“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Rocket Men, Americans, 1969, Any Questions?

Commander - Neil Armstrong.
Command Module Pilot - Michael Collins.
Lunar Module Pilot - Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin.

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."
-President John F. Kennedy
joint session of Congress May 25, 1961


July 16, 1969 at 13:32 UTC, Apollo11 was launched. It entered orbit 12 minutes later. About 30 minutes later the command service module pair separated from this last remaining Saturn V stage and docked with the lunar module. After the lunar module was extracted, the combined spacecraft headed for the Moon, while the third stage booster was directed toward the Sun. America was on the way to the moon.

On July 19 Apollo 11 passed behind the Moon and fired its service propulsion engine to enter lunar orbit. On Monday it will be 40 years. Repeat, forty years.


  1. Morgan, who was formerly a teacher at McCall-Donnelly Elementary School in McCall, Idaho

    Astronaut Gives Idaho Kids Lesson From Space

    We've got some some good ones here, home birthed, too, some of 'em.

    We are proud of our Sarah Palin, from Sandpoint.

    One of us.

  2. There are no women that wear burkas here in Idaho.

    Not here, they don't do that.

    Rather they have their minds set on the stars.

  3. Sorry, Doug did a mind meld with me.

  4. We had some deuce in the old days.

    Before pappy got his law degree, he taught for a couple years in
    Wallace, Idaho.

    Whores galore. Up in that mining town.

    He couldn't stand it, came home, fought with his father, went to law school.

    After law school, he was assistant prosecutor in Orofino, Idaho, another hell hole.

    At that time, filled with whores.

    We were not lacking with whores, in the old days, that's a truth.

    He finally set up his practice in Moscow, Idaho.

    Grandpappy wanted him to farm, and I kinda wished he would have.

    My life would have been much better, if he had done that, I think.

    Well, you can't choose your life.

    I've learned some things on the way.

    I tell you the truth, the women here don't wear no burkas, not these days, and that's God's truth.

  5. Indeed, right down my alley,
    or sewer.

  6. 40 years = 5 times as long as it took to go from JFK's mouth to the moon.

    Starting from scratch, addressing problems that had yet to be solved, running on American Spirit.

    Yes We Can
    that actually could.

  7. Meanwhile,
    Queen Michelle has 22 Assistants.
    At 100k to 175k plus bennies, that's ~ $4 Million a year just for the Prince Asses Retinue!

  8. Then a bunch of them attend to her on her globe trotting shopper quest.

  9. Mark Steyn has a few timely words on the Gelded Age and wild mustangs.

  10. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.
    (b) "wild free-roaming horses and burros" means all unbranded and unclaimed horses and burros on public lands of the United States;
    (c) "range" means the amount of land necessary to sustain an existing herd or herds of wild free-roaming horses and burros, which does not exceed their known territorial limits, and which is devoted principally but not necessarily exclusively to their welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept for the public lands;

    (PUBLIC LAW 92-195)

    The studies and intra-Agency coordination that the Law calls for ...
    fer-get about it, the Federals wanted to.

  11. Whether in Honduras or the United States, when the Executive Branch of the government begins to operate outside the law, to ignore the law, or knowing violate portions of it ...

    There is trouble in River City.

    They always say it is in the 'Public Interest', their miscreant deeds.
    Always a mitigating circumstance that required some sort of extra-legal behaviour.

    For the good of the people, always.

  12. But hardly ever an attempt to change the law, fleeing the debate required for changing public policies.

    Even when the need for a change is obvious.

    Whether referencing land management, term limits, or death squads that were never activated.

  13. John Yoo, a lawyer for the President, decides the FISA law is 'obsolete' and instructs the President that FISA can be violated, with impunity.

    Now, on a short term basis there could be merit to that position. Expedient action to stave off an attack upon the US.

    But to never attempt to reform the FISA, choosing instead to continue to knowingly violate the law, begs the question of whether the representivies of the people, in Congress, shared with the President the idea that FISA was 'obsolete'.

    The President taking upon his office power which it is not delegated.

    Much as President Mannie of Honduras was attempting, extra-legally, to reform Honduras's 'obsolete' term limit restrictions imposed upon their President.

    Incremental steps that the "Checks and Balances" of our Constitutional system was designed to limit. When the Executive ignores those checks and balances, working outside the Constitutional System for extended periods of time, there being no one checking upon their actions, balance can be lost.

    Teetering upon disaster, as the person in the Oval Office changes, and the precedents remain.

  14. Putting men on the moon in 1969 illustrated what can be accomplished when money is no obstacle. At their zenith in the 1960's, Democrats had controlled Washington DC for nearly forty years. This group of men in the 60's, became known as the "Tax and Spend" party. In addition to putting 12 men on the moon, led by Lyndon Baines Johnson they brought us the "Great Society", financed the Cold War and a hot war in Vietnam. As the spending spiraled out of control, the US dropped the gold standard, withdrew silver and gold certificates, cranked up the printing presses and the nation subsequently suffered rampant inflation like none seen since.

    As a member of the much maligned baby boomer generation, I would like to point out that this was all done by pre-baby boomers who are otherwise known as "the greatest generation". Now as members of AARP, they steadfastly oppose efforts to reform Social Security and Medicare. Their behavior is similar to what I saw in elderly Russians at the fall of the Soviet Union.

  15. From the Heritage Foundation in 2006
    Social Security and Medicare have promised $37 trillion more in benefits to senior and disabled workers than the programs will be able to pay, according to a new report. The 2006 annual report of the trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds concludes that both programs will require progressively larger transfers from general revenues to maintain the projected levels of spending.

    Medicare and Social Security will require growing amounts of federal income tax revenue. Today, 6.9 percent of federal income taxes go towards the two programs. Dr. Thomas Saving of Texas A & M University, a public trustee of the Medicare and Social Security trust funds, estimates that, in 2020, 26.6 percent of all federal income taxes will go to paying for Medicare and Social Security. By 2030, that number will increase to 49.7 percent.

    I heard the other day that the figure is above $50 trillion. How in the whirled can we pay for all this? It's a house of cards.

  16. YouTube - Apollo 11 First Steps, High Quality 16mm DAC

    Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon during the Apollo-11 mission are often shown as seen by the Apollo Lunar Television Camera - a black and white slow-scan TV camera, but there was another camera on the mission which captured the first steps on the moon and other portions of the mission.

    The Maurer 16mm Data Acquisition Camera was a 16mm movie camera that NASA loaded with the highest quality, finest grained, film stock of its day. The camera was capable of running at 24 fps for full motion recording, 12 fps for near full motion recording as well as 6 and 1 fps for time lapse recording. (to conserve film).

  17. "The Apollo space programme cost was given as $25.4 billion, around $150 billion (£93bn) in today’s money. "

    Small change, Whit.
    They give that amount out without blinking.
    For nothing.
    ...or worse for a program that will grow into eternity.

  18. Apollo 11 Moon landing ten facts about Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins' mission -

    Neil Armstrong may have been the first man to walk on the Moon, but Buzz Aldrin was the first man to urinate there. While millions watched on live television, Aldrin relieved himself a tube fitted inside his space suit.

  19. Good stuff, Doug. One would think the Earth would look a lot bigger when seen from the moon.

  20. I remeber how it was such a big thing, and my father was so excited, and some of the pictures came back of the earth, from the moon

    What are you doing floating around out there, Mother Earth?

    Everyone talked about it, Walter Cronkite, Joseph Campbell, that poet from Rome, whatshisname, Aunt Agnes, mother, everybody was talking about it, everyone that had a place in my life.

    We've gone to the moon!

    Quite something, indeed.

    Now, let's go to Mars, and beyond!

  21. We can go to Mars, beyond seems a big step, right now.

    But Mars, if we really really put an effort in, we can go there.

    It's possible.

    Come on Idaho kids, put the pressure on the government, they love to spend money, you can do it!

    I'm willing to pay taxes for that, too.

  22. my father was so excited

    I actually don't think I'd ever seen my father more excited, except maybe when Idaho beat Iowa in the playoffs.

    And our big guys, who were smaller than their big guys, handled 'em.

    Come to think of it though, more closely, he was more excited about the moon landing.

    Grandfather only had one automobile, at the end of his life.

    Going to the moon, that was something.

    Let's go to Mars.

  23. It is very important for the prestige of the United States that we do not cede the high ground to the Chinese. Forty years ago is a long time. Ours is a what have you done for me lately world, and two generations is a long time ago.

    The US space effort has been diluted by the dreadful international space station.

    It means nothing to no one.

    The name is absurd. There is nothing international about it, no more than a Ford is international because parts were outsourced.

    We need our own brand and we do, can and should do specific bilateral and perhaps some multi-lateral work in space.

    USA is the brand of choice. We will regret being finessed into a position where we look like we have to catch up with China.

    There would have been a stimulus program worth having.

  24. Wouldn't it be something, really, to send a team of our own, black, white, red, and green, male and female, out there to the beyond?

    I'd weep with joy.

    Then, we'd really be doing something.

  25. We could do it too, if we really got our ass in gear, and had the desire.

    There are thousands of brave young Americans who would put their lives on the line.

    We, really, could do it.

  26. What with all this computer power, and knowledge, that we have now, we could do it.

  27. Look at me.
    I'm quoting BLACK PEOPLE!
    You should be impressed.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Alford was not impressed, just disgusted.

  28. There ain't nothing on Mars. That's just wasteful.

    Let's spend that money getting off oil.

  29. And Missile Defense.

  30. Friday Mark Levin had a guest, Betsy McCaughey of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (RID) about the disasters of the healthcare bill...

    Listen here.

  31. Here's a more direct link

    Of course, some would say she's hysterical.

  32. Fast forward to about the 10:00 mark.

  33. The bottom line of the interview is that they're lying about the impact of their plan on your current insurance plan. They say that you'll be able to keep your plan but the bill says that your plan will be changed to offer the same kind of managed, rationed care that their's does.

  34. You might be right, Ruf, there may not be much there.

    On the other hand, there might be a lot there. We just don't know yet, till we get there.

    There were rivers on Mars, looks like.

    If nothing else, we can study the evolution of life, if there was such there.

    Even if there wasn't, we can find that out.

    I say, let's go!

    Beats hanging around Doyle's, and playing cards.

  35. Or, would all policies just have to meet "minimum" standards.

    Millions of those people that are listed as "insured" have policies with $3,000.00 Annual Maximums. That, Bubba, ain't insurance. That's a Con Job.

  36. Half these guys spend the whole day bitching about "wasting" a few dollars on health insurance for the poor, but want to blow a half Trillion, or so, on a "Rocket Shoot."


  37. Of course, the left goes on the counter attack against McCaughey

    Typical destroy the messenger, Sal Alinsky tactics.

  38. I've noticed everyone just wants to have a doctor at the door.

    If you really want to help out the medical situation, go to medical school, for Christ's sakes.

    Quit whinning.

    Quit all this talk about medical insurance, and such forth.

    Get out there and do something.

    Go to medical school!

    Be a doctor yourself!

  39. Well Ruf, how much do those $3k max plans cost?

    Seems like a problem of insurance reform and regulation; not health care.

    Also, why is Congress bent on destroy Health Savings Accounts?

    Also, I remember when we sold on HMO's as the solution for spiraling health care costs. What happened? What happened was that government got its nose under the tent in regard to your healthcare and now the whole beast is coming in.

  40. Rufus, MD.

    It kinda pisses me off after a while.

    You go to medical school.

    YOU do something, like going to the moon, or something.

    Goddamn whinning for ever and ever.

    Create you own medical school.

    Run the son of a bitch.

    It ain't so easy, as you will shortly find out.

  41. They don't cost much, Whit; but they don't do hardly, anything. They just exist so the employer can say they have health insurance (by the way, a friend of mine probably sells more of these plans than anyone in the world.)

  42. Every dime spent on space gets spent on salaries for good paying jobs on earth. Those paychecks buy things that create other jobs. They create wealth. They advance technology, science, manufacturing, and ultimately increase efficiencies and reduce costs on processes unexpected.

    They spur ideas and invention. They educate, clothe, house and care for the welfare of human beings on earth.

    Tax revenues alone, from the related and created economic activity will match and exceed every spent dollar.

    You could not be more wrong.

  43. Stop this goddamned whinning about sick girls.

    Get out there and save their lives, yourself.

    YOU do it.

    Riufus, MD.

    It pisses me off after a while.

    What we need is more doctors.

    Step up there, Rufus.

    Get your ass out of Doyle's and into medical school.

  44. That's "magical" thinking, Deuce. It can't work that way. In the end it's just wasted money.

    We can pay those engineers, and scientists to work "Directly" on energy, and healthcare, and biotechnology, and manufacturing technologies.

  45. CBO'll be the death of Obamacare.

    An anesthesiologist said he'd take a $60,000 cut in pay.

    No way to attrack more Doctors.

  46. Bob, I quit reading your silly-assed drivel several days, ago.

  47. Go to medical school, Rufus, quit the gaddamned whinning all the time.

    YOU go out there and actually do something.

    It will be a first.

  48. I thought that was what this thread was about, actually doing something, not bitching forever and ever.

    When's the last time you ever did a blood scan, Rufus?

    Right, never.

    Quit the bitching, grow up, go to medical school yourself, if you are so concerned.

    Save those girls.


    If you can find your way out of Doyle's.

  49. It just pisses me off.

    Does anyone here really know how hard it is to get through medical school?

    Any idea at all?

    I watched my brother do it, a much better man than I.

    It's tough, I'll tell you.

    It ain't hanging around Doyle's.

    It's not playing cards.

    Do it yourself, or shut up.

  50. Whit, 10:4 on your recent observations and possible diagnosis on the health care issue. (yesterday)

    Sadly true I am afraid.

  51. Rufus, Why do they have to be exclusive?

  52. We need the will to build nuclear and expand technology using cellulose and algae. Do that as well. I am sympathetic to your concern and arguments for the uninsured. The sensible way to fix that would to do what we did in the sixties going to the moon.

    We knew that for some engineering solutions there could be several possible methods with one being the best or only method. We did not have the luxury of time, so we funded and tried every know method simultaneously.

    We should do the same with health care. Identify your target group of indigents without healthcare. Consider five or six possible solutions and try each in different states. Pick the best and apply it nationally.

    Do not throw out the 85% that works.

  53. Deuce, this has nothing to do with saving the 85% that works. This is all about "Greed," and "Selfishness."

    I reference the nonsense about "Page 16." You will notice no one actually "Quotes All" of that section. I'm betting it's all misdirection, and obfuscation.

    "Canada" is a red herring. They spend less than half of what we do per capita. You'll notice the "Me First, Me Only"ers don't mention France, or Sweden.

    It, also, seems to me that they are so panicked by their Greed that they are overlooking all of the money they're wasting out of their "other" pocket.

    We'll pay the price for this. All societies that mistreat the less fortunate always do.

    A Mars Expedition is like a bright, shiny toy, or a night out on the town. We'd be better served buying a good sturdy pair of "Work" boots.

  54. Two opposing views:

    "Aldrin, 79, has called for the world to forget about the Moon and press on with establishing a human settlement on Mars to escape the ravages of climate change on Earth.

    But Armstrong, 78, is said to disagree with his former Nasa colleague. "He does not really feel the same way about some of these current policy issues that Aldrin does, and here’s Buzz out there hawking his book and being the one that everyone’s interviewing," Armstrong's friend and biographer James Hansen told The Times.

    “Buzz is suggesting that we need to skip over going back to the Moon and start moving towards Mars, and the Nasa position has been somewhat different to that. I think Neil really believes that the Moon is very important — not that he doesn’t want to go on to Mars, but maybe that going back to the Moon is the right thing to do first, and then use the Moon as a staging post for a Mars mission."

  55. As for funding, Trish on her VAT post is probably as good as anything.

  56. to escape the ravages of climate change on Earth.

    I think that says about all that needs to be said about Mr. Aldrin, and his ideas.

    We spent a lot of time, and money going to the Moon. We got "Tang." We found nothing up there; we left nothing up there (except for $150 Billion in today's dollars.)

    At least Lady Bird planted some flowers down here where we could enjoy them.

    This is "Bread and Circuses" stuff, guys. And, Rome fell when the "Privileged Class" took one bite too many.

  57. I'm in a really foul mood, Deuce. I think the health care deal is going to come apart. I was hoping we could do something with it. It embarrasses me.

    It's bad enough having to put up with that lightweight fool in the White House; but I was hoping we could, at least, get something good out of it. I guess not.

  58. I'd prefer an increase in the income tax above a new VAT tax. We, already, have the bureaucracy in place, and the VAT can be a productivity/trade killer.

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  61. After returning to Earth the astronauts were put in quarantine for three weeks for fear they may have brought back unknown pathogens from the Moon...

    ...causing concern among some citizens that, after the 2008 elections, a virulent strain of lunacy had indeed gripped the population.

  62. What really ticks me off is we can't seem to ever be able to fund a medical school here in Idaho.

    Boise is big enough now.

    Surely we can find the money somewhere.

    I'll step up and pay a value added tax for that.

    But, dammit, we never seem to get it done.

    We will, one of these days, I think, but it's a darned slow boat to China.

    It's embarrassing. Boise is a good popping vibrant young city, large enough.

    I hope to see a medical school in Boise, fore I die.

    And, yes, I have written my congresscritters.