Friday, October 01, 2010
Daily conversation: Friday, October 1

California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has people talking today.  Many can’t believe the California Republican was unaware of paperwork that raised questions about her former maid’s immigration status.  Others are calling the whole issue a “cheap shot,” an 11th-hour campaign surprise designed to sway undecided voters.  Whitman’s defenders are also weighing in.


People are also reacting to the story of a child-bride in Yemen. The comments include an interesting discussion among Muslims about the controversial custom.


Others are giving their opinions about today's NASA layoffs. More than 1,200 people lost their jobs today, and about 9,000 more are expected to be let go as the space shuttle program comes to an end. We heard from one worker who’s cleaning out his desk.  Another says many of the people scheduled for pink slips are contract workers used to having little job security.  We’re also hearing some “goodbyes and good lucks.”


Most commented stories:


Whitman's husband says it's 'possible' he saw Social Security letter

Meg Whitman

822 comments and 153 Facebook shares



This is why I don't feel bad about never voting,the only choice I'm ever faced with is the lesser of two evils.



Meg Whitman has a personal fortune in excess of a billion dollars and yet she is still too cheap to hire an American citizen for a housekeeper. Of course, she says it's not her fault, she didn't know. Yeah, right, whatever you say Boss.



Of course she knew!! It was just too much of a political detriment after NINE years, so she kicked the illegal to the curb. That's how Meg treats people, even those close to her.



Jeez, Meg. Not lookin' too good. This just may do it for her.



She spent well over $100 million, but just couldn't spend enough to cover up her "I am above the law" attitude in life.



This is a Cheap Shot plain and simple. Why wasn't this brought up 16 months ago?


SanitySeeker, I'm not going to let you Republicans get away with hypocrisy and force the rest of us to take it sitting down. If the roles were reversed, Republicans would form a lynch mob and go after Jerry Brown on even the flimsiest of accusations.



The answer is you don't know what Whitman was thinking or intending. You are no mind reader. The facts are the U.S. government said Whitman did not break any laws. The rest is your own personal vendetta. Find something she did break the law on, and we will support that. Your question is weaksauce and unworthy of comment beyond mocking you.


Child bride horrors last a lifetime



1,454 comments and 1,965 Facebook shares



As an AMERICAN MUSLIM, I find this completely DISGUSTING. A 9-year-old girl being forced to marry her 50-year-old cousin WITHOUT her consent is barbaric. There is NOTHING in Islam that condones marriage WITHOUT a woman's consent. This practice is NOT Islamic!!!! It's a dirty 1000 year old tribal tradition that should be OUTLAWED. The only reason it still exists is because Yemen is run by men and politics supercede religion. It's FAKE Sharia...only the type to appease men. Can any of these Yemeni clerics point out the part in Sharia where women are force into marriage without their consent!?! NONE, BECAUSE IT DOESN'T EXIST.



Then you are not a well practicing Muslim. There is no room in the Quran for negotiation. Allah says that a man must have control over women and that it is OK to marry this girl. There is no room to overrule Allah.



I am glad to read that there are Muslims here with the opinion of "diva85". We need more (Muslim) people like you to speak out that they are disgusted.



This HEINOUS and barbaric practice, IS CHILD RAPE. These girls are sold to older men, like sheep, beaten, raped, brutalized and often maimed. Hiding it behind the masquerade of the words "marriage" and "religion" does not change the vile truth of CHILD RAPE.



I always love how Muslims want to be the first to tell you how immoral Americans are, and then go and rape little girls and make women wear sheets over their heads and force them into arranged marriages.


Milo786: Islam Does NOT condone rape or sexual abuse, Ignorant men besotted by local customs and culture will engage in abuse, and if one examines the ills of Man, we will find that it transcends all religions. We should collectively voice our disgust against all men who abuse, and steer clear of the rhetoric by condemning the faith. A priest  who abuse a child is devoid of any faith, Christianity is NOT of such actions, man is of such weakness. As a Muslim I pray that God's justice will be severe to these people who abused this poor innocent girl.



Best post written on these boards in a long time! Thank you, from a Christian to a Muslim brother!


1,200 NASA workers to be laid off



776 comments and 786 Facebook shares



NASA impedes our technological progress. We need to get rid of the whole agency if we want progress in that area. Would you rather have a government monopoly or several entities competing against each other, advancing technology in the meanwhile? There can be no significant technological advancement with a monopoly. There's nothing compelling NASA in to be innovative, as they are promised money and profits from the taxpayers



Just think, in 10 years we can thumb a ride from India, China or Russia, oh wait, we already do. No other peaceful pursuit has resulted in as much or as many technological breakthroughs as space exploration. Without it batteries would still be as big as the one for your car, computers would still fill a gymnasium to do less calculations than today's smart phones, there would be no cell phones, no iPods/MP3 players, no CDs/DVDs, no game systems or personal computer systems and the Internet.


Considering the loss in computational power, most highly engineered things would not exist, most medicines neither; meaning small pox, TB, polio and even simple infections would claim millions per year. If the last 50 years have resulted in this much advancement, the decision to put the ice on the space program will eventually render us a third-world country as the space-faring nations pass us up. Let's just hope they respect our freedoms and our values or we could end up loosing those as well.



The article is misleading. Most of the people being laid off are not direct NASA employees. We are subcontractors that work for private companies. We do not get big government pensions, just a trip to the unemployment line. Even if Congress designates a new heavy-lift vehicle, it will be YEARS before anything is ready for those of us who are leaving today to get back to work. We all have to change fields until the people in Washington WAKE UP!!! Sorry, I'm writing this as I'm finishing cleaning my desk and getting ready to turn in my final paperwork.



Thank you for making that distinction. Because my husband works at NASA in Washington, D.C. as a contractor for a private company. Generally speaking the technological aspect of the federal government are privatized so this is not unusual. Good Luck!!


Friday stats:

Comments:           11,909

Commenters:          4,881

Likes:                     43,366


Comment of the day:

"Yea, LeBron @KingJames. Everyone hates you because we're all racist. But I'm glad to hear that 'Spoiled Brats' are a race now."


- Twitter user @TheoMadla reacts to NBA star Lebron James' telling CNN's Soledad O'Brien that race was a factor in the backlash after he left the Cleveland Caveliers to play for the Miami Heat.  The comment sparked a whirlwind of discussion all over the web. This is one take we read on Twitter. Tell us what you think in the comments.


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments were edited for length and clarity.

October 1, 2010
Click to view jobleaux's profile

NASA is part of "Big Government". Downsizing it means making the government smaller, something conservatives always cry about until it actually happens.

October 1, 2010
Click to view JohnnyDark's profile

I just wanna see the look on the faces of all the people who say space is a wast of $'s when a big object from space that went undetected and unstopped is hurtling towards their upturned face........

October 1, 2010
Click to view hugodb's profile

@JohnnyDark: Like the shuttle can stop any object hurtling towards earth. 80% of the time they have to cancel a launch because of bad weather... Besides, BIG SHUTTLE = BIG GOVERNMENT. No shuttle = smaller government. Maybe the GOP can fund FOX into making their own shuttle. They can make it look like a big elephant that blows hot air as it takes off...

October 1, 2010
Click to view marshalld's profile

  Well NASA join the crowd - think it was going to last forever ?

October 1, 2010
Click to view SpoonlessE's profile

NASA Layoffs -- This is some sad, sorry stuff to see.  I watched the space program unfold, and our nation rise to the challenge, since Sputnik in 1959.  I was 13 then.  To see it cave in, as it is doing now, is some sorry sh1t indeed.  It says a lot about us.

October 1, 2010
Click to view bharatbasi's profile

moon constellation program should have been continued for american achievement and advancement in space technology. china is taking over us. only way to stay ahead of any country in space technology to get know moon well and how we can obtain benefits out of it. we need to advance step by step, not by hit and miss method. obama govt. should spend more money in this project.

October 1, 2010
Click to view jefftom's profile

Yo, SpoonlessE, Sputnik 1 went up in October 1957, and Sputnik 2 (with Laika, the dog that was not even SUPPOSED to come back) was launched to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in November of 1957.

October 1, 2010
Click to view Biodot's profile

The former SU will have a good laugh at this as we laughed when they imploded.  I don't feel bad for Nasa at the moment - just the contractors. 

October 1, 2010
Click to view michael11111's profile

Take care of the planet you have and maybe you will be given more!

October 2, 2010
Click to view wayliberal's profile

How many people with no sympathy for the engineers have any idea what it takes to be good enough to support a space program?  You can't be unemployed for a year or stuck in a non-science job and magically come back when some suit thinks it's good for the stock price -- it takes continuous employment in a serious program to remain a strong scientist.  This nation will fail without strong science, and that science will wither if left up to people who only care about what's profitable.

October 2, 2010
Click to view Agmartin88's profile

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. John F. Kennedy said these wonderful words of motivation. From this declaration we made some of the most amazing technological leaps. These leaps come directly and indirectly from NASA and peoples ignorance of this confounds me. How can society be so ignorant to the fact that the luxuries they take for granted sprang for or were driven by the space race. Miniaturization of computer chips, scientific leaps, and many electronics you use every day came from the culmination of what Carl Sagan pushed for so avidly, the push for intellectual achievement in scientific pursuit.

October 2, 2010
Click to view Zombieking's profile

mash107:NASA impedes our technological progress


LOL lots of the tech in the past 50 years is due to NASA. Do you think private companies will do some of the obscure academic research NASA is doing. Regardless if NASA is around the government will fund research in space due to the cost of getting into space. I doubt private companies will try to venture into space unless its space tourism and passengers are charged millions of dollars. If you know history, military/warfare tends to drive technology ahead not impede. If you hate war then your taking the Interstate highway system for granted, it was originally used to improve troop mobility.

October 2, 2010
Click to view PORCUPINE58's profile

NASA has been one of the biggest wasters of the tax payers money, not to mention that the technology that they develop eventually ends up in the hands of some of america's biggest corporation for free, and some of these corporations pay no corporate taxes at all. A lot of the brass of these corporations fly all over the world on private jets and eat russian caviar and drink french champage while the tax payers are forced to eat sardines and drink coolade.Praise to the President for scarpping this waste.

October 2, 2010
Click to view Gabor47's profile

It is still only "flexing muscles", more politics than science. Other than the computer technology, nothing changed since the 60's, the Apollo mission. The laws of physics are still the same, the amount of energy required to lift something off the Earth, into orbit is still the same, as well as the amount of energy required to carry something to the Moon. No new rocket-engine technology either. It took an over 100 meters long Saturn V rocket to get the tiny Apollo capsule (something like 4x3 meters) to the Moon and bring it back.


It is going to take more than a decade to assemble the ISS, which is only in Earth orbit. Currently, after more than a decade, it can permanently accommodate 6 people, who are doing pretty much symbolic scientific activity, but spending most of their time fixing things which break down. And earth orbit is far more "easy" than the Moon, because to get to the Moon, the rocket must break Earth gravity "completely". The ISS is 189 miles from the surface of the planet Earth, the Moon is 238,000 miles. The Mars is 141,000,000 (approx) miles from the planet Earth.


So, if it takes an over 100 meter long rocket to carry a useful load of 4x3 meters, what will it take to build a Moon base? What will it take to perpetually supply it with whatever is needed there? Finally, what are we looking for there?

We brought back a few bags of rocks, that was the spectacular success of the Apollo project. Surely, at this point we can't even dream about any major mining or anything even similar to that. What else? Romantic as it may be, the Moon is a large piece of rock, and that's it. And by the way, so is the Mars which is hopelessly too far to think of any serious manned mission. So they landed a barely larger than a briefcase sized little "thing". Okay. Great. But the major trick will be to come back. For that, whatever lands there, will have to be launched back to Mars orbit first. How? The gravity of the Mars, while less than Earth, more than the Moon, significantly more. No such simple launch-back is possible (like from the Moon). But even that was only possible for a grand total of 2 people. How will we build a "Mars Cape Canaveral"? Which will be needed in order to go there and come back. But without the ability to go there and come back, to build something like that is impossible. Yet, in order to come back, FIRST, such thing will be needed. The classic case of "which will be needed first, the chicken or the egg".


So, we hear these days about "the Mars in the 21st century", which is a brave and commendable desire, but I am afraid it is more chatter than a realistic possibility. Is it impossible? No, not if somebody INVENTS a totally new propulsion/rocket engine technology. Because the current technology, what we KNOW currently will not be enough for a reasonable Mars manned mission (or something like a lunar base). So, what would be the point to go back to the Moon?


I seldom agree with president Obama, but I totally agree with his decision to cancel the "return to the Moon" project.




Don't get me wrong. I am absolutely fascinated with the space technology and the missions, from the very beginning. Very few people still pays attention for example to the Space Shuttle launches and landings, but I try to watch those on TV live, any time when it is possible. I even bought a Space Shuttle simulator and one of my favorite pastime to learn as much about the Space Shuttle as possible. Because it is a fascinating technology. BUT.....I can also see the unfortunate limitations of the entire space research. It will take some very major invention just to get around our own solar system. It will take the discovery a NEW LAW OF PHYSICS to get outside of our solar system. Even the invention of a new technology wouldn't be enough for that, as long as the speed of light is accepted as the fastest possible speed matter can travel with. Even with the speed of light, the very nearest of the billions of stars (solar systems) would take 4.6 years, one way. The speed of light is 300,000 km/sec. The Apollo went with 11.2 km/sec to the Moon. Do the math.


And the ultimate question still exists, even if somebody invents a new rocket engine technology: WHAT FOR? We already know with a very high certainty that there is no life on Mars. Okay, another big rock. So, what else, if not life? We could mine on Mars, the same story as with the Moon. Even that with either robots, or people in space suits, or under huge domes, because there is no breathable atmosphere on Mars. Any of those with the current technology would not be realistically possible.


Summary: with the currently available technology mankind has achieved the maximum reasonable usefulness, and that is putting satellites in Earth orbit. TV, communication, internet, GPS, spying, observing Earth, etc. For anything more "in space" will require some new major inventions first.

October 2, 2010
Click to view defender2972's profile

9000 More Jobs are gone.  Not to mention all the jobs that support the facilities etc.  These are not low paying jobs either.  These are good jobs.  Just like when Obama canceled any new orders for the F-22 Raptor.  For an administration that wants to create jobs they seem to be handing out more pink slips than creating jobs.  We have become a country of low paying service based jobs. We used to be a leading manufacturing country and now look at us.  What do make?  What do you find with the "made in the USA" label on it.  Most of those left when Clinton signed in NAFTA.  When Factories closed and moved to Mexico or Canada for the cheaper labor.  This is what destroyed Michigan, Ohio, and Penn.  I am sad to see this country being destroy by politicians.  

October 2, 2010
Click to view orakel's profile

Anyone that works as a contractor to the gov't should have it all figured out in a year or two.  It is the equivalent of Upton Sinclair's novel "The Jungle" for white collar workers.  You rebid your job every five years or so, and one day you get a little too old and expensive to get picked up on the next one.


So to all the whining contractors here ... tough noogies.  You should have taken a gov't job at a pay cut and be assured of at least eating peanut butter for the rest of your career.


Any questions?


October 2, 2010
Click to view orakel's profile

The whole of NASA's direction is a bit clueless.  As Stephen Hawking said "I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space."


There is only a small window to settle space, and now is it.  Period.


Going back to the moon is ridiculous.  Once you escape a gravity well, you don't go back.  You especially don't become another target for a meteor strike.  One astronaut said we were never going back to the moon.


Same with Mars, forget it.  But that NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft that landed on an asteroid back in 2001?  The most important milestone since landing on the moon.


When you settle space, it is a one way trip, like the pioneers that settled America.  No one that came over to the New World from England ever expected to go back to England.  Getting into space is relatively straightforward and pretty reliable.  It is the getting back part that is costly.


And you send people that are not perfect, as John Steinbeck noted in his observation of pioneers.  They all had some problem that caused them to not fit in.  For space, select amputees without legs, paraplegics, etc. that struggle on earth, but would be free in space.


Space brings an enormous number of challenges to solve, but in return you leave behind war, disease, pestilence, Haitian refugees, earthquakes, influenza pandemics, another ice age, climate change, nuclear war, muslim extremists, the common cold, AIDS, and meteor strikes.


Ever wonder why grass grows in a crack on a heavily traveled road?  No competition.  Even in the worst conditions imaginable, life will make it when it is the only game in town.


So an easy roadmap for NASA.  If America doesn't do it, China will.


October 2, 2010
Click to view havildar's profile

If those readers seem to like NASA cutting staff should think what would have happened if Columbus did not get "State" support to go on his crazy quest? No American Private Corporation will step into space and do the basic research that is needed to be successful. This is long term gain with no immediate returns for them. All U.S. Corporations work on short term gains only. This goes to all fields like medicine, etc. that is why the "Govt." is needed. Not useless greedy big business like the neo-con.s GOP and its mindless followers. It requires imagination and the ability to look ahead not backwards.  Big Government = Progress...Small Government = Backward Stoneage lack of progress.

October 2, 2010
Click to view Mike4000's profile


NASA impedes our technological progress


You have to be kidding. The space shuttle was designed decades ago and was the most technologically advanced machine we ever designed and built at that time. I would bet it still is the most complicated machine man has ever designed and built. If I remember correctly russia tried and they couldn't do it so they gave up.


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