Comments: Headlines and Stuff

Weapons in Space: There are treaties against this sort of thing. We helped write them, and we signed them. If we militarize space, we're going to end up fighting wars there, and those wars are going to have real consequences for us down here. "Rogue nations" are not going to develop weaponized satellite technology, so unless there's a clear push by some other major nation, or evidence of a threat "from space" (as Rumsfeld so ominously put it), we've got no right or reason to do this.

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at March 31, 2004 01:18 PM

Restaurant Strip-searches: Clearly, we need to begin inculcating people with a slightly healthier skepticism towards "authority figures" like telephone cops, district managers and fast food supervisors.

Tom Paxton wrote a song about Jimmy Carter's encounter with a rabbit, and he gets the audience singing the chorus, "I don't want a bunny-wunny in my wittle woboat, in my wittle woboat on the pond / for the bunny might be crazy and he bite me in da fwoat, in my wittle woboat in the pond." The hardest I every laughed in my life (except for the kelp tea, I think) was after he taught 5000 people in Wolf Trap to sing that chorus, then looked up at us sweetly and said "It's amazing what people will do if you just ask them too."

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at March 31, 2004 01:23 PM

Birders against Bush: Apparently hunters aren't happy with him either, because of the commercialization and exploitation of previously un-despoiled forest and range.

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at March 31, 2004 01:24 PM

Don't underestimate the political and economic clout of the so-called "military-industrial complex."

And, of course, space warfare/defense has long been a fantasy of some on the Right . . . many of whom arrived in Washington with Reagan in the early 80s. GWBush's Administration is stuffed with them, so it's no surprise that one of their pet projects is coming up again.

I really don't honestly think a signed treaty matters that much to this bunch.

Posted by Anne at March 31, 2004 01:31 PM

It doesn't really matter whether they like the treaty or not; unless there's a clause for withdrawal, a properly ratified treaty is the law of the land just as if it were written in the Constitution (which is why us right-wing fanatics try to avoid treaties unless they're extremely well-written).

But I suspect China is unlikely to care whether we militarize space or not; they're not sending up taikonauts because they're hoping to reduce their population pressure. If they develop a good space program, they will put weapons into space.

Posted by Andrew at March 31, 2004 04:24 PM

That's interesting. Of course, I don't know much about the question in general, but I wouldn't have picked China for a long-term drive toward space. Explain. Just how sure are you that China wants to put weapons into space and why would they be set on the idea? Who are they afraid of? Us?

Posted by Anne at April 1, 2004 08:03 AM

China's space program has a couple of goals, I'm sure, but weaponizing space probably isn't one of them, at least not long term. Proponents of the US Space program have often cited the technological marvels which have spun off from that R/D project: China is hoping for similarly stimulating results. The Taikonaut program is also a poweful nationistic booster, a rallying point for an increasingly obviously diverse population. I suspect that missile technology is on their list, too, but as far as weaponizing space goes, I'd suggest that the Chinese approach to nuclear weapons (small deterrent quantities) suggests that they are more realistic about their security than we are.....

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at April 1, 2004 02:39 PM

Pondering Andrew's comment, it occurred to me to wonder if China isn't going into space just to insure that the USofA and the West don't start considering it their personal property. Just to sort of keep the options open?

Although China's need for a nationally unifying theme is certainly clear, now that you mention it.

Posted by Anne at April 1, 2004 04:53 PM