This Is Not the Petition You Are Looking For

uhura-obama

There are so many reasons why I voted for Obama twice, despite some flaws, but this is definitely one in the “HELL, YES!” column:

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

    * The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
    * The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
    * Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

However, look carefully (here’s how) and you’ll notice something already floating in the sky — that’s no Moon, it’s a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts — American, Russian, and Canadian — living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We’ve also got two robot science labs — one wielding a laser — roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.

I fully support rule by nerds and dorks over sociopaths.

And since I know that 90% of the internet has Asperger’s is on the Austism spectrum scale, yes, I understand there is a difference between Star Wars and Star Trek.






183 replies
  1. 1
    scav says:

    We welcome our new Overnerds.

    and who worries about crossovers whe we already know the man comes equipped with a Tardis in the O-office?

  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Whatever West Wing staffer gets to write these kinds of responses has the funnest job in the country.

  3. 3
    dmsilev says:

    So, I should take it that NASA is suppressing the photos showing one of their Mars rovers being abducted by Jawas?

    The really sad thing is that if the Bush administration had issued a “we’re not building a Death Star” statement, half the countries on the planet would immediately start a crash research program into thermal-exhaust-port-targeting computers (one of these, most likely).

  4. 4
    Maude says:

    What a great answer. On Twitter, Chris Hadfield, Canada, was showing pics of clouds and the Earth. With one pic he asked, does this look like a dog?

  5. 5
    Hunter Gathers says:

    * Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

    That alone is worth the 8 years of whining from the shriveled dick brigade.

  6. 6
    Maude says:

    @dmsilev:
    Wouldn’t be able to pick up Curiosity. She’s a two ton Tessie.

  7. 7
    dmsilev says:

    Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

    Think of the defense contractors! Will nobody think of the poor rich defense contractors?

  8. 8
    jayackroyd says:

    Great photo. Hadn’t seen it. Obama has the best sense of humor of any president in my lifetime.

    But manned space flight is a stupid waste of money. All the useful science (except for the demonstrations that people can’t live in free fall) has been the work of unmanned missions.

  9. 9
    ruemara says:

    I think I shared that everywhere I have a web presence.

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    The government has been urging people to prepare for the zombie apocalypse for some time now.

    The funniest part is that Sen. Tom Coburn apparently doesn’t get the joke and is INCENSED that the government is spending its money so frivolously.

  11. 11
    Culture of Truth says:

    “Rebels Determined to Exploit Fatal Flaw In Death Star”

    “okay, you’ve covered your ass now”

  12. 12
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Darth Vader would be a Republican, no doubt. A big M-IC type guy, lots of Dept. of Defense connections.

  13. 13
    Brachiator says:

    Next week, Rush, Hannity and the usual suspects of wingnut pundits and talk radio goons will be chattering about how Obama is seriously constructing a Death Star, and how it is the patriotic responsibility of Real White Americans(tm) to buy more guns so that they can exercise their 2nd Amendment rights to defeat it.

    Because, you know…. Wolverines!

  14. 14
    dmsilev says:

    @Brachiator:More fools they, then. Don’t they know that a light saber in the hands of a Jedi can deflect bullets?

    Also, too, I’d like to encourage all wingnuts to take their boomsticks, aim them directly up, and pull the trigger. The combination of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin should thin the herd nicely.

  15. 15
    MikeJ says:

    I love Battlestar Galactica!

  16. 16
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Mnemosyne: The Force can have an effect on the weak-minded.

  17. 17
    General Stuck says:

    mnemosyne Bush and the fucking GOP built the frankenstein Homeland Security department, a domestic monster bookend to the Pentagon factory for exporting war. And now they whinge when it turns into a giant money sucking wingnut welfare beast just like the off shore disasters funded by the unauditable Pentagon. If you’re a republican, it means you can both support and protest your own massive clusterfucks. And blame liberals for it all.http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-4130074

  18. 18
    gnomedad says:

    C3PO, also, too. Excellent.

  19. 19
    Ash Can says:

    L-O-fuckin-L

  20. 20
    redshirt says:

    That shot is so sexual in Star Wars: Luke closes his eyes, and shoots his laser wad down the tiny exhaust port, shattering her virginity…

  21. 21
    danielx says:

    Well, hell, it sounds like it would work about as well as the missile defense system we’ve already deployed (which doesn’t fucking work) and upon which we’ve spent hundreds of billions. Building a Death Star which is basically a great big target (just like an aircraft carrier) sounds right up the DoD’s alley to me; I can’t understand why That Man In The White House is being so negative about the whole thing.

  22. 22
    efgoldman says:

    @Brachiator:

    Next week, Rush, Hannity and the usual suspects of wingnut pundits and talk radio goons will be chattering about how Obama is seriously constructing a Death Star

    Oh, I so hope so. It would be like Xmas and the Super Bowl(c) all in one. Better.

  23. 23
    nellcote says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Darth Vader would be a Republican, no doubt.

    He was VP with Bush the junior.

  24. 24
    burnspbesq says:

    Is anyone else having issues with the new version of Firefox crashing their Mac?

    I’ve had four crashes today, which is four more than I’ve ever had with any previous version of Firefox.

  25. 25
    dm says:

    Help me, Obama Kenobie! You’re my only hope!

  26. 26
    PsiFighter37 says:

    I don’t think any president has won the Internets as much as Barack Obama has. That’s an epic response.

  27. 27
    Slag says:

    I like the Death Star question because it takes the most absurd arguments that people make on behalf of our military industrial complex to their most ridiculous level. And, in that respect, it’s really quite a subversive question. But that aspect seems to get overshadowed by the funny. Need Yoda we do.

  28. 28
    Roger Moore says:

    They’ve also responded more seriously to the secession petitions (and the one asking the people who signed them to be deported) with a firm no.

  29. 29
    nellcote says:

    further from the petiton answer:

    “We don’t have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.”

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    John, thank you for showing us that terrific photo once again. That is just so damn cool…our President is so damn cool…

  31. 31
    MattR says:

    @Culture of Truth: Lol. Well played

    @dmsilev:

    Think of the defense contractors! Will nobody think of the poor rich defense contractors?

    It’s a moral conundrum.

  32. 32
    MikeJ says:

    @burnspbesq: I’m on 20.a2, linux mint and Windows and it’s fine. Does it say where it’s crashing or do it more on certain pages (especially flash?)

  33. 33
    NotMax says:

    First they came for the Death Star.

    Next, they’ll be taking away light sabers from the teachers.

  34. 34
    Roger Moore says:

    @dmsilev:

    Will nobody think of the poor rich defense contractors?

    I assure you, people are thinking of them. They may not like what Madame Defarge is thinking about them, but I assure you she’s thinking of them.

  35. 35

    just for fun, after President Obama has the $1T coin minted, he should report that he lost it.

  36. 36
    redshirt says:

    Romulans were just Vulcans who rejected the idea of being emotionless hags. So they formed their own Star Empire and everything was swell, until the Vulcans got the Humans to do their dirty work for them. Kept them Logical hands clean. Nothing to see here.

  37. 37
    Jay C says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Is this v. 18? I updated yesterday, and haven’t had any probs (tho on a Windows machine). Nor any with any FF update for years.

    Assuming it’s up for long enough, email a gripe to Mozilla; they usually get onto glitches fairly quickly.

  38. 38
    JGabriel says:

    The topics of the last three posts have been, respectively: babies, cats, and now sci-fi.

    Slow news day?

    .

  39. 39
    burnspbesq says:

    @MikeJ:

    Three of the four times it’s happened, I’ve clicked on a back arrow and gotten instant black death and reboot. The other software running at the time was Outlook, iTunes, and Audirvana Plus.

    ETA: 18.0.

  40. 40
    SarahT says:

    @Richard W. Crews: HAHAHA ! Yes, or that Bo ate it.

  41. 41
    Jay C says:

    @Richard W. Crews:

    just for fun, after President Obama has the $1T coin minted, he should report that he lost it

    Or that Sasha took it when she and Malia went to the arcade…

  42. 42
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    I understand there is a difference between Star Wars and Star Trek.

    True. Star Wars sucks. Star Trek does not.

  43. 43
    amk says:

    there IS a difference between Star Wars and Star Trek ?

  44. 44
    MikeJ says:

    @burnspbesq: Does it give a chance to send a crash report? If so, put:
    about:crashes
    in the address field. Click on the latest submitted crash report. Sometimes it will give a module name and you can track it down from that.

    You might also try running ffox in safe mode (no extensions, etc) but holding shift while starting it. If it doesn’t crash in safe mode, you probably have a flaky extension of some sort.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: In support of this, I will point out that he didn’t give a shit about the Emperor fucking over everyone until it affected his own son.

  46. 46
    Brachiator says:

    Ewan McGregor is among those being given 2013 New Year’s honors by the Queen. Seriously.

    So yes, he will be Obi-Wan, OBE.

  47. 47
    General Stuck says:

    Speaking of weird science. You’re wingnut zen of the day.

    “You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth,” he said. “I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.”

    Broun — a physician, with an M.D. and a B.S. in chemistry

    How we have existed as a country, and not differing camps of feudal morons, should be studied by science someday.

  48. 48
    burnspbesq says:

    @MikeJ:

    Thanks.

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Jay C: he dropped it in a gopher near the spot of the proposed NYC/NJ tunnel that Christie cancelled. May throngs of treasure hunters will get that thing started.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @General Stuck: An MD, like a JD (or any degree), simply means that you gave the desired answers to questions during exams (and jumped through a few other hoops). It doesn’t me you are not an idiot.

  51. 51
    efgoldman says:

    @General Stuck:

    Broun — a physician, with an M.D. and a B.S. in chemistry…

    You know, if there really was a god, it would long since struck all these turkey TeaHadis dead, dead, dead for heresy and unforgivable ignorance.

  52. 52
    LeftCoastTom says:

    @burnspbesq: No issues on my work PC or home Mac w/ FF 18, but a co-worker saw FF 18 experience startup crashes. She couldn’t get rid of them short of downloading the FF 17 installer. Something’s definitely wrong with the latest FF, but it hasn’t happened to me.

  53. 53
    General Stuck says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It doesn’t me you are not an idiot.

    Yes, and when you jump through the hoops to get yourself elected to high political office, and wangle a seat on the House of Reps Science Committee, you become a dangerous idiot.

  54. 54
    Suffern ACE says:

    @General Stuck: well, to be honest, liberals don’t help themselves by claiming on the one hand, homeland security is a giant clusterfuck, but one whose continued operation is absolutely necessary in a time of recession.

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @General Stuck: Oh, shit, yeah.

  56. 56
    kuvasz says:

    Mr. President, we must not allow a Death Star gap.

  57. 57
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @NotMax:

    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a lightsaber is a good guy with a lightsaber!

    @JGabriel:

    I think we could use more slow news days.

  58. 58
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Richard W. Crews:

    The number of people who can read about the $1TC and not think of the Simpsons or Austin Powers must be vanishingly slim.

    (That’s what Obama should do, by the way: Press conference in a Dr. Evil getup. “America, I am pleased to announce that we have minted a coin…worth one treeeeeeellion dollars!”

  59. 59
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: Who plays Mini Me?

  60. 60
    Suffern ACE says:

    @JGabriel: actually its all been kind of boring since the wid didn’t end last month. Isn’t it time for someone to write a book on the ancient Armenian prophesy so we can put a countdown clock on the news shows again?

  61. 61
    Roger Moore says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    I would argue that writing a thesis that represents an independent work of scholarship (required for some degrees) qualifies as neither giving the desired answers during exams nor jumping through a few other hoops.

  62. 62
    General Stuck says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    There are good and necessary departments under the HS umbrella, such as disaster response and relief. The point is that when you make a government agency that large, it is difficult to control, via spending money, and other half assed programs such as anti terrorism. That we already have internal agencies to do that we call the FBI.

    And after a period of time, the bullshit piles up so deep, no one can say what it really costs, so congress just throws a bunch of cash against the wall, and you get all sorts of silly shit/

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    I honestly don’t think it’s a bad idea to have something like the DHS that can prepare disaster plans and coordinate responses from multiple agencies (ie FEMA, CDC, etc.) in the event of a major disaster or terrorist attack.

    I just think that the way the department was created was a major clusterfuck and it needs some additional reform to operate better. I can’t help but notice that TSA has been somewhat less annoying and overzealous since around late 2009. (I make airports who use x-ray backscatter machines grope me rather than risk the extra x-ray exposure, so I’ve had some experience at this point.)

  64. 64
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Roger Moore: I fucking knew as soon as the time to edit expired that someone would say that. Nevertheless, higher education has a large element of giving answers that people want to hear.

    – Omnes Omnibus, IB, BA, JD.

  65. 65
    magurakurin says:

    @kuvasz:

    Mr. President, we must not allow a Death Star gap

    if the pilot’s good, see, I mean, if he’s really..sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low, you oughtta see it sometime, it’s a sight. A fast ship like a T-65. VRROOM! There’s jet exhaust, fryin’ chickens in the barnyard.
    President: Yeah, but has he got a chance?
    Turgidson: Has he got a chance? Hell, Ye…ye..

  66. 66
    liberal says:

    @jayackroyd:

    But manned space flight is a stupid waste of money.

    Amen, brother!

  67. 67
    SFAW says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I would argue that writing a thesis that represents an independent work of scholarship (required for some degrees) qualifies as neither giving the desired answers during exams nor jumping through a few other hoops

    That’s not generally the case when this is your alma mater.

  68. 68
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Omnes Omnibus, IB, BA

    1B, BA = 1 bad, bad-ass?

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Looking back at it it without punk/new wave colored glasses, this is a truly awesome album. Okay, the Buckingham stuff is best, but still…

  70. 70
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Maude: I LOVE his Twitter feed. In this photo, he may or may not be showing space age laser weapons.

    Also: great moustache.

    Also also: NAIL CLIPPING IN SPAAAAAACE. Not kidding.

  71. 71
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SFAW: Nah, International Baccalaureate… Point being that I have been giving the right answers on exams for a long time.

  72. 72
    Comrade Mary says:

    Also also also: space toilet.

  73. 73
    liberal says:

    @General Stuck:
    Jesus Christ, that linked article is funny.

    2nd graf:

    “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell,” Broun said. “And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

    This shit just blows The Onion right out of the fucking water.

    And WTF is up with all those deer trophies? I mean, my old man still hunts deer despite being an octogenarian, but that still at the top of the article is just freakin’ weird.

  74. 74
    Suffern ACE says:

    @SFAW: IB = intelligent badger. It’s a degree specific to the Wisconsin technical college system.

  75. 75
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @liberal:

    the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell,”

    Yeah, that’s what a lot of TV critics say.

  76. 76
    Marshall says:

    @jayackroyd:

    But manned space flight is a stupid waste of money. All the useful science (except for the demonstrations that people can’t live in free fall) has been the work of unmanned missions.

    Sorry, but totally wrong. Apollo totally nailed the Moon, returning more science in 3 years than we have found out about Mars in 48. One day, people will finally go to Mars, and one week later the rovers (and Viking) will be just an asterisk.

  77. 77
    magurakurin says:

    @jayackroyd:

    One of my oldest friends in the world once commented on that way back in 1980 or so. I said that the space program was just a waste and his reply was that while that may be so, he figured that every dime they spent on NASA was money that didn’t get spent on ICBM’s and nuclear war. Made sense and was probably pretty true. We probably had a few less nukes thanks to the Apollo program.

    In my mind the money spent on manned space flight is a drop in the bucket. And saying that we don’t have the money to waste on it plays into the whole, “America is broke we’ll soon be Greece” meme, in my opinion. Truth is there is plenty of money to fully fund SSI, Medicare, education, etc., plus explore space. The only reason America doesn’t do that is politics.

  78. 78
    Narcissus says:

    I would argue that military spending, consumer capitalism, and just about everything else we spend our time and money on are greater wastes than manned space exploration.

  79. 79
    liberal says:

    @Marshall:
    In terms of rational cost/benefit analysis, manned space flight is a total waste of money.

    Steven Weinberg harps on this all the time.

  80. 80
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @liberal: In terms of rational cost/benefit analysis, many things are a total waste of money. Justify art.

  81. 81
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @liberal:

    I’m a bit of a romantic, but I think manned spaceflight is worth pursuing even if it’s not the most efficient thing out there. Gives us all something good and optimistic to think about.

    And as others have pointed out, it’s probably a better investment than all these damn wars and corporate kickbacks.

  82. 82
    GregB says:

    I met Paul Broun’s daughter Eva once. She plans to marry a real charismatic leader someday.

  83. 83
    liberal says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    No one is suggesting a government sponsored art program that will cost on the order of $100B over the course of a few years.

  84. 84
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @liberal: Stimulus that is not war related. Plus, let’s do something magnificent again. I don’t suggest we do it instead of investing in the education, feeding the poor, etc. Let’s fucking do all of it. We can afford it if we get out priorities right.

  85. 85
    liberal says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Gives us all something good and optimistic to think about.

    The idea of space exploration is awesome. But the actuality sucks.

    And as others have pointed out, it’s probably a better investment than all these damn wars and corporate kickbacks.

    The set {X: spending money on X is better than spending money on wars and corporate fraudsters} is a rather large one.

  86. 86
    Big Daddy says:

    I watched an interview with her once where she revealed that she almost turned down her role on Star Trek, but Dr. King (THE Dr. King) told her he would not allow that. She said yes, and the rest is history.

  87. 87
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @GregB: You are just fucking evil… I applaud you, sir.

  88. 88
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Uhmm, yeah…I still gotta say no to that.

  89. 89
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: Without manned space flight, I will never get the future I was promised.

  90. 90
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Rumours is a bad album?

    ETA: Would this be better?

  91. 91
    liberal says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    But there’s no argument whatsoever that “manned space flight” would be on any kind of reasonable wish-list, except to give a bunch of sci-fi dorks hard-ons. (I say that as a sci fi dork.)

    Unmanned space flight, you at least get the benefit of trying to tackle AI issues. Manned space flight? Efficient recycling of oxygen-containing atmospheres. Radiation shielding so that your meat isn’t cooked by radiation en route to Mars?. BORING.

    Plus the idea of “many of us” going out there, or sending up enough mass to construct neat stuff out there, is currently hopeless until cost/kg of launching out of the gravity well goes way, way, down, and that’s not going to happen for a long, long time.

  92. 92
    Dee Loralei says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Can I marry this comment and have its babies? Yes! Yes! Yes! Seriously, that is exactly what is wrong with our politics now. Republicans forgot how to dream, but they especially forgot that we had a public “weel”. They quit giving a fuck that in the entire history of the US that we built towards a future, that we had common dreams and goals, that we always wanted and strived for better for our kids and descendants. And that we as a nation were willing to pay it forward. Since Reagan, all they know is keeping what they view as theirs. They can’t even maintain what they inherited from our forebears. They just want to have more for their own kids. Give not a flying fuck for the country!

  93. 93
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Plus, let’s do something magnificent again. I don’t suggest we do it instead of investing in the education, feeding the poor, etc.

    I think it’s Neil deGrasse Tyson who says that investing in space exploration is investing in education, because it gets kids excited about science at a young age. They may not end up working at JPL, but getting interested in science through things like the Mars Rovers can lead them to other areas of science and engineering.

    A kid who gets interested in geology because of the Mars Rover may end up studying volcanoes here on Earth. Why is this bad and therefore a waste of money?

  94. 94
    liberal says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    F*ck that noise. While I don’t really get the lyrics, in terms of mood/etc “Dreams” is one of my favorite songs.

  95. 95
    liberal says:

    @Dee Loralei:
    Hey, they have their dreams, too! You dream of manned space flight; they dream of dropping bombs on a bunch of brown folks. You dream of abating poverty; they dream of abetting inequality. …

  96. 96
    liberal says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Mars rovers =/= manned space flight.

  97. 97
    Narcissus says:

    @liberal: Spending hundreds of billions of government dollars on manned space flight and art programs sounds like a much better goal than propping up the neo-liberal world order for a few more years.

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Dee Loralei: @Mnemosyne: Fucking aye! I am so goddamn tired of people saying we can’t afford this or it is too expensive to do that. It is too defeatist for me. Let’s figure out how to do these things. Christ, I hate defeatism.

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    @liberal:

    Humans have dreamed of walking on other planets pretty much from the moment we figured out other planets (may) have surfaces for us to walk on.

    Where would we be today if Charles Darwin had decided, “Meh, it’s too expensive and dangerous for me to go to the Galapagos.” Not to mention all of the Europeans who figured out how to get there a couple of centuries before Darwin boarded the Beagle.

  100. 100
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: There are things we should just do because we can. Who knows what will come of it?

  101. 101
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I think we should build a replica of the Great Wall on the moon. In the present it’s just a dare to the Chinese to try to top that. Future moon visitors can look on in amazement at our achievement and wonder who the heck we were trying to keep out. Why should our future unitard wearing rational cousins be free of the 29th century equivalent if “Ancient Aliens?” We can also bury a calendar up there that ends in the year 2929.

  102. 102
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Point being that I have been giving the right answers on exams for a long time.

    Funny, I heard Paul Broun says that, too. Or maybe his daughter Eva (thanks GregB!) says that about him?

    Bur Rumours? Really? Why not some disco-era BeeGees or Ace or Starland Vocal Band?

    Rumours. Jesus H. Christ.

  103. 103
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Yes, it’s a cliche, but:

    We choose to go to the Moon. We choose to go to the Moon, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.

    (I have that line memorized mostly because G is a huge space nerd and they use it a lot in From the Earth to the Moon.)

    And, yes, I, too, am tired of people telling me that we can’t dream big because it’s too expensive, or not immediately practical.

  104. 104
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Take the punk rock stuff out of the mix (and there really wasn’t a ton of it released in ’77, at least not in the States), and there just wasn’t much good music released that year. There are a few things that were better (Marley’s Exodus and Billy Joel’s The Stranger jump out to me), so I think Rumours stands out because it was the best thing released in a shitty year. Think King of the Hobos. I’m a huge fan of the music of that decade, but ’77 was easily the weakest year.

    And I’ll take any Neil Young album over any Fleetwood Mac album every time.

  105. 105
    SFAW says:

    @Or something like that.Suffern Ace:

    I think we should build a replica of the Great Wall on the moon.

    Yeah, the Tralfamadorians might be able to read it better, what with all the pollution in China now.

  106. 106
    SFAW says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    Even Peter-Green-vintage Mac? Oh well.

  107. 107
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SFAW: Okay, first,the only reason I mentioned my history was as an attempt to inoculate myself against attacks on the grounds of being against the formal educational process. I was trying to indicate that I was a product of it.

    As far as Rumours goes, listen without prejudice. Is it London Calling? No. Is it brilliant pop? Yes, it is. and as far as the Bee-Gees, etc., comments, fuck you. No, really, fuck you with something sharp and rusty.

  108. 108
    eemom says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    There are things we should just do because we can. Who knows what will come of it?

    “Because it is there,” he said — and what has come of that is a bunch of rich trophy-seeking assholes traffic-jamming Everest every spring and a higher incidence of frozen corpses.

    Discuss.

  109. 109
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom: Tang.

    ETA: I have done some climbing. One accepts risks when one starts. There have been situations where money has triumphed – the 1996(?) Everest expedition comes to mind, but climbing, at its best, is about testing one’s limits.

  110. 110
    ulee says:

    Mnem.
    Thank you.

  111. 111
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ulee:

    You’re welcome. Make that call.

  112. 112
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @SFAW:

    Well, I like that era better than the later Fleetwood Mac stuff, but I’d still take Neil.

    I took a deeper look…Pink Floyd’s Animals was released in early ’77, as were Jackson Browne’s Running On Empty and Peter Gabriel’s first solo album, so there are three more in the plus column for ’77 (minus the punk rock).

  113. 113
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    But the sharp and rusty thing would hurt!

    I was just busting chops re: the Paul Broun shot, didn’t mean it maliciously, sorry if I did a shitty job of it,

    I remember listening to Rumours somewhat when it came out. But as I’ve reached old-fartitude, I find my tastes have gravitated toward harder-edged stuff, and Rumours is one of the casualties, I guess. I figured you knew I was kidding by comparing it to Ace and Starland – Rumours at least has something to recommend it, those others don’t. And I found early BeeGees more interesting than their disco stuff, although I imagine if I listened to them again, I’d probably puke, ’cause they were too artsy for me current “taste.”

    Sorry for pissing you off. I seem to be able to do that without even trying these days. (The “do that” is a general comment, not an Omnes-aimed one.)

  114. 114
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Does Talking Heads 77 count as punk for you? Or My Aim is True?

    I wasn’t saying that Rumours was better than those, but that, looking back, it was not worth the abuse people like me heap on it.

  115. 115
    efgoldman says:

    @Roger Moore:

    …nor jumping through a few other hoops.

    Well, yes and no. In some grad schools, if you know who’s going to be reading it, you’d better jump through that professor’s hoops or be in deep shit.

  116. 116
    SFAW says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    I don’t have a problem with Neil, and would agree with your “hierarchy.”

  117. 117
    MikeJ says:

    @Or something like that.Suffern Ace:

    We can also bury a calendar up there that ends in the year 2929.

    If man is still alive, if woman can survive they may fiiiiind

    Anybody had any luck docking in Kerbal Space Program? I can get within 500m of my target ship, but even using nothing but RCS just can’t close the distance without huge difs in the relative velocities.

  118. 118
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    This may be more backup than you actually wanted, but to hell with punk lording it over every other genre. It’s not that fucking special.

    What amazes me (and I’m sure this is sour grapes talking) is that on the whole the music scene is less cliquish than it used to be, which is good-it’s more socially acceptable to listen to what you like without being judged. But if you happen to like what I like-AOR, prog, soft rock, 80’s pop-you’re now and forever a dweeb, because the punkers think it sucks and what they say goes, because they’re so much more reeeeeeal than you, ya bourgie. Enough already. Down with elitist punkers! Smash the establishment! Mellotrons for the masses! John Lydon’s old enough to be my grandpa!

  119. 119
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SFAW: Nah, I weren’t pissed off. I was a bit insult that anyone could, under any circumstances, without my having affirmatively stated it, think that I could be a disco Bee-gees fan. them be fighting words.

    Listening to Springsteen’s The River at the moment.

  120. 120
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Nah, International Baccalaureate…

    My daughter worked in the IB home office in NYC a few years ago. She kept talking about this pain in the ass student, Omnes something….
    [Part of this post is true.]

  121. 121
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Does Talking Heads 77 count as punk for you? Or My Aim is True?

    I think they qualify more as “New Wave,” or what used to be called “New Wave” in those days. “Punk” is more Sex-Pistols-like, early Clash (but not London Calling – too mainstream for me to consider it punk. Although it’s one of the CDs permanently in my car.) But, as the saying goes, opinions vary.

  122. 122
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I’d put ’em in the p-rock category at that time. They ran counter to the more institutional sounds of the time. Same with Iggy, who released both The Idiot and Lust For Life that year- and, ya know, he’s basically the ur-punk.

  123. 123
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    think that I could be a disco Bee-gees fan.

    No, it’s been pretty obvious that you’re not.

    them be fighting words.

    I’m with you on that.

    Listening to Springsteen’s The River at the moment.

    Both the album and the song are great. It is one of my great regrets that I never saw him live before Clarence died. And it hardly seems worth it to try, now that he’s gone.

  124. 124
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: I never bought into the 1977 as year zero thing. Of course, neither did the best punk bands.

    Good is good.

    OTOH, at a Joey Ramone Lymphoma benefit, a woman came up to me and asked me if I was going to enter the Joey lookalike contest later. I (who look more like Hugh Grant than Joey Ramone) said no. She replied, “That’s good,’cuz you’d lose.”

  125. 125
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I (who look more like Hugh Grant than Joey Ramone)

    Did you use that resemblance to at least TRY to get Elizabeth Hurley to go out with you? If not, then you’re either a bleedin’ liar, or not as smart as I thought.

  126. 126
    MikeJ says:

    Blondie’s first album came out in December of ’76, and it was awesome. Rip Her to Shreds is still a favorite. Rifle Range is also great.

  127. 127
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @SFAW:

    (but not London Calling – too mainstream for me to consider it punk. Although it’s one of the CDs permanently in my car.)

    That album is a lot of things, but none of them mainstream- with the exception of production values. I think the fact that the styles vary so much from song-to-song is what makes it the most listenable of their albums so far down the road.

    Oh, and after a month and a half of a single Lambert,Hendricks and Ross cd in the car’s player, I finally mixed it up today…With this (and if you don’t know L,H&R, you won’t get the joke).

  128. 128
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SFAW: I have used what resemblance I have for every advantage it might give me.

  129. 129
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: Next year’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner video needs to show Biden trying to buy a Coke with it, but the coin just keeps coming back out the change chute.

  130. 130
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): When I was in the Army, I occasionally had the opportunity to drive senior officers someplace in my own car. I always tried to have Sandinista playing, just for fun. My military career did not go far for a variety of reasons.

  131. 131
    SFAW says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    but none of them mainstream-

    It’s “too mainstream” in the same way that Louie Gohmert is “too liberal” for some Rethugs,

    If I had said “not hardcore enough for me to consider it punk,” would that have been better?

  132. 132
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MikeJ: X Offender?

  133. 133
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I have used what resemblance I have for every advantage it might give me.

    Outstanding, sir!

  134. 134
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    God, what a bunch of hipsters and ex-hipsters this thread has devolved into….

  135. 135
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I once had a friend tell me I looked like John C. Reilly. I thought it was a rather nice way to say ‘you’re not very attractive.’

  136. 136
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: Dude, did you consider that she might be into John C. Reilly?

    ETA: Floppy dark hair and a narrow face get a Hugh Grant comparison. I have green, not blue, eyes. I say, I win.

  137. 137
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The funny thing is, I have never been considered “hip.” (What a surprise, right?)

    Nor “hep,” for that matter.

    Nor “cool.”

    Shit.

  138. 138
    MikeJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The whole album is great. Sadly, most people don’t know anything before Heart of Glass. I also love their cover of Hangin’ on the Telephone on the 3rd album.

  139. 139
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It was one straight dude talking to another, so no.

    ETA: But thanks for having my best interests at heart.

  140. 140
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: Sorry. Have you considered looking for girls who dig the guy? Just sayin’.

  141. 141
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    This may be good for all of us.

  142. 142
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @SFAW:

    If I had said “not hardcore enough for me to consider it punk,” would that have been better?

    LOL! Yeah, but hopefully your tongue would have been firmly planted in cheek.

    I’ve never gotten the “Punk Rock is supposed to be [whatever]” argument. Maybe it’s because I got into p-rock through Tesco Vee’s Touch and Go ‘zine in the early ’80s. I dunno…

  143. 143
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    an error occurred. Please try again later.

    WELL FUCK THAT.

  144. 144
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MikeJ: You made me look for this.

    ETA: And this.

  145. 145
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    Roadrunner

  146. 146
  147. 147
    wasabi gasp says:

    Except for a couple of slow stinkers in the middle (plus that Clinton song) Rumours is good stuff. Haters gonna hate, Omnes.

    Crime – Piss On Your Dog

  148. 148
  149. 149
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Have you ever read “Of Pop and Pies and Fun”? I think that- whether he knows it or not- there’s a lot of Doug in there. More long-winded, but I’d bet that if Bangs was alive and blogging today, he’d be trolling his readership, too.

  150. 150
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): No, I haven’t. I will look for it.

    Also too, fuck the fucking 49ers. Just sayin’.

  151. 151
    JWL says:

    What I dig about that photo is this: Nichelle Nichols will go to her grave knowing that she helped advance the conscience of all the American people.

  152. 152
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The whole thing is at that link.

    Mostly unrelated:

    We Got Your Money

    ETA: Fuck the Niners, and double-fuck the Seahawks. I want that rematch at Lambeau sooooo bad…

  153. 153
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Cool. I’ll give it at look.

  154. 154
    Yutsano says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): We drink your sweet sweet tears of lamentation. Though honestly I think we hit Atlanta and we’re done, even without their starting DB.

  155. 155
    MikeJ says:

    @Yutsano: They shoot black guys carrying Skittles in the south.

  156. 156
    Yutsano says:

    @MikeJ: Good point. We might have to give Marshawn a minor case of turf toe, just to be sure.

  157. 157
    PeakVT says:

    YouTube star, gun nut, and general crazy person James Yeager has his handgun carry permit revoked.

  158. 158
    MikeJ says:

    @PeakVT: They refer to him as a “West Tennessee man” and since I grew up in west TN and had no idea where Camden was, I looked at a map.

    Right by Nathan Bedford Forrest (founder of the Klan) State Park.

  159. 159
  160. 160
    TenguPhule says:

    Since in the long run we will need to find a way to escape earth before the sun boils our species alive, Manned space flight is not a money waster but an investment in keeping the human race going after our own planet dies.

  161. 161
    Triassic Sands says:

    Being a nerd or a dork does not mean one isn’t also a sociopath.

  162. 162
    bob h says:

    It may be there already is a Death Star. Back when I was doing laser research, there was talk of a satellite with a powerful infrared laser mounted in it for use against other satellites, warheads, etc.

  163. 163
    Baud says:

    I say we file a petition with the White House for a presidential signing statement declaring that Han shot first.

  164. 164
    Maude says:

    @TenguPhule:
    Good morning and thanks for the cheer first thing.

  165. 165
    ericblair says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Manned space flight is not a money waster but an investment in keeping the human race going after our own planet dies.

    I’m on the side that unmanned exploration has been much more valuable in a strict scientific sense, but I think the capability is valuable in the long term and needs to keep being funded.

    A lot of leaders, especially the financial ones, don’t realize that you can’t turn these large efforts on and off like a tap. You stop funding it, the people involved have to leave and pursue other careers, your body of knowledge goes away, and you won’t get it started again for a generation if ever. A lot of talented people won’t enter the field if it takes such a large commitment and is so volatile.

    The only real keeper of technical intellectual capital in this country is the national defense industry, and if a lot of those resources could be redirected into other long-term goals it would be a win for us all. But this won’t happen until the current Republican party is truly dead with a stake in its heart.

  166. 166
    different-church-lady says:

    You just know Greenwald is going to use this an excuse to write another column about how Obama is still the worst warmongering president ever, despite the early handover of more security in Afghanistan.

    Yes, I just lit the batlight. I’m a bad, bad, rabbit…

  167. 167
    SFAW says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    LOL! Yeah, but hopefully your tongue would have been firmly planted in cheek.

    Look, I love the album, but “Guns of Brixton” may be the punkiest song on it. One of my favorite songs, by the way, but not very punk. Well, maybe “Clampdown” is punkier.

    “Train in Vain”? “Lost in the Supermarket”? “Rudie Can’t Fail”? “Revolution Rock”? OK, “Spanish Bombs” has the right message, I guess, but it’s about as punk as “Oliver’s Army.” And some of the other stuff is as punk as Billy Bragg. (Whom I love, by the way. No, not THAT way.)

    So, no, I wasn’t being tongue-in-cheek. On the other hand, no one would mistake me for Lester Bangs or Greil Marcus. And Elizabeth Hurley would NEVER mistake me for Hugh Grant (from his pre-cheating days – post-cheating, if I looked like him, it might not be a good thing).

  168. 168
    Stoic says:

    “…despite some flaws”

    It is to weep.

  169. 169
    SFAW says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Epiphany! Global warming (or AGW, more specifically) is all due to Isaac Asimov!

    That thought had not occurred to me before reading your comment, but it now all becomes clear. Thanks!

  170. 170
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SFAW: London Calling is too sprawling and diverse to be classic punk. Double that for Sandinista. OTOH where else are going to broadly categorize the band? I mean, if you are doing taxonomy, they belong in the broad category of punk. Or are they a punk band that evolved into a post-punk band? It is too earlier in the morning for such bruising battles. I shall drink coffee instead.

  171. 171
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    An MD, like a JD (or any degree), simply means that you gave the desired answers to questions during exams (and jumped through a few other hoops). It doesn’t me you are not an idiot.

    And a PE (Professional Engineer) also in my experience.

  172. 172
    MomSense says:

    @20 Redshirt

    Just like beggar’s canyon back home. I never realized it before your comment but perhaps beggar’s canyon was the Tattoine lover’s lane.

    Wonder if the sand people liked to go there just to startle young lovers–and then steal their stuff of course.

  173. 173
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @SFAW:

    I think you guys are too hung up on the sounds rather than the subversion. Punk rock is still rock & roll, and rock & roll has borrowed from other genres from the git go. I could pigeonhole it the way you guys are doing it, start with Rocket 88 is the first rock & roll song, then make the argument that Elvis, with all of that country and bluegrass influence, wasn’t really rock & roll. But that would be ridiculous.

    Hell, SFAW, your first shot at naming the most punk song on the album was Guns of Brixton, which could have been recorded by Lee Perry at the Black Ark- it’s that hardcore a dub reggae song.

  174. 174
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Then you must love Bernard Finel’s posts!

  175. 175
    MomSense says:

    @73 liberal

    Oh man it is a vast, right-wing conspiracy to destroy satire. Getting tough to tell the difference these days.

  176. 176
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): That is why I referred to “classic punk.” Bands like Blondie, the Talking Heads, and the Ramones all played the same stage at CBGBs. I agree that the approach to music is more important than the exact sound.

    @schrodinger’s cat: Oh, lord.

  177. 177
    SFAW says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    Lee Perry at the Black Ark

    Embarrassed to admit I don’t know those names.

    In general: we could argue this until the Death Star gets funded, and never agree. You may be right, I’m not smart enough to know whether you are, but “let’s agree to disagree,” as Cole says. (Notice I left off the “but I’m right” part of it.)

  178. 178
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SFAW: Lee “Scratch” Perry is a legendary reggae and dub producer from Jamaica. Among other things, he produced Junior Murvin’s “Police and Thieves,” which was covered by the Clash on their fist album.

  179. 179
    The Red Pen says:

    The author was a friend of mine at MIT. After he graduated, he went to DC and began as a career as a science policy guy. I wondered what happened to him, but I couldn’t think of a better person to write this. I assume that the original draft was significantly more biting and sarcastic.

    Back in the early 90’s were on an email list of alumni friends, and one of the people said something stupid which Paul smacked down. The original guy, who was now pursuing a PhD in Astronomy, shot back, “Shut up, Paul, you’re just a policy wonk. Leave the science to the real scientists.”

    Paul responded, “Maybe I should wonk all over your funding.”

  180. 180
  181. 181
    Brachiator says:

    @eemom:

    “Because it is there,” he said — and what has come of that is a bunch of rich trophy-seeking assholes traffic-jamming Everest every spring and a higher incidence of frozen corpses. Discuss.

    The entire planet is covered with homo sapiens because, a long ass time ago, a few of them looked up and said, “hey, let’s go look and see what’s over that hill.”

    There’s a reason the Mars lander is named the Curiosity.

  182. 182
    Marshall says:

    How to spot the space station (which is very bright and easy to see under the right conditions)

    getting NASA emails : http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/

    general info : http://starryskies.net/article.....htings.php

    Where the ISS is right now : http://www.n2yo.com/satellite/?s=25544

    My favorite site for this :

    http://heavens-above.com/

    Go there, find your location on the map provided (or enter in your lat / long if you know it) and it will calculate rise/set times etc for a whole bunch of satellites, including the ISS.

  183. 183
    Brachiator says:

    @Marshall:

    How to spot the space station (which is very bright and easy to see under the right conditions)

    Not sure how visible the asteroid 2012 DA14 might be when it passes by Earth this February 13, but it should be fun looking for it.

    Discovered by the LaSagra observatory in southern Spain, the small asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass within about 3.5 Earth radii of the Earth’s surface on February 15, 2013. Although its size is not well determined, this near-Earth asteroid is thought to be about 45 meters in diameter. Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass inside the geosynchronous satellite ring, located about 35,800 km above the equator. Its orbit about the sun can bring it no closer to the Earth’s surface than 3.2 Earth radii on February 15, 2013.
    __
    On this date, the asteroid will travel rapidly from the southern evening sky into the northern morning sky with its closest Earth approach occurring about 19:26 UTC when it will achieve a magnitude of less than seven, which is somewhat fainter than naked eye visibility. About 4 minutes after its Earth close approach, there is a good chance it will pass into the Earth’s shadow for about 18 minutes or so before reappearing from the eclipse. When traveling rapidly into the northern morning sky, 2012 DA14 will quickly fade in brightness.

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