Here’s what Margaret Cho had to say about the opening to the “Bush in 30 Seconds” awards on her blog :
- Moby and Vernon Reid opened the show with the best version of the “Star Spangled Banner.” I’d never heard it with thrashing guitars before.
Really??? Okay, somebody needs to email Margaret and tell her about Jimi Hendrix. I was so bored with the opening I leaned to Tom and Dan and whispered “How ‘Woodstock 94′ of them.” Hell, I’m surprised Moby’s cover band didn’t end the ceremony with a 30-minute rendition of “Give Peace A Chance”.
But the Vernon Reid Experience wasn’t the lamest tribute to the sixties this week. That honor would go to Bush’s promise to send a man to the moon (35 years after we already did it) :
- America has ventured forth into space for the same reasons. We have undertaken space travel because the desire to explore and understand is part of our character. And that quest has brought tangible benefits that improve our lives in countless ways. The exploration of space has led to advances in weather forecasting, in communications, in computing, search and rescue technology, robotics, and electronics. Our investment in space exploration helped to create our satellite telecommunications network and the Global Positioning System. Medical technologies that help prolong life — such as the imaging processing used in CAT scanners and MRI machines — trace their origins to technology engineered for the use in space.
. . .
Returning to the moon is an important step for our space program. Establishing an extended human presence on the moon could vastly reduce the costs of further space exploration, making possible ever more ambitious missions. Lifting heavy spacecraft and fuel out of the Earth’s gravity is expensive. Spacecraft assembled and provisioned on the moon could escape its far lower gravity using far less energy, and thus, far less cost. Also, the moon is home to abundant resources. Its soil contains raw materials that might be harvested and processed into rocket fuel or breathable air. We can use our time on the moon to develop and test new approaches and technologies and systems that will allow us to function in other, more challenging environments. The moon is a logical step toward further progress and achievement.
Trickle-down technological innovation aside, what’s the real purpose of going to the moon and Mars (aside from woo-ing voters, that is)? I like the idea of having long- and short-term goal for our space program, and I love the idea of finally getting rid of the space shuttle, but if we’re gonna spend billions on this, shouldn’t there be a better reason than because it’s “part of our character”? If we’re going to invest money in the space program, I’d think we could get a lot more bang for the buck (scientifically speaking, anyways) by spending the money on unmanned missions. Of course, that kind of spending isn’t “romantic” enough to make an election-year platform.
By Bush’s own admission, most of the funding for his new venture will come from “reallocating” billions from other NASA programs. The question is, which programs will get cut to make room for Bush’s pander-fest? Well, based on his support for teaching creationism in schools, maybe it’s NASA’s experiments into the origins of life. Maybe Bush the oilman is more turned off by NASA’s renewable energy technology. Or maybe their research into climate change and holes in the ozone layer is threatening Bush’s efforts to deny the facts behind global warming. The more you look at it, the more it seems that NASA is one of the chief producers of research that contradicts the Bush Administration’s awful policies. With Bush’s new space plan, maybe they’ve found a way to kill two birds with one stone.