To Mars and Back in 80 Days

February 10th, 2009

In 1873 Jules Verne published the novel “Around the World in 80 Days“, in which an English Gentleman attempts to circumnavigate the Earth on bet. At the time the story was taken as simple fiction.

In 1889 Nellie Bly actually succeeded in making the trip and did it in just 72 days.

Today the Space Shuttle can make the trip in about 90 minuets.

A new plasma based rocket engine system, named Vasimr, has just recently been approved for testing on the ISS in 2012. The new engine could make it possible to travel to Mars in as little as 39 days, making around trip voyage of less than 80 days.

could we finally be on the Brink.

Nasa Web Site

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Where I Stand

I’ve given you a few details about who I am, but that doesn’t really tell you where I stand on the issues that face America today. Many of my friends call me a liberal. I consider myself to be a fiscally conservative social liberal. I am a registered independent and I have voted for both Democrats and Republicans.

Same-Sex Marriage

I’m a firm believer that every human being has right to equality under the law. Too many times have I seen religious beliefs be used to dictate moral and social standards onto others. Homosexuality is a naturally occurring condition of both animal and human biology and is akin to eye color or skin color. A person’s sexuality is hard wired into them at birth and their orientation can sit within a variable range from being totally straight through bisexuality to totally homosexual.

Separation of Church and State

Our founding fathers knew that America was home to people of many different faiths and even those without any faith. They also knew from watching the horror of history unfold in Europe in regards to religious intolerance that it was in effect often driven by the collusion of church and state acting as one, as a tool for men who desired money and power and secretly cared very little for actually saving the souls of their subjects. So when they wrote our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Deceleration of Independence they included this line.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In fact, the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut, fearing the Federal government would become a christian theocracy, and thus fearing prosecution, contacted Thomas Jefferson and expressed their fears. In a Reply to them on Jan, 1, 1801, Jefferson wrote…

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

Is America a Christian Nation?

The short answer… No.

Recently the Religious Right went into an uproar when President Obama, addressing the Turkish Parliament, uttered these lines..

“I’ve said before, one of the great strengths of the United States is, although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation ? we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”

But they forget that America is NOT a christian nation. We were not founded as such and we never have been. As I quoted earlier, the constitution forbids the establishment of a state religion. Just because a large percentage of Americans identify themselves as Christian does not mean we are a Christian nation. On June 10th 1797, President John Adams signed the ratified Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 of that treaty reads…

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

There is some controversy surrounding the translation of the original treaty, which was written in Arabic, into English. However, it is the English version of the treaty, which includes article 11, that was presented to and ratified by Congress.

America is a melting pot of many religions and peoples from all parts of the world. Labeling us as a Christian Nation does injustice those Americans who are Muslim, Jewish, Baptist, Mormon, Native American, Buddhists, Wiccan, and any number of the myriad faiths that make up this country. If the government begins to legislate one religious faith over another into law, then it is violating the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.

Anytime the state infringes on the rights of it’s people in the name of religion it is wrong.

Abortion

I believe that abortion is wrong in most situations and that individuals that find themselves as unsuspecting parents to be should at a minimum weigh the decision very carefully. I do however feel that the only people qualified to make that decision is the parents themselves, with advise from doctors. Abortion should be a choice. A choice of last resort, but a choice none the less.

More to come

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