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NASA Head Sorry For Global Warming Doubts

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Do we really need idiots like this running what should be the premier scientific organization in the world?

NASA Head Sorry For Global Warming Doubts
Michael Griffin Apologizes To Employees For Airing Personal Views During Radio Interview
LOS ANGELES , June 6, 2007

(CBS/AP) The head of NASA told scientists and engineers that he regrets airing his personal views about global warming during a recent radio interview, according to a video of the meeting obtained by The Associated Press.

NASA administrator Michael Griffin said in the closed-door meeting Monday at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena that "unfortunately, this is an issue which has become far more political than technical and it would have been well for me to have stayed out of it."

"All I can really do is apologize to all you guys ... I feel badly that I caused this amount of controversy over something like this," he said.

Griffin made headlines last week when he told a National Public Radio interviewer he wasn't sure global warming was a problem.

"I have no doubt that ... a trend of global warming exists," Griffin said on NPR. "I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with."

Griffin added: "I guess I would ask which human beings, where and when, are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now, is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take."

The radio interview angered some climate scientists, who called his remarks ignorant.

An international panel this year predicted that uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions could drive up global temperatures and trigger heat waves, devastating droughts and super storms. Observations by NASA satellites show evidence of rapidly melting glaciers and shrinking of critical marine plant life due to warmer seas.

Griffin reiterated that NASA's job was to provide scientific data on global warming and leave it up to policy makers to decide what to do with it.

Griffin told JPL workers he tried to separate his opinions during the NPR interview, but that it got "lost in the shuffle."

"Doing media interviews is an art. Their goal is usually to generate controversy because it sells interviews and papers and my goal is usually to avoid controversy," he said.

© MMVII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Immigration Deal Survives GOP Threat

The topic of immigration is one that is near and dear to my heart. I have VERY strong feelings about who should be allowed into the United States of America. I feel that if you're intention is to be a contributing member of society; whether that's picking cantaloupes in Rocky Ford or designing the next great cell phone; I say welcome. The U.S. Senate in all it's wisdom has once again taken up the immigration debate. With John Cornyn (R-TX) leading the charge, you know that there's something racist, bigoted, or one sided about the proposal. Democrats in the Senate were able to block the bill yesterday by the narrowest of margins. See the article below.

Immigration Deal Survives GOP Threat
Senate Turns Back Republican Proposal To Bar Felons From Legalization
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2007

(AP) A bipartisan immigration bill narrowly survived a potentially fatal challenge on Wednesday when the Senate turned back a Republican bid to limit the illegal immigrants who could gain lawful status.

The close vote on a proposal by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to bar felons — including those court-ordered to be deported — from legalization reflected the delicate position of the contentious immigration bill, which remains under threat from the right and the left.

The vote was 51-46 against the amendment. Democrats succeeded in sucking support from Cornyn's proposal by winning adoption of a rival version that would bar a more limited set of criminals, including certain gang members and sex offenders, from gaining legalization. The Senate backed that amendment, 66-32.

Cornyn had painted his effort as a "defining issue" for any presidential candidate — a sign of the degree to which the contentious debate is bleeding over into the GOP campaign fray.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., alone among his party's presidential aspirants in backing the immigration measure, opposed Cornyn's bid and backed the Democratic alternative offered by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

McCain was joined in opposing the amendment by the Senate's four Democratic presidential hopefuls, Sens. Joseph Biden of Delaware, Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, and Barack Obama of Illinois.

After his defeat, Cornyn said those who voted against the proposal "failed to take an opportunity to help restore public confidence that we're actually serious about passing an immigration law that could actually work." Many Americans will conclude instead that the bill's enforcement provisions will not be rigorously enforced, a problem that deeply undermined a 1986 immigration overhaul, he added.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called Cornyn's measure "a stealth, Trojan horse amendment to kill the bill."

The underlying bill would legalize an estimated 12 million unlawful immigrants, tighten border security and institute new enforcement measures to prevent employers from hiring illegal workers. Its proponents were laboring to push through the compromise under new time constraints imposed by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who plans to force a test-vote as early as Thursday morning to end debate on it and move on to other matters.

Senators in both parties implored Reid not to yank the measure, as he has threatened to do if the test vote fails.

"I think it's safe to say that the United States Senate would be the laughingstock of the country if — after all of the hyperbole and all of the publicity and all of the proposals and objections — we're not able to finish this bill," said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., a framer.

Reid, who has charged that some Republicans are trying to stall or kill the measure, began the day with a plea for swift progress on immigration. He resorted to quoting a passage from Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat" to describe the depth of the dilemma the issue poses for lawmakers: "This mess is so big and so deep and so tall, we cannot pick it up at all," the Democratic leader rhymed, adding, "Some would say that is what we have in the Senate today."

Still, lawmakers in both parties said they were making headway in fighting off damaging amendments and moving the measure closer to passage.

"We have made very important and significant progress," Kennedy said.

More votes were expected Wednesday on key proposed changes, including a Democratic effort to alter the controversial new temporary guest worker program created by the bill. Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico was seeking to allow workers to come for six consecutive years. The bill requires most guest workers to go home for a year between each of three two-year stints.

Republicans were seeking to change the "Z visa" program whereby illegal immigrants could gain lawful status. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., proposed requiring them to buy high-deductible health plans to be eligible for visas, while Cornyn would allow the information illegal immigrants provided in their visa applications to be used in removal proceedings should their application be denied.

Still looming were several Democratic attempts to add family preferences to the measure.

© MMVII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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JFK Moon Speech at Rice University

Below you will find the text of President John F. Kennedy's speech about going to the moon. It's a passionate speech, full of hope and optimism. Now change where he says "moon" or "space" to "global warming" and "climate change." How fitting these words could be today.


TEXT OF PRESIDENT JOHN KENNEDY'S RICE STADIUM MOON SPEECH

President Pitzer, Mr. Vice President, Governor, Congressman Thomas, Senator Wiley, and Congressman Miller, Mr. Webb, Mr. Bell, scientists, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen:

I appreciate your president having made me an honorary visiting professor, and I will assure you that my first lecture will be very brief.

I am delighted to be here and I'm particularly delighted to be here on this occasion.

We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a State noted for strength, and we stand in need of all all three, for we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.

Despite the striking fact that most of the scientists that the world has ever known are alive and working today, despite the fact that this Nation¹s own scientific manpower is doubling every 12 years in a rate of growth more than three times that of our population as a whole, despite that, the vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered and the unfinished still far outstrip our collective comprehension.

No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come, but condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man¹s recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover them. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than two years ago. The printing press came this year, and then less than two months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power.

Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. Only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power, and now if America's new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus, we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight.

This is a breathtaking pace, and such a pace cannot help but create new ills as it dispels old, new ignorance, new problems, new dangers. Surely the opening vistas of space promise high costs and hardships, as well as high reward.

So it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer to rest, to wait. But this city of Houston, this State of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward--and so will space.

William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.

If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.

Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it--we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation.

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. 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.

It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency.

In the last 24 hours we have seen facilities now being created for the greatest and most complex exploration in man's history. We have felt the ground shake and the air shattered by the testing of a Saturn C-1 booster rocket, many times as powerful as the Atlas which launched John Glenn, generating power equivalent to 10,000 automobiles with their accelerators on the floor. We have seen the site where the F-1 rocket engines, each one as powerful as all eight engines of the Saturn combined, will be clustered together to make the advanced Saturn missile, assembled in a new building to be built at Cape Canaveral as tall as a 48 story structure, as wide as a city block, and as long as two lengths of this field.

Within these last 19 months at least 45 satellites have circled the earth. Some 40 of them were "made in the United States of America" and they were far more sophisticated and supplied far more knowledge to the people of the world than those of the Soviet Union.

The Mariner spacecraft now on its way to Venus is the most intricate instrument in the history of space science. The accuracy of that shot is comparable to firing a missile from Cape Canaveral and dropping it in this stadium between the the 40-yard lines.

Transit satellites are helping our ships at sea to steer a safer course. Tiros satellites have given us unprecedented warnings of hurricanes and storms, and will do the same for forest fires and icebergs.

We have had our failures, but so have others, even if they do not admit them. And they may be less public.

To be sure, we are behind, and will be behind for some time in manned flight. But we do not intend to stay behind, and in this decade, we shall make up and move ahead.

The growth of our science and education will be enriched by new knowledge of our universe and environment, by new techniques of learning and mapping and observation, by new tools and computers for industry, medicine, the home as well as the school. Technical institutions, such as Rice, will reap the harvest of these gains.

And finally, the space effort itself, while still in its infancy, has already created a great number of new companies, and tens of thousands of new jobs. Space and related industries are generating new demands in investment and skilled personnel, and this city and this State, and this region, will share greatly in this growth. What was once the furthest outpost on the old frontier of the West will be the furthest outpost on the new frontier of science and space. Houston, your City of Houston, with its Manned Spacecraft Center, will become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community. During the next 5 years the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects to double the number of scientists and engineers in this area, to increase its outlays for salaries and expenses to $60 million a year; to invest some $200 million in plant and laboratory facilities; and to direct or contract for new space efforts over $1 billion from this Center in this City.

To be sure, all this costs us all a good deal of money. This year¹s space budget is three times what it was in January 1961, and it is greater than the space budget of the previous eight years combined. That budget now stands at $5,400 million a year--a staggering sum, though somewhat less than we pay for cigarettes and cigars every year. Space expenditures will soon rise some more, from 40 cents per person per week to more than 50 cents a week for every man, woman and child in the United Stated, for we have given this program a high national priority--even though I realize that this is in some measure an act of faith and vision, for we do not now know what benefits await us.

But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun--almost as hot as it is here today--and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out--then we must be bold.

I'm the one who is doing all the work, so we just want you to stay cool for a minute. [laughter]

However, I think we're going to do it, and I think that we must pay what needs to be paid. I don't think we ought to waste any money, but I think we ought to do the job. And this will be done in the decade of the sixties. It may be done while some of you are still here at school at this college and university. It will be done during the term of office of some of the people who sit here on this platform. But it will be done. And it will be done before the end of this decade.

I am delighted that this university is playing a part in putting a man on the moon as part of a great national effort of the United States of America.

Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there."

Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.

Thank you.

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Veto clash likely on budget bills

Veto clash likely on budget bills

House lawmakers boost clean energy, veterans funding

Updated: 3:50 p.m. ET June 6, 2007

WASHINGTON - Democrats gave big increases to programs aimed at making cars and buildings more energy efficient and boosting research and development of alternative energy sources in legislation approved Wednesday by the House Appropriations Committee.

At the same time, the panel rejected the Bush administration's plans to develop a new, sturdier nuclear warhead. The lawmakers said it would send the wrong signal to the world on nuclear nonproliferation and should not be pursued before a comprehensive strategy on future nuclear weapons needs is developed. Overall, the bill would cut $632 million from President Bush's request for nuclear weapons programs.

The panel also approved separate legislation providing a 13 percent increase over current-year funding for veterans health care programs. That bill, also funding construction at military bases, faces a White House veto threat for exceeding Bush's budget request by $4 billion.

Bipartisan increases
But House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., dismissed Bush's veto threat over politically popular increases for veterans programs as "not credible," and Republicans joined Democrats in approving the veterans funding measure by a 56-0 vote.

The panel's support for the Democrat-drafted Energy Department budget was equally bipartisan, even though the measure - which also funds Army Corps of Engineers water projects - exceeds Bush's request by more than $1 billion.

Much of that money would go to boosting clean energy technologies such as research into solar, geothermal and hydropower energy, as well as alternative fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. Research into next generation automobiles designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions would receive a 25 percent hike over current levels.

The increases for veterans continue a trend in which Democrats have used every opportunity, including the recently enacted Iraq war funding bill, to add to the rapidly rising budget for veterans medical treatment.

Wednesday's panel session was not devoid of controversy, however, as lawmakers sided with utilities to keep in effect a new law aimed at easing construction of new transmission lines. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y. and Frank Wolf, R-Va., said the law gives utilities too much power to build lines over objections from landowners and state and local governments.

But Hinchey and Wolf ended up on the losing end of a 35-30 vote in which some liberal Democrats from urban areas needing more electricity sided with GOP allies of electric companies.

Earmark controversy
Meanwhile, Obey sought to quell a controversy over so-called earmarks - homestate projects that lawmakers insert into spending legislation. Obey recently ignited a firestorm by announcing Democrats would sidestep earmark reforms passed in January that require lawmakers sponsoring parochial projects to be identified in documents that accompany spending bills.

Rather than including specific pet projects, grants and contracts in legislation as it is being written, Democrats plan to add requests for earmarks such as dams, military bases and community grants to spending measures during closed-door House-Senate negotiations in the fall. Opponents contended the move runs counter to promises to make Congress' pork barrel ways more transparent.

Obey said Wednesday he will make rosters of earmarks available well before final votes in the fall so lawmakers and budget watchdog groups would have ample time to review them.

"Members will be able to write this committee if they have any objection to an earmark the conference committee is putting in, and the sponsor of that earmark will have an opportunity to respond to any criticism," Obey said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Gays concerned by surgeon general nominee

Gays concerned by surgeon general nominee

Cite worries Holsinger rejects science and promotes ideology

Updated: 4:51 p.m. ET June 6, 2007

LEXINGTON, Kentucky - President George W. Bush's nominee to be the top health official in the United States has come under fire from gay rights groups for, among other things, voting to expel a lesbian pastor from the United Methodist Church and writing in 1991 that gay sex is unnatural and unhealthy.

The surgeon general nominee, Kentucky cardiologist Dr. James Holsinger, also helped found a Methodist congregation that, according to gay rights activists, believes homosexuality is a matter of choice and can be "cured."

"He has a pretty clear bias against gays and lesbians," said Christina Gilgor, director of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, a gay rights group. "This ideology flies in the face of current scientific medical studies. That makes me uneasy that he rejects science and promotes ideology."

Theological versus medical views
Holsinger, 68, has declined all interview requests, and the White House had no immediate comment Wednesday.

Holsinger served as Kentucky's health secretary and chancellor of the University of Kentucky's medical center. He taught at several medical schools and spent more than three decades in the Army Reserve, retiring in 1993 as a major general.

His supporters, including fellow doctors, faculty members and state officials, said he would never let his theological views affect his medical ones.

"Jim is able, as most of us are in medicine, to separate feelings that we have from our responsibility in taking care of patients," said Douglas Scutchfield, a professor of public health at the University of Kentucky.

In announcing Holsinger as his choice for America's top doctor May 24, Bush said the physician will focus on educating the public about childhood obesity.

The previous surgeon general was Dr. Richard Carmona, whose term was allowed to expire last summer. Carmona issued an unprecedented report condemning secondhand smoke.

Opposing actions
Holsinger received his bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky, master's degrees from the University of South Carolina and Asbury Theological Seminary and a doctorate and medical degree from Duke University.

Scutchfield said Holsinger has advocated expanded stem cell research, in opposition to many conservatives, and also has shown political courage in this tobacco-producing state by supporting higher cigarette taxes to curb teen smoking.

Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher commended Holsinger for working to fight obesity and other health problems in this Appalachian mountains state, which ranks near the bottom in many categories. "He helped get the ball rolling and focusing on healthy lifestyles," Fletcher said.

As president of the Methodist Church's national Judicial Council, Holsinger voted last year to support a pastor who blocked a gay man from joining a congregation. In 2004, he voted to expel a lesbian from the clergy. The majority of the panel voted to keep the lesbian associate pastor in place, citing questions about whether she had openly declared her homosexuality, but Holsinger dissented.

Unnatural sex
Sixteen years ago, he wrote a paper for the church in which he likened the reproductive organs to male and female "pipe fittings" and argued that homosexuality is therefore biologically unnatural.

"When the complementarity of the sexes is breached, injuries and diseases may occur," Holsinger wrote, citing studies showing higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases among gay men and the risk of injury from anal sex.

Holsinger wrote the paper at a time when the church was one of numerous denominations considering a more open stance on allowing practicing homosexuals to join. It took that step in 1992, saying gays are of "sacred worth" who should be welcomed. Practicing homosexuals are still prohibited from serving in the clergy.

Gilgor, the gay rights activist, called the paper "one twisted piece of work."

As for the congregation Holsinger helped establish, Hope Springs Community Church, the Rev. David Calhoun told the Lexington Herald-Leader last week that the Lexington church helps some gay members to "walk out of that lifestyle."

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which is opposing the nomination along with the Human Rights Campaign and other local and national groups, calls such a practice "nothing short of torture" for gays.

Phyllis Nash, who worked under Holsinger for nine years as vice chancellor at the medical center, said the views he took in church appear at odds with his professional actions.

She recalled a women's health conference that Holsinger helped organize in 2002 that included a session on lesbian health. Despite complaints from some lawmakers, Holsinger insisted the session go forward, she said.

"His reaction in support could not have been any stronger," Nash said. "He said, as health care providers, we have to be prepared to meet the health needs of anyone who walks into the door."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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