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  •  Apollo 11. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde, Marc in KS, murrayewv

    Having grown up in Huntsville, Alabama (home of the Marshall Space Flight Center and the birthplace of the Saturn V), the nation's space program - and it's history - were always close at hand. As such, I may be a little biased when I say that I consider the Apollo program to be very high on our country's list of 20th century achievements.

    For President Kennedy to have made such an audacious challenge in 1961 - that "before the decade [was] out" to "land a man on the moon and return him safely to the Earth" was borderline crazy. It was also an amazing display of leadership.

    For the crack scientists and engineers at the nascent NASA to live up to this challenge was a miraculous display of sweat and ingenuity.

    Never since have humans viewed the moon in quite the same way. It still holds quite a bit of mystery and can inspire scientists and poets alike, but we managed to bring our nearest neighbor closer. She's as beautiful as ever, and it's nice that we got to know her a little better.

    "God, what a mess / on the ladder of success / when you take one step and miss the whole first rung." - The Replacements, 1985

    by turnover on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 04:47:20 AM PDT

    •  I agree with you. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DarkSyde, turnover, RainyDay

      When Kennedy made that announcement, we'd barely learned to orbit a satelllite.  The whole thing (from learning to get something in orbit to getting people to and from the moon) took about a decade.  Astonishing.

      So when people argue and tell me "we can't do anything about global warming," I remind them of this.  If we have the will, and if we're willing to stop spending all of our money on that stupid Iraq war and if we're willing to stop cutting taxes, we can do it.  We really can.

      We just have to want to.

      •  It's all about leadership. n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marc in KS, Mephistopheles

        "God, what a mess / on the ladder of success / when you take one step and miss the whole first rung." - The Replacements, 1985

        by turnover on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 04:57:24 AM PDT

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        •  I was just re-reading (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mephistopheles, turnover

          your comment and prepping to post a comment about that very thing.

          I can recall arguing with one of my idiot republican brothers about alternative-fuel vehicles and hybrids, and how the government needed to get behind them.  He said (always the republican) that the market should determine it; if there's demand, they'll produce them.

          And I launched into a tirade on leadership, on the fact that the president's job is to inspire and motivate, to make us feel that we are doing a good thing and that we can do it and that it's important.  That's what good leaders do.  They see the way to go and they encourage people to get there.

          My brother can be such an asshole.

        •  Leadership, vision, and confidence (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          turnover

          As my parents told me, JFK made us believe we could accomplish anything and he challenged us to expand our horizons and infused us with confidence to reach our goals.

          Often, I asked my parents what it was like when Kennedy became President and how they felt and it was truly remarkable.

          Ah for the days when the President was a Leader who has us believing in ourselves and in our country and had a broad and energetic vision.

          Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything. - Harry S. Truman

          by wishingwell on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 05:28:06 AM PDT

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          •  The presidents who are acknowledged as 'great' (0+ / 0-)

            had the ability to convince the American people that we could be great.  They urged us to rise above fear and self-interest and to strive to achieve good and noble things.  Rather than using rhetoric to build themselves up by making the rest of us small and mean, the great leaders led us to believe that we could be better people, and that America could be a true beacon of hope to the world.  Not all of the goals were reachable, but a lot of good was achieved through striving for them.

            The current self-serving fear-mongering and sanctimonious ignorance of our so-called "leaders" drives me to despair.

        •  Well I Think it Was Partly About Weapons (0+ / 0-)

          Both the Mercury & Gemini series were launched on military missiles, some of which were fairly problematic at the time.

          I have to think there was a definite field testing aspect to the program.

          The final Apollo series was definitely another animal altogether. I've always been extremely proud that the lunar missions were flown on purpose-built civilian hardware.

          Bummer that Nixon allowed the later science-heavy missions to be scrubbed.

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 07:22:44 AM PDT

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      •  False comparison (0+ / 0-)

        So when people argue and tell me "we can't do anything about global warming," I remind them of this.

        The scale of these two things is very, very different.  Landing on the moon required only enough technology to transport three men across space to the moon and back.  Global warming involves planetary and atmospheric changes which may be irreversible, and are getting worse every single day.  The challenges there are certainly more profound.  Especially since we are deep in the hole and the digging is accelerating.  It is the perfect storm of circumstances:  The population is increasing AND the use of fossil fuels is increasing at the same time.  There is no Yankee ingenuity, ten year quick fix to this and when we hit the wall it will not be pretty.

        Here in the mouth of madness one thing is terribly clear...madness does not floss

        by Thameron on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 07:49:24 AM PDT

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        •  I understand this. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RainyDay

          But just because it may be irreversible is no good reason to not do anything.  We can try.

          And it seems to me to be idiotic to not do anything, which is what our great leaders are proposing (by their actions, not their words).

          •  Certainly things can be done (0+ / 0-)

            But where exactly do you see the political will to require the mileage of American cars to be equal to the best that the worlds technology can offer?  Not in this current administration for sure and not in the Republicans anywhere that I can see.  Face it: There will be another two and a half years of coasting on this issue until Bushboy leaves office.  Just pray that that is two and a half years that the species can afford.

            Here in the mouth of madness one thing is terribly clear...madness does not floss

            by Thameron on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 12:56:04 PM PDT

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