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Obama's Decision to Kill Orion

bostersI’m one of the folks who supported electing Barack Obama to the presidency. It wasn’t a hard choice given the alternatives, but despite a lesser of two evils view on my part, I truly felt he was one of the best candidates to come down the pike in some time.

After an eloquent State of the Union address and his subsequent face to face drubbing of the GOP on their own turf, the failures in the past year to produce significant improvements or changes in key legislation lost some of their sting. I’ve found myself cautiously allowing a renewed sense of optimism to grow after a year of frustration. Although opposition to his policies hasn’t lessened, his shift to a more aggressive posture suggested the leadership our broken political system needs is indeed now here.

Then I read about his administration’s plans to gut NASA. You can disagree, but his pending decision to cut funding for the Orion project is probably one of the most shortsighted and foolish decisions I’ve seen from a president in some time.

Since the Moon programs completion the United States has enjoyed immeasurable benefit from Nasa’s role as the leader in technological development and advancement. A role that in the last 10 years has increasingly been threatened by the rising prominence of other nations space technology and their intense efforts to develop it beyond our own established capabilities.

In one of the only actions I’ve ever been able to accept without qualm from the previous administration, George Bush planted the seeds that could have given Nasa the direction and incentive it needed to achieve even higher levels of technological achievement with his return to the moon directive. With Obama’s decision to cut Orion, and instead supply meager funding for what amounts to a holding pattern of status quo at Nasa, our nations role as the leader in space technology, and indeed all technological development is in crisis.

In what appears a clear case of hypocrisy, Obama said in his State of the Union address when speaking about clean energy, that if the United States is to compete on the national stage, it must embrace new technology and be determined to be the leader in that technology. While I do not disagree with this position and find it very intelligent and insightful, I do find it hypocritical that he is selling the idea that our country must lead in development of critical technology, while killing one of the most critical areas of technological development this nation has.

Compounding this hypocritical appearance, is the fact that Nasa is a critical part of the Florida economy, and with the discontinuation of the Shuttle fleet, will have no other option than the excising of a major portion of it’s workforce. Florida is experiencing one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, and it was not a week ago that president Obama appeared here in support of the high speed rail funding he promotes as a way to create jobs. Forgetting that we do not even possess the technology to create a high speed rail without foreign assistance, this program is not going to be a permanent source for a significant number of jobs.

Not only will cutting Orion almost guarantee the loss of our technological superiority, but there is no question whatsoever, that it will kill jobs here in Florida. Not only in Florida, but in other states that rely on the space program for valuable contracts.

Nasa is an integral and irreplaceable part of our nation’s ability to lead the world in technological development. Obama’s decision to cut funding for Orion amounts to nothing less than loss of that ability, and a certainty that other nations will inevitably fill that position. That alone is reason enough for his administration to rethink this part of his economic policy. President Obama has said he is all about looking forward, but in this case I have to be honest, and say that not only is he not looking forward, but ensuring that we will fall behind.

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Silk Flowers May Affect Testosterone Levels in Men

This is a promotional piece I wrote recently to try and squeeze some Google juice. I need to work on the humorous aspect of my writing, so I sat down and hunt and pecked for a good fifteen minutes! Whew, I’m bushed!  Seriously, I did put it down in about 15 minutes, but I can’t say I’m disappointed with it really. It’s got it’s funny points, makes it’s basic points, and is actually coherent. I adhered to a “get idea, run with idea, close idea” method which worked all right.

 

 

Silk Flowers May Affect Testosterone Levels in Men

Ten years ago, I would never have thought I’d be writing about silk flowers. Its amazing what a decade can do to change a persons focus in life. Well, a decade and a spouse who’s begun her first business creating and selling them to be more accurate. I don’t want anybody thinking I gravitated towards working with silk flowers deliberately or as a natural trend in my life as I grew older. Really, I didn’t.

But it’s not just writing about them that I do. Oh no. You see, in order to be able to write about something authoritively it’s a good idea to know something about it first. And that usually means doing a bit of research. Perhaps talking to a few people knowledgeable about such things. And in my case doing things that would normally be anathema to the average red blooded American male of stereotypical dimensions such as myself.

Yeah, I’m talking about things like shopping at craft stores, discussing color schemes with sales representatives, and sitting for hours trying to figure out how in the heck you’re supposed to know whether the Gerbera daisies are okay to use with the Eucalyptus sprig in the grey ceramic vase with winter colors on it.

Give me a pair of vise grips, a blow torch, and some bailing wire and I’ll make anything you want in an hour. Give me some silk flowers and vases though, and I’ll be gone and on an extended coffee break within minutes. I don’t know but maybe it’s a chromosome thing or genetic. There aren’t any studies yet. Probably because all the male scientists are too busy finding out how to create a light beer that might actually have alcohol in it.

I used to enjoy going to the hardware store but now I find myself in and out of there in minutes. It’s just not the same trying to explain the proper shade of floral tape as it is discussing the merits of a carbide tipped skill saw blade. I’m not even going near the bar anymore. I didn’t like the look my buddy gave me when I started talking about the sweet heavy glass bases I found for our Amaryllis selections.

But here I am writing about silk flowers a few times a week because like any good spouse, I want my other half to be happy and do well in whatever she does. If I’m lucky she reads that line and pities me enough to let me out of going to Pottery World next week. Probably not. That doesn’t really bother me nearly as much as the fact that I can’t go to the department store anymore without finding myself comparing our arrangements to the ones on the shelves and noticing that they didn’t use nearly as nice a stem as we have though. I’ve almost found myself commenting on them to the nice little old ladies browsing next to me on occasion. I’ll have to watch that.

It is in the end all my fault really. One of the things that attracted me to her years ago was her style and talent. She has a way of just throwing things together that makes a man such as myself willing to write bad checks. Or was it how she walked? I can’t remember anymore. I remember that I had noticed it within minutes of meeting her whatever it was. Of course, it could just be that chromosome again, but again, apparently all the male scientists are too busy researching beer and chasing women to figure it out.

Whatever the case I noticed her. It didn’t take long to notice how skilled she was in so many things. I watched her on several occasions with almost no advance notice put together some killer flower arrangements for various friends and family. And Holidays? Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, all these and more are an excuse for her to let loose and turn our home into a showcase of color and style. It’s like walking into a photo shoot for Better Homes and Gardens or something.

So being the brilliant guy that I am, I suggested that with all that talent and experience, why not do it for a living? Of course, like the stereotypical male that I am, I couldn’t let it go at that no. In short order I had agreed to handle all the promotional and sales related work as well. And heck, since I would be helping with that, I’d help with actually getting supplies, putting things together, and everything else.

It’s times like that, when a guy is letting his errant chromosome and love for a woman get him into trouble, that a small part in his brain tries to make itself known by weakly muttering a few pieces of common sense in the back of his mind. I think it’s the part that helps with self preservation, but being a guy, I guess I ignore it alot. It whispers things like “Don’t you think that’s too much charcoal fluid?”, or “It might be best if you unplugged that before taking it apart.” It’s only later that I even realize it was there trying to get my attention. Usually while the bandages are being applied and I’m filling out an insurance form. At any rate, I can at least be thankful that I haven’t suffered any permanent damage as of yet. The burns from the hot glue have healed nicely. You can barely see the scar anymore.

I guess it’s all worth it really. Guys are built to survive doing stupid things so I’ll probably live a bit longer. Heck, another ten years and I might even be skilled enough to put together something she wont want to burn the second I turn my back.

What counts is that my Spouse is doing really well, and her store is growing strongly. Alicia’s, which is what we have named her business climbs the rankings, and she makes sales and new friends as she networks and promotes herself. I continue to learn and write about our new found career while finding innovative ways to draw blood with pliers, and in a few years who knows. I could very well still have enough testosterone and fingers left to do some fishing when we’re rich and sitting atop our silk flower empire.

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