Search This Blog

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Apollo 11

From NASA:
Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed.” Most everyone knows these iconic words spoken by Apollo 11 Commander Neil A. Armstrong after he and fellow crewmate, Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, set the lunar module, called Eagle, on the surface of the Moon 50 years ago, on July 20, 1969. Command Module Pilot Michael Collins remained in the command and service module (CSM), called Columbia, orbiting above.

Collins revisited Launch Complex 39A, the site of the Apollo 11 launch, and Firing Room 1 in the Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 2019, and reminisced about the mission with Center Director Bob Cabana.

...

The two moonwalkers left behind commemorative medallions bearing the names of the three Apollo 1 astronauts who lost their lives in a launch pad fire, and two cosmonauts who also died in accidents, on the lunar surface. A one-and-a-half inch silicon disk, containing micro miniaturized goodwill messages from 73 countries, and the names of congressional and NASA leaders, also were left on the Moon’s surface. Attached to the descent stage was a commemorative plaque signed by President Richard M. Nixon and the three astronauts.



After resting for about seven hours, Armstrong and Aldrin fired the LM ascent stage to reach an initial orbit of 55 miles above the Moon on July 21, 13 miles below and slightly behind the CSM. Subsequent firings of the reaction control system helped the LM to reach an orbit of 72 miles above the Moon. The LM docked with the CSM on the CSM’s 27th revolution. Armstrong and Aldrin returned to the CSM with Collins for the trip back to Earth. The LM was jettisoned four hours later and remained in lunar orbit, until it crashed on the Moon.


The Apollo 11 crew initiated re-entry procedures on July 24, 44 hours after leaving lunar orbit. The service module separated from the crew module. Collins re-oriented the crew module to a heat-shield-forward position for the descent to Earth. Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, 13 miles from the recovery ship USS Hornet, and was retrieved. Apollo 11 was NASA’s first mission to send astronauts to step on the Moon and return them safely to Earth. Five more Moon landings would follow before the Apollo Program ended in 1972.


Now, NASA is planning to establish a foundation for sustainable human presence on and around the Moon with commercial and international partners. Through the Artemis program, the agency will land American astronauts, including the first woman and the next man, on the Moon by 2024. Then the agency will use what it learns on the Moon and take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.


“I think it’s a noble goal. It’s much more extensive than Apollo. It’s part of a bigger picture,” Sieck said.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Two-Thirds Back Puerto Rico Statehood

Justin McCarthy at Gallup:  "Two in three Americans (66%) in a June Gallup survey said they favor admitting Puerto Rico, now a U.S. territory, as a U.S. state. This is consistent with the 59% to 65% range of public support Gallup has recorded for Puerto Rico statehood since 1962."

The GOP has officially supported Puerto Rican statehood in every platform in the past half-century.
  • 2016: We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state. We further recognize the historic significance of the 2012 local referendum in which a 54 percent majority voted to end Puerto Rico's current status as a U.S. territory, and 61 percent chose statehood over options for sovereign nationhood. We support the federally sponsored political status referendum authorized and funded by an Act of Congress in 2014 to ascertain the aspirations of the people of Puerto Rico. Once the 2012 local vote for statehood is ratified, Congress should approve an enabling act with terms for Puerto Rico's future admission as the 51st state of the Union.
  • 2012: We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state if they freely so determine. We recognize that Congress has the final authority to define the constitutionally valid options for Puerto Rico to achieve a permanent non-territorial status with government by consent and full enfranchisement. As long as Puerto Rico is not a State, however, the will of its people regarding their political status should be ascertained by means of a general right of referendum or specific referenda sponsored by the U.S. government.
  • 2008: We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state after they freely so determine. We recognize that Congress has the final authority to define the constitutionally valid options for Puerto Rico to achieve a permanent non-territorial status with government by consent and full enfranchisement. As long as Puerto Rico is not a state, however, the will of its people regarding their political status should be ascertained by means of a general right of referendum or specific referenda sponsored by the U.S. government.
  • 2004: We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state after they freely so determine. We recognize that Congress has the final authority to define the Constitutionally valid options for Puerto Rico to achieve a permanent non-territorial status with government by consent and full enfranchisement. As long as Puerto Rico is not a state, however, the will of its people regarding their political status should be ascertained by means of a general right of referendum or specific referenda sponsored by the United States government.
  • 2000: We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state after they freely so determine. We recognize that Congress has the final authority to define the constitutionally valid options for Puerto Rico to achieve a permanent status with government by consent and full enfranchisement. As long as Puerto Rico is not a State, however, the will of its people regarding their political status should be ascertained by means of a general right of referendum or specific referenda sponsored by the United States government.
  • 1996: We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state after they freely so determine. We endorse initiatives of the congressional Republican leadership to provide for Puerto Rico's smooth transition to statehood if its citizens choose to alter their current status, or to set them on their own path to become an independent nation.
  • 1992: The Republican Party supports the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign State after they freely so determine.
  • 1988: Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States since 1898. The Republican Party vigorously supports the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted into the Union as a fully sovereign State after they freely so determine. Therefore, we support the establishment of a presidential task force to prepare the necessary legislation to ensure that the people of Puerto Rico have the opportunity to exercise at the earliest possible date their right to apply for admission into the Union. We also pledge that a decision of the people of Puerto Rico in favor of statehood will be implemented through an admission bill that would provide for a smooth fiscal transition, recognize the concept of a multi-cultural society for its citizens, and ensure the right to retain their Spanish language and traditions.
  • 1984: The Republican Party reaffirms its support of the right of Puerto Rico to be admitted into the Union after it freely so determines, through the passage of an admission bill which will provide for a smooth fiscal transition, recognize the concept of a multicultural society for its citizens, and secure the opportunity to retain their Spanish language and traditions.
  • 1980: Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States since 1898. The Republican Party vigorously supports the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted into the Union as a fully sovereign state after they freely so determine. We believe that the statehood alternative is the only logical solution to the problem of inequality of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico within the framework of the federal Constitution, with full recognition within the concept of a multicultural society of the citizens' right to retain their Spanish language and traditions. Therefore we pledge to support the enactment of the necessary legislation to allow the people of Puerto Rico to exercise their right to apply for admission into the Union at the earliest possible date after the presidential election of 1980. We also pledge that such decision of the people of Puerto Rico will be implemented through the approval of an admission bill. This bill will provide for the Island's smooth transition from its territorial fiscal system to that of a member of the Union. This enactment will enable the new state of Puerto Rico to stand economically on an equal footing with the rest of the states and to assume gradually its fiscal responsibilities as a state.
  • 1976: The principle of self-determination also governs our positions on Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia as it has in past platforms. We again support statehood for Puerto Rico, if that is the people's choice in a referendum, with full recognition within the concept of a multicultural society of the citizens' right to retain their Spanish language and traditions; and support giving the District of Columbia voting representation in the United States Senate and House of Representatives and full home rule over those matters that are purely local.
  • 1972: The Republican Party adheres to the principle of self-determination for Puerto Rico. We will welcome and support statehood for Puerto Rico if that status should be the free choice of its people in a referendum vote.
  • 1968: We will support the efforts of the Puerto Rican people to achieve statehood when they freely request such status by a general election, and we share the hopes and aspirations of the people of the Virgin Islands who will be closely consulted on proposed gubernatorial appointments.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Openness to Foreigners

Claire Brockaway and Carroll Doherty at Pew:
A majority of Americans (62%) continue to say the country’s openness to people from around the world is “essential to who we are as a nation.”
But the share expressing this view is 6 percentage points lower than it was in September – a result of a shift in opinion among Republicans. Democrats continue to overwhelmingly take the view that openness is an essential characteristic of the nation.
Currently, 57% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that if the United States is too open to people from around the world, “we risk losing our identity as a nation.” Fewer (37%) say America’s openness to those from other countries is essential to who we are as a nation, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted July 10-15 among 1,502 adults.

Both last fall and in 2017, Republicans’ opinions on this question were divided. Since September, the share of Republicans who say America risks losing its identity if it is too open has increased 13 percentage points, while the share who view the nation’s openness to others as essential has declined 10 points.

Over the past two years, there has been virtually no change in Democrats’ attitudes. Today, an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (86%) say America’s openness is essential to who we are as a nation; 85% said this last September.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Religion: "Nothing in Particular"


Ryan Burge at Religion News Service:
The 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study asked respondents if they had engaged in one of five activities: attended a local political meeting, put up a political yard sign, donated money to a candidate/campaign, volunteered for a political campaign or given blood.

Guess which group was the least likely to check any of those boxes?
The “nothing in particulars.”
According to the CCES 2018, nearly two-thirds of the “nothing in particulars” had participated in none of the five activities in the past 12 months. That was the highest of any of the groups in the survey.
Education, rather than religion, might play a role. It is possible that lower levels of education may account for lower levels of social capital and civic involvement.
However, at each level of education, the “nothing in particular” group is less likely to engage in activities than the American public at large.
 In sum, we have a group that currently comprises 20%  of all Americans, and is growing at an unbelievably rapid pace. This group has the lowest level of education of any religious group, and “nothing in particulars” are less likely to engage in political or social activity than the average American.
As a social scientist, I find this represents a troubling confluence of factors.
By all measures, “nothing in particulars” appear to be a growing segment of society that is “checked out.” They don’t obtain high levels of education, they don’t get involved in the political process and they don’t affiliate with a religious group. In addition, they are three times more likely to say their political partisanship is “other” as well. They are adrift in modern society, refusing to be labeled by a religious group or a political party.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Reagan's Last Speech as President

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Presentation Ceremony for the Presidential Medal of Freedom Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/253440
 Now, tomorrow is a special day for me. I'm going to receive my gold watch. And since this is the last speech that I will give as President, I think it's fitting to leave one final thought, an observation about a country which I love. It was stated best in a letter I received not long ago. A man wrote me and said: "You can go to live in France, but you cannot become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey or Japan, but you cannot become a German, a Turk, or a Japanese. But anyone, from any corner of the Earth, can come to live in America and become an American."
Yes, the torch of Lady Liberty symbolizes our freedom and represents our heritage, the compact with our parents, our grandparents, and our ancestors. It is that lady who gives us our great and special place in the world. For it's the great life force of each generation of new Americans that guarantees that America's triumph shall continue unsurpassed into the next century and beyond. Other countries may seek to compete with us; but in one vital area, as a beacon of freedom and opportunity that draws the people of the world, no country on Earth comes close.
This, I believe, is one of the most important sources of America's greatness. We lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people—our strength-from every country and every corner of the world. And by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation. While other countries cling to the stale past, here in America we breathe life into dreams. We create the future, and the world follows us into tomorrow. Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we're a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier. This quality is vital to our future as a nation. If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.
A number of years ago, an American student traveling in Europe took an East German ship across the Baltic Sea. One of the ship's crewmembers from East Germany, a man in his sixties, struck up a conversation with the American student. After a while the student asked the man how he had learned such good English. And the man explained that he had once lived in America. He said that for over a year he had worked as a farmer in Oklahoma and California, that he had planted tomatoes and picked ripe melons. It was, the man said, the happiest time of his life. Well, the student, who had seen the awful conditions behind the Iron Curtain, blurted out the question, "Well, why did you ever leave?" "I had to," he said, "the war ended." The man had been in America as a German prisoner of war.
Now, I don't tell this story to make the case for former POW's. Instead, I tell this story just to remind you of the magical, intoxicating power of America. We may sometimes forget it, but others do not. Even a man from a country at war with the United States, while held here as a prisoner, could fall in love with us. Those who become American citizens love this country even more. And that's why the Statue of Liberty lifts her lamp to welcome them to the golden door.
It is bold men and women, yearning for freedom and opportunity, who leave their homelands and come to a new country to start their lives over. They believe in the American dream. And over and over, they make it come true for themselves, for their children, and for others. They give more than they receive. They labor and succeed. And often they are entrepreneurs. But their greatest contribution is more than economic, because they understand in a special way how glorious it is to be an American. They renew our pride and gratitude in the United States of America, the greatest, freest nation in the world—the last, best hope of man on Earth.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Legislators and Constituent Opinion

Joshua L. Kalla and Ethan Porter have a paper titled "Correcting Bias in Perceptions of Public Opinion Among American Elected Officials: Results from Two Field Experiments."  The abstract:
While concerns about the public’s receptivity to factual information are widespread, much less attention has been paid to the factual receptivity, or lack thereof, of elected officials. Recent survey research has made clear that U.S. legislators and legislative staff systematically misperceive their constituents’ opinions on salient public policies. We report results from two field experiments designed to correct misperceptions of sitting U.S. legislators. The legislators (n=2,346) were invited to access a dashboard of constituent opinion generated using the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study. Here we show that despite extensive outreach efforts, only 11% accessed the information. More troubling for democratic norms, legislators who accessed constituent opinion data were no more accurate at perceiving their constituents’opinions. Our findings underscore the challenges confronting efforts to improve the accuracy of elected officials’ perceptions and suggest that elected officials may be more resistant to actual information than the mass public

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Lincoln's Electric Cord

Abraham Lincoln, July 10,1858:
We are now a mighty nation, we are thirty---or about thirty millions of people, and we own and inhabit about one-fifteenth part of the dry land of the whole earth. We run our memory back over the pages of history for about eighty-two years and we discover that we were then a very small people in point of numbers, vastly inferior to what we are now, with a vastly less extent of country,---with vastly less of everything we deem desirable among men,---we look upon the change as exceedingly advantageous to us and to our posterity, and we fix upon something that happened away back, as in some way or other being connected with this rise of prosperity. We find a race of men living in that day whom we claim as our fathers and grandfathers; they were iron men, they fought for the principle that they were contending for; and we understood [16] that by what they then did it has followed that the degree of prosperity that we now enjoy has come to us. We hold this annual celebration to remind ourselves of all the good done in this process of time of how it was done and who did it, and how we are historically connected with it; and we go from these meetings in better humor with ourselves---we feel more attached the one to the other, and more firmly bound to the country we inhabit. In every way we are better men in the age, and race, and country in which we live for these celebrations. But after we have done all this we have not yet reached the whole. There is something else connected with it. We have besides these men---descended by blood from our ancestors---among us perhaps half our people who are not descendants at all of these men, they are men who have come from Europe---German, Irish, French and Scandinavian---men that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things. If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us, but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence they find that those old men say that ``We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,'' and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration, (loud and long continued applause) and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world. [Applause.]