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Neil Armstrong’s Death Is Noted Around The World

Astronaut Neil Armstrong died this afternoon.

Above is the front page of the Utica (NY) Observer-Dispatch from the day after the first moon landing in 1969.

Here is the Associated Press obituary of Mr. Armstrong from the Observer-Dispatch.

Here are facts about the moon from National Geographic.

Here is the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio. 

Wapakoneta was Mr. Armstrong’s hometown. I visited this museum nearly 30 years ago and I recall that it was pretty good.

This death is news around the world.

Here is the report from the BBC.

Here is the report from Al Jazeera. 

Here is the news of  Mr. Armstrong’s death in French from Le Monde.

Here–in English–is Mr. Armstrong’s death as reported by the Chinese news agency Xinhua. 

Here is the report from the New York Times.

Here is an obituary and other links about Mr. Armstrong from NASA.

There are few figures known all around the world.

Mr. Armstrong’s death is a loss for the United States.

More significantly, his death is a global loss for a world that shared the moment of the first moon landing 43 years ago.

August 26, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Manned Missions To Mars And Moon Should Be International

File:CharlesBolden.jpg

A new administrator for NASA seems to be in the works.

Retired Marine Corps Major General Charles Bolden will be meeting with President Obama today to discuss the post.

General Bolden has flown on the space shuttle four times.

Here is astronaut Bolden’s NASA profile. Above you see his picture.

NASA has plans to go back to the moon and to go to Mars.

I oppose these plans because I feel it costs too much money and because I don’t see any clear reason to send people back to the moon and to Mars.

It could be that the manned space program is at core a giant government jobs program. Okay. I do support government jobs programs.

Yet is it sure will cost a lot of money to send people back to the moon and to Mars. I think that money could be better spent on Earth.

My hope is that if these missions are going to be conducted in any event, that they be as international as possible.

The costs should be spilt between nations and the missions should be flown by an international crew. In fact, there is no reason that an American would have to command these missions or would have to be the first one to take a step on Mars.

I suppose Florida has too many electoral votes for President Obama to go after one of its leading industries. And Democrats have hope of winning Texas some day. The Johnson Space Center is in Texas.

I’m certain NASA has contractors all over the country who are eager for new and expensive missions to the moon, Mars and to the center of the galaxy if that were possible.   

Fine.

Still, we can move past a global space race and move towards cooperation. The advance of peaceful global cooperation would give taxpayers around the globe a more certain return on their money than the nationalistic pursuit of glory for no clear purpose other than that of national glory.

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moon Landing Anniversary

July 20, 2008 is the 39th anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon.

Above is a picture of Neil Armstrong climbing down the ladder to take the first steps on the moon.

First Man—The Life Of Neil A. Armstrong by James Hansen is a good biography. It will tell you all you need to know about Mr. Armstrong.

I do not favor a return trip to the moon or a trip to Mars. I think a more impressive achievement would be to deal with climate warming here on Earth and ongoing problems of hunger and disease.

If there are to be additional trips to the moon and beyond, I feel they should be international with the costs spread out.  

On the other hand, unmanned probes to the planets and to explore space seem worth the cost. It is of both sufficient practical and abstract value to have knowledge of what is out in space.

Here is information about the moon.

Here is information about both manned and unmanned past NASA missions.   

July 20, 2008 Posted by | Books, Houston | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Texas U.S. House District 22—Facts, History & Views

Texas U.S. House district 22 is up for grabs in 2008.

Here are some facts, history and views on this race. 

Texas U.S. House district 22, previously held by disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, is now held by Democrat Nick Lampson.  

( Here is a photo of Mr. Lampson. He is happy in this picture.)  

Here is some information about Mr. Lampson from the 2008 Almanac of American Politics

Lampson grew up in Beaumont; he got his first job sweeping floors at age 12 when his father died. After graduating from Lamar University, he taught science in Beaumont schools, leading the first local Earth Day celebration in 1979, and then taught a real estate management course at Lamar; he also headed a home health care company. In 1977, he was elected Jefferson County tax assessor; he claimed to cut the cost of tax collections during his 18 years on the job. In Lampson’s previous House stint, he had a moderate voting record and was a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He promoted the Johnson Space Center from his Science Committee assignment and also looked after local needs from his perch on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In 2003, Lampson fell victim to the 2003 redistricting plan that was designed to oust Anglo Democrats like him. Republican Ted Poe defeated him 56%-43% the next year in the newly formed 2d District.

On the Republican side, an April 8 runoff will decide the nomination.

One of the two Republicans in the runoff, Pete Olson, a former chief of staff to far right-wing Texas Senator John Cornyn, is a conventionally awful conservative Republican.

Mr. Olson is your man for more war, more tax cuts for the rich and no progress on universal health care.

The other candidate, former Houston City Councilwoman Dr. Shelley Sekula Gibbs , is uniquely awful.

Due to a quirk in electoral law, Ms. Sekula Gibbs served a two-month term in the U.S. House between Election Day 2006 and Congressional Inauguration Day 2007.

Here is an account of that term from the Associated Press after staffers resigned citing mistreatment by Ms. Sekula Gibbs  —

The staff members have a combined thirty-plus years of experience working on the Hill,” Mr. James wrote. “Never has any member of Congress treated us with as much disrespect and unprofessionalism as we witnessed during those five days.”

Ms. Sekula-Gibbs has raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill, largely because of the resignations. Earlier, she told reporters she planned to resolve such thorny issues as tax cuts, immigration reform and the Iraq war — all in less than two weeks of a lame-duck Congress”

Despite how lousy the Republicans are, voting for Mr. Lampson is a judgement call.

On one hand, in 2006 Mr. Lampson  campaigned to the right in order to win a Republican-leaning district. George W. Bush won 64% here in 2004. Sometimes you do what you have to do.

On the other hand, Lampson’s 2006 campaign seemed at times further to the right than required. Specifically egregious in my view was an ad criticizing Dr. Sekula Gibbs for routine city council votes on water and sewer rate hikes.

Cities have to be able to function.

Here is Representative Lampson’s campaign page

You could argue that as long as Mr. Lampson supports Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker and votes with Democrats as often as political realities allow, why not take the best you are going to get in tough circumstances?

Or, you could argue that we are not always obligated to take the least-bad option. Sometimes you can just leave a blank spot on your ballot. If we always take the least-bad option, we’ll just end up being used.

For example, as a lifelong resident of cities, I’ve long felt Democrats take the votes of black folks in every election, but often offer little in return.  

On Election Day, you might be able to stomach Mr. Lampson and vote for him. Or you might feel it is all too much. We’ll see how obnoxious Mr. Lampson’s campaign is in 2008.     

This is a basic dilemma in districts where a candidate for the minority party in the area has to contort his or herself to get elected.

( Photo of contortionist.)

The 22nd Congressional district of Texas is in the Houston metropolitan area. A focus in the district is on the growing suburban city of Sugar Land. 80,000 of the 22nd’s 800,000 people live in Sugar Land. (Here is a history of Sugar Land.) 

The district includes portions of Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston and Harris counties. While Sugar Land is in Fort Bend ( Which is a big place with nearly 500,000 people), roughly half the district lives in Harris County.

Other communites in the 22nd include Pasadena, Santa Fe, La MarqueWebster, La Porte and Pearland.

Some these places are aging industrial areas while others are newer suburbs.

In contrast to booming Sugar Land, Pasadena is an established center of industry. 140,000 people live in Pasadena. (Here is a history of Pasadena.)

( Photo of Pasadena, Texas.) 

Houston suburbs are very ethnically diverse. This is a strong point of Houston and the Houston area. The 22nd is counted as 8% Asian, 9% black and with 20% of Hispanic origin.  

An important source of jobs in this Republican district is the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Republicans are fine with government spending when they are the ones cashing the checks.

(Relative importance of Texas-22 as seen from moon. Here are some basic facts about the moon. )

 

Good luck to liberal and progressive voters in Texas U.S House district 22—You’ll need it!

March 11, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments