Daily Space: Apollo Lunar Module

LM Illustration (courtesy of NASA)

LM Illustration (courtesy of NASA)

Brief Specifications:

Crew: 2
Weight: Empty: 8650 lbs (3920 kg)
Height: 20.9 ft (6.37 m)
Diameter: 14 ft (4.27 m)
Landing Gear Span: 29.75 ft (9.07 m)
Volume: 235 ft^3 (6.65 m^3)
Fuel: UDMH* and Hydrazine (known as Aerozine 50)
Oxidizer: Nitrogen Tetroxide
Power: 28 V DC, 115 V 400 Hz AC
Built By: Grumman Aerospace Corporation

*(UDMH = Unsymmetrical Dimethyl Hydrazine)

Just some thoughts

Meet the new boss, just like the old boss…

The Oathers

These guys are really grasping at straws trying to claim Obama may not be President because of the inaugural oath flub. Obama is President. Get over it. These “oathers” are putting themselves into the same nutter class as the ones demanding Bush be arrested, which makes them all idiots in my book. If you’re going to oppose Obama at least do it over legitimate differences in political philosophy, governance, and policy issues.

Lowry’s Benediction

Most of Rev. Lowry’s benediction was fine, but I admit feeling disturbed when he made the following statement and what I assume are unintended racist overtones:

“Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.”

Perhaps it’s because I was born and grew up after the civil rights era that I don’t get this part of the benediction and assume has some connotation from that time period that simply doesn’t fly for me in this time period. I particularly disliked several notions these saying bring to mind:

  • Asians (“yellow”) were somehow overly industrious (or even hinting at  aggressiveness of Asians towards non-Asians).
  • I find it disturbing that he implies the racism against blacks was somehow voluntary with the whole “asked to get back” shtick.
  • Implying whites have never done anything “right” until this inauguration. I’m sure Lincoln, the abolitionists, and all the assorted civil rights people appreciate having their work denigrated so

I’m going to assume it was just something resonating from the civil rights era and was not intended as a racist slight towards anyone. Perhaps it was a regional thing, since I never heard anything even remotely like those words during the assorted civil rights awareness programs, Black History month, and history classes in school.  In Arizona the emphasis was more on the civil rights leaders that impacted the state which tended more towards important women, Native Americans, and Hispanics than African Americans (also part of the reason MLK day in Arizona is officially called Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Day).  That’s the problem with sayings or phrases that are not cross-generational or too regional. They can become misconstrued as a society and generations change.

Gitmo Exec Order

Apparently there is already a draft version of an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay. About the only thing I don’t agree with in the order, if true, is halting the war crimes trials over the year long period the facility is being shut down. As they say, justice delayed is justice denied. Let the trials continue while shutting the facility down so the detainees innocence or guilt may be determined without further needless delay.

A Dose of Reality

I laud the fact that the United States has a black president now, but disagree with all those who view Obama’s ascendancy as a panacea for all the racial turmoil in this country, past and present, and the idea that the U.S. is now post-racial. Enjoy the moment, and be proud as Americans of what was accomplished, but don’t let Mr. Obama’s success be used as an excuse to ignore ongoing problems or be hijacked into pushing negative social or racial agendas.

Much hatred and discrimination remains between all races, religions, genders, and ethnicities toward other races, religions, genders, and ethnicities. The U.S. has come a long way, as evidenced by the ability for Mr. Obama, Ms. McKinney (Green Party Presidential nominee for those who were unaware), and Mrs Clinton’s abilities to run for the Presidency but we have much work to be done in eliminating discrimination, harmonizing relations, and basing a society on the merits of each individuals skills and abilities rather than some label they’ve been assigned.

Congress Watch: Repeal the 22nd Amendment?

Interesting that as our new President call for change, that the Democrat controlled 111th Congress puts forth House Resolution 5, which calls for the repealing of the 22nd Amendment:

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

The 22nd Amendment limits the time in office for the president and was ratified after it was felt FDR had been in office to long a period of time. There was a long history dating back to Washington of Presidents choosing to maintain the traditional (if unofficial) policy of only serving two terms prior to the amendment.

The question is why did Rep José Serrano introduce HJ Res 5 now? Why the sudden rush to push for something that I suspect most, if not all, Americans oppose? Lessen constraint on a government rife with fiscal irresponsibility, insider politics, elitism, and corruption? I think not. There is no legitimate reason I can see for this. It’s as inane as the attempt that was made with Ronald Reagan.

Yes, Mr Serrrano has pushed for the repeal numerous times since 1997 but I have to wonder at his reasoning. It’s not like he’s the most fiscally responsible member of congress being known for his pork. Politically he is considered extremely liberal, even by congressional standards.

Will this attempt to repeal the amendment pass muster? Probably not given previous failures. The fact remains the most recent attempt to remove the amendment were championed by such people as Sen Harry Reid and Congressman Barney Frank, not exactly shining examples of ethics and responsibility as history has shown us all in the last few years.

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?