John McCain: literally antiscience

By Phil Plait | September 15, 2008 11:17 pm

I am not a fan of John McCain. He has degenerated in recent times into a pandering tool of the far right, willing to say and do anything — including outright hypocrisy (he’s against lobbyists? Really?) — to get votes.

I have had my doubts on his support for science, but my fears have been at least in part confirmed. He was asked recently about his VP pick, Sarah Palin. She has secured vast amounts of money in earmarks for Alaska, and McCain has made quite the noise about being against earmarks. When confronted about this, what does he do? He changes the subject (which was about his abject hypocrisy), and attacks Obama. And there was some collateral damage. About Obama, he said:

“That’s nearly a million every day, every working day he’s been in Congress,” McCain said. “And when you look at some of the planetariums and other foolishness that he asked for, he shouldn’t be saying anything about Governor Palin.”

[insert cartoon rapid head shaking and flibbertygibbit sound here]

I’m sorry, did he call a planetarium "foolishness"? Did he really say that?

Yeah, he did.

Now, to be careful, we don’t know what the context is here. Maybe Obama asked for a bazillion dollars to install a movie screen in Adler planetarium (in Chicago, Illinois, Obama’s state). But somehow I doubt it. And either way, McCain made it clear he meant planetaria. I’m willing to give him the benefit of a doubt, but his recent lies and extraordinarily negative and misleading ads make me give him a lot less slack than I might have otherwise.

A planetarium is hardly foolishness. They excite tens of thousands of children about science every year. They teach science, and the wondrous joy of astronomy. They inspire the next generation of scientists, the kind of thing McCain said he would support when he answered Science Debate’s questions for him (I’ll be writing on that more later, never fear). A lot of great scientists got their first glimpse of the stars in a planetarium. And the people who work at planetaria do so because they love it. They are constantly struggling for funding, constantly battling bureaucracy, constantly dealing with issues, constantly trying to keep up with technology and new advances in astronomy… and they love it. They do it because they want to teach kids about science.

"Foolishness."

I wonder what Neil deGrasse Tyson — head of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC — will have to say about this? Or any of the planetarians in McCain’s home state of Arizona?

I know what I want to say, but this is a family-oriented blog.

And in case you forgot, the original question, which he avoided, was about McCain’s hypocrisy — saying how eliminating earmarks is one of his highest priorities, yet asking Palin to be his VP, a woman who hired a lobbyist to secure earmarks (a double whammy) for her small town.

It seems he has a lot to answer for.

Tip o’ the Zeiss to BABloggees Adolf Schaller, Jim Cruff, and Don Nelson for sending me this.

Comments (276)

Links to this Post

  1. John McCain: literally antiscience - The Michael Jackson Internet Fan Club | September 15, 2008
  2. News From Around The Blogosphere 9.16.08 « Skepacabra | September 17, 2008
  3. And I thought Sarah Palin was anti-science | September 17, 2008
  4. Negligible Knowledge Base | September 17, 2008
  5. Petty. Me. Uk. » Links Of The Day | September 17, 2008
  6. John McCain: Literally Antiscience? | Mike Brotherton: SF Writer | September 17, 2008
  7. Planetariums: A communist plot? « The Planetologist | September 17, 2008
  8. McCain’s Science Policy | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine | September 28, 2008
  9. I told you so | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine | October 7, 2008
  10. Suburban Panic! » Archive » Debate Recap In Three Words or Less: | October 8, 2008
  11. The OpenScience Project » Earmarks for Science | October 8, 2008
  12. John McCain no se llevaría mi voto « Un pequeño paso para Neil | October 8, 2008
  13. McCain’s planetariophobia | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine | October 8, 2008
  14. Discover Magazine slams McCain for his lies about planetarium project - Dallas Dance Music - Dallas nightlife, music, tickets, and more | October 9, 2008
  15. John McCain is stupid :: canspice.org | October 15, 2008
  16. Repost: McCain’s planetariophobia | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine | October 16, 2008
  17. Wonk Room » McCain On Science: ‘Blah, Blah, Blah,’ ‘Foolishness,’ ‘Waste Of Money’ | October 27, 2008
  18. Nobel prize winners endorse Obama | alanbrookland.com | October 29, 2008
  19. That ‘Overhead Projector’ | Christopher Howell | November 26, 2008
  20. Is Conservatism Less Compatible With Science Than Religion? « Camels With Hammers | October 10, 2009
  1. Rob Zuber

    Did you catch this bit of an article in Salon?

    ——-
    “I pushed her on the earth’s creation, whether it was really less than 7,000 years old and whether dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time. And she said yes, she’d seen images somewhere of dinosaur fossils with human footprints in them.”
    ——

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/09/15/bess/index1.html

  2. Robert Kimbro

    The lies coming from the McCain campaign are stunning. And while I’m not a astronomer (or even a scientist; just a tech writer) I _loved_ going to the local planetarium when I was a kid, and I still do, for that matter. But the sad thing is that a lot of Americans are going to buy into McCain’s lies and gaffs without a second (or even first) thought.

    Love your site, always have. Keep it up!!

  3. I think at this point McCain is willing to do anything that might get him a term in the White House. He knows he’s old. He won’t have another shot. He’s willing to break any rule, lie any lie, to get that key to the Oval Office.

    McCain: bad for science, bad for America.

  4. b3nnic3

    He isn’t calling planetariums or science foolish, he is calling the spending foolish. McCain has been pushing the “pork barrel spending” thing. To some people, anything the government does that doesn’t have to do with laws or courts is overstepping their bounds. McCain didn’t say anything about science, you just interpreted it that way.

  5. Gary

    Why is building a planetarium a federal responsibility? Just because something is good, doesn’t mean it should be funded by the federal government, and supported without context and without any idea of what the cost or the details are.

    As cool as planetariums are, they are mostly used for laser Pink Floyd shows on Saturday midnights.

    …and I’m not voting for McCain.

  6. John

    McCain is a crackpot, even worse than Bush.

  7. Rags K.

    Not funding Planetariums(Planetarii?Planetaria?) means you’re anti-science now? I’m a science guy and I used to find going to the Planetarium as a kid boring too. Now zoos, insectariums, botanical gardens, engineering museums and telescopes are wonderful. Real practical science that kids can view and participate in. Planetariums are like a puppet show for real astronomy and have zero interaction for the kids. Money thrown down a well they are.

  8. Viewer 3

    Without turning this into a political blog, I think anyone with a brain can see that his VP pick was a 100% demographic-based decision to pick up the most votes. Of course, there are plenty of people WITHOUT brains out there, hence why McCain’s numbers have jumped since picking Palin and why the media is currently in love with her (running countless stories on “why the media is being unfair to her” just shows the underlying sympathetic support the media’s currently giving her). It was meticulously planned to the point where now McCain is running ads saying how everyone in Obama’s camp is attacking her and is being SO unfair to her and blah blah blah sad sympathetic story. They could’ve just made that ad before he even announced her as his VP pick for all we know, because they knew that it would play out exactly as it has and that they would be gaining votes based on sympathy.

    Not that Obama doesn’t play the political game as well. But if I had to compare the campaigns of the two, I’d wholeheartedly agree that most of what I see come from McCain’s ads and poorly rehearsed speeches are so full of smear and lies and fact-stretching, and what’s most sad is that his people just eat it up. Stupid people hear what they want to hear, and most times that’s whatever you feed them. McCain: “Oh by the way, did I mention I was a POW and thus love America? That’s right. 9/11.”

    I have no party affiliation and I can clearly see how both candidates play the political game. But McCain takes far more advantage of gullible and sympathetic people than Obama, and it’s that kind of manipulation that makes me unable to even focus on the issues (which McCain loses on anyway) while such a scam is being played upon the people on a daily basis.

    Oh yeah, and he sucks at science stuff.

  9. Thanny

    I don’t understand where the notion comes from that McCain has ever been anything but a hard-right Republican. He has never been a maverick. Over his entire Senate career, McCain’s voting record has been amongst the ten furthest to the right.

    For the past nearly eight years, McCain has sided with Bush 90% of the time.

    It’s not that McCain has changed, it’s that more people are starting to see his true colors.

  10. Steve

    Here’s some information on Obama’s earmark for the planetarium: http://obamaearmarks.com/2008/09/12/daily-obama-earmark-update-adler-planetarium/

    Obviously even though Obama’s earmark is grubby and political, that doesn’t exonerate McCain’s tirade against planetariums in general.

  11. Jeffersonian

    “McCain is a crackpot, even worse than Bush.”
    C’mon. Is that even possible?

    Palin’s much more of a kook than McCain, with her supernatural beliefs. But Biden was a pick that just might sink Obama. Picking Palin was genius strategy. McCain has now clinched the majority of Americans. You gotta have some hope – he can’t be as bad as Bush.

    Phil, you’re blaming McCain for Palin’s actions? Do you blame Obama for Biden’s?
    It’s that time in the cycle where venomous rhetoric flies in all directions. Still, where’s the substance behind this post?

  12. Daniel

    If McCain gets the presidency the country is in hot water. Forget science, we will be lucky to have an economy.

  13. The objection to the planetarium is not that it was funded but *how* it was funded — not through any normal allocation or through a peer-reviewed budget process but through an earmark — a little note slipped into an unrelated bill.

  14. Steve Horton

    What is this now, a politics blog?

  15. tacitus

    What axe do you have to grind with Biden, Jeff? He’s not a perfect candidate (none of them is) but he’s a darn sight better VP pick than Palin by every stretch of the imagination. Remember, this is the person who could be President (worst case scenario) by the end of next January.

    But I have to agree that BA’s post is flailing around somewhat this time. Earmarks are usually given as political favors of one sort or another, and when you dig a little deeper I suspect that you will find that there was some sort of quid-pro-quo to do with political campaign contributions behind it. Yes, Obama is just another politician when it comes to earmarks. He’s nowhere near as bad as the McCain campaign asserts (they lie about the numbers as usual — and he’s actually better than Palin!) but he has used them since he came to Washington. So whether it was for a planetarium projector or for study the mating habits of Alaskan crabs, it’s still pork spent from the public purse by individual law makers. I’m sure lobbyists are involved too, but pork is small fry to them — they are after the big stuff — favorable laws and give-aways like tax-breaks that are worth billions for their clients.

    However, there are some salient points to be made:

    1) McCain has made pork one of his signature campaign issues. He has an excellent record when it comes to rejecting pork, for once, but then he goes and spoils it all by foisting a running mate on us that has a career-long record swimming in pork and has procured by far the largest amount of pork (per capita) in her time as governor of Alaska than any other state. Not only that, but he then tries to pretend that she’s as much a porcine maverick as he is. As Obama himself said today, if you believe that then I’ve a bridge in Alaska I want to sell you.

    2) In any case, the bare fact is that even if you managed to eliminate all the pork from Washington, it would barely make a dent in the massive and growing deficit. It wouldn’t even save enough money to pay for extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Not even close. When challenged about that, McCain didn’t have an answer. Being anti-pork may be a great headline grabber, but it’s all but irrelevant compared with the rest of the federal budget, and especially all the money being thrown at Iraq.

    3) Another signature McCain campaign issue is lobbyists. He claims that he will not listen to them if he becomes president. Problem is, you can’t move in his campaign bus/plane without bumping into some of the best and most prominent lobbyists in America. His campaign is being run by lobbyists — many of whom still have large stakes in their companies, and some of whom have even worked as lobbyists while working on the campaign. Someone counted over 160 lobbyists working on McCain’s team for this election, and 60 from the telecom industry alone. And when you start looking at the former clients of some of his closest advisors (lobbyists, of course) things get even uglier. Charlie Black, McCain’s right-hand man, has represented brutal dictators and warlords in his lobbying of Congress — men who are responsible for the mass murder and brutalization of thousands of people. *This* is the type of person McCain surrounds himself with — mercenaries for hire no matter how despicable the cause or person being represented.

    4) Palin is anti-science. She supports the creationist position on evolution — i.e. teach the controversy. At least that would give hope to astrologers everywhere too. She is anti-embryonic stem cell research, anti-choice, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she wasn’t anti-the pill too since her church claims that it can cause abortions. There is also little doubt that she believes that being gay is a choice, and there are stories now appearing that pretty much confirms that she is, or at the very least has been, a young-Earth creationist and believes that the Second Coming will be in our lifetime. Seriously, do you want this person to be President of the United States one day? No wonder the religious right are orgasmic over the pick. She *is* one of them — much more so than Reagan and even GW Bush ever was. Biden may not be the greatest VP pick, but Palin is a disaster waiting to happen for America in so many ways.

  16. I’m begining to wonder if McCain picked Palin for what I suspect was a reason that Bush Jr. picked Cheney, and Bush Sr. picked Quayle: A guaruntee to not get assasinated while in office.

    Bush is a disaster, but can you imagine “President Cheney”?
    “President Palin” is the only thing that scares me more than “Vice-President Palin”….Maybe McCain is smarter than we all think.

    Then again, maybe rotten apples are more delicious than I think. I’ve been wrong before.

    P.S.
    no, I’m not seriously commenting that Bush et. al picked their running mates as a buffer against assasination, so don’t bother pointing out how crazy that is.

  17. Steve

    Hmm … I posted a link earlier which tied Obama’s earmark to the fact that the planetarium was associated with democratic donors … and now my comment is gone! Any explanation for this?

  18. McCain:

    planetariums

    Plait:

    McCain made it clear he meant planetaria

    Not only is he anti-science, he’s anti-Latin too. The man is a hollow shell. Quod erat demonstrandum.

  19. Bigfoot

    Ugggh. Both candidates have made so many promises that range from the unkeepable to the downright irresponsible, and the mudslinging has really gotten going.

    I’m starting to think that all political ads by law should have to go through a bi-partisan vetting committee containing reps from all competing parties, consumer groups, journalists to verify historical facts and give them context, economists who can add information about the costs of the promises, etc. Then, the committee returns the consensus-approved ad to the candidate complete with the supplemental info and with outright lies edited out. The candidate gets to choose whether to run the WHOLE thing or can it.

    This will probably result in no political ads. In other words, utopia!

  20. Bigfoot

    Whoops — my mind wandered on my last post and I must have accidentally stumbled onto a soapbox.

    Back to the planetarium thing — I agree that citing the example of a planetarium as an act of foolishness is troubling. It is quite clear that McCain, and even more-so Palin, will no doubt continue to view science as something that must be controlled and manipulated for political causes.

    I would love to see a constitutional amendment that makes it an act of treason to withhold or manipulate scientific evidence — or to present nonscientific interpretation as scientific.

    Ouch, I guess I’m still standing on this soapbox. I better go now; I have to go find some backcountry campers to scare, and they’re quite scarce this time of year.

  21. I don’t think I’ve EVER been to a planetarium. If I had been exposed to yummy planetarium goodness as a child I think I’d be an astronomer today…instead of a bohemian-style comic artist and backyard wannabe-astronomer.

    I’m Canadian and, recently, during a trip to the US, I was asked if ‘us Canadians’ support Obama or McCain. I replied, “Bartlet for American~! Woo!”

    *crickets*

  22. When William Proxmire was the Senator from Wisconsin he used to issue an annual “Golden Fleece” report, in which he listed what he thought were the worst examples of government spending. I used to read his reports, and he would often list science experiments as wasteful spending. The problem with his reports is that without having details on the study he was referring to, we really didn’t know the context of the study. One of the few examples I remember was a grant for $45,000 for a Navy study on the efficacy of using frisbee’s for grenade delivery devices.

    When Proxmire was Senator, I believe that most government science funding was run through agencies to review grant proposals and evaluate funding based on sound criteria. The complaint now, and I think it is a valid one, is that too much funding is now done through the House Ways and Means committee through amendments to spending bills. If I thought McCain was serious about trying to fight this, I would be encouraged by his tough talk on earmarks. I think that he is far too aware of how his allies on the Hill get their campaign funds to make a serious effort to cut ear-marking. If he becomes president he will get zilch support for any legislation he tries to get through if he cuts off his congressional support by being serious on earmarking.

    Finally, one of the knocks on Palin is that she sought an earmark for funding a study on the sex lives of Alaskan crabs. It’s not the study of the sex lives of Alaskan crabs that should be the issue. With a diminishing fishery, I think that knowing how more about their sex habits is vital. The knock should be that it is funded through an earmark, not that it is being funded.

    I agree with Bigfoot. Earmarking science is a problem both for the budget and for science. Funding planetariums should not be done in Congress, Congress should be funding the agencies that allocate funds based on the strength of the grant application and not based on the desire of the senator or congressperson whose district would house the planetarium. I say build them, but not from Congress. And I think that a president who thinks they are foolish should not be anywhere near a veto pen when it comes to science funding.

  23. Ragutis

    Steve: Posts with links are often held up for approval. Unless the site linked to is inappropriate or non-family friendly, I expect it’ll show up.

    I saw this coming since the first Republican debate where the evolution question came up. He didn’t raise his hand with the real wack-a-loons, but had to jump in and do some laughably transparent religious pandering with that trite caveat: “But whenever I hike the Grand Canyon, I see the work of God’s hand.”

    After getting sabotaged and trounced in 2000 by someone he well knows to be an idiot , he’s pulled out all the stops and shed the last of his dignity and scruples. He’s gonna get elected even if he has to hire the same goons that keelhauled him and play as dirty as Rove and Co. Forget Iraq, to him this election is the battle that must be won at all costs.

    It’s bound to backfire. A slim majority of the voting public will recognize his resemblance to Bush and Janus, not to mention see through the wingnuttery of Palin and vote for Obama. Especially with Wall Street and the economy tumbling down around our ears. It would take one hell of an October surprise for McSame to pull this off. Unless he’s got Bin Laden tied up in one of those 7 homes, I just don’t see it happening.

    As for Biden. He was certainly one of the best people Obama could choose. He’s popular, experienced, and good on foreign policy. Sure, in hindsight, a fringe or outside the box pick might have been better, but how was Obama supposed to know McCain would end up choosing Caribou Barbie? He was determined to go with Lieberman up to the very last minute. Hence the lack of vetting, her unpreparedness, and everybody on the Right saying “Wha?” along with the rest of us when she was announced. Seriously, she is NOT the best the Republican party has to offer. Not even the best woman they have, not by a longshot. All she is is the lipstick on the pig of his 4 more years policies and a desperate plea to the likes of the Dobsons and Robertsons and their sheep begging “Elect me and then you can have her. Give me one term and you’ll have one of yours in place for a run in 2012 and with a big headstart.”

    And planetariums rule. The one at the Dreher Park Zoo was fundamental in kindling my interest in astronomy waaaay back in the day. Along with public libraries and natural history/science museums, they must certainly be one of the most valuable “luxury” assets a community can have.

  24. Ade

    @Justin

    McCain: bad for science, bad for America.

    And bad for us in the rest of the world too!

  25. Grand Lunar

    “I am not a fan of John McCain. He has degenerated in recent times… ”

    McCain has become a white dwarf star!

    I just had to throw that in. :D

    I hope voters can see McCain’s true colors.

    Ade says it just as well as I can; he’s bad for science, America, and the world.

  26. MikeS wins!

    MikeS wins! I’m usually fine with your semi-informed political opinions but it is getting old when you publicize the hypocrisy of the candidate you don’t support and ignore the controversies of the candidate you support (even those pertaining to science). But hey, let’s be like the majority and stick with being blind democrats/republicans.

  27. Blaidd Drwg

    “As Obama himself said today, if you believe that then I’ve a bridge in Alaska I want to sell you.”

    To that excellent statement, I would add only: “But wait, you’ve already paid for it!”

  28. Considering how downright stupid the average American is, we may just get what we deserve. Welcome to being a third world nation! :(

  29. Aodhhan

    Funding anything with tax payer money without oversight is a bad idea.

    Also, funding anything locally with federal money is rediculous. Allow the locals to fund it, those who will benefit from it. They will know best whether it is truly needed or a waste of money.
    Federal funds should only be used in things like natural disasters. It would be smarter to have the funds to rebuild the planetarium than to use those funds to upgrade, have it blown away, and never get rebuilt.

    Before you really jump on earmarks. Do more research into how many rediculous things our taxpayer dollars pay for. Most are things our country as a whole will not benefit from, and locals benefit little. You’ll find while some things are good, most are a stupid waste of money. This is on both sides of the fence; not just one side.

    As far as being bad for science. Nobody benefits from NASA dollars more than the US Military; this really goes for most of the Earth sciences in general. To be pro-military funding is to be pro-science. Not to mention, a great amount of Military R&D funds go to various sciences. Another thing which it appears the haters haven’t done any research on… they just jump on a bandwagon and yell. Although I don’t like the stance on stem-cell research, I’m not someone who is a one subject voter.

    In reality, Obama will cause spending cuts in space and science. Why? Because he’s promised too much, and has terrible plans to pay for it. The money will end up coming from sciences, military and R&D to pay for the social programs he will have to live up to.
    He says his plan to pay for it will be two fold:
    1) to cut government waste spending; This has been an item for every politician for the past 20 years. Currently being a government worker I already know we can’t get cut back more. We are doing way more with less, and many times do not have the funds to pay for printer paper. You can’t get blood from a turnip. Is there some waste yet, probably, but not enough to pay for the promises.
    2) He is going to give the poor a tax cut and make the rich pay more. This wont work becasue 30% of Americans already don’t pay income tax. So they can’t benefit from any tax cut, and it isn’t like we have a glut of really wealthy who we can tax to death, and doing so anyhow will kill investment spending. His plan to tax large corporations for this and that will only send jobs overseas.

    But really, I understand if you don’t mind paying for things in other parts of the country that you will never benefit from. You probably already give 10% to charity, what is a bit more…eh?

  30. JohnW

    The federal government should not be paying for planetariums, aquariums, or planetaria for that matter.

    I am not a fan of John McCain. He has degenerated in recent times into a pandering tool of the far right, willing to say and do anything — including outright hypocrisy (he’s against lobbyists? Really?) — to get votes.

    Obama is not a pandering tool of the far left – he is in with them up to his neck! 20 years with Rev Wright. 20 year long association with terrorist Bill Ayers. Using public funds to enrich his campaign contributor/house “helper” Tony Rezko.

    He was asked recently about his VP pick, Sarah Palin. She has secured vast amounts of money in earmarks for Alaska, and McCain has made quite the noise about being against earmarks.

    Palin did seek earmarks as a mayor, and as a governor. Thing is, in 2 years, she cut the state’s earmark requests almost in half. This is in addition to cutting half a billion more in wasteful state spending from Alaska’s budget, getting the gas pipeline deal done after 30 years of wrangling, increasing the oil and gas royalties, returning state surpluses to the citizens, resigning from the powerful oil and gas commision in protest of ethical lapses of its members, etc.

    It’s funny that you’re criticizing Palin on her actual record. It would be nice if Obama had one to look into. Or didn’t make such shady efforts to conceal any record of his past activities.

    @tacitus:
    It wouldn’t even save enough money to pay for extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Not even close.

    Strange comment given that federal revenues have risen constantly since the Bush tax cut: http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/revenue%20growth.jpg

    Another signature McCain campaign issue is lobbyists. He claims that he will not listen to them if he becomes president. Problem is, you can’t move in his campaign bus/plane without bumping into some of the best and most prominent lobbyists in America. His campaign is being run by lobbyists — many of whom still have large stakes in their companies, and some of whom have even worked as lobbyists while working on the campaign.

    Obama doesn’t have any lobbyists in his campaign? C’mon! He gets money from lobbyists and has them on his staff, just like McCain. They’re part of politics. He gets tons of money from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Wall Street, oil companies, etc. It’s an unfortunate reality of today’s politics, they are all whores on both sides no matter how much they preach the rhetoric of hope and change.

    Charlie Black, McCain’s right-hand man, has represented brutal dictators and warlords in his lobbying of Congress — men who are responsible for the mass murder and brutalization of thousands of people.

    Black defends himself on this charge, but I gotta agree, he doesn’t seem like good people.

    Palin is anti-science. She supports the creationist position on evolution — i.e. teach the controversy. At least that would give hope to astrologers everywhere too. She is anti-embryonic stem cell research, anti-choice, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she wasn’t anti-the pill too since her church claims that it can cause abortions. There is also little doubt that she believes that being gay is a choice, and there are stories now appearing that pretty much confirms that she is, or at the very least has been, a young-Earth creationist and believes that the Second Coming will be in our lifetime.

    This is flat out wrong, unless your definition of “anti-science” means “not agreeing with my politics.”

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gV5jvU52RD3WBflzbmSu5l6zwOqAD92V3VQG0

  31. StevoR

    Well said BA

    Surely, surely, Americans can’t be so stupid as to vote for McCain & Palin -pro-war, anti-science and so balatantly obviously suicidally bad choices to run your country..

    Then I recall who they chose to win for the last two elections & a real feeling of dread – for the future of the USA and the rest of the planet – comes over me.

    Please Americans you are better and deserve better than these two dangerous and medieval minded fools make you look.

  32. StevoR

    Larian LeQuella said :

    “Considering how downright stupid the average American is, we may just get what we deserve. Welcome to being a third world nation!”

    Sadly more like welcome tobecoming extinct as aspecie sand dead as a planet.

    Yes thecinseq

  33. StevoR

    Larian LeQuella said :

    “Considering how downright stupid the average American is, we may just get what we deserve. Welcome to being a third world nation!”

    Sadly more like welcome to becoming extinct as a species and dead as a planet.

    Yes, the consequences of voting in the Retardicans yet again really could be that bad. :-(

  34. Ray

    “I am not a fan of John McCain. He has degenerated in recent times into a pandering tool of the far right, willing to say and do anything — including outright hypocrisy (he’s against lobbyists? Really?) — to get votes”

    I would merely note that Obama plays the same game.

  35. I certainly hope people will make the right choice this year. McCain is bad for America, Bad for the world. His views of “Earmarks” are a little sickening. He loves to dole out tax dollars to corporate America (or his party does) but he’s squabbling about something that instills passions for science in the youth of America as wasteful spending?

    Just goes to prove he has absolutely no clue on Education or Science.

  36. RL

    Wow. Obama obtained a bazillion dollars in earmarks? I thought it was a billion. What a hypocrite.

    I simply don’t trust Obama. He’s not consistant in his policies and abandons them as need be. He also doesn’t do what he preaches (like pay his female staffers as well as his male staffers, McCain pays his female staff better). You can take his science statements and throw them out of the window if its convenient.

    Biden is a walking example of what is wrong with Washington. Not to mention that he is the foriegn policy genius that was pushing to divide Iraq into three parts a couple of years ago. How he became regarded as wise is way is beyond me. According to the NY Post (hey, if BA can quote a bad NY paper then I will too), Obama was trying to get the Iraqi leaders to stall an agreement over the future of troops in Iraq for his political purposes. And as much as Democrats and bloggers here try to state otherwise, Bush and McCain don’t really get along. McCain has been one of Bush’s biggest critics.

    If Phil wants to take a sentence from a different topic and say it shows he is anti-science, he can certainly do so. And Phil is wrong.

    When I look at the candidates and ask myself who would I want to follow as a leader in a crisis, its McCain.

  37. Michelle

    I don’t trust McCain. It’s pretty obvious he’s a religious nut, and he allied himself with a girl that is just as much of a religious nut. If not more. It’s just Bush part 2.

    I don’t trust Obama. It’s pretty obvious he’s a one hit wonder, the flavor of the week and lacks consistence.

    And the main reason why I don’t trust any of them… They’re politicians. They lie, they make pretty speeches, but it’s all air and it’s all the same.

  38. Name that logical fallacy:

    “That’s nearly a million every day, every working day he’s been in Congress…he shouldn’t be saying anything about Governor Palin.”

    Tu quoque: This is an attempt to justify wrong action because someone else also does it. “I may be in the wrong, but so are you.”

  39. Krist

    I do not like McCain (or Obama) but your bias is not surprising.

    (Via http://obama.senate.gov/press/070621-obama_announces_3/ and
    http://answercenter.barackobama.com/cgi-bin/barackobama.cfg/php/enduser/std_alp.php?p_sid=N86uR_dj)

    In 2006 And 2007, Barack Obama Requested A Total Of $3.3 Million For The Adler Planetarium In Chicago.
    Including: In 2007, Obama Requested $3 Million For Projection Equipment For Adler Planetarium + In 2006, Obama Requested $300,000 For The Adler Planetarium’s Planetarium Projector System.
    At The End Of 2006, The Adler Planetarium Reported Net Assets Of Over $33 Million. (The Adler Planetarium, IRS Form 990, 2006)

    Now what IS interesting is that four of seven officers on the board of trustees + members of the board of trustees + other adler planetarium officers have contributed + MANY other VERY closely related to adler planetarium have donated hundreds of thousands if not millions to his campaign BEFORE and AFTER his candidacy was announced.
    So if ANYONE for a second thinks that Obama is all gaga over planetariums make no mistake, he just wants the campaign donations!!!

    http://obamaearmarks.com/2008/09/12/daily-obama-earmark-update-adler-planetarium/

  40. tdp

    Let’s face it, the democrats could run an “old yeller dog” for president and Phil would find intellectual justification to vote for Fido.

  41. Thanny

    Strange comment given that federal revenues have risen constantly since the Bush tax cut: http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/revenue%20growth.jpg

    Well, this says a lot about your credibility. When you correct for inflation and population growth, there’s no exceptional revenue growth following tax cuts. That includes both tax cuts under Reagan and under the current Bush.

    Real revenue growth (i.e. corrected for inflation and population growth) was about 24% from 1972-1980, 19% from 1980-1988, and 41% from 1992-2000. The actual numbers for the current Bush years are probably less than 19% (after all, Reagan did end up getting a decent economy to work with, no thanks to anything he did).

    So federal revenue growth under Clinton completely trounces that under both Reagan and Bush 2. I don’t know off hand what the figures for Bush 1 are, but since he raised taxes, but had a lousy economy to work with, his figures are probably somewhere between Reagan and Clinton.

    The efficacy of tax cuts is pure mythology. Increasing taxes on the wealthy and lowering them on the middle class would do nothing more drastic than return us to the status quo before about 1970, when the economy was as good as it ever was in this country, for everyone.

  42. Well put, Phil!
    McCain: Look at Aquarius, URANUS is showing!
    Rich

  43. Jose

    I would merely note that Obama plays the same game.

    And I would merely note that some people play dirtier than others.

  44. Tony

    “I’m sorry, did he call a planetarium “foolishness”? Did he really say that?

    Yeah, he did.

    Now, to be careful, we don’t know what the context is here. Maybe Obama asked for a bazillion dollars to install a movie screen in Adler planetarium (in Chicago, Illinois, Obama’s state). But somehow I doubt it”

    If you really wanted to be careful you would have found out before passing judgment.
    Phil, I love your science stuff but your are putting more innuendo and conjecture in your blog everyday that goes by.

    Here is what Obama asked for.

    “Adler Planetarium, to support replacement of its projector and related equipment, $3,000,000

    One of its most popular attractions and teaching tools at the Adler Planetarium is the Sky Theater. The projection equipment in this theater is 40 years old, and is no longer supported with parts or service by the manufacturer. It has begun to fail, leaving the theater dark and groups of school students and other interested museum-goers without this very valuable and exciting learning experience. ”

    I’m all for replacing a projector in a planetarium. Will it really cost $3,000,000 and what is the related equipment?

  45. Yes, they really do cost that much. Our local community college has a planetarium and there’s been a drive to save it. The upgrades will cost an estimated 1.5 million, and it’s a small one compared to Adler. It would have been so much easier if we had it federally funded, but it’s too small for that, unlike Adler.

    savetheplanetarium.org

    I saw that quote yesterday Phil and I knew you would post it. Thank you!

  46. pumpkinpie

    Gary and RagsK,

    I took a portable planetarium to schools for 85 days of the last school year, and saw over 16,000 kids. The experience was alomost 100% interactive, with me just the show based on the inquiry of the students. We received hundreds of thank you notes from teachers and students, many to the tone of “this presents the science better than I could in my classroom” (teachers) and “when I grow up I want to be an astronaut/astronomer.” (students) If I inspire just a small percentage of the students I see to go into science, then I consider my efforts a success. I invite you to visit your local planetarium when you get a chance, and watch the show with the perspective of it being a science lesson. Then go enjoy the laser show! ;^)

  47. Dan

    It is not the job of the federal government to build planetariums, if Chicago, Illinois wants their planetarium kept up they should foot the bill. If its so interesting and has touched so many lives then there should be tons of astronomers and scientist out there like BA ready to donate their own money and start collections for it. I do not want my tax dollars paying for it. Nor do I want them paying to study the population of bears. There are plenty of other research avenues I find worth my money. I earned it, I should choose where it goes. Federal spending on these projects is basically stealing money from THE PEOPLE and giving it to projects that think they deserve it.

  48. Don Nelson

    Tony,

    Planetariums are not exactly high-volume products, so equipment can be extremely expensive. In addition to the projector itself, there will be computers, control panels, video projectors, custom software, etc. I haven’t worked in a planetarium for years, so someone else can hopefully fill in the additional bits, but $3 million doesn’t sound out of the ordinary for a new modern instrument.

    (P.S. I used to run a Spitz AP-4 and a Spitz 512 planeterium, so that should tell planeteria folks just how long it’s been since I’ve touched one!)

  49. CS

    JohnW:
    So, Palin is not antiscience?
    Despite the advice of almost 200 scientists against aircraft hunting of wolves and bears, she opposed the Measure 2 bill (using $400,000 of state funds).
    Se opposed the listing of the polar bears in the Endangered Species Act, suing the Federal Government, regardless of the fact that there is massive scientific evidence of population declines and habitat loss.
    She is against embryonic stem cell research.
    She supports the teaching of creationism in schools.
    She doubts that global warming is man made.
    She supports drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge.

    Her position is almost totally against sound science.

  50. Robbie

    New name for this blog: “Phil Plait: Off the Deep End.”

  51. Daffy

    McCain and Pailn are Republicans. That’s ALL that matters to these party loyalists. Love of party over country every time. There is no point in even trying to talk with them.

    Doubt me? Read John W.’s posts.

  52. Todd W.

    @John W

    Regarding the lobbyist issue. The criticism of McCain on this is not that he has lobbyists working on his campaign or that he is buddy buddy with them, it’s that he’s got them working for him and buddy buddy with them and he’s putting out a message that he’s against them. That’s where the charge of hypocrisy lies.

  53. Jose

    Federal spending on these projects is basically stealing money from THE PEOPLE and giving it to projects that think they deserve it.

    This is what governments do. We pay our taxes. They decide what do with the money. Just because you might not agree with what they do with it doesn’t make it stealing. I’ve always been against the Iraq war, but I can’t accuse our government of stealing from me in order to fund it. I still think it was a horrible, amoral decision made by corrupt men that has cost us 100,000 times more than a planetarium projector, but it’s not stealing.

  54. Meanwhile in other science news that will probably tick off the christian right, Sydney researchers were given Australia’s first licence to attempt the extraction of stem cells from cloned human embryos in what may be a world’s first.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/science/scientists-attempt-stem-cell-breakthrough/2008/09/16/1221330837133.html

    Yay Oz.

  55. Todd W.

    @Jose

    Agreed. Not stealing, just gross mismanagement. Wouldn’t that be grounds for firing in the corporate world? *sigh* One can only dream.

  56. Todd W.

    @shane

    And so, the U.S. slips further behind in the realm of science.

  57. Dan

    The purpose military spending is for common defense (which happens to be one of the roles of the federal government), the purpose of a planetarium is for education (which falls on the state).

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    “Promote” the general welfare, NOT provide as is used in common defence.

  58. I don’t see the connection between a being against a funding loophole and being against science.

  59. David D.

    @CS

    Being against embryonic stem cell research is not antiscience.

    Supporting drilling in ANWR is not antiscience.

    She does not support the teaching of creationism in schools; she clarified her statement, and has not apparently pressed the issue as governor.

    There is scientific evidence that polar bears are not threatened and that their numbers are increasing.

    Although she does not apparently doubt the existence of GW, she is not convinced that it is man-made; there are many scientists who believe the same way. At this point in time, we simply do not have enough scientific evidence to assign a specific value to the human component of GW.

    Kind of like the planetarium story, I’d like to see “the rest of the story” on the Measure 2 bill. BTW, did you know that Adler Planetarium had $33 million in assets in 2006?

  60. bjn

    McCain and Palin will surely continue the policy of poor governance in order to prove the Republican contention that government can’t do anything well. A government that doesn’t invest in science and and cultural eduction will reap a harvest of an ignorant populace, a backward-looking culture and a failing economy. With global warming threatening the world’s economy, a party that proudly chants “drill baby, drill” is apparently populated with ignorant, backward-looking Americans.

  61. Why pick on planetariums? (The plural of it is planetaria, yes…) I’ve been involved in creating shows for these facilities for years, and I know that they are often underfunded, but much beloved. And, they fulfill important functions in science education, which this country desperately needs to improve.

    I doubt John McCain even knew what he was talking about — he just mutters whatever his staff tells him to mutter about. And if they see something that Obama (or any Democrat) liked, they’re automatically against it — and so then is John McCain. They saw the word “planetarium” somewhere and decided it must be evil. I doubt anybody on his staff knows what one is. (Well, maybe they do now — since they’re against ‘em.) What’s next on the McCain Hate Hit Parade?

    Dan, you might want to actually READ what it was that was funded before you pick on federal government funding. The government also funds scads of other stuff, so if you’re going to pick on one thing, you’d better be prepared to wade through it ALL and be equally critical.

    McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin is beyond comprehensible. In no other walk of life would you take someone seriously who had (at best) tangential experience with such things as foreign policy or federal law. Would you pick a banker to handle your money because he or she claimed as their sole expertise in money affairs having worked at a McDonald’s once and handling the cash drawer? Or, would you pick your doctor because his or her claim to sole experience was that they once worked summers at a first-aid tent at a campground? These are about the equivalent of Palin’s “experience.”

    I don’t get this “anti-experience” argument that the McCain supporters are embracing… that it’s somehow okay to be an ignoramus when it comes to being Vice-president of the U.S.

  62. Quiet Desperation

    Maybe Obama asked for a bazillion dollars to install a movie screen in Adler planetarium (in Chicago, Illinois, Obama’s state). But somehow I doubt it.

    Obama earmarked $3M for the planetarium. That fact comes from one of his own press releases. If you add up all *112* earmarks (again, in his *own* press release) for FY2008, you get $300M.

    Cite:
    http://obama.senate.gov/press/070621-obama_announces_3/

    And I certainly hope $3,000,000 got more than a movie screen. I assume it was a new planetarium projector, although $3M still seems steep. $3M could buy you a cluster of HD projectors and a Beowulf computing cluster to control them and you’d still have enough left over for some new seats.

    *That’s* the real problem with government spending: the waste. Did they really need $3M? Where is that $3M now? For that much you could panel the planetarium dome with high resolution LCD screens.

  63. Why is drilling here a bad thing?

    1) We’re going to need oil for the next 25 years
    2) We buy oil from countries who don’t like us now
    3) We buy oil from countries where we have no influence on improving the environmental costs

    So why not drill here, stop dealing with dictators, and vigorously control the environmental impact of drilling, instead of leaving it up to other countries.

    I’d rather control our own destiny.

  64. Craig
  65. Quiet Desperation

    Our local community college has a planetarium and there’s been a drive to save it. The upgrades will cost an estimated 1.5 million, and it’s a small one compared to Adler.

    Or should we be thinking outside the box here? For example, the projector cluster or LCD paneling like I suggested above. There might be more modern ways to do this with less expensive (and more readily supported) equipment. The cost may be due more to the fact that planetarium projectors are not a high volume item and a specialized device. Could the same effect be done with more common equipment.

    You could install an Imax MPX system for $1.5 million or less. In the evenings you could show films and charge admission, and the thing would eventually pay for itself.

    I just want to throw *IDEAS* at a problem before we throw money, you know? Is that really too much to ask of the disciples of Big Daddy Government? Really?

  66. Our local community college has a planetarium and there’s been a drive to save it. The upgrades will cost an estimated 1.5 million, and it’s a small one compared to Adler.

    I guess I would also ask, how much money in taxes does it take to give that college the 1.5M versus what it could cost to raise tuition or ask the state for a grant.

  67. I think you guys are focusing on planetarium systems too much here… yes, they do cost money. So do new computers and microscopes and all the other things that schools and museums need to bring astronomy to the public. If you really care about the numbers, go do some research as to why science teaching tools cost what they cost. then you can come back here and talk intelligibly about who funds these things and why they get funded. But, also be prepared to address ALL other earmarks and spending, since it ALL should be examined, not just the ones that McCain and his Screeching Street Brigade want to direct your attention to (while they waste money on other crap when we’re not looking — Bridge to Nowhere, anybody?).

    But, the larger focus here is the anti-science screeching that McCain, et al are doing as a way to get elected. Once they got in (heaven forfend), it would be bidness as usual, with Republicans showing us once again just how well they know how to break government, not fix it. The problem is bigger than any one political party can fix. I just don’t trust candidates who come out lying and swinging at things they don’t understand, but they’re agin’ ‘em with out understanding (or even caring) about them.

    It’s harder to be informed than it is to simply throw eggs and hope that some of the stuff hits your opponents and makes your supporters vote for you.

  68. JohnW

    @Todd W.:
    Regarding the lobbyist issue. The criticism of McCain on this is not that he has lobbyists working on his campaign or that he is buddy buddy with them, it’s that he’s got them working for him and buddy buddy with them and he’s putting out a message that he’s against them. That’s where the charge of hypocrisy lies.

    But doesn’t the same thing apply to Obama? Even more devastatingly so, since his whole campaign is based off of a new politics of hope and change?

    @CS:
    You are equating “anti-science” with “politics I don’t agree with.” It doesn’t work, as David D. is kind enough to point out. (Personally, I would fund stem cell research.)

    @ccpeterson:
    McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin is beyond comprehensible. In no other walk of life would you take someone seriously who had (at best) tangential experience with such things as foreign policy or federal law.

    Let me fix that for you:
    The Democratic Party’s pick of Barrack Obama is beyond comprehensible. In no other walk of life would you take someone seriously who had (at best) tangential experience with such things as foreign policy or federal law.

  69. One other thought: $3 million for a new planetarium system is about what one or two of McCain’s houses cost. For that money (which beer drinkers and taxpayers helped supply), a planetarium lets hundreds of thousands or millions of people enjoy the sky and learn something about science. What would you rather pay for: McCain’s house or a planetarium?

  70. Dan

    ccpeterson, I am sorry that you interpreted my comment as being the be all about inappropriate federal spending. The “planetarium/planetaria” example was chosen because it numerous references in the first paragraphs of this page. I was not aware that one needed to examine the entire federal budget in order to be eligible to express a critique on a single item of budget.

    (For the record, I think planetaria are good, its just an issue of who should be made to pay for it. A lot of people here seem to think I should help pay the bill, how much have YOU donated to help them? 3 mil isn’t that much money, its $1,000 each from 3,000 people, I guess there aren’t 3,000 scientist out there willing to spare $1,000)

    What is Obama’s Foreign Policy Experience? I mean I know the killing rate in Chicago is comparable to Iraq so he must be experienced to handle the war.

  71. andyo

    People in the L.A. area should go check out the show in the dome at the not-so-recently renewed Griffith observatory. It is excellent, I was pleasantly surprised. I imagine curious kids (means 90% of them) and adults would be easily taken by it. Take your kids, believe me, it might just spark something.

    Like with me, the most remote scientific bit that I remember clearly was the fact that the Sun was gonna die in a red giant (and eat up the earth!) in 5 billion years, like 20 years ago, maybe more. I was a little kid, and I got kind of scared, but fascinated at the same time. You never know what bit of scientific awesomeness will get to you.

  72. John,

    Please go examine Senator Obama’s record and compare it to Rape-Kit Palin’s shoddy expertise as queen of the tundra. I’m not a big fan of Obama’s either, but I can see that Palin is a cheap contender and has lied consistently about her “experience.” Gut-level response from the first time I saw her: not ready for prime time. Not now. Not ever.

    But, let’s focus this back on spending, since this is what is the topic of conversation. Diverting the conversation by putting words in MY mouth,misquoting what I said, and mispelling my name in the quote is shoddy of you as well.

    Now, get it back on topic.

  73. snakehandler

    Earmarks can best be understood as a variant of “The Tragedy of the Commons.” When viewed that way it makes for a much calmer, more informed discussion.

    Point 1) As a contributor to budget deficits, earmarks pale in comparison to entitlements. Point 2) both parties use them. I do not have the figure but I would guess they do so about equally, but it would have to be broken down by measures of seniority, and so forth.

    I personally have no problems with earmarks as such — if the required vote percentage for approving them were raised. It is clear we need budgetary reform badly regarding public goods. Reading in Public Choice Theory would be a good place to start for those who are interested.

    In conclusion, in terms of scientific illiteracy or innumeracy, one of the most alarm aspects of our age is the apparent inability of people to do order of magnitude calculations. It appears the vast majority of the citizenry and their leaders do not know the difference between millions, billions, and trillions. This is a cause for concern.

    Thank you.

  74. Chad

    If you ever looked through an actual list of “earmarks”, you would probably find you would agree with half of them or so. So would I, so would Joe down the street, and so would your grandma. The problem is that we would all disagree on which 50% were worthy projects. In this time of ten trillion dollar debts and $400 billion deficits, there are some things we just cannot afford, and we have to make choices and real sacrifice.

  75. “ccpeterson,”

    Please read more carefully. It’s ccpetersen.

    “I am sorry that you interpreted my comment as being the be all about inappropriate federal spending. The “planetarium/planetaria” example was chosen because it numerous references in the first paragraphs of this page. I was not aware that one needed to examine the entire federal budget in order to be eligible to express a critique on a single item of budget.”

    You should be sorry for not writing m0re clearly, not sorry that I was unable to read your mind about what you meant.

    “(For the record, I think planetaria are good, its just an issue of who should be made to pay for it. A lot of people here seem to think I should help pay the bill, how much have YOU donated to help them? 3 mil isn’t that much money, its $1,000 each from 3,000 people, I guess there aren’t 3,000 scientist out there willing to spare $1,000)”

    My taxpayer dollars go into the federal government, same as yours. They go for a LOT of things that help society. they also go for a number of things I don’t approve of. That’s part of what taxpayer dollars do — as a part of a social contract. I suggest you read up on it.

    Do you think that we should just stop paying for everything and hope that no more bridges fall down? Or levees break? Or roads magically appear without us having to pay for them? Or that hospitals can somehow serve everybody who can’t afford health care? And many other examples.

    “What is Obama’s Foreign Policy Experience? I mean I know the killing rate in Chicago is comparable to Iraq so he must be experienced to handle the war.”

    That’s beneath comment.

    Focus on the topic at hand and stop bringing up straw men and insulting people who take what you wrote at face value.

  76. Mike

    If McCain is against the earmark process, then maybe he should stop pointing to the projects that they fund, and just focus on the process.

    However, McCains argument against earmarks seems to be “Look how silly the projects are, if we stop earmarks we can stop silly projects.” He never say “If only we could have funded that in a different manner…” In that light, I think Phil made exactly the right assumption about McCain’s position here. McCain is anti science. A yec for a running mate doesn’t really help his position either.

  77. Gary Ansorge

    I suppose it’s,,,possible,,,for a guy to be pro science, even though he has no idea how to use the ubiquitous computer but,,,somehow, I would expect if someone had any real curiosity about science he would make at the very least an attempt to utilize the products of science. Of course, he could just be so rich and pampered he can afford to hire some techno kid to do all that for him.

    What an elitist!

    Whne I first saw McCain interviewed on Jon Stewart’s show, I thought he came over fairly well. Since then, he has reversed himself so many times, he must by now be a spin dizzy(for James Blish,Cities in Flight).

    He is proving himself just another radical conservative, clinging to a past rooted in a 1000 years of racism, sexism and avoidance of the difficult process of skeptical thinking. We’re(some of us) trying to evolve here, McCain. Either get with the process or get the heck out of the way,,,

    Gary 7

  78. By the way, before we get this back to anti-science attitudes of McCain/Palin, if you want to examine earmarks and federal spending and how “Governor” Palin spent the money WE sent her, read on:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5804581&page=1

    And now we have McCain claiming he invented the Blackberry (this from a man who also bragged he didn’t know how to work the Internet):

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/0908/HoltzEakin_McCain_helped_create_BlackBerry.html

    This from the party that excoriated Al Gore (who never said he invented the Internet (you can read up on that on Snopes.com))…

    (sigh)

  79. Jose

    As for the sentiment that the government shouldn’t be spending money on things like planetariums, I think it’s dead wrong. This is exactly what the government should be spending money on, along with libraries, schools, museums, and the scrapped Superconducting Super Collider. If the normal arguments for these things don’t work for you, try thinking of it as a matter of national security. The armed forces of United States are probably the most technologically advanced in the world. If we continue to fall behind the rest of the world in science, this is going to change at some point. I don’t care what level of government the money comes from, just as long as it comes from somewhere.

  80. Todd W.

    McCain’s comments regarding earmarks are really kinda empty, if you think about it. He says he will veto anything that comes across his desk with earmarks attached to it. Okay, then it goes back to Congress, who will probably manage the votes to override the veto, unless there is some contentious aspect of it. And regardless of whether or not they get the number of votes required, they will still waste time going over it again, time that could be better spent on more important matters.

    So, while it makes a good headline and will probably draw in people who don’t take the time to think through what the actual implications are, it really is a poor argument to bolster your eligibility to be President.

  81. David D.

    @ccp–

    Did our tax dollars build McCain’s house(s)?

    “McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin is beyond comprehensible.” Your words ( I used the “Copy” tool). How is commenting on her foreign policy or federal law experience focusing on the topic?

  82. Dan

    You are right, I shouldn’t change the subject with a straw man like this “McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin is beyond comprehensible. In no other walk of life would you take someone seriously who had (at best) tangential experience with such things as foreign policy or federal law” about foreign policy.

    I should also be sure to avoid those pesky slippery slope arguments like this “Do you think that we should just stop paying for everything and hope that no more bridges fall down? Or levees break? Or roads magically appear without us having to pay for them? Or that hospitals can somehow serve everybody who can’t afford health care? And many other examples.” I mean, we know how similar bridge, levees and hospitals are to planetaria. People will die without planetaria! Civilization may collapse!

    Concerning “My taxpayer dollars go into the federal government, same as yours. They go for a LOT of things that help society. they also go for a number of things I don’t approve of. That’s part of what taxpayer dollars do — as a part of a social contract. I suggest you read up on it.”, You are absolutely right, I should just accept my position in life and not pretend I have the freedom of speech like they do in North Korea. (warning, this is sarcasm, not to be confused with reality! My above comment referring to Chicago and Iraq was also sarcasm. Do not confuse this BLOG as being necessarily true, decide for yourself)

  83. Dan

    “libraries, schools, museums, and the scrapped Superconducting Super Collider..” – Jose

    By government YES, but should it be the federal government, or the state government. I live in PA, I shouldn’t pay for a school, library, or planetaria in Chicago, IL. I DO pay for schools, libraries, planetaria, museums, etc in my state. I am also happy to do so, and in the past have paid more than my share (in the form of donations) to such places. If the people in IL want their planetarium, the people in IL should pay for it.

    The “Superconducting Super Collider”, the Smithsonian, NASA, etc, should be paid from the federal government, there is little argument that these projects, while located in their respective states, is beneficial to the entire country.

  84. Charles

    Wow, Phil, you certainly helped a lot of McCain astroturfers gather up some McCain points.

    Pay no heed to the trolls, in other words.

  85. PALIN FOR PRESIDENT!

    Click on my name for more details on joining the campaign.

  86. Don Snow

    [b]Bigfoot[/b] says -

    “I’m starting to think that all political ads by law should have to go through a bi-partisan vetting committee containing reps from all competing parties, consumer groups, journalists to verify historical facts and give them context, economists who can add information about the costs of the promises, etc. Then, the committee returns the consensus-approved ad to the candidate complete with the supplemental info and with outright lies edited out. The candidate gets to choose whether to run the WHOLE thing or can it.

    This will probably result in no political ads. In other words, utopia!”

    I would never submit my freedom of speech to such oppression. Nor would asny other redbloodied American, I would wager.

  87. Jose

    I mean I know the killing rate in Chicago is comparable to Iraq so he must be experienced to handle the war.

    What’s even more shocking is that the rate of violent crime per capita in Illinois is still below Alaska. It’s also worse in violent crime per capita than, California, Texas, New York, Michigan, New Jersey and 42 other states.

    Actually, of the 5 least populous states, only Alaska has a violent crime rate ranking (43) worse than 7.

  88. Quiet Desperation

    # ccpetersen Says: McCain’s house or a planetarium?

    That’s the silliest false dichotomy I’ve ever seen. McCain bought his houses with his own money. The planetarium was public funds.

    Seriously, did you even have a rational point here?

    Charles Says: Wow, Phil, you certainly helped a lot of McCain astroturfers gather up some McCain points.

    Just because someone is quibbling with Phil on this does not mean they support McCain. I certainly don’t.

  89. RL

    At IVAN3MAN,
    “Click my name” = “Pull my finger”

    Uh, Thanks, but no.
    :)

  90. Quiet Desperation

    Bigfoot: I’m starting to think that all political ads by law should have to go through a bi-partisan vetting committee

    Maybe, but you’d face some serious constitutional challenges there, and some of them would even be valid.

  91. Quiet Desperation

    RL: No, click it. It’s funny. (Hint: it’s a different Palin)

  92. tacitus

    Palin is a young-Earth creationist. Witnesses who had heard her say it are speaking up about it and she belongs to a church that teaches the literal interpretation of the Bible, including the Genesis creation “days” literally being days. She believes the world is only a few thousand years old, though if the press ever gets around to asking her about it, no doubt she will give a non-committal answer (similar to Obama’s “above my pay grade” answer on abortion (see, trying to be fair!).

    To believe in a world–a Universe–that is only 7,000 years old is profoundly, deeply, and utterly anti-science. To accept a young Earth is it reject just about everything science has told us about our planet, our universe, and even our own existence. You can’t really get much more anti-science than that. So, yes, simply by being a creationist, Palin is anti-science to the core.

    And we are supposed to be grateful that she doesn’t push her private beliefs on the rest of us? We’ve already seen from the Bush administration that there are many way in which you can undermine the work of scientists without publicly stating you are anti-science — suppressing scientific reports, ordering others to be rewritten with results removed and conclusions changed, simply dismissing mounting scientific evidence (yes, absolutely GW, but also “abstinence only” sex education), appointing unqualified political operatives to NASA, using double-speak like “clear-skies initiative” and so on. Palin is going to be better than this, how exactly??

    Do we really want to trust America’s already weakening scientific leadership and scientific legacy to someone who believes that the words of a religious book trump science every time, who doesn’t even accept the fundamental tenets of the hard sciences–biology, physics, astronomy, geology, etc? The odds are good that if McCain wins, we will have a President Palin in our future.

    This is nothing to do with politics — if Obama had picked a young-Earth creationist as a running mate, you would have heard American scientists screaming bloody murder — and I certainly would have. Good science is vital in many ways in informing good government policy, but you need a President who will listen to what the scientists tell them and who accepts that their findings are based on the solid scientific principles that underlie their research. I have a very hard time believing that a creationist–someone who profoundly rejects much of what science has taught us over the last couple of centuries–will be willing given due credence to what they are telling her. How can she even have a valid position of global warming when she doesn’t not believe any scientific findings about global temperatures that date earlier than Noah’s flood a mere 4,000-odd years ago? It’s simply bizarre the denial going on in Republican cricles on this issue.

  93. Jose

    By government YES, but should it be the federal government, or the state government.

    It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t live anywhere near Chicago either, but projects like these will benefit the entire country. In the short term it doesn’t benefit me, but in the long term it’s good for the economy and our national defense. I’m happy if a tiny fraction of my taxes go to support projects like these. I’d be even happier if a bit more of it did.

  94. JohnW

    @ccpetersen:
    Sorry for mispelling your name.

    putting words in MY mouth,misquoting what I said

    Oh, come on, nobody though I was accurately quoting you. It’s a common, if snarky, technique.

    Please go examine Senator Obama’s record

    That shouldn’t take too long…

    But, the larger focus here is the anti-science screeching that McCain, et al are doing as a way to get elected. Once they got in (heaven forfend), it would be bidness as usual, with Republicans showing us once again just how well they know how to break government, not fix it. The problem is bigger than any one political party can fix. I just don’t trust candidates who come out lying and swinging at things they don’t understand, but they’re agin’ ‘em with out understanding (or even caring) about them.

    The problem is bigger than any one party can fix, I agree completely. What I don’t understand is why you’re so against McCain when his entire career has been an example of a principled, moderate-conservative reaching across party lines to get things done, over and over again, often to the consternation of his own party, versus a guy who’s done nothing!

  95. JohnW

    @ tacitus:
    Palin is a young-Earth creationist. Witnesses who had heard her say it are speaking up about it and she belongs to a church that teaches the literal interpretation of the Bible, including the Genesis creation “days” literally being days. She believes the world is only a few thousand years old, though if the press ever gets around to asking her about it, no doubt she will give a non-committal answer

    The same witnesses who think Trig is Bristol’s daughter, who think she had an affair, who say she thinks dinosaurs are Jesus lizards (or was that Satan lizards?), who say she belonged to the AIP, that her kids are named after TV witches, etc. etc.?

    (similar to Obama’s “above my pay grade” answer on abortion (see, trying to be fair!).
    :D

  96. tacitus

    John, you seriously believe that Palin believes the Universe is 13 billion years old, and that the Earth is over 4 billion years old? For two decades she had belonged to a “Bible-believing” church meaning that she has been taught week-in, week-out that the very fundamental core of her faith is based on the Bible being the literal, inerrant, infallible, inspired word of God.

    For her to reject any part of the Genesis story would be to reject the whole Bible (a fundamental belief of her church, and in their “What We Believe” statements) and thus the teachings of her church. She would not even be considered a real Christian by many of her congregation. What are the odds of that being true? Really?

    And no, they were not the same people who spread the rumors about the baby. These are people who live in Alaska and have met Palin, and interacted with her. Nice try, but you know you are on a loser on this one. By the way, dinosaurs are Jesus *horses*, not lizards, everyone knows that. And apparently Palin does believe there is evidence that dinosaurs and human beings co-existed (Paluxy River).

  97. Todd W.

    @IVAN3MAN

    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Thanks for that! :D

  98. Don Snow

    I’ve already said that neither candidate pleases me.

    However, Sen. Obama’s quote (I heard it in his own words) that he “won’t tolerate” people who oppose his stand on illegal immigrants (which mirrors Sen McCain’s stand on the same topic) really scares me. And, eliminates Sen Obama from any consideration as President by me. There is no American politician that stands against freedom of speech. Sen Obama made it plain that he won’t tolerate freedom of speech differing from his stand on illegal immigration. The man is dangerous to free people all over the world as well as to me and other Americans.

    Sen McCain does not alarm me, in regards to my and other Americans’ rights and liberties. Which rights and liberties are more important than economy, science, religion , industry, politics, education or any other establishment in America. It’s the rights and liberties, not any of the above trimmings, that make America.

    I have concluded that rights and liberties must be equal to all; and that those who trade their rights and or liberties for economic gain; for safety; or for health are dangerous to the rest of us who put our rights and liberties as the number one priority.

    There, that’s my two cents worth.

  99. tacitus

    Sen. Obama’s quote (I heard it in his own words) that he “won’t tolerate” people who oppose his stand on illegal immigrants

    You have the source for this quote?

  100. jasonB

    Phil

    Lately your “proof” against Republicans has consisted of various opinion pieces and even a Wikipedia entry. Now as a skeptic would you call this definitive proof of a position. Further, if this is concrete evidence to you, I would like to sign up for the JREF challenge.

  101. @ Todd W.

    You’re welcome! :-)

  102. Couple of points.

    To the people that worry about McCain’s scary god, or Palin’s scary god can you honestly say that Obama’s invisible friend is somehow more rational? This has always been a very interesting question to me that appears to be avoided with all the skills of a political spin doctor when brought up amongst groups of people claiming an naturalistic world view ( It genuinely shocked me at Tam how many believers there were) As such there are no good candidates for president running in the either wing of the Washington war party.

    On a broader point does it not seem silly that we’re trying to vote on who gets to define reality? Is there such a thing as Republican or Democratic party science?Does it do science a disservice by tying it to the whims of a population that in every survey I’ve seen since moving to the US the population here overwhelmingly believes they have an invisible friend and as such an appeal to their wisdom in picking a leader seems a little amusing.

  103. MH

    Shane P Brady says:

    Why is drilling here a bad thing?

    1) We’re going to need oil for the next 25 years
    2) We buy oil from countries who don’t like us now
    3) We buy oil from countries where we have no influence on improving the environmental costs

    So why not drill here, stop dealing with dictators, and vigorously control the environmental impact of drilling, instead of leaving it up to other countries.

    I’d rather control our own destiny.

    You seem to be operating under a number of erroneous assumptions, among them:
    1. That any oil we drill for will become reach the pump sometime sooner than “decades out”. It won’t.
    2. That any oil we drill for will be ours; in fact, that oil will belong to the oil company that drills it.
    3. That any oil that is drilled will be provided gratis to the American people, in order to bring down the price; in fact, like all commodities, that oil will be sold on the world market, for the market price.
    4. That even if all that oil WERE provided free to the American people, it would significantly impact the price; in fact, projections indicate that it might (might) bring the price down by 10 cents per gallon. Over the entire lifetime of the drilling project. Whee.
    5. That expanding drilling areas is the only way to drill for more oil; in fact, oil companies CURRENTLY have drilling leases on vast tracts of land that they are not using RIGHT NOW, in order to restrict the supply and keep the price high.

    Educate yourself, don’t just swallow the Republican line (and hook and sinker). I also like your sudden assumption that environmental oversight will be carried out reliably and in good faith.

  104. Craig

    I would be willing to bet money that if the feds in the US wanted to build a football or baseball stadium in deference to a planetarium there wouldn’t be nearly the clamour to complain.

  105. Utakata

    @ jasonB

    I’ll take the JREF challenge anyday that Republicans are a completed bunch of abject morons. It will be a very easy million bucks.

  106. MH,

    First off, knock of the snarky “Republican line and sinker” nonsense. If you can’t stick to not making ad hominem attacks, don’t bother responding.

    I don’t see how any of your points even even respond to the points I brought up. You’re just being negative for the sake of being negative. I want us to control our oil production, not OPEC, and nothing you brought up was even remotely insurmountable. If you want to be negative and badmouth oil companies, that’s your right. I’m going to focus on what we can do to secure the oil supply without the use of force and foreign entanglements, while other sources of energy and raw materials are developed.

  107. Dave Hall

    IVAN3MAN:
    I’m good with it–except for the fact the Constitution won’t allow a non-native born, non-citizeen to run. But, I’m sure there is a work-around, just check with Dick Cheney.

  108. Don Snow

    Tacitus asked

    “”Sen. Obama’s quote (I heard it in his own words) that he “won’t tolerate” people who oppose his stand on illegal immigrants”

    You have the source for this quote?”

    Hi, Tacitus -

    I was listening to a radio talk show. The show’s host played the clip, saying it was Sen. Obama speaking. The clip sounded like the same voice I had heard on that and other radio talk shows, when clips alleged to be of Sen. Obama’s own words were played.

    Sorry I can’t give you a hard copy nor internet source. It was a day-time talk show; I listen to radio day and night. I can’t remember which talk show that particular clip comes from.

  109. Dave Hall

    I know, I should be peeved at this post, but it is not that big a deal. It is just McCain preaching to his choir _again_ His ear marks are fine: his opponents’ are evil.
    just another symptom of his RCI Syndrom.

    BTW, I finally placed Sarah Palin: she is Dan Quayle in drag.

  110. dave

    This country is about ready to implode due to a critical mass of stupid. The debt is soaring and the dollar is plunging so fast you won’t even be able to get out of here anymore. If McCain gets elected, it’s all over. I’m preparing to leave now, just in case. Watch the movie “Idiocracy” – that’s where we’re headed. In this environment, stupid people just breed quicker, which means that a democracy must eventually degenerate into an idiocracy.

  111. Dave, you just insulted Dan Quayle! Even he was that tarded!

  112. need edit function, meant to say “Even he WASN’T that tarded!”

  113. Aaron

    It seems there is only way to save the world. Round up and kill all Republicans. As soon as they are exterminated we will have paradise on Earth.

  114. Aodhhan

    MH…
    You have a lot to learn about the patroleum business, and how it is regulated in this country. In fact, most oil drilled in the US is on government land. So a quick lesson… the oil companies bid for oil rights and the government has control where it goes.
    The price of oil isn’t the huge issue. The fact we rely on others and transfer money to others who don’t particular care about the US is.

    It will not take 10 years to build the minor infrastructure to begin benefitting. The major infrastructure yes… but we don’t have to wait that long to benefit.

    CONGRESS is holding back the oil companies from drilling in certain areas. It has nothing to do with them attempting to raise the price.

    Like so many others; instead of doing real research… they merely read and believe. Why not… everything you read on the Internet is true, right?

  115. JohnW

    John, you seriously believe that Palin believes the Universe is 13 billion years old, and that the Earth is over 4 billion years old?

    I’m not sure what she believes. But given how she’s kept her religion out of her governing, how effective she’s been, and how popular she is in Alaska, I think it’s a safe bet she’s not a YAC. It’s possible to believe those things, and still believe in God and go to church.

    For two decades she had belonged to a “Bible-believing” church meaning that she has been taught week-in, week-out that the very fundamental core of her faith is based on the Bible being the literal, inerrant, infallible, inspired word of God.

    And Obama for 20 years belonged to a church that taught that the government created AIDS to destroy black people, America had 9/11 coming, America should be damned, black brains and white brains are different, etc. etc. I don’t think he believes any of those things, either. Well…

    And no, they were not the same people who spread the rumors about the baby.

    So who are they? Where are they saying this?

    By the way, dinosaurs are Jesus *horses*, not lizards, everyone knows that.

    That’s right, and Adam and Eve rode them to church!!

  116. tacitus

    Sorry I can’t give you a hard copy nor internet source. It was a day-time talk show; I listen to radio day and night. I can’t remember which talk show that particular clip comes from.

    Well, forgive me if I’m not impressed by what could easily be a quote mine from what was most likely a right-wing radio talk show. I did actually Google “illegal immigration”, “dissent” and “tolerate” and about a dozen combinations thereof and found nothing but the usual “Obama is a Communist” screeching from the far right. No doubt you have other objections to Obama as president but to base your argument that Obama is dangerous to American liberties on one clip with no context (especially after what the Republican machine has done in the White House this past eight years–including the unlawful detention without trial of American citizens, suspension of habeas corpus, not to mention warrantless wire taps, illegally conducted extraordinary renditions, etc, etc.) is a bit of a stretch to say the least. If that quote was a serious as you seem to think it is, then the right-wing media outlets would be playing it day and night.

  117. tacitus

    I’m not sure what she believes.

    Palin is on record that she believes that we should “teach the controversy” when it comes the theory of origins in school. She is also on record as a “Bible believing” Christian. Honestly, there is no doubt what these phrases mean. Fundamentalist Christians certainly understand them and have little doubt that she shares their beliefs. To believe she thinks otherwise, in the absence of direct answers to direct questions is either dangerous naivety or willful ignorance.

    As for Obama, he went on record (in an open press conference) and clearly and categorically repudiated the anti-scientific views of his previous pastor. Will you hold Palin to the same standard? I doubt it. I doubt she’ll be holding a single open press conference between now and election day anyway (not enough “deference” to her majesty, we’re being told) so unless it comes up in the debate she will continue avoid scrutiny and poorly vetted.

  118. Aodhhan

    I can’t believe someone is going to bring up Palin’s religeous past and not Obama’s. Please… how much of a hater are you?

  119. jasonB

    Utakata

    If you expand that to 99% of ALL politicians I would agree. And THAT is the reason I want all of them to stay as far away from me, my family, my wallet and my business as possible.

  120. Aodhhan

    Of course he repudiated the views of a church he followed for 20 years… he is running for President of the US.
    If you are going to hold one person accountable based on their past actions, you must hold the other. This applies to all subjects at all times.

    Personally, I’m more worried about how they are going to handle the future given this volatile world. I’m shocked people actually picked Obama over Clinton. At least she has some clue about being President.

    Perhaps we should start hiring aircraft engineers who have only ridden in airplanes and took a math course.

  121. Chris A.

    @Gary:

    You said: “As cool as planetariums are, they are mostly used for laser Pink Floyd shows on Saturday midnights.”

    As a planetarium professional, I take umbrage at this casual dismissal of my industry. While entertainment programs are a necessary evil for many theaters (mine included) to stay solvent, they do not, in any theater I am aware of, comprise a majority of the programs offered. The majority of our audiences are school children on class field trips, where they receive the sort of inspiration fondly remembered by many of those commenting on this thread.

    Unfortunately, our school visits have been dwindling in recent years, thanks in part to the fact that inspiration is nowhere measured on “no child left behind” standardized tests, and in part due to the impact that the high price of gasoline has had on schools’ field trip budgets. I blame the Republicans for both of these problems. (Gas was under $1.50/gallon when Bush took office!)

    Our theater (a 50′ dome that seats 144) was state-of-the-art when it opened in 1995. Now, it is teetering on the brink of obsolescence, and the cost of an upgrade to the current (full dome video projection) technology would be right around $1M, so it doesn’t surprise me that a similar upgrade of Adler’s much larger theater would run closer to $3M.

    Regardless of whether Obama’s earmark request was a case of quid pro quo for a major contributor, two points are important here:

    1) McCain included planetariums in with “other foolishness.” Context doesn’t matter, he clearly considers money spent on planetariums “foolish.”
    2) The earmarks that Obama was criticizing Palin about were for, among other things, a massively expensive bridge to an island populated by rich folks. Whether or not the head of the Adler would benefit from that particular earmark, the visitors to the Adler (mostly school children) stand to benefit the most. The same cannot be said of the “bridge to nowhere.”

  122. JohnW

    Here’s what Palin has said on the issue (from the AP article I linked earlier):

    When asked during a televised debate in 2006 about evolution and creationism, Palin said, according to the Anchorage Daily News: “Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.”

    In a subsequent interview with the Daily News, Palin said discussion of alternative views on the origins of life should be allowed in Alaska classrooms. “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum,” she said.

    “It’s OK to let kids know that there are theories out there. They gain information just by being in a discussion.”

    And

    Neither have Palin’s socially conservative personal views on issues like abortion and gay marriage been translated into policies during her 20 months as Alaska’s chief executive. It reflects a hands-off attitude toward mixing government and religion by most Alaskans.

    “She has basically ignored social issues, period,” said Gregg Erickson, an economist and columnist for the Alaska Budget Report.

    If you’re looking for a firebrand YAC in those quotes, I don’t think you’ll find it, code words or no. But I’m sure she doesn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition!

    Back to your comments:
    As for Obama, he went on record (in an open press conference) and clearly and categorically repudiated the anti-scientific views of his previous pastor.

    Yeah. Was that the first time, when he could no more throw Rev Wright under the bus than his own grandmother? Or the second time, after he was really embarrassed?

    Will you hold Palin to the same standard? I doubt it.

    I’m not even holding Obama to that standard! I don’t care what the guy’s pastor believes, he just went to church there to advance his political career. I just think it’s incredibly hypocritical to object to Palin’s, or McCain’s, religious ties, citing them as a reason to vote against them, while being perfectly okey-dokey with Obama’s.

  123. David D.

    @dave–
    “If McCain gets elected, it’s all over. I’m preparing to leave now, just in case.”

    Wow. Seeya. Exactly which country will you be going to?

    tacitus–
    Palin clarified her remarks about “teaching the controversy,” which is not what she wants to do.

    “For two decades she had belonged to a “Bible-believing” church meaning that she has been taught week-in, week-out that the very fundamental core of her faith is based on the Bible being the literal, inerrant, infallible, inspired word of God.
    For her to reject any part of the Genesis story would be to reject the whole Bible (a fundamental belief of her church, and in their “What We Believe” statements) and thus the teachings of her church. She would not even be considered a real Christian by many of her congregation.” (your quote)

    You probably don’t go to church much, or know people who do. There are people who go to churches of all kinds who do not necessarily subscribe to everything that their pastor/priest believes is true. People often pick and choose what religious tenets they believe in. Your statements are inaccurate.

    You and I really don’t know what Palin’s beliefs are regarding creationism, despite the “hearsay” of one witness. It would bother me if she did believe that the Earth was 7000 years old, but in reality, unless she imposes her views on the rest of us through some sort of governmental action, her private personal beliefs are not important.

    Sure hope you are not proposing some sort of litmus test here.

  124. Hey – good to see some planetarians on here about this (Hey Carolyn!).

    As someone whos worked in planetariums my whole life, I have a few select comments for McCain (click on name for post).

  125. John McCain: literally antiscience?

    But, he invented the Blackberry!
    ;)

    J/P=?

  126. ISTR Neil DeGrasse Tyson appearing on The Colbert Report, and saying that, as a kid growing up in Brooklyn, he knew the Hayden Planetarium was lying: it showed thousands of stars, and he knew perfectly well from looking at the sky that there are only about six stars.

  127. Toble

    dave said: This country is about ready to implode due to a critical mass of stupid. The debt is soaring and the dollar is plunging so fast you won’t even be able to get out of here anymore. If McCain gets elected, it’s all over. I’m preparing to leave now, just in case. Watch the movie “Idiocracy” – that’s where we’re headed. In this environment, stupid people just breed quicker, which means that a democracy must eventually degenerate into an idiocracy.

    OK, lets list the problems here.

    1. You are not as smart as you think you are. This is not open for debate.

    2. The general population is not as stupid as you think it is. You have been reading too many web sites written by other smug and misguidedly egotistical people who mistakenly think they are smarter than most everyone else when all they really know is a few limited technical things.

    3. The debt and state of the dollar are manageable issues. Just because you don’t understand how does not mean no one else does.

    4. Saying “I’m leaving the country if Candidate X gets elected is trite, tiresome, childish and boorish. Based on the past behavior of other claimants, many with far more financial resources than you to actually make the move, there is a 98% chance you are blowing smoke. If you really do intend to leave, you will most assuredly *NOT* be missed as you are a quitter, a loser and a hysterical little panty wetter.

    5. Using a silly comedy film, which used deliberately over the top satire, as an actual predictor for the real world puts your proclaimed intellect into even more doubt.

    6. Your little rule about degenerating democracies runs counter to the entire panoply of history and reality and common sense.

    To sum up: your entire post makes you look like one of the complete idiots you claim to hate. Nice job.

  128. Do I hear a new PAC group starting? Planetarians Against McCain/Palin (PAMP)?

    (waves hi to Chris)

    D

  129. Rahne

    Concerning the planetarium and it’s $33 million in assets, the real question is what was going on with that money and why they couldn’t afford a new projector and other equipment with it. So:

    @ Chris A, since you work at a planetarium, do you have any thoughts on that?

  130. Don Snow

    @ Tacitus -

    Here’s what you said, about my source:

    “Well, forgive me if I’m not impressed by what could easily be a quote mine from what was most likely a right-wing radio talk show. I did actually Google “illegal immigration”, “dissent” and “tolerate” and about a dozen combinations thereof and found nothing but the usual “Obama is a Communist” screeching from the far right. No doubt you have other objections to Obama as president but to base your argument that Obama is dangerous to American liberties on one clip with no context (especially after what the Republican machine has done in the White House this past eight years–including the unlawful detention without trial of American citizens, suspension of habeas corpus, not to mention warrantless wire taps, illegally conducted extraordinary renditions, etc, etc.) is a bit of a stretch to say the least. If that quote was a serious as you seem to think it is, then the right-wing media outlets would be playing it day and night.”

    Hey, man, I told you calmly. It’s the only answer I have, whether you like it or not.

    Don’t be too hard on right wingers: lefties don’t have too good company in history. For example Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini were all left wingers: Stalin in communism and the other two in socialism. Just being a leftist gives you no credit, and very little respect, for its own sake.

    Just so you know that history’s as important as science and politics, there.

    And your towering intellect, heaping scorn onto religious people overlooks a simple fact. About 95% of the six billion people on this planet believe either in God, a god, or in gods. It doesn’t seem real smart to me, to antagonize, claiming you didn’t say anything antaogonistic and scorn believers, when you’re so outnumbered. Not smart at all. Your intellect notwithstanding.

    I have the right to my opinions, and you have the right to your opinion. Your working hard for your degree and your interest is not more equal than my working hard all my life, for what I want. You made your choices and I made mine. In an earlier post on this thread, I tried to show where there are many establishments in America…also EU and the rest of the planet… of which science is one, and no more equal than any other.

    But, just because you did this or that and have that and this, doesn’t give you any place to scorn other people. Scorn antagonizes other people, in case you didn’t know, because you claim you don’t mean to antagonize, or didn’t.

    I was minding my own business, on this thread. I didn’t come here to put up with your smart alec scornful attitude and I don’t have to put up with it, quietly.

    Tacitus, how ever many PhD’s you have, does not give you any place to look down your nose at people. You may consider this post as going up your nose. Maybe next time, you won’t use it to look at me. Pity the people you still look down on, and pity you. As long as you look down on people, you lose their respect, will never know their gifts that they have and loose goodwill.

    I guess a lot of people like doing that. ‘Cause you arent’t the only one who does. Just a word to the wise, there.

  131. Rahne

    I’d also like to say that any money spent on science and science education, regardless on how it was acquired, is always a good investment. I don’t like earmarks either, but I think the issue is wasteful government spending. Big expensive bridges and railroads to nowhere are wasteful. Promoting science isn’t.

  132. Don Snow

    Change from “…you won’t use it to look at me.”
    to “…you won’t use it to look down at me.”

    Thank you

  133. Don Snow

    Back to the topic. Let Tacitus rattle on.

    I always enjoyed going to our local planetarium. Since I was a kid, they have upraded it. It seats around 100 people, has full dome projection of 70mm projector and shows movies sometimes, to pay for itself. I’ve watched both movies and the stars, in there. Either one is great. I’ve gone there with friends and alone.

    Most of anything I was going to write was already said by people who said it better than I could have, about funding and upgrading. I’m at, the less the government spends and the more funding from private interests, the better.

    Well, Phil, you sure stirred up a brew, this time. grin. Thanks for letting me post.

  134. David D.

    @Chris A.

    Before No Child Left Behind, exactly what standardized tests measured “inspiration?” And how did Bush raise gasoline prices?

    Stoopid Bush.

    If these are the best reasons you can come up for declining attendance at your planetarium, you might want to consider hiring a marketing director; they may have some more realistic ideas for you to consider.

  135. MartinM

    You and I really don’t know what Palin’s beliefs are regarding creationism, despite the “hearsay” of one witness. It would bother me if she did believe that the Earth was 7000 years old, but in reality, unless she imposes her views on the rest of us through some sort of governmental action, her private personal beliefs are not important.

    Sure hope you are not proposing some sort of litmus test here.

    As litmus tests go, “has a basic grasp on reality” is a pretty good one.

  136. Jose

    @Don Snow
    I can’t find anything on the quote either, which leads me to believe what you heard was taken out of context, a parody, or was never said. If he had said that, we’d be seeing ads about that instead of the ads that claim Obama’s only accomplishment is teaching kindergarteners about sex.

    Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini were all left wingers:

    I think most people would consider Stalin part of the extreme left wing, and Hitler and Mussolini part of the extreme right wing. It doesn’t really matter though, as they were all totalitarian dictators. Bringing any of them into this argument is a low blow, but since you did, I’d like to point out that the actions of the Republican Party put them far closer to these totalitarian dictators than the Democratic Party regarding the civil liberties you’re concerned about losing.

    I was minding my own business, on this thread. I didn’t come here to put up with your smart alec scornful attitude and I don’t have to put up with it, quietly.

    Of course you don’t have to put up with it quietly, but you should expect it when you attribute false, scurrilous quotes to people.

  137. @Rahne: “Concerning the planetarium and it’s $33 million in assets, the real question is what was going on with that money and why they couldn’t afford a new projector and other equipment with it”

    I can chime in on that as one who has worked on new and renovated planetaria all over the country. I have no speicific knowledge of the Adler’s situation, however.

    The $33 million dollars in “assets” is like saying that your house, cars, savings, and 401k together are worth $350,000. What do you mean you can’t write a check right now for $35,000 to replace your roof?

    The Adler planetarium, a non-profit educational and research institution has assets just like any other non profit entity .. The Adler has its building, its collection of rare astronomical instruments, equipment, parts, some kind of endowment for operating and its future (don’t know the specifics, but it’s probably in the IRS records and annual report), etc. For the size of the institution – with all its educators, research astronomers, and staff, all alone, and not part of a larger parent museum , $33 million dollars is certainly reasonable. I’d look up the Field Museum or the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and see what their assets are to compare (I have no idea, but that should give you a good comparison).

    They are scraping by through a combination of admissions, donations, and government assistance. If you’re trying to make a case that somehow Adler is some kind of a bloated wasteful institution, don’t bother – you’ll never make that case.

    To keep up to date – to purchase new equipment, produce new programs, and, as they did in 2000, renovate a significant part of its venerable halls – they require donations and development campaigns to do it. And yes, some of that money has to be city, state, and federal tax dollars, like funding the Smithsonian, and countless other cultural institutions around the country.

    Last month, McCain chose such a “foolish” place to meet in a private closed-door session with industry and government leaders about the future of space development – The Astronaut Memorial Planetarium in Cocoa (a planetarium which I helped build. Go BCC!):

    http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080818/NEWS05/808180326

  138. David D.

    MartinM–

    Do you have any real evidence that Palin does not have a basic grasp of reality? Any instance where she tried to have YAC taught in schools or somehow otherwise enforced? A person can believe in a lot of things that YOU may regard as silly, but that does not mean that that person has less of a grip on reality than you do.

    Perhaps you feel that anyone that believes in God has less than a basic grasp on reality. Or maybe any sort of religious belief would be your litmus test. I am sure that EVERY belief that YOU have is absolutely grounded in reality, right?

    Views that are not necessarily congruent with yours do not make one insane. If Palin wants to believe in the tooth fairy or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or a 7000 year old Earth makes no real difference to me–it is only if she ACTS irrationally in an official capacity on those beliefs that this becomes an issue.

    You aren’t thinking about creating the Thought Police, are you?

    I thought it was just the “Retardicans” who believed in Right Thinking For All . . .

  139. I am, as usual, amazed at the responses something like this can generate.

    Let’s be very very clear here:

    1) McCain called planetaria foolishness, not earmarks. That is clear form the context of what he was saying.

    2) McCain avoided the actual question, and tried to shift the argument to Obama, when this had nothing to do with Obama. Many commenters here are doing the same thing.

    3) McCain is most certainly responsible for Palin, since he picked her. But in this case, it’s more serious, since she is guilty of the sins McCain is accusing his opponents of.

    4) The money Obama wanted for Adler is, IMO, warranted. I actually don’t have a problem with earmarks per se, except when they get abused. Things like planetaria do a huge amount of public good, yet they are always strapped for cash. If a federal earmark is the only way they can stay afloat, then I don’t have too big an issue with it. It’s not like this was a bridge to a small island with very few people on it, after all. That would be downright ridiculous!

  140. Back to the subject at hand….

    I never was all that impressed with planetaria even into adulthood…until I started actually going to them. I remember specifically the Adler planetarium having a cosmology exhibit, and then turning a corner and under glass was Alan Guth’s notebook with the double-boxed “SPECTACULAR REALIZATION” right in front of me! I gasped and jumped back, and got the most curious looks from all the other guests!

    The cost of M$3.3 seems actually quite cheap to me. I went to a National Science Teachers Ass’n convention and they had on display a portable, inflatable dome that could fit ~ a dozen people with a special-built projector showing a special edition of Starry Night software on the inside of the dome. Cost? $60,000 for the dome, $40,000 for the projector, computer, and software. So, $100,000 for a planetarium that, if I wanted to take my *smallest* class into, I would have to do it in shifts. Apparently the Adler planetarium benefits greatly from economies of scale. Saying that the Adler Planetarium has M$33 in “assets” might include things that aren’t available to be spent as cash, so, without further details, that’s a bit of a red herring.

    Reasonable people can disagree as to whether federal dollars should be spent on these kinds of things or whether it should be strictly local. I would say that I live in Atlanta and was able to enjoy the Adler Planetarium and the entire campus area, so draw your own conclusions. A peer-reviewed budgetary approval process would be much too slow if the refurbishment is a pressing issue threatening closure of the facilities, however.

    And as to a large number of people on the Adler Planetarium board being heavy donors to Democratic campaigns, I think that’s primarily a function of people in academia being more inclined to donate Democratic from the beginning. There’s no need to try to ascribe a quid pro quo relationship to explain Obama asking for the earmark when you would very likely see the same donation patterns had the earmark not been requested.

  141. Melusine

    Dan Snow said:

    Don’t be too hard on right wingers: lefties don’t have too good company in history. For example Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini were all left wingers: Stalin in communism and the other two in socialism. Just being a leftist gives you no credit, and very little respect, for its own sake.

    Just so you know that history’s as important as science and politics, there.

    Yes, history is as important as science, which is why I can’t let your false statement go lest someone believes you. Mussolini and Hitler were not socialists. They were also both anti-communism, both promoted nationalism, Mussolini was for corporatism, both promoted military and industrial expansion, and so on. They were fascists.

    So, it would be wise to read up on your history of these men before calling them “left-wingers,” which is a false statement. It is also one constantly perpetrated by those who refuse to read up on information for themselves.

    ~~~~

    Planetariums are great. I was four when I went for the first time and it left quite an impression on me. As far as the Pink Floyd laser shows, the one in Houston was shown on nights to get that sort of crowd in to make more revenue. I also think it’s a shame to hear that field trips are getting shorted; I probably learned more from visiting museums than taking tests.

    As far as the candidates go and their religions, one difference is that Obama has made a point, beginning at least two years ago, of stressing separation of church and state. He also doesn’t leave non-believers out of his speeches. The best one was delivered in a church to much applause. The conservatives are afraid to use the phrase “separation of church and state” lest they make their evangelicals too nervous. As far as liberties, McCain doesn’t care for gay rights that much or their concerns for liberties, nor women regarding abortion and equal pay. What rights and liberties was Dan Snow talking about?

  142. Rahne

    @Davin: Ah! Thanks very much. :)

    The Obama Earmarks site made it sound like that’s the money they had to spend, and that’s where I was being tripped up. I should’ve guessed though, the site sounds pretty biased.

  143. kuhnigget

    @ Rags K

    “Planetariums are like a puppet show for real astronomy and have zero interaction for the kids. ”

    I know I’m late to the puppet show here, but… wow. just wow.

    Zero interaction for the kids? Gee, I guess using their brain isn’t interactive? Engaging the imagination isn’t enough? Getting them excited about science is too lowly a goal?

    But they weren’t twitching their thumbs or pushing buttons or bouncing around!

    “zero interaction…” give me a break. I make a pretty good living designing museum exhibits – of the interactive kind – and can tell you, a good planetarium show can leave kids truly inspired.

    McCain’s statement was no different than a playground bully picking on the smart kids because they’re nerds. And his audience eats it up because they’re too stupid to know how important those smart kids are…and what a dwindling resource they’ve become.

  144. Quiet Desperation

    The money Obama wanted for Adler is, IMO, warranted. I actually don’t have a problem with earmarks per se, except when they get abused.

    Earmarks are the archetype of abuse. Some recent bills have had *thousands* of them, inflating the cost of the bill by billions of dollars. You need to look past “Adler” and see the “Adler x 1000″ problem.

    Shall wait a year to see what we get for that $3M? Their web page doesn’t even mention it, although it does mention about a dozen other support sources.

    And like I said above, can we *maybe* throw some ideas at the problem before we throw money? Is there a better way to present the information that does not require a relatively arcane and expensive piece of equipment? Could something be done with more common technology? Maybe get a local university involved? Talk to the Imax folks, or some scrappy young company looking to compete with Imax. Something. ANYTHING. If nothing else works, well, OK, then we can talk federal funds.

    Seriously, for $3M you could build a dome of LCD panels, and drive with a small Linux computing cluster build from second hand computers.

    You tell us repeatedly to think and be skeptical and use our minds to their fullest. That’s great! Well, why not think and use our brains to solve some of these local problems? Why is that so bad?

    BTW, I’ve been to the Adler Planetarium. It’s lovely. I generally support the funding of the sciences, but I want to start seeing some responsibility. I pay a LOT in taxes given my income and active investing approach, so I’m very, very, very tired of the waste and corruption, and can no longer fathom otherwise brilliant people who just want to hand out more cash with no accountability.

    Anyone who wants to support the Adler can go here:

    http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/support/membership/index.shtml

  145. Jose

    @David D
    If Palin wants to believe in the tooth fairy or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or a 7000 year old Earth makes no real difference to me–it is only if she ACTS irrationally in an official capacity on those beliefs that this becomes an issue.

    I would expect that someone who believes in Flying Spaghetti Monster or a 7000 year old earth would be more likely to behave irrationally when acting in an official capacity. That why it’s an issue.

  146. Quiet Desperation

    As cool as planetariums are, they are mostly used for laser Pink Floyd shows on Saturday midnights.

    Oh my goodness, Laserium! The ads for that were on TV every afternoon here in Southern California when I was a kid.

    Ah, you just made me feel really old. :-(

    Look how far we have come:

    http://www.laserium.com/

    Buy your own laserium!

  147. Once again, we see proof that the lies, slander and pandering of [insert presidential candidate here] are so egregious that clearly the [insert candidates political party here] must have been insane to nominate him. [Insert name of opposing candidate here] is far more qualified for the job, and is far less prone to such outbursts and falsehoods. Additionally, one can only marvel at the decision that [insert presidential candidate here] made when he chose [insert vice-presidential candidate here] as his running mate. [Insert VP candidate here] is so [insert random, off-topic invectives here] that only the far [insert direction here] and deviants can find [him/her] appealing.

    [Begin randomized off-topic rant here.]

  148. sailor

    This whole discussion of earmarks and planeteriums is, like Palin, a distraction. This election is astoundingly simple. Did you like the last eight years of republican rule? If yes vote republicans McCain-Palin and you will get four more years of the same. Answer no, vote for Obama-Biden and things will be different. If on the other hand you are on the fence and worried about Obama because he is, well different, then visit Jesus General’s excuse generator:
    http://patriotboy.blogspot.com/

  149. @ Rags K sputters:

    “Planetariums are like a puppet show for real astronomy and have zero interaction for the kids. ”

    ***

    Proof for this please? Have you actually watched kids at a planetarium show? I have, for more than 20 years, and visited a several hundred facilities around the world. I haven’t seen what you describe. When I go to planetaria and science centers, I see happy, engaged people, learning and seeing cool things. And people who love their jobs doing what they do best.

    Waves to Davin… hi there! Thanks for making the point that the “assets” at Adler are not just wads of cash lying around. You’d think that people who have gone to museums might figure out that there are “assets” in the form of equipment, chairs, collections, etc…

    I’ve thought about this most of the day as I went about my normal work (editing science papers, writing a script, working on a project for a client), and it seems mighty silly for the McCain campaign to pick on planetariums. Might as well turn around and kick the schools while they’re down, too. And hey, why not beat up on some teachers while you’re at it, McCain? Wanna take on some pre-schools? How about some well-baby clinics? Might as well hit the trifecta of people who are trying to do something good in this country, eh, Johnnie boy?

    For the record, I’ve worked with a good many planetarium and science center facilities and museums and other public science institutions, and probably know quite a bit more about how they’re funded and what they have to work with than the Good Senator and his Earmark Queen sidekick, and probably much more than most posters in this thread. That’s called “experience” — experienced based on MANY years of working with these institutions and learning what they’re all about. I know that for some people running for president, the word “experience” is anathema, but for those of us in the real world who have to deal with real issues and challenges, experience eventually trumps ideology every time.

    There are good people doing good work at these places, and they don’t deserve the absolute sh*t that I’ve seen dumped on them in this comment thread and in other places today. These are human beings who are being kicking around. Not some monsters. And they do work that matters, most of them without resorting to the types of lying disingenuous behavior we’re seeing in the two top R contenders in our presidential race.

    At the very least, the educational and outreach PROFESSIONALS who work in planetariums and science centers are trying to make life better for Americans (and around the world) by teaching science and advancing knowledge. If that’s what the Good Senator and his “pick” want to kick around, I guess they have that right. But it makes them look really bush league. And petty. And vindictive. And uninformed. using innocent people as a punching bag in a game of politics.

    And, those who applaud their shameful actions are of a piece with them. Not impressive, McCain, et al… nor funny. Just sad and lame.

  150. Should say “being kicked around” in the third to last paragraph in my last. It’s been a long day… eyes are crossing…

    gnight all.

  151. Utakata

    Back @ jasonB:

    The 99% part I certainly can agree with you. And I would add gross incompetence for the Dems. Losing to abject morons doesn’t make good resume fodder.

    But depending on your wallet..if it’s going to create a socially and economic just society…then parting reasonabley with some of your wallet is a worth while investment. And is your business is corrupt sans Silvia Brown…it deserves to be interfered with.

    …but yeah again, 99% I can agree with. :)

  152. Pogue_Mahone

    Anti-science eh? I would wager that a man who was able to land a jet on the deck of a carrier at night on a rough sea has a better working grasp of science than most (if not all) of the posters here. Obviously, that piece of reality would include me as well.

    Also, I find it odd that some people with such obvious “messiah” hang-ups for Senator Obama would lash out against any candidate for their religious views. Wait… scratch that. It’s not odd at all. It’s seriously funny…. and it just gets more entertaining by the day.

    And Phil…come on. When you did your political rants in the past, you often attempted to wrap them up so that they would (in some way) come off as science-y. This one has all the subtlety of a “MoveOn.org” advertisement. Oh well. This is your church after all. Preach it any way you wish.

  153. Ijon Tichy

    I am, as usual, amazed at the responses something like this can generate.

    Idiots outnumber the rest of us, even among those generating the comments in this blog.

  154. Chip

    @Melusine, Your post was like a breath of fresh air! Thanks for your insights.
    ———————-

    Among those who are swayed by rightwing rhetoric and ideology, I think the deeper, unstated reason for finding excuses to dislike Barrack Obama and the hidden false justifications that otherwise intelligent people have for believing any lies about Obama, is racism. Sure, there are black conservatives, but by and large the white, well or poorly educated people who easily or with some difficulty justify a list of rationales for disliking Obama’s proposals and projects, don’t want him elected because he’s black.

    Obama may be fresh and idealistic and he would likely make a few correctable mistakes, but the USA would be a much better nation with him as President. He would also bring in a lot of good people to help this nation.

    The Bush-Cheney Presidency harmed this country for years to come and a McCain-Palin Presidency would be more than a tragedy. It would be a disaster. If the current financial crisis in America gets much worse, we may also need Obama as the next “FDR” to facilitate America’s path out of another economic depression.

  155. Brasidas

    I feel all this venom directed at poor Mr McCain is not nice. The US should always vote Republican – you know it makes sense! And you know God wants you to, too.

    I, for one, hope you guys in the US will welcome your Creationist overlords.

    Hopefully a US without science will be far easier competition for the rest of us. Don’t forget David won a war with a simple sling, so who needs to spend lots of money on “sciency” weapons – leave that sort of thing to evil aetheist foreigners.

    With any luck, by the time the Europeans, Chinese and Indians get to Mars the US will have gone back to horse wagons and isolationism. Vote McCain!!

  156. Jordan

    Wasn’t McCain saying just a few days ago that he was in favor of science education? Can anyone find this quote?

  157. hotphysicsboy

    “Family-oriented blog?” Where have I been? Lol. Thanks, Phil. I’ve been meaning to do some research on where each candidate stands on science but have been to lazy or disinterested up until this point to do so. Just more evidence to the hypothesis that if I do absolutely nothing but read blogs the entire world will just fall in my lap.

  158. sailor

    “Among those who are swayed by rightwing rhetoric and ideology, I think the deeper, unstated reason for finding excuses to dislike Barrack Obama and the hidden false justifications that otherwise intelligent people have for believing any lies about Obama, is racism.”

    That is why you need the excuse generator:
    http://patriotboy.blogspot.com/

  159. How completely appalling to think that just as the light appears at the end of the Bush tunnel (and what a long tunnel of massive and outright stupidity THAT’S been), now there is the potential to have McCain and Palin, two fossils (one physically and mentally and the other merely mentally old) with an issue with science.

    I love astronomy; every aspect of the world we live on, the star that warms us, the silvery satellite that brings lit beauty to the night and the glow of Jupiter in the now-Southern skies. I have my own telescope and revel in it as only a scientist at heart can do. But to take away or not advocate more large-scale, “professional” observatories? To not promote discovery and delight in finding new details about the universe that we are a tiny part but still a part of? What idiocy is this?

    Why I should be surprised, however, is really the killer. I will never support McCain (who annoys both in general and in his incapability to get the fence out of his cheeks to commit to the wholly conservative mindset and narrow thinking he really stands for.

    Don’t get me started on Palin. Someone who feels strongly that ONLY creationism (you know, that weirdness called “Intelligent Design”, only the biggest sham out there – a nod and thanks to carbon dating for shredding such outmoded thinking) should be taught in schools is never going to be capable of looking toward the heavens and seeing the beauty of science!

    Just because YOUR mind is narrow, McCain, do not even attempt to take away astronomy. Or try to teach geocentrism!

  160. Aodhhan

    National debt problem falls on both parties, not just one.

    Furthermore, Congress has the “Power of the purse”. Nobudget is fulfilled without the approval of both the House and Senate. In short, don’t blame a President alone for spending. There is enough blame to go around. Subtract military spending and the budgets which fall under congress are quite a bit higher than the Executive Branch; which largely can be traced to earmarks.

    As far as the current administration causing the current crisis, get real. I haven’t seen Congress do anything about controlling the problems of Fanny Mae or Freddie Mac. This is in their power to regulate and control, and this Congress knew about the problems and did nothing. The Executive office doesn’t have power here unless laws are broken. Take a governement course or two along with watching what Congress does.

    The housing crisis has nothing to do with the Executive branch either. It falls squarely on those who took out loans and then defaulted on them; along with the banks who over-eagerly made poor loans.

    The indicators are good. GDP, GNP, inflation, interest rates, employment rate are all good, and far better than Europe. What really kills us is our trade debt. Here again, the American people should take the blame for purchasing products abroad, rather than pay a little bit more for locally made items. If you want to increase the tax rate on business like Obama wants to do, we probably wont have a lot of US businesses left for many items.

    In short, quit blaming the Presidency for something it doesn’t have control over. Look more closely at who is representing you in Congress, and who has control over the agenda in Congress (right now it is the Democrats and has been for the past 2 years!).

  161. Robert

    Wow, if one of you Liberals had an original thought and quoted anything besides the bumper stickers they hand out at the Get-Out-The-Vote Democrat meetings, your heads would explode! I’ve read every single one of your arguments, ad infinitem, ad nauseum on a thousand different websites and heard Democrats spout them over and over on every news channel. For instance if Chip Says: “…The Bush-Cheney Presidency harmed this country for years to come…” and I were to say, “Oh yeah, how?” He’d just sputter and make some inane remark and say something stupid like “Well, everyone knows it…”

    Why should the Government pay for a planetarium? So Astronomers can get jobs? Seriously, some of you need to get out of your parents basements and get real jobs! Outcome Based Education has produced a half a nation of limp-wristed gurly-men that can’t even express themselves intelligently without repeating the same pablum over and over again, and expect the Government to provide a suitibly equipped outhouse with an ample supply of toilet paper should they need one.

    Just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t make them “insane, crazy, a tradgedy, or a isaster.” Grow up, this is the real world. Not everyone agrees on evolution, global warming, or even religion. Ridiculing others for their beliefs is the most rudimentary kind of prejudice, and the basis for not only the Holocaust, but ethnic cleansing, the Gulags, and the Killing Fields of Cambodia.

    Frankly, you left wing nutjobs scare the hell out of me. McCain, who served his country selflessly for 20 years (which is 20 years longer than most lefties, including both Obama and Biden), and has served in Congress for 30 years doesn’t need to be killed just because he believes in Conservative Political ideas that 60% of the adult US population believe in. Maybe one of you leftwing lemmings can explain to me how your over-the-top mindless rhetoric that you shreik at every opportunity is feeding the hungry, or helping the impoverished. George W. Bush has done more for Aids in Africa than any other President. Ever. Yet you people would nail him to a barn door if you had the chance over taking out a dictator and harming your tenders insensibilities because you “don’t like war…”

    As far as you, Phil, you have to play within the system, you can’t let your village, town, city or State go without because you think earmarks are bad policy, you’re only tilting against windmills and hurting your own constituency. The only way to change any system is to change it from within. Even you should know that. Stick to Astronomy, where you have a Graduate degree. In politics, you haven’t even passed primary education…

  162. Robert

    BTW, I came here to read about Astronomy, Space, NASA, you know, science, if I wanted to read the nattering nabobs of the left wing nutcases, I’d go to morons.org or DailyKooks.com. Not to worry, I won’t be back, I’ve deleted your blog from my iGoogle home page, it’s not worth the effort any more to sift through your Boulder Politics to find the interesting stuff. You know, Berkeley East? 64 square miles surrounded by reality?

  163. Robert, best parody today. Thank you. *polite applause*

  164. JohnW

    @Chip:
    Among those who are swayed by rightwing rhetoric and ideology, I think the deeper, unstated reason for finding excuses to dislike Barrack Obama and the hidden false justifications that otherwise intelligent people have for believing any lies about Obama, is racism. Sure, there are black conservatives, but by and large the white, well or poorly educated people who easily or with some difficulty justify a list of rationales for disliking Obama’s proposals and projects, don’t want him elected because he’s black.

    You really ought to be ashamed of yourself.

    @Aodhhan:
    What really kills us is our trade debt. Here again, the American people should take the blame for purchasing products abroad, rather than pay a little bit more for locally made items.

    Apparently there is a strong cause and effect relationship between having a government deficit and a trade deficit. I never really understood it myself, but someday I’ll take the time to read up on it!

  165. I would just like to say that, as the director of a small PUBLIC school planetarium, I was very disturbed by this comment. It may not be the place of the federal government to fund planetaria. Well, by that reasoning, why not pull all federal funding out of education? Would you not agree that funding education, museums (art, history, and science), and research increases our standard of living in this country?
    My budget for THE ENTIRE YEAR is less than $2500. With that amount, I can’t even afford a service contract for my 40+ year old starfield projector. The Adler Planetarium is a national treasure, like the Library of Congress or the Smithsonian. I am so sick of the anti-intellectual Luddites that run this country.

  166. Laurent

    The Adler is one of the oldest and most renown planetariums in the world. Given its size and the costs of digital projector systems for that size dome, $3 million is not unreasonable. The much simpler digital projector in my much smaller planetarium cost 0.5 million, and it was a Republican Congressman who arranged federal funding for it! Therre was nothing wrong with Obama or anyone else in Congress supporting this appropriation.

    But McCain is not just anti-science, he’s anti-intelligence. Just look at the way he portrays anyone with brains enough to go to a great university as an elitist. Look at the way he lies, then admits the lie, then says that he still stands by the false add!

  167. kuhnigget

    @ Robert

    Only rarely does one see so many clichés used in a single post. Too bad you “won’t be back” to use ‘em again. And again. And again. And….

  168. Gary Ansorge

    Gee, Thanks Robert. I really needed that reminder of why I’m a Progressive/Liberal,,,and also thanks for removing Phils site from your gmail,,,so sad to see you go,,,sic,,,

    Boy, Trolls really ARE ugly critters. Must come from living under bridges and eating small critters all day,,,

    SO, we’re stuck with either voting for a really talented, intelligent, progressive black guy for president or four more years of the same old elitist, old money ,,,stuff,,,

    Gee, I wonder how I will vote,,,

    GAry 7

  169. Jose

    Thanks Robert!
    How could I have been so blind? Your post was a revelation to me. I’d always just assumed Bush/Cheney sucked because that’s what the bumper stickers on dirty hippie cars said. You’re right. I can’t think of a single way that Bush/Cheney has hurt our country.

    Way back in the day (10 minutes ago), when I was still a liberal, I didn’t even realize how close I was to partaking in some old fashioned ethnic cleansing. Those stupid liberals are to way dumb to see how their ridiculing of patriotic liars and cheats has us on the edge of a new holocaust. I feel such shame I having once been a left wing nutjobs.

    I now like war, and I can see how eliminating countries like France (The most vocal country in the tetrahedron of evil) is imperative if we stand any hope of retaining the American way of life. And Canada, don’t think we don’t know what you’re up to. I’ve seen the South Park movie and Canadian Bacon.

    Note to liberals: If you want me back, try putting longer more detailed bumper stickers on your dirty hippie cars. And while you’re at it, please put the devil horns back on your Darwin fish.

  170. Dark

    Phil, how in the world do you find the energy to blog. Carrying Obama’s water seems like a lot of work.

    Obama is antiscience too, you know that new manned vehicle program. He has publicly stated he would kill that to feed his voters. I mean poor.

    Phil you are a great science blogger and subpar political blogger.

  171. Rahne

    I love sometimes when people disagree with other people, they’ll say that you don’t know anything about what you were commenting about.

  172. Phil.

    Thank you.

    Thank you. You’ve said what I need to say.

    -Alice

  173. Sort of on-topic, regarding lobbyists and earmarks, I decided to take a look at the voting records for Sens. Obama and McCain on bills dealing with these issues.

    A bill to put a moratorium on earmarks: Obama – Yes. McCain – Yes.
    A bill to increase regulations on members of Congress regarding lobbyists and donations: Obama – Yes. McCain – No.

    So, both are in favor of putting a hold on earmarks, but when it comes to actually placing some measure of oversight onto Congress members’ acceptance of lobbyist gifts, only Obama wants to have Congress members held more accountable.

    Interesting…

    I obtained this information from the Voting Records page of Project Vote Smart (click on my name for the link).

  174. arto7

    Regarding JohnW’s earlier response to tacitus: “Strange comment given that federal revenues have risen constantly since the Bush tax cut: http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/revenue%20growth.jpg
    I looked up the chart, which only goes to 2005 and thought that it did not make a whole lot of sense, unless the supply siders were correct (and they were not in the 80s). So I did a little digging and found this article from April 2007: http://www.slate.com/id/2164053/
    Explanatory quote for revenue increase: “It could be that the orgy of speculation in recent years—in housing, stocks, investment instruments—has generated an unexpected gusher of the types of tax revenues derived from flipping assets and trading securities. And that suggests that with the housing boom over and the stock market moving sideways, tax-revenue growth could be slowing down, and soon.”
    I would like to see the chart JohnW linked to extended out to now, although I know it takes time to gather the data. I suspect that the bailouts are going to dampen much of the what appears to be illusory gains.

  175. Bill Thompson

    He is running for president. That is spelled P R E S I D E N T. He is not going to head any lab or be the head of a college department. Knowing science is not part of the job requirements.

  176. Aodhhan

    Since this topic is about McCain being anti-science, you might want to point out his voting record on scientific bills. In the last 2 years or so there have been 3; all relating to stem cell research. McCain voted in support of all three. In fairness, Senator Obama voted in support 2 of the 3.

    You may wish to do some research to also note, Senator McCain acknowledges global warming at the hand of man, and believes there should be government funding into finding solutions and alternative power sources.

    Perhaps you are only for science, if a person gets the American taxpayer to pay for local planetariums. Think about this, your planetarium is someone elses softball park. It doesn’t stop.

    When working on my PhD, I actually had to do my own research. I guess you were able to do yours by just looking things up without objective studying and verification. How lucky.

  177. Bill Thompson

    It does not seem plausable that anyone, regardless of what their profession, is “anti-science”. Seems like the topic of this blog is far-reaching. It is as if you are saying someone is pro-slavery or pro-witchcraft.

    Unless someone comes out and admits they are anti-science, I would not rush to such a jugdement. That would be anti-logical.

  178. N.P.

    Sean Connery. That’s all I have to say.

  179. Jose

    When working on my PhD, I actually had to do my own research.

    Wow. You have a PhD and you had to do your own research. Outstanding! I’m not even sure what this “research” thing is, but it sounds impressive. But then everything I know comes from dirty hippie bumper stickers and children’s placemats. Is this “research” similar to that?

    Perhaps you are only for science, if a person gets the American taxpayer to pay for local planetariums. Think about this, your planetarium is someone elses softball park. It doesn’t stop.

    You’re right. I think we should stop Federal spending all together. First someone wants to fund an Army. Then someone else wants to fund a police force. Pretty soon the Federal Government is paying for mall security guards and clowns at children’s parties. It’s a slippery slope that never ends. It’s just not possible for humans to take issues case by case and reach reasonable conclusions. Not even for people that do research.

    I was thinking that when my son is a little older I might give him an allowance. But now I realize that if I do that, I might as well just start handing over my entire paycheck directly to him. I’ve got to try and nip this in the bud now, so if you’ll excuse me, I have to go burn all his toys.

  180. mauereen hallett

    As far as Palin saying “teach both ” to creationism and evolutionism like that is supposed to make her look good..look public schools teach science NOT religion…if you want to do that at home FINE!! Or send your kids to PRIVATE religious schools otherwise keeps a religious view out of the classroom…and the idea that someone who seriously believes the world was made 5000 years ago could become president is just NUTS!! Religion is one thing but that is being blind.We have Proof the earth is older than that even if you think God made it in a creation story he did it MUCH longer ago than that,,,,
    If anyone has watched the movie with Spencer Tracey about the Trials in Kansas of the teacher who refused to teach creationism in the 50′s it gave me my best answer…How long was the first day? Since the sun had not been created yet …of course the preacher on the stands went wild at that point because the logic of this was too great for him…
    I am a strong believer in God as are most men of science…that does not mean we have to look at the bible as a book literally ..heaven help us that would mean we would have to think the Sun revolves around the earth as in the bible!!! Its called evolution people and we have evolved from people in biblical days…..
    As for McSame his choice of Palin is scary..the woman tried to have books banned in her town of Wasilla..it took other Republicans to stop her,,
    It will take men who CHARISH science ,math ,and learning to get us and KEEP us out of this mess….
    I also wonder why this country is always looking for a president that is just like them? Don;t you want someone who is really SMARTER than you are??

  181. mauereen hallett

    jose you are a rare humor and make great sense hahaha

  182. I think the point here isn’t whether a particular planetarium is worthy of funding or not by the Feds. If so, we’d have to open up all the documents involved, go over the relevant proposals with a comb, and review the availability of federal funds in that particular program that funded the project in that year. But I think taking the argument in that direction is a red herring.

    When McCain said what he said, he was making an off the cuff comment, but I agree with Phil that it was very telling. McCain’s not necessarily against a particular building, he’s against – or more properly his Party, simply doesn’t favor education as an end in itself. It’s not necessarily relevant or accurate to say that McCain hates the Adler Planetarium. But it is accurate to say that he and his Party sneer at the very idea that knowledge is a virtue. They practically enshrine ignorance.

    The GOP routinely puts forward candidates who brag about how little they know, how little experience they have, how they’re ‘outsiders’ and not part of the ‘entrenched Washington establishment’. Excuse me? Who do you go to when you have cancer? The best oncologist you can possibly find, or the guy down at the gas station who cleans the pumps, because the oncologist is part of the ‘entrenched medical establishment’ and you want an ‘outsider’?

    George W. Bush favors teaching creationism alongside actual science in public schools, and apparently believes a single cell can contain a functioning adult human consciousness. Ronald Reagan raised taxes on graduate student stipends because he didn’t feel the government should “subsidize intellectual curiosity”. Yes, graduate students making barely $10,000 a year are living WAY too large. How many thousands of times have we all heard GOP politicos shrieking and wailing against stem cells, evolution, racial equality, sex in any form whatsoever outside of joyless child-manufacture, genetics, renewable energy, public schools, tap water fluoridation, labor unions, equal pay for equal work, foreigners, or basically anything that pre-Roman goat-herders might have had some idiotic taboo against?

    The GOP hate sex education, even though it demonstrably and reproducibly decreases the rates of teen pregnancy and STD transmission, because it conveys knowledge that allows people to make informed decisions. They hate gays because a bunch of ignorant savages in the Bronze Age thought that gay sex was icky. They want to ban everything that clashes with their own ossified bigotries and prejudices, all the while howling about freedom and liberty. They don’t want freedom, they want obedience. And informed people make poor slaves.

    I don’t care if Obama favored funding a particular planetarium. I don’t care if McCain doesn’t like that particular planetarium. But I do care that McCain can make an impromptu comment where he snidely dismisses the entire idea of using the federal treasury to support discovery and learning, and all his party faithful immediately nod their heads and laugh along with him.

    [Posted also on Planetologist.net]

  183. Quiet_Desperation

    But then everything I know comes from dirty hippie bumper stickers

    A ha! Caught you in a lie!

    Dirty hippies don’t drive cars!

    So there! Or something!

  184. Quiet_Desperation

    Gee, Thanks Robert. I really needed that reminder of why I’m a Progressive/Liberal

    And the whole lot of you remind me why I avoid ideologies like the plague. :-)

    OK, everyone, all together: the litany against ideology

    “I must not be ideological.
    Ideology is the mind-killer.
    Ideology is the little-death that brings total obfuscation.
    I will face my ideology .
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn a clear eye to see its path.
    Where the ideology has gone there will be nothing.”
    Only I reality remain.”

  185. Davidlpf

    Every time a poster like Robert or Aodhhan I am glad there are on the otherside of the border then me.

  186. Quiet_Desperation

    @Jose

    Aodhhan’s statement was not describing a slippery slope. He/she was simply saying that people who think one earmark is no big deal need to look at the bigger picture of (literally) thousands of earmarks on every major bill. It *is* a problem. Any economic expert, Dem biased or Rep biased, will tell you that.

    If “someone else’s softball park” doesn’t work for you, how about the infamous Bridge To Nowhere in Alaska? That was an earmark, or an attempted one.

    Amazingly, the Wiki entry on earmarks puts it well: “Critics argue the ability to earmark Federal funds should not be part of the legislative appropriations process. Tax money should be applied by Federal agencies according to objective findings of need and carefully constructed requests rather than being earmarked arbitrarily by elected officials.

    People like me just want some better accounting, and maybe some more creativity in problem solving.

    I’ll ask again because no one wants to answer: Is that really too much to ask?

  187. ArtO7

    Tried posting this earlier as a response to JohnW’s posting of a link to a graphic supposedly showing that tax cuts increase revenue. I quote Daniel Gross from April 2007, “But there’s a more alarming explanation for the surge in tax revenues. It could be that the orgy of speculation in recent years—in housing, stocks, investment instruments—has generated an unexpected gusher of the types of tax revenues derived from flipping assets and trading securities. And that suggests that with the housing boom over and the stock market moving sideways, tax-revenue growth could be slowing down, and soon.”

    Given the upheavals of this week I would say that that is a more likely explanation for the increase in revenue rather than the inane “tax cuts increase revenue.” For that matter, I would like to see the chart JohnW provided updated to now, though I know that will be awhile. It stops at 2005 looking pretty but I suspect that the bailouts and current problems are wiping out the illusory extra revenue.

  188. Jose

    @Quiet_Desperation

    If “someone else’s softball park” doesn’t work for you, how about the infamous Bridge To Nowhere in Alaska? That was an earmark, or an attempted one.

    OK. This sounds like the definition of a slippery slope argument. If we allow this one thing, then we have to allow this other thing. My favorite one is “If we legalize gay marriage, soon people will demand that they be allowed to marry animals”.

    People like me just want some better accounting, and maybe some more creativity in problem solving. I’ll ask again because no one wants to answer: Is that really too much to ask?

    Do you really need an answer? Who exactly is arguing against this? Phil’s post isn’t defending earmarks. It’s calling out “No Earmarks” McCain as hypocrite for choosing Palin as his running mate, and also for specifically calling out a request for money to fix a planetarium. To McCain, such a request is “foolishness”. Then most of the thread turned into “The Federal Government shouldn’t be spending money on things like planetariums” vs “The Federal Government should be spending money on things like planetariums”. I must have missed the posts where dirty liberals were lauding earmarks.

  189. Michelle

    McCain isn’t calling the planetarium foolishness, he is calling alloting money to an organization that donates a tremendous amount of money to a politician (Obama) foolishness. Are you supporting our politicians “selling” earmarks? Because that is what Obama seems to be really good at.

    “While the Adler Planetarium earmarks look normal on the surface, there is a catch. The Chairman and two of the Vice Chairman of the Adler Planetarium Board of Trustees raised a total of almost $250,000 for Sen. Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign. The Adler Planetarium was probably pleasantly surprised when they found that their earmark increased by $2.7 million dollars, in other words, by a factor of ten.

    The Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Frank Clark, stands out amongst Obama supporters. On Sen. Obama’s website, Mr. Clark is listed as a bundler who raised in excess of $200,000 for the Senator’s Presidential campaign. In 2004, Mr. Clark donated $5,000 to the then State Senator Obama’s U.S. Senate bid. In 2005, Mr. Clark became the Chairman of the Board at Adler Planetarium, and in 2006 Sen. Obama earmarked $300,000 to the Planetarium. Then, in the same year that Mr. Clark’s involvement in the Obama campaign skyrocketed to raising an excess of $200,000, Sen. Obama’s earmark for the Adler Planetarium increased tenfold to $3,000,000.”

    Please don’t let your disagreement with a political party or candidate override good sense and investigation. Kneejerk reactions are what you are supposed to be controlling with your research.

  190. Quiet Desperation

    OK. This sounds like the definition of a slippery slope argument. If we allow this one thing, then we have to allow this other thing. My favorite one is “If we legalize gay marriage, soon people will demand that they be allowed to marry animals”.

    That’s absolutely *nothing* like what I said. You are running my statements through your ideological filter and distorting them.

    I must have missed the posts where dirty liberals were lauding earmarks.

    I didn’t call anyone a dirty liberal. OK, this is pointless. Have fun.

  191. Night

    Planetologist… your linked blog is right on the money. The GOP is not anti-science (it is except for military purposes) it is anti-intelligence. Here in Florida, they tried to get an Amendment that would have eliminated local school taxes and sent 18% of that money to Washington! (The reduction in property taxes would have reduced Federal tax credits so that 18% of the of the 30% savings property taxes would have gone to Federal taxes.) And it would have forced raising other taxes or decimating the public schools. The GOP which controls the Governor’s mansion, the Cabinet, the State Senate, and the State Legislature, has repeatedly slashed higher education until a student I know who graduated with a 4.0 can’t get in to a University because there are not enough professors to handle all of the students. Enrollments are being lashed and the Governor refuses to announce how big the next take-back of funding already disbursed is going to be because he wants to wait until after the elections!

    However… not ALL Republicans are like this. It was a Republican who fought to have that Amendment thrown out, and it was another Republican who obtained a Federal Appropriation to complete a the Planetarium I now direct. But McCain (who I thought was more like these latter Republicans) has only proved that he will toe the GOP Party line to get elected.

    More disturbing and enlightening than his comment about planetariums in this case, was his earlier admission that Obama didn’t call Pallin a pig, but that he stood by his false ad which says Obama did anyway!!! McCain believes that most Americans are too stupid to realize that he is lying to them even when he admits it!!! An uneducated and unintelligent public is the best road to the White House for the GOP.

  192. Jose

    @Quiet Desperation

    That’s absolutely *nothing* like what I said. You are running my statements through your ideological filter and distorting them.

    No. I only copied and pasted exactly what you said. Don’t blame me if you don’t grasp what slippery slope means. Or are you referring to the part where you say earmarks are bad? If that’s the case, I responded to that as well. Scroll back up to the part that starts with “Phil’s post isn’t defending earmarks.”

    I didn’t call anyone a dirty liberal.

    I didn’t say you did. Dirty liberal was all mine. I was poking fun at your attitude. What you said was “I’ll ask again because no one wants to answer: Is that really too much to ask?”, with the implication being that people weren’t answering because they were unable to because they’re so stuck in their “ideology”. What you don’t seem to grasp is that your genius suggestions of better accounting and looking for better solutions deserved nothing more than a “duh”. Way to avoid the content of my post though.

    OK, this is pointless. Have fun.

    Yes, coming here, fighting a pretend battle against no one, and then declaring yourself the victor is pointless. Unless, you subscribe to some sort of “try and sound smart, but make myself look dumb” ideology.

  193. Quiet Desperation

    @Jose

    Oh lighten up. It’s nearly Christmas. :-)

  194. Davidlpf

    You two go eat cake or twinkies whatever you like.

  195. Driver

    Will the rapture hurry up and get here already? Fundamentalists need to be gone.

  196. Quiet Desperation

    The cake is a lie

  197. Davidlpf

    Prove to me the cake is a fake:-).

  198. Jose

    I’m gluten intolerant.

  199. Davidlpf
  200. Quiet Desperation

    The cake as a lie must be true because it’s on a T-shirt.

    http://kotaku.com/gaming/t_shirt/portal-t+shirt-the-cake-is-a-lie-321318.php

    If we can;t trust our T-shirts, who can we trust?!

  201. Rahne

    Hey, looks at us, still talking when there’s science to do!

  202. Joseless

    Jose,
    Does it really make you feel better to completely take things out of context and rant incoherently? Perhaps your lashing out over your frustration to complete the recipe for ice.

    If you are really so moronic that you cannot understand the difference between federal funding for local projects which benefit few (especially when there is no oversight for the money, which can result in “selling earmark projects to the highest contributer”) vs. funding projects which benefit the nation as a whole, then you definitely will have problems with other simple concepts.

    Oh my goodness, your so correct… the I’ve just seen the GOP pamphlet which states you shouldn’t teach your children the concept of money or saving, or earning a dollar. By goodness it also states any toys will shatter their learning process. Oh wait, you wouldn’t understand this… since you seem to think the concept of an allowance is simply a handout to your kid so anyone who doesn’t see things your way obviously must be wrong and deserves to have their words spun, twisted and misinterpreted

  203. Hey folks! Thanks for reminding me why I don’t associate with either political party. So now I can use this site as a link for some of the best (for the science) and the worst (for the ‘other’, though I will thank people here (and Phil for his editing) for keeping the ‘cuss words’ out) on the internet.

    Now, here’s some juicy irony for you: independents like me will likely swing the election. They are turned off by the narrow-mindedness shown in most posts on this website. Calling each other names, applying bad comparisons to history, and citing slanted news stories to prove a point is not a way to debate or point the way forward. Applying some skeptical thinking, people may want to calm down and approach things rationally. Maybe you’ll convince someone who can actually have an impact.

  204. Don Snow

    @ Jose -

    Thanks for the civil tone, in your response.

    All I can say, it was about a 40 second clip, so there was some context, the context being immigration reform. I remember what I heard, because I was so surprised when he said it. I’m sincerely sorry that I cannot at least say which radio station and show and host, date and time I heard it.
    But, he really said it.

    Without sarcasm, I have taken notes only one time from a talk show, with station, date, time, host and guest. I had the time and solitude to do that, at the time. (For example, right now my oldest dog is competing with
    the computer, for my attention. This is my fault. I’ve spoiled her rotten, and she’s used to my attention when she wants it. There, now she’s walked away and laid down. She vies for my attention by putting her paw on my arm, while I’m typing, and tugging. smile.)

    I have sometimes found myself wishing I took notes like that, on all the talk shows, I listened to. But, I can’t always gather the attention in the house, to do that. At work in my car, I can.

    I included Hitler and Mussolini on the left wing, because recently Hilary Clinton said she was a socialist; she’s on the left wing; and Hitler’s party was the National Socialist Party. I agree, and accept correction, that Mussolini was a dictator. I can’t remember his economic stand (I thought it also was socialist, but found today I’m not sure), so I accept correction.

    The quote I attribute to Sen. Obamas was neither false, nor scurrilous. I heard it, in the context of immigration reform. This was before he was nominated to the Democratic party’s choice of President.

  205. Don Snow

    @ Melusine:

    “Dan Snow said:

    Don’t be too hard on right wingers: lefties don’t have too good company in history. For example Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini were all left wingers: Stalin in communism and the other two in socialism. Just being a leftist gives you no credit, and very little respect, for its own sake.

    Just so you know that history’s as important as science and politics, there

    Melusine – Yes, history is as important as science, which is why I can’t let your false statement go lest someone believes you. Mussolini and Hitler were not socialists.

    Don Snow – Hitler’s political party was the Nationalist Socialist Party. He had to be a socialist, or at least was voted in on a socialist plank.
    They were also both anti-communism, both promoted nationalism, Mussolini was for corporatism, both promoted military and industrial expansion, and so on. They were fascists.

    Melusine – So, it would be wise to read up on your history of these men before calling them “left-wingers,” which is a false statement.

    Don Snow – Not a false statement about Hitler, see above by me.

    Melusine _ It is also one constantly perpetrated by those who refuse to read up on information for themselves.”

    Not perpetrated, but accurately repeated. See above about Hitler’s political party.

    Thanks for your civility.

  206. Don Snow

    @ Melusine -

    You also said -

    “As far as liberties, McCain doesn’t care for gay rights that much or their concerns for liberties, nor women regarding abortion and equal pay. What rights and liberties was Dan Snow talking about?”

    That’s twice. BTW, my name’s Don Snow.

    I can’t speak for McCain nor any Republican, because I’m an Independent. However, I believe equal rights and liberties include:

    Everybody’s right to the pursuits of life, liberty and happiness; and rights to vote, equal housing and equal job opportunities.

    A. Equal job opportunity includes equal pay for same work by men and women.
    B. All of the above encompass civil rights and at present there is no more to civil rights than the above. Which civil rights the gays have always had. So, I understand neither their claim nor their obnoxious ways of complaining.
    C. And the rights and liberties enumerated in the first ten amendments, as ratified along with our 1792 Constitution. Which Constitution is not, repeat not, a living document to be toyed with, played with, progressed with, or any thing else with: by people who want to redefine this or that word, instead of living within reasonable limits. Yes it is beyond reason and unreasonable to change the definition of patriotism and the other words the Democrats want to flush down the toilet, so they can play their political games, instead of taking politics and the consensus vocabulary seriously.
    FROM 1988 TO 2003 I VOTED A STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC TICKET. No more. Whatever it is that calls itself the Democratic Party, it’s neither democratic nor the Democratic Party I stood for. So, I am very well informed. OK?

    Although not a Republican, I am either a conservative with liberal traits or a liberal with conservative traits, I haven’t figured out which.

  207. Jose

    @Sock puppet Joseless,

    If you are really so moronic that you cannot understand the difference between federal funding for local projects which benefit few (especially when there is no oversight for the money, which can result in “selling earmark projects to the highest contributer”) vs. funding projects which benefit the nation as a whole, then you definitely will have problems with other simple concepts.few

    I’ve been pretty clear that I don’t object to Federal funding for local projects like planetariums. Why, I’ve even given reasons to support this, including how it benefits the whole nation. Nobody is arguing for oversightless earmarks. If somebody is, please point them out, and I’ll call them an idiot just to make you happy.

    The arguments are “federal funding for a planetarium is foolishness” vs “federal funding for planetariums is a good thing”. Can you restrict yourself to that? I don’t care if someone disagrees with me. I do care if someone disagrees with me using faulty logic.

    Oh my goodness, your so correct… the I’ve just seen the GOP pamphlet which states you shouldn’t teach your children the concept of money or saving, or earning a dollar. By goodness it also states any toys will shatter their learning process. Oh wait, you wouldn’t understand this… since you seem to think the concept of an allowance is simply a handout to your kid so anyone who doesn’t see things your way obviously must be wrong and deserves to have their words spun, twisted and misinterpreted.

    OK dummy. This is called sarcasm. I don’t really believe those things. I swear, I didn’t burn any of my son’s toys last night. Sometimes, when someone makes a dumb argument, I’ll amuse myself by responding with another even dumber argument to show why the original argument doesn’t hold water.

    And please point out where I’ve spun, twisted and misinterpreted things. I’ll be sure to apologize and correct myself.

  208. Don Snow

    @ Johnathan -

    Here’s what you said:

    “Once again, we see proof that the lies, slander and pandering of [insert presidential candidate here] are so egregious that clearly the [insert candidates political party here] must have been insane to nominate him. [Insert name of opposing candidate here] is far more qualified for the job, and is far less prone to such outbursts and falsehoods. Additionally, one can only marvel at the decision that [insert presidential candidate here] made when he chose [insert vice-presidential candidate here] as his running mate. [Insert VP candidate here] is so [insert random, off-topic invectives here] that only the far [insert direction here] and deviants can find [him/her] appealing.

    [Begin randomized off-topic rant here.]”

    Here’s what I say: OUTSTANDING! wAY TO GO, JOHNATHAN!

    Why do I post here? There’s those of you like Johnahan, here, who say it all so succinctly. Thank you, thank you, thank you, sir.

  209. Quiet Desperation

    Joseless: Does it really make you feel better to completely take things out of context and rant incoherently?

    Oh, c’mon, we were moving back to civility. There was to be cake, although it could be a lie. :)

    Someone or other: For example Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini were all left wingers:

    Am I the only one who thinks placing the most extreme historical examples of lunatics into *any* camp is really silly and pointless? What *is* the point? That every liberal is a potential Hitler? I never understood that.

  210. Jose

    @Don Snow
    “Nationalist Socialist Party” was just the name of the party. Not what it stood for. I believe they even removed the “socialist” part at some point because they felt it misrepresented the party. And trying to associate Obama with Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini is an inaccurate, uncalled for, low blow. It’s along the lines of “evolution led to the holocaust”. So don’t rebuke me for the tone of my response.

  211. kuhnigget

    @ don:

    “Which civil rights the gays have always had. So, I understand neither their claim nor their obnoxious ways of complaining.”

    Six months ago my partner of 15 years was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. I was not allowed in to see him. Yet his sister, someone with whom he has almost no relationship, waltzed right in and assumed the role of spokeswoman. Is that the sort of civil right you’re talking about, Don? Because I can surely imagine the sort of ruckus a straight person would make if their spouse were treated in a similar fashion.

    And yes, I got a little obnoxious about the situation. Sorry about that. Sort of like those uppity blacks back in the late 50s and 60s. You know, the ones who had to be cooled off with fire hoses.

    “Which Constitution is not, repeat not, a living document to be toyed with, played with, progressed with, or any thing else with”

    The fact that the Constitution includes a method by which it can be amended proves the falsity of your point of view. The people who wrote it were wise enough to realize that societies change. Like human beings, they develop and age, evolving over time. Hence the amendments outlawing slavery, and giving women the right to vote, etc.

    By the way, despite being an obnoxious gay person, I’m also politically independent, like you. Pretty much a libertarian, really…with a twist. I happen to believe that the federal government should involve itself in programs that benefit the nation as a whole, such as health care for all citizens, sound education for all, and…the occasional planetarium that will generate more interest in science in a single day than pretty much any other government sponsored activity except maybe a rocket launch.

    Have a nice day.

  212. Don Snow

    @ Mesuline

    “They were also both anti-communism, both promoted nationalism, Mussolini was for corporatism, both promoted military and industrial expansion, and so on. They were fascists.”

    Sincere apology for not putting your name in front of the above quote. When I read it after I posted it, it looked like I said that, but I didn’t, you did.

    My apologies to any other whom I misled by the above mistake.

  213. Don Snow

    Hi, Jose -

    “@Don Snow
    “Nationalist Socialist Party” was just the name of the party. Not what it stood for. I believe they even removed the “socialist” part at some point because they felt it misrepresented the party. And trying to associate Obama with Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini is an inaccurate, uncalled for, low blow. It’s along the lines of “evolution led to the holocaust”. So don’t rebuke me for the tone of my response.”

    When did I rebuke the tone of a response of yours? You have a sardonic style, but that’s not offensive to me.

    But it’s OK for Democrats to call Pres. Bush a Hitler? Yes they did.

    OK, I’ll tell you what I think about Sen. Obama, while likening leftists to Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. I think that Sen. Obama shares in common with Pres. FDR, Prime Minister Churchill and Comrade Stalin, the trait of demagougary.

    I accept your correction, with this caveat: Extreme leftism stands as radical and dangerous to a civilized society as, any extreme rightist.

    I thought I better spell that out, because I am a reasonable man; as well as emotional; religious; political; for education (although I’m beginning to wonder if we should privatize all government funded education, because of where education is at, today); see a military as necessary; all for capitalism, but I’m beginning to wonder if it can stand by itself, with all these government bail outs; believe in working for my money, but never minded government welfare to the poor: I just figured some of my taxes were going to charity which I should have already donated, so the taxes did that for me; believe that this is a pivotal, significant, important and serious election for our country; voting is my civic duty; and enjoy the civil give and take of talking out our differences.
    Variety of opinions, arguing out our disagreements, this is what makes our country great. In a lot of other countries, differences are resolved with guns, machetes, swords, fists and imprisonment.

    I like our way much better.

    Now, as to whether govrernment funding of planeteria is foolishness or not foolishness.
    I’d like to try to see why Sen. McCain said this, to put it into context. He has a military background. NGOs are attempting to replace the UN Charter, our Constitution, the Russian Constitution, the EU Constitution, the Chines governming document, and the same for the whole planet, with Shariya law, violently promoted with acts of war and terrorism.

    I think that Sen. McCain’s comment, in this context, implies that he may think our government’s funding should go more to the Department of Homeland Security, the military, law enforcement and solving the immigration problems of our nation, than to planeteria.

    That’s my take on this. I don’t expect to make [i]anybody[/i] happy with that.

    In closing, I will be glad when I have better than the lesser of two evils, for whom to vote in an election as contested as this one. But, that’s all I have.

  214. Quiet_Desperation

    @Jose

    That “Joseless” post was not me. I don’t do sock puppets.

  215. Jose

    @Don Snow

    When did I rebuke the tone of a response of yours?

    I apologize for that part. The first part of your reply was “Thanks for the civil tone, in your response.” Then, the next part began with “Without sarcasm”. I took it to be a comment on the first part.

    Extreme leftism stands as radical and dangerous to a civilized society as, any extreme rightist.

    Yes, and nobody is arguing that it isn’t.

    But it’s OK for Democrats to call Pres. Bush a Hitler? Yes they did.

    If you think this comparison is inaccurate, it falls under “2 wrongs don’t make a right.”

  216. Jose

    That “Joseless” post was not me. I don’t do sock puppets.

    I didn’t think it was. I have a couple of suspects, but not you. Although, it would be pretty funny to create a sock puppet, and then later yell at your own sock puppet.

  217. Don Snow

    Hi, Khunugget -

    I’ve always enjoyed your posts. When it comes to the individual gay, there but for the grace of God go I.

    I’ll try to do better in my reply to you, than I did with [b]Mesuline[/b], when I failed to put his name in fron of his words.

    Hereafter, my reply to your response follows your words:

    @ don:

    “Which civil rights the gays have always had. So, I understand neither their claim nor their obnoxious ways of complaining.”

    Khunugget – “”Six months ago my partner of 15 years was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.”

    Don Snow – I’m sincerely sorry.

    Khunugget said – “I was not allowed in to see him.”

    Don Snow – That’s rough.

    Khunugget – “Yet his sister, someone with whom he has almost no relationship, waltzed right in and assumed the role of spokeswoman. Is that the sort of civil right you’re talking about, Don?”

    Don Snow – No, what you describe here is familial rights. They’re just as important. People other than gays have rights, too. I’ve already iterated my opionion of what civil rights are limited to.

    Khunugget – “Because I can surely imagine the sort of ruckus a straight person would make if their spouse were treated in a similar fashion.

    Don Snow – Consensus has it, that a spouse is of the opposite gender. Now, you see why some other people than me or you, think that scientific consensus sucks.

    Khunugget – “And yes, I got a little obnoxious about the situation. Sorry about that.”

    Don Snow – Sounds like a pity-pot, to me. People who feel lots of pity for themselves make it difficult for other people to extend a tender pity to them.

    Khunugget – ” Sort of like those uppity blacks back in the late 50s and 60s. You know, the ones who had to be cooled off with fire hoses.

    Don Snow – I’d like to preface my reply, with something about myself. When I was born a baby, I came hardwired, with natural instincts, to fight that which threatened me, if I couldn’t run away; to take whatever I wanted without asking or regard to property rights; to tear asunder to see how it works, anything that aroused my curiousity; and to defecate and urinate the moment the urge came to me. My parents taught me to fight with reason, not with my fists; when to run away; when to stand and reason; what theft was, and to not steal; don’t touch what I was curious about; and how to not only use the restroom, but also how to wait until I could use the restroom. These are all natural urges, natual feelings, which I learned to discipline or to replace with reason.

    Now, about those uppity blacks: they were born with that skin pigmitation and the same hard wiring I had. They don’t have to change their skin color to please anyone. But, like me, they had to learn to overcome certain natural feelings, to fit into society.
    Impulse to gay life has two results: choose to keep it; choose to change it. And that just like the other hardwired impulses, gays can too change the born with tendency to be gay. And I think they either unknowingly or deliberately lie, when they say they can’t. Up to the individual liar, whether unknowingly or deliberately.

    Khunugget’s quote of me – ““Which Constitution is not, repeat not, a living document to be toyed with, played with, progressed with, or any thing else with””

    Khunnuget – “The fact that the Constitution includes a method by which it can be amended proves the falsity of your point of view.”

    Don Snow – You side step. Remember, I voted a straight Democratic ticket for 15 years. I know what your politicians mean, and they didn’t refer to the Constitutional process of Amendment. Remember, I don’t have to and I don’t think the Democratic way, anymore. I think that ‘living document’ is Democratic leaders’ code for change from the bench, to evilly bypass the Constitutional requirement that the people and Congress NOT, NOT, NOT a Democratic judge make changes to the divinely inspired 1792 as origionally amended Constitution of the United States of America while there were whigs and tories before ever the DemoncraticRepublican Party, much less the split of that party. Rant, rant; rave, rave; but not, repeat not, slaver from the mouth.

    Khunugget – “The people who wrote it were wise enough to realize that societies change. Like human beings, they develop and age, evolving over time. Hence the amendments outlawing slavery, and giving women the right to vote, etc.”

    Don Snow – See above.

    Khunugget – “By the way, despite being an obnoxious gay person,”

    Don Snow – I haven’t found you to be obnoxious. To what do you refer? Are you hiding that you were with the gay protestors who took a public crap during a Mass, in the NYC St. Patrick Cathedral? Shame on you. That’s obnoxious, and what I meant by obnoxious. Also the bunch that paraded in solely jockstraps, around our local newspaper’s property. That’s obnoxious.
    Did you do that, too? I think not. I also think you’re not, repeat not, among those obnoxious gays.

    Khunugget – “I’m also politically independent, like you.”

    Don Snow – So, that’s why I enjoy your posts, then. smile

    Khunugget – “Pretty much a libertarian, really…with a twist.”

    Don Snow – Well, there we part. I’ve visited the web pages of the different political parties. I can’t really go along with the totality of the Libertarians.

    Khunugget – “I happen to believe that the federal government should involve itself in programs that benefit the nation as a whole, such as health care for all citizens, sound education for all, and…the occasional planetarium that will generate more interest in science in a single day than pretty much any other government sponsored activity except maybe a rocket launch.”

    Don Snow – We disagree on some of that, but it’s OK. Be real boring if everybody had the same ideas about how government should work. I think the Federal Government should be limited to the defense of the nation and other Constitutional specifications; and that the state governments go about funding this and that and education, not federal education. I think health is an idividual, not community (except for epidemics and pandemics yes after, not before, either of those start…there’s still such a thing as too much of a good thing, and there’s getting to be too many health laws for public health to remain a good thing) responsibility. But, we do agree that the occasional planetarium is OK to be funded by federal, state, county or muncipal governments. grin.
    Let’s agree to disagree on the others. Your view, not mine, is much more likely to prevail, there. Nevertheless, I remain an opinionated man. grin.

    Khunugget – “Have a nice day.”

    Don Snow – You have a nice day, too.

  218. Don Snow

    @ Jose -

    Don Snow – But it’s OK for Democrats to call Pres. Bush a Hitler? Yes they did.

    Jose – If you think this comparison is inaccurate, it falls under “2 wrongs don’t make a right.”

    Me – Touche! And, with one of my own favorite expressions. I sit corrected.

    I enjoy most of your posts, even that one.

  219. Quiet Desperation

    I didn’t think it was. I have a couple of suspects, but not you.

    OK. Cool.

    Although, it would be pretty funny to create a sock puppet, and then later yell at your own sock puppet.

    I’ve actually done that on a couple of occasions as a form of performance art. :-) A couple other online cohorts were involved as well. This was years ago, though, in the days of dialup BBSes. I think we were trying to drive a BBS owner insane or something.

  220. Don Snow

    @ Robert -

    If you’re still lurking:

    Are you a character in this story?:

    Two peasants are walking through a midevil forest circa 1100AD. One says to the other: You got any money or food?

    Other: I’m as poor as you are. You know I have no money nor food. Why did you ask?

    One: Because, we’re coming up to a troll bridge.

    Heh, heh, heh; gotta go.

  221. Todd W.

    @Don Snow

    A few of your comments brought up some questions for me. First:

    “Consensus has it, that a spouse is of the opposite gender.”

    What consensus? Who reached this? Upon what basis was this consensus reached?

    “they [blacks] had to learn to overcome certain natural feelings, to fit into society.”

    Natural feelings like love and wanting to share in what it means to be married (a pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, IMO), despite the color of their spouse’s skin. So, they, like gays now, had to suppress their civil rights in order to fit into society?

    “And that just like the other hardwired impulses, gays can too change the born with tendency to be gay. And I think they either unknowingly or deliberately lie, when they say they can’t.”

    If I understand correctly, you equate being gay with the impulse to go to the bathroom (among other “impulses”), and that changing their desires (like wanting to be married to a person that they love and have a physical attraction to) is something that they can control and put off. Perhaps you are right, that they can put off that desire, but, just like the urge to urinate, they cannot put it off forever. As for changing their attraction (i.e., attraction to someone of the opposite gender), perhaps you can provide some evidence to back up your opinion? Can you change yourself so that you are attracted to men? AFAIU, gender-attraction is something that is hardwired and cannot be changed, much like a person’s skin color.

    “to evilly bypass the Constitutional requirement that the people and Congress NOT, NOT, NOT a Democratic judge make changes to the divinely inspired 1792 as origionally amended Constitution of the United States of America”

    Please provide citations that only Democratic judges “evilly change” the Constitution and that no Republican (or any other party) does so. Also, please provide citations that the Constitution was Divinely inspired, rather than the work of reason by people of many faiths, as well as those of no faith. Also, divinely inspired by which deity or deities? Again, AFAIU, the framers of the Constitution included not only Christians of various sects, but also Deists and atheists, and they worked to keep it a secular document, rather than tied to any particular religion. Also, as far as the various Christian sects went, they tended to view other sects as being a different religion altogether, even though they worshipped the same god.

    Thanks ahead of time for reading and considering my questions.

  222. kuhnigget

    @ Don:

    “No, what you describe here is familial rights. They’re just as important. People other than gays have rights, too. I’ve already iterated my opionion of what civil rights are limited to.”

    Rights are rights, whatever you label them. They are rights because they are granted to us by the laws we pass, based upon our constitution. I am of the opinion that no class of people should be granted rights that others do not share.

    “Consensus has it, that a spouse is of the opposite gender. Now, you see why some other people than me or you, think that scientific consensus sucks.”

    And now you see why our laws evolve over time. Consensus once held that a black man only counted as 2/3rds of a white man. Consensus once held that women were not capable of voting. Consensus changes. Our laws follows. That’s the advantage of basing your society on human, rather than divine law.

    “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

    And there, Don, but for a quirk of biology…go I.

  223. Jose

    @Don Snow
    However, I believe equal rights and liberties include:

    Everybody’s right to the pursuits of life, liberty and happiness; and rights to vote, equal housing and equal job opportunities.

    A. Equal job opportunity includes equal pay for same work by men and women.
    B. All of the above encompass civil rights and at present there is no more to civil rights than the above. Which civil rights the gays have always had. So, I understand neither their claim nor their obnoxious ways of complaining.

    There are still plenty of places where gay people still have to live in secret, so cut them some slack if they’re a bit cross. Where I grew up, finding out a celebrity was gay, was met with about the same reaction you would give if you found out they had died in a car accident. I’m almost positive that one of my good friends growing up was and is gay. Today, he’s married to a woman and has some beautiful kids, but I expect his marriage will end in a bad way. I’ve seen it happen a few times before. If Gay people don’t make noise, this will never change.

  224. Jose

    @Don Snow
    Impulse to gay life has two results: choose to keep it; choose to change it.

    I’m assuming you’re a heterosexual male. If that’s the case, try this when you have some privacy. Think of a naked man, and do your best to become aroused. Try focusing on different parts and positions until you find that one thing that gives you that same tingly feeling you get when you’re caught off guard by a glimpse of some nice lady parts. If it doesn’t happen the first time, set aside a little time every day for a few months to try. Don’t be afraid to try a variety of different men. If Tom Cruise doesn’t work, try George the Animal Steele. Keep it up. You just have to discover that tingly feeling at all costs.

    Well, if you’re like me, you’ll never find it. You’ll just think something like “Eeeeeeeewwwww. Make it stop”, and generally feel repulsed. Honestly, that’s how I felt just writing that paragraph. I apologize if that reaction makes me a bit of a homophobe, but I can’t help it.

    Now, try and imagine someone choosing to live a life trying to suppress that feeling, and add all the wonderful benefits that being gay in our society adds. Do you still think it’s a choice? It might not be the most scientific approach, but it helped me decide. There is some good science though, if you want to go that route.

  225. Pieter Kok

    Don Snow, I think you would be a lot happier if you just came out.

  226. Don Snow:

    Impulse to gay life has two results: choose to keep it; choose to change it. And that just like the other hardwired impulses, gays can too change the born with tendency to be gay. And I think they either unknowingly or deliberately lie, when they say they can’t. Up to the individual liar, whether unknowingly or deliberately.

    You mean like the ’98 Homosexual-Recruitment Drive Nearing Goal.

  227. Bill Thompson

    Could it be that McCain just thinks there are other fields of study more important than Astronomy?

  228. StevoR

    Aislinge Kellogg Said way back on Sept 17th, 2008 at 6:38 am :

    I love astronomy; every aspect of the world we live on, the star that warms us, the silvery satellite that brings lit beauty to the night …”

    What Sputnik? ;-)

    I don’t think its big enough to bring that much light to our skies .. Oh wait you mean the Moon! :-D

    “How completely appalling to think that just as the light appears at the end of the Bush tunnel (and what a long tunnel of massive and outright stupidity THAT’S been), now there is the potential to have McCain and Palin, two fossils (one physically and mentally and the other merely mentally old) with an issue with science.

    Congratulations – that’s the best, most perceptive succinct one line summary of the Retardican contenders for US presidency I’ve yet read! :-D

    The Republicans are indeed not merely anti-science but anti-intelligence and anti-thoughtfulness as well as anti-compassion towards others as has been amply demonstatred during the long darkness of the Bush Presidency. This is so plain it really cannot be denied.

    Why anyone with half a brain would vote McCain-Palin & not Obama-Biden is, quite honestly, beyond my comprehension.

  229. StevoR

    Oh & I was inspired in part in my love of astronomy by a planetarium. It started with the Voyager II fly-past of Neptune in 1989 and then I went to the Adelaide planetarium at Mawson Lakes and really learnt and saw and was inspired. :-)

    Then I joined a planetarium group, and the South Aussie Astronomical Society, and now many years later I’m writing (& have had published) my own astronomical articles and am trying to introduce others to the magnificnce and wonder of the cosmos around us all – and promote science with it.

    … When that is I’m not wasting my time in front of the computer like this second! ;-)

    Hmm.. Lets consider the priorities McCain & Palin have in 3 examples :

    1) Funding Planetaria = foolish

    Vs

    Funding the needless and bloody occupation of Iraq = Great, let’s keep it up for the next 100 years!

    2) Educating children on the reality of sex – and how NOT to get preggas from it = Pass. Not even a 5-minute talk with one’s daughter.

    Vs

    Educating kids on biology that the Kreationist “Theory” that Goddit is equal
    to the Scientific Fact of Evolution by Natural Selection – Yeah lets “teach the (political not actual) “controversy” in science classrooms.

    &

    3) Putting resources into alternative renewable energies such as Ocean Thermal Gradient System, wind energy, solar, tidal, geothermal, biogas, etc .. = Pass. Too hard besides there’s no Human Greenhouse Effect anyway .. Or at least we’ll keep saying so until the US is undeniably affected badly by when it’ll be too late to stop. Sorry kiddies and grandkiddies! :-P

    Vs

    Mining Alaskan national parks for oil that will be owned and sold by Big Oil corporations for their profit and do nothing much for lowering oil prices and a lot awful for wrecking the environment = Hey bring it on!

    Please Americans prove the rest of the world wrong when it thinks you are so dumb that you’ll actually vote for such morons! ;-)

    The future of the Western world and your allies has been very badly affected by your horrendously bad choices in elections past. Please give us some reason not to write you off completely in the election present – and some better candidates in elections future too!

    ————–

    “Night hides the world but reveals the universe”
    - Russian proverb

  230. BillD

    Lets talk a little bit about Scientific FACTS. When I was in High School the SCIENCE EXPERTS taught the LAW of Conservation of Matter!! Then when they were proved wrong they changed it to the law of Conservation of Energy. These are really only theories — because later scientific evidence always comes along to modify the facts?? Evolution is a theory. There is some evidence that other events may have happened that changed things not based on evolution. FACTS are only fact until better information comes along. Lets not confuse facy with best explaination.

  231. Jose

    @BillD
    Lets talk a little bit about Scientific FACTS.

    Why? What exactly does this does this have to with anything?

    When I was in High School the SCIENCE EXPERTS taught the LAW of Conservation of Matter!! Then when they were proved wrong they changed it to the law of Conservation of Energy.

    The law of conservation of matter was never proved wrong. It was just shown that matter and energy are different aspects of the same thing. The name was changed to reflect that. And when exactly were you in high school?

    There is some evidence that other events may have happened that changed things not based on evolution.

    What is this evidence and what exactly do you mean by “other events”? I can think of many events that have nothing to do with evolution.

  232. Bill Thompson

    Let’s face some facts.

    Science is great. Science is necessary when we can afford it. But studying the universe and providing wonderful education for our children is still a luxury. It takes a back seat to survival and bringing our troops home from war.

    I think Phil lives in a dream world. Like liberals, he dreams of a perfect Utiopia and he is angered whenever anyone points out to him that it is not reality.

    Just who is going to build all these planetariums and where are the money going to come from?

    In his rage he ignores the fact that calling someone “anti-science” is just as much of an emotionally-charged and logic-ignoring conspiracy theory as the people that he was once against in the whole Apollo Hoax drama. Phil has crossed the line and has become that which he was once against — a conapiracy theroist who takes facts out of context and builds a case just to suit his wants.

  233. Bill Thompson

    Mc Cain and Palin are not anti-science.

    I have some fond memories of outings with the Sarah and her family that were made possible because of science.

    Gov. Palin and I used to go polar bear hunting with a mini gun from an Alaskan National Guard Black Hawk helicopter. You can’t do something like that without science.

    Just kidding.

  234. Bill Thompson

    John McCain says this about Palin:

    “Governor Palin is a tough executive who has demonstrated during her time in office that she is ready to be president. She has brought Republicans and Democrats together within her Administration and has a record of delivering on the change and reform that we need in Washington. Governor Palin has challenged the influence of the big oil companies while fighting for the development of new energy resources. She leads a state that matters to every one of us — Alaska has significant energy resources and she has been a leader in the fight to make America energy independent. In Alaska, Governor Palin challenged a corrupt system and passed a landmark ethics reform bill. She has actually used her veto and cut budgetary spending. She put a stop to the “bridge to nowhere” that would have cost taxpayers $400 million dollars. As the head of Alaska’s National Guard and as the mother of a soldier herself, Governor Palin understands what it takes to lead our nation and she understands the importance of supporting our troops. Governor Palin has the record of reform and bipartisanship that others can only speak of. Her experience in shaking up the status quo is exactly what is needed in Washington today.”

    If this is what “anti-science” means, then “anti-science” is a good thing. Conspiracy Theorists and people who are fond of a particular cult (and, yes, liberalism is a cult, Phil) like to use this “anti-” trick a lot as in “anti-scientologist” or “anti-mormon”. It only shows that you are close-minded, deluded and delusional.

  235. kuhnigget

    Hey Bill Thompson, I bet we could get a lot of planetaria with the nearly three quarters of a trillion dollars the Bush administration wants to spend buying up bad mortgage debt…no strings attached, no oversight whatsoever! And please don’t tell me the Fed is apolitical and has only the interests of the good ol’ middle class in mind!

    700 billion bucks…a new debt ceiling over eleven trillion dollars

    Krikey, even my dad, who hasn’t liked a presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater, thinks the republicans have gone off the deep end.

  236. Todd W.

    @Bill Thompson

    Just going to pick on one part of your quote from Sen. McCain:

    She put a stop to the “bridge to nowhere” that would have cost taxpayers $400 million dollars.

    Umm….no she didn’t. She was all for the bridge until after Congress squashed it. And she didn’t exactly return the money that had already been received.

  237. Jose

    @Bill Thompson

    One other little thing. If you’re going to try and show that Governor Palin is not anti-science, try quoting someone other than John McCain. He might be a little biased (It would also be good if the quote was actually about science.)

  238. Solar

    Gary & Rags K:

    Planetaria are boring and non-interactive? Guess you have not been to one lately… I’ve been working in one for almost 10 years and nearly all our shows are audience-driven and the only lasers are the ones used by educators and the occasional misbehaving high school student!

    Guess maybe you have never worked for a non-profit before either… without SOME federal (yeah, NASA is generally considered federal) $$, we wouldn’t be here.

    Bill Thompson:

    The Feds don’t pay for the building of a planetarium… the $$ each one gets is a drop in the national bucket anyway… most of the money comes from local government, corporate and community sources. However, those federal funds are needed to offset the other sources. NASA gives money for shows and exhibits only.

    If you are going to start cutting bits of science out of kids’ educations, where does it stop? First it is astronomy and space science (because those planetaria belong in Utopia)… oh, and you know what? -my kid doesn’t like caterpillars so lets get rid of any “bug” studies. The neighbor’s kids think that dinosaurs are stupid so we should drop that too… giving a kid a rounded education is not living in a dream world. However, the thought of ever having a viable economy in this country again might be – particularly if there is nothing left for kids to dream about!

  239. Don Snow

    Hi, Todd -

    I meant to be back Monday morning, as usual. My schedule now includes Monday night and I don’t go online during my work schedule. Yesterday, I was exhausted and slept day and night.

    My text will follow your statement, and I’ll put names in front of each block.

    [b]Todd W[/b] said:
    “@Don Snow

    A few of your comments brought up some questions for me. First:

    “Consensus has it, that a spouse is of the opposite gender.”

    What consensus?

    Don – a national and public and millenia old consensus.

    Todd – Who reached this?

    Don – The general public of most of the countries on this planet.

    Todd – Upon what basis was this consensus reached?

    Don – Common sense.

    Quote from Don’s prior post – “they [blacks] had to learn to overcome certain natural feelings, to fit into society.”

    Todd – Natural feelings like love and wanting to share in what it means to be married (a pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, IMO),

    Don – No. I don’t like repeating myself. You read my post, right? Natural feelings like theft, fight/flight and pooping or peeing as soon as an infant feels lilke it. Those natural feelings can be changed. Those who don’t genrally don’t fit in. So, don’t give me any of that B.S. (because you made me repeat myself it’s now B.S. and a lie) that you and gays can’t help how you or they are born.

    Todd – despite the color of their spouse’s skin.

    Don – What’s that about? It’s difficult for me to follow this wandering paragraph.

    Todd – So, they, like gays now,

    Don – Black skin color in no way compares to gay lifestyle.

    -Todd – had to suppress their civil rights in order to fit into society?

    Blacks followed Rev. Dr. Martin L. King Jr., an American non-Catholic saint, in non-violent demonstrations. For equal housing, employment and pay; and for to vote without a poll tax. Those are the other and only other civil rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Todd quoting Don – “And that just like the other hardwired impulses, gays can too change the born with tendency to be gay. And I think they either unknowingly or deliberately lie, when they say they can’t.”

    Todd – If I understand correctly, you equate being gay with the impulse to go to the bathroom (among other “impulses”),

    Don – No. You asked for this. I equate tendency to be gay to natural theiving ways of an undisciplined child and to flight/fight response.

    Todd – and that changing their desires

    Don – No, changing hard wired impulses common to all humanity.

    Todd – (like wanting to be married to a person that they love and have a physical attraction to)

    Don – Most societies have a discretion about which gender to have a physical relationship with and/or marry: opposite gender. When its the same gender, that follows as indiscrete.

    Todd – is something that they can control and put off.

    Don – It is.

    Todd – Perhaps you are right, that they can put off that desire, but, just like the urge to urinate, they cannot put it off forever.

    Don – OK, let’s try this urge, stemming from flight/fight, when cornered and can’t run: the urge to kill. Very basic urge. Some people give into it, become serial killers, go to prison. Urge to kill as basic as sexual urge. People who can’t control sexual urge become rapists and/or serial rapists and go to prison. Get real, man. Primal urges can and should be disciplined.

    Todd : As for changing their attraction (i.e., attraction to someone of the opposite gender), perhaps you can provide some evidence to back up your opinion?

    Don – I’m not going to change my romantic attraction to the opposite gender.
    Evidence for what? I’ve logically stated my position.

    Todd – Can you change yourself so that you are attracted to men?

    Don – I’m not dignifying such an inane and sophist question with any reply.

    Todd – AFAIU, gender-attraction is something that is hardwired

    Don – and I have given example after example of different hardwired urges which must and can be and are changed to fit in with civilization.

    Todd – and cannot be changed, much like a person’s skin color.

    Don – Look, if you’re suckered into repeating and or believing somebody else’s (not your origianl) lie, go ahead. But don’t expect me to be stupid, gullible, tolerant or ignorant enought to ignore a patent lie.

    Todd quotes Don – “to evilly bypass the Constitutional requirement that the people and Congress NOT, NOT, NOT a Democratic judge make changes to the divinely inspired 1792 as origionally amended Constitution of the United States of America”

    Todd – Please provide citations that only Democratic judges “evilly change” the Constitution

    Don – OK, please change from ‘Democratic judges’ to ‘both Republican and Democratic judges evilly change…’.

    Todd – and that no Republican (or any other party) does so.

    Don – See above

    Todd – Also, please provide citations that the Constitution was Divinely inspired, rather than the work of reason by people of many faiths, as well as those of no faith.

    Don – That’s my opinion, because I’ve seen where our Creator works through people not only of all faiths but also of no faith. However you will find mention of “God” and “Creator” in the Declaration of Independence.

    Todd – Also, divinely inspired by which deity or deities?

    Don – In my opinion, the Holy Trinity.

    Todd – Again, AFAIU, the framers of the Constitution included not only Christians of various sects, but also Deists and atheists, and they worked to keep it a secular document, rather than tied to any particular religion.

    Don – They succeeded. And, in the Declaration of Independence you’ll find several references to God and Creator.

    Todd – Also, as far as the various Christian sects went, they tended to view other sects as being a different religion altogether, even though they worshipped the same god.

    Don – Looks like more wandering, there.

    Thanks ahead of time for reading and considering my questions.”

    You’re welcome.

    I’ll close with something for you and others to consider. People are not hateful, just because they think different than gays or pro-gay liberals. People have the right to speak their minds and their opinions about something the gays have dragged out of the closet and into the lime light, without being libeled and slandered as hateful.

  240. Don Snow

    [b]Khunugget[/b] said:

    “No, what you describe here is familial rights. They’re just as important. People other than gays have rights, too. I’ve already iterated my opionion of what civil rights are limited to.”

    Rights are rights, whatever you label them. They are rights because they are granted to us by the laws we pass, based upon our constitution. I am of the opinion that no class of people should be granted rights that others do not share.

    “Consensus has it, that a spouse is of the opposite gender. Now, you see why some other people than me or you, think that scientific consensus sucks.”

    And now you see why our laws evolve over time. Consensus once held that a black man only counted as 2/3rds of a white man. Consensus once held that women were not capable of voting. Consensus changes. Our laws follows. That’s the advantage of basing your society on human, rather than divine law.

    “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

    And there, Don, but for a quirk of biology…go I.”

    Have it your way, but don’t expect me to believe that you can’t change. I’m not fooled by that old lie.

  241. Don Snow

    Jose said:

    “@Don Snow
    However, I believe equal rights and liberties include:

    Everybody’s right to the pursuits of life, liberty and happiness; and rights to vote, equal housing and equal job opportunities.

    A. Equal job opportunity includes equal pay for same work by men and women.
    B. All of the above encompass civil rights and at present there is no more to civil rights than the above. Which civil rights the gays have always had. So, I understand neither their claim nor their obnoxious ways of complaining.

    There are still plenty of places where gay people still have to live in secret, so cut them some slack if they’re a bit cross. Where I grew up, finding out a celebrity was gay, was met with about the same reaction you would give if you found out they had died in a car accident. I’m almost positive that one of my good friends growing up was and is gay. Today, he’s married to a woman and has some beautiful kids, but I expect his marriage will end in a bad way. I’ve seen it happen a few times before. If Gay people don’t make noise, this will never change.”

    This is a good and level headed post.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m against hanging that gay guy on the barbed wire fence. That should not happen to anybody.

    But, let’s face it. If I were to strut around, macho, and ogling all the women, I’d get in trouble. It should be no different for gays, when they go swishing around. Sexuality should be private. When any kind of sexuality is flaunted in public, the flaunter better be ready to hear about their flaunting it. If the flaunter doesn’t want to hear about it, don’t flaunt.

    That’s my conservative outlook.

  242. Don Snow

    @ Jose

    “@Don Snow
    Impulse to gay life has two results: choose to keep it; choose to change it.

    I’m assuming you’re a heterosexual male. If that’s the case, try this when you have some privacy. Think of a naked man, and do your best to become aroused. Try focusing on different parts and positions until you find that one thing that gives you that same tingly feeling you get when you’re caught off guard by a glimpse of some nice lady parts. If it doesn’t happen the first time, set aside a little time every day for a few months to try. Don’t be afraid to try a variety of different men. If Tom Cruise doesn’t work, try George the Animal Steele. Keep it up. You just have to discover that tingly feeling at all costs.

    Well, if you’re like me, you’ll never find it. You’ll just think something like “Eeeeeeeewwwww. Make it stop”, and generally feel repulsed. Honestly, that’s how I felt just writing that paragraph. I apologize if that reaction makes me a bit of a homophobe, but I can’t help it.

    Now, try and imagine someone choosing to live a life trying to suppress that feeling, and add all the wonderful benefits that being gay in our society adds. Do you still think it’s a choice? It might not be the most scientific approach, but it helped me decide. There is some good science though, if you want to go that route.”

    I read this thing all the way through.

    Nothing wrong with being a homophobe: there’s some men everybody should be afraid of (Sec. Paulson, for one).

    Look, I stated my position. I’m not going to try to understand the motives behind a gay lifestyle. That’s their choice, and I won’t believe it’s not.
    Gays have the same benefits: Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness; to vote, equal employment with equal pay and equal housing. Let’s face it, if I walk around with hetero sexuality oozing from me, there’s some places that just won’t hire me. If my idea of pursuing happiness is to marry a ten year old girl then I better not be surprised to hear different. And, gay sexuality is as generally out of line as child marriage: indiscrete.

    That’s where I’m at Jose, and I have no intention of changing.

  243. Don Snow

    @ Pieter Kok

    “Don Snow, I think you would be a lot happier if you just came out.”, you said.

    I did. I have a wannabee comic in my closet. I came out on this thread when I submitted my Mideval peasants and troll bridge to Robert.

  244. [...]That is one strand of Democratic foreign policy. A second strand emerged in the context of the Vietnam War. That war began under the Kennedy administration and was intensified by Lyndon Baines Johnson, particularly after 1964. The war did not go as expected. As the war progressed, the Democratic Party began to fragment. There were three factions involved in this.[...]

  245. @Don Snow: “Nothing wrong with being a homophobe”
    Was that just the set up for the “joke” or do you really believe that? Either way try “nothing wrong with being a misogynist” or “nothing wrong with being a racist”. Do you understand how offensive that is?

    @Don Snow: “if I walk around with hetero sexuality oozing from me”
    Pray tell how this is done? Holding hands with a woman? Actually that would be normal wouldn’t it. Indiscreet would be a gay couple holding hands from your point of view yes?

    @Don Snow : “If my idea of pursuing happiness is to marry a ten year old girl then I better not be surprised to hear different. And, gay sexuality is as generally out of line as child marriage: indiscrete.”
    Jeebus! Marrying a ten year old is illegal. It is what we call paedophilia. Surely you’re not equating homosexuality with paedophilia?

    I saw a movie some time ago, “The Sum Of Us”, starring Russell Crowe. Our Russ plays a gay guy. In one scene he kisses his boyfriend, as you would. A couple of girls behind us squealed and went “Eeeeeewww”. A while later Jack Thompson, who played Russes father, being a big hetero masculine man kissed his girlfriend, as you would. A couple of gay guys in the front of me turned around, squealed and went “Eeeeeewww”. Now I thought that was funny. Understand? BTW, excellent little Aussie film.

  246. Anchor

    RL Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 7:00 am

    “When I look at the candidates and ask myself who would I want to follow as a leader in a crisis, its McCain.”

    Care to reconsider that in light of what’s happened since you made that bold statement?

    You want to follow a decent leader in a crisis, right? You really want to follow McCain, is that right? The guy who insists he’s strategically (or is it tactically?) superior to Obama and superior to him in foreign policy experience, right? Because he, of all people, should know precisely how important it is to be well-qualified in those areas, right? Who ought to know very well exactly how CRUCIAL it is to the security of our country to have superior experience. RIGHT?

    The SAME GUY who picked a running mate a heartbeat away from the presidency who has none of those qualifications whatsoever? The same guy who defends his campaign ads which are saturated with deceit? That’s the guy you wish to lead?

  247. Don Snow

    @ Shane -

    Hi. Your text in quotes, my response follows your text.

    “@Don Snow: “Nothing wrong with being a homophobe”
    Was that just the set up for the “joke” or do you really believe that?”

    I really believe that.

    ” Either way try “nothing wrong with being a misogynist” or “nothing wrong with being a racist”. Do you understand how offensive that is?”

    No. Again, neither race nor racism compare with gay: it’s comparing apples and oranges. Sometimes I wonder if gay men have a misogynist streak.

    “@Don Snow: “if I walk around with hetero sexuality oozing from me”
    Pray tell how this is done?”

    Male strut: chest out, shoulders back, loud stride of legs and feet, challenging gaze; for example.

    ” Holding hands with a woman?”
    How can you make a sweet gesture into your example of hetero sexuality?

    ” Actually that would be normal wouldn’t it.”

    Yes, thank you.

    ” Indiscreet would be a gay couple holding hands from your point of view yes?”

    Only If in public. Don’t play innocent, here. This can be taken as gay obnoxiousness, doing something in public that they know will offend ordinary people. (As long as gays claim no control over sexual impulses, they aren’t ordinary. Ordinary people conform themselves, gays don’t.)
    You can’t have it both ways.

    “@Don Snow : “If my idea of pursuing happiness is to marry a ten year old girl then I better not be surprised to hear different. And, gay sexuality is as generally out of line as child marriage: indiscrete.””
    Jeebus! Marrying a ten year old is illegal. It is what we call paedophilia. Surely you’re not equating homosexuality with paedophilia?

    Yes I am. Until thirty years ago, gay lifestyle was illegal. Thirty and more years ago, both gays and child marriage was illegal. Now, it’s different.
    For example, five years ago, when Mayor of San Franciso legalized gay marriage in that city, I heard an interview on the radio.
    It was George Noory’s Coast to Coast AM, and he was interviewing a 26yo w/m, who lived in Germany. That young man saw nothing wrong with his desire to marry an eight year old girl: he felt that the institution of marriage would sanctify his desire for her. Sound familiar?
    George interviewed this guy for three hours. I’ll tell you what this showed me.

    As soon as gays could marry, all the other illegal sexual lifestyles peeped out of their respective closets. These other illegal sexual life styles do compare themselves to the gay life style. Some of them called George’s show that night, when show opened to phone calls. Polygamists called in: woman wanted more than one husband; and man wanted more than one wife. Multimarriage people called in: one couple marries another couple.
    Also I think that other people want their closet marriages of S and M open and legal.

    Gay Rights willingly or unwillingly leads a host of presently illegal sexual life styles who say: the gays can get legalized, why can’t we?
    See what you’ve done? Those people do compare themselves to gays.

    “I saw a movie some time ago, “The Sum Of Us”, starring Russell Crowe. Our Russ plays a gay guy. In one scene he kisses his boyfriend, as you would. A couple of girls behind us squealed and went “Eeeeeewww”. A while later Jack Thompson, who played Russes father, being a big hetero masculine man kissed his girlfriend, as you would. A couple of gay guys in the front of me turned around, squealed and went “Eeeeeewww”. Now I thought that was funny. Understand? BTW, excellent little Aussie film.”"

    This is what I mean by no discretion and flaunting the gay life-style. You know I would not knowingly go to a film, like that. So, you drag it out of a theatre and rub it in my face. That’s not only aggressive but also offensive. It loses you both my vote and any intention to understand.
    Just keep it up. That’s why gay rights have so little sympathy from some heteros.

    Regards,
    Don

  248. @Don Snow,

    You’ve been pretty forthcoming and I appreciate that but, holy smoke, you’ve got to check some of that pent up homophobia. Why so much, for want of a better word, hate towards homosexuality? Gay people are just that, people. They have the same needs, wants, aspirations and dreams as other people. Your hating of the gays is the same as hating people because of the colour of their skin. There is no difference. When you say they “rub it in my face” you’re talking about behaviour that is exactly the same as a heterosexual couple. It is your problem not theirs. Unfortunately it becomes their problem because intolerant attitudes, like yours, sometimes get acted upon and it becomes physical – the reprehensible act known as “gay bashing”. The only thing that gives the gay bashers air is the tacit support of people like yourself. It is exactly the same with the racists.
    So again, why do you feel threatened? Are you afraid that someone might ask you out? Seriously, the average gay man would not be interested. Homophobia, racism, misogyny, you actually wear it. People can see it. It makes you ugly. People don’t find that attractive.

  249. Kate

    @Don:

    I don’t usually wish people ill, but you deserve to be on the receiving end of your own brand of phobia/hatred. That you would equate marrying a ten year old girl with a relationship between two consenting adults is not only stupid, but utterly disgusting.

    If you had any shame, intelligence or decency you’d retract your statements immediately.

  250. Joe Meils

    Okay, $3 million for a new planetarium projector… can anyone tell me if this is a good price for one? I have no idea how much these things go for… I imagine most of them are custom builds… but is $3 mil way too much to pay for one? Can anyone answer me on this?

    Or was it a case of the Alder museum folks using that money to put in an old Bell and Howell from a fleamarket, and using the balance of the money to go to a spa?

  251. rthomas

    The projector never got installed or even funded. The Adler is looking for other funding.

    By the way, this is not a toy out of the Edmund Scientific catalog; this is a serious scientific instrument. See this link for some images of planetarium projectors: http://www.oobject.com/category/incredible-planetarium-projectors/ – in optics, the cost differences between amateur equipment and professional gear is often measured in many orders of magnitude. You may have an expensive Nikon with a $500 lens, but the pros shooting the football game have several much more expensive Nikons with several $5000 lenses. The same principle applies, even more so, in astronomy.

  252. Mick

    Well… McCain seems set to lose anyway. And good riddance to Bushist nonsense anyway.

    May Obama win in a landslide.

  253. Tom

    Where else can you see the Milky Way anymore?
    Gotta see it in a planetarium, next to the dinosaur bones!

  254. julie
  255. julie

    Reclaim Your Brain: Vote Obama

  256. Lauren

    I was on vacation this past weekend and on our way through New Hampshire we saw a sign that said “planetarium” and, remembering this blog and McCain’s comments, I decided we had to go see a show, any show, just to show him. So we did. Protest through learning! :-)

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