Band, 0.7 m parabolic antenna
    Telemetry, Tracking & Command – S Band

Primary Power:
    solar array generating ~750 W stored in 36 A-h lithium-ion battery

Propulsion System:
    bipropellant for transfer to lunar orbit and maintain altitude

Attitude Determination and Control:
    star sensors
    accelerometers
    inertial reference unit
    attitude control thrusters
    reaction wheels

Numerous pictures of the spacecraft and launch can be found at the Indian Space Research Organisation

Spacecraft information obtained from ISRO and NASA.

Unmanned Lunar Missions Under Development

Estimated launch dates/years are in brackets ().

United States: LRO (2009), LCROSS (2009), GRAIL (2011), LADEE (2011), ILN (2013-2014)

Russia: Luna-Glob (2009-2012) Date has changed several times for assorted reasons. Mission is first step in creation of the Lunny Poligon robotic lunar base by 2020.

China: Chang’e-1 (duplicate of previous launch in 2007) (2009)

India: Chandrayaan II (2010-2011)

There are also some proposed unmanned programs underway, among them the Google Lunar X Prize, as well as the ongoing manned programs of the United States (by 2018), China, Japan, and India (2020 each), Europe (2024) and Russia (2025). Japan’s ambitions are perhaps the greatest with a proposed lunar base by 2030.

Phoenix joins list of cities receiving threatening letters

4 Phoenix banks receive letters with white powder

Phoenix joins the ranks of cities hit by someone obviously ticked off at the banks and news media. Fortunately no one has been hurt in these incidents.

Great, we have some nitwits out there sending calcium everywhere in an attempt to scare people. Hope the FBI busts the loser(s) on terrorism charges and throws them away into some dark hole never to be seen again. As if the FBI and other government agencies need to waste time, money, and resources hunting for some dumb ass that could be better spent dealing with genuine threats instead of disgruntled idiots.

News Commentary 20 Oct 2008

Political Radar: Palin Differs With McCain on Federal Marriage Amendment

I’m not really surprised Palin supports an constitutional amendment defining marriage, since she is a Christian conservative and despite claims otherwise, not a true federalist. It’s one of the issues I differ strongly from Palin and numerous other conservative Christian Republicans. That said, they have a right to their opinions and beliefs and I to mine. I have a serious problem with anyone who thinks codifying and imposing one religious perspective upon all, even those who believe differently, is perfectly acceptable. Fortunately attempting to do such Constitutionally is especially difficult, with the notable exception of the mistake that became known as Prohibition.

Bernanke, White House warm to another stimulus plan | Reuters

Why would anyone want to spend more money when the first economic stimulus package accomplished nothing? Are people really that desperate to cripple themselves in the future by a pittance of a handout now? People do realize that these “stimulus packages” are not free, right? They need to be paid back in future tax returns. Besides, do you really trust one of the morons (Bernanke) responsible for the financial meltdown to make sound economic policy?

U.S. to study possible space-based defense | Science | Reuters

Curious how suddenly space-based defense isn’t viewed as radical and dangerous or mocked as a waste of time and money. Funny how suddenly some now seem to think that Reagan was right, Clinton and the Democrat Congress were wrong for gutting SDI, and now show interest in the program (or one similar to it) once more. I find the whole situation ironic in that the US is far less likely to face a nuclear assault now than during the closing days of the Cold War and yet it is now suddenly there is this “urgent” need for the program.

Is Biden a GOP operative?

Is Biden a GOP operative?

I say that tongue-in-cheek, of course, but I do wonder at times if Biden subconsciously  wants Obama to lose the presidential election. Such appears to be the case with Biden’s most recent gaffe at a fund raiser in Seattle, WA this past Sunday:

“Mark my words,” the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Apparently Biden and his Ouija board also said similar things in a fund raiser in San Fran the day before. At least in San Fran he backed it up with a statement supporting Obama’s resolve in such an event. I also chose to ignore the inane notion that Obama is comparable to JFK.

So…what’s with espousing what could be construed as scare tactics? Scare tactics that would oddly support the notion that McCain is better qualified to lead in a crisis than Obama.

Weird Joe strikes again. I get a good laugh out of the irony of it all if nothing else.