White House nixes Death Star

The second Death Star under construction in Re...

The second Death Star under construction in Return of the Jedi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A bunch of people petitioned the White House to build a Death Star.

As in Galactic Empire, blow-up-Alderaan Death Star.

When the White House receives a certain number of signatures on a petition, it responds.

So, here goes:

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

However, look carefully (here’s how) and you’ll notice something already floating in the sky — that’s no Moon, it’s a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts — American, Russian, and Canadian — living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We’ve also got two robot science labs — one wielding a laser — roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.

Keep in mind, space is no longer just government-only. Private American companies, through NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO), are ferrying cargo — and soon, crew — to space for NASA, and are pursuing human missions to the Moon this decade.

Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.

We don’t have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.

We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country’s future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.

If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

That’s a pretty good answer. And this is why building one is a waste of money:

(Remember, the rebels didn’t just destroy one. They destroyed two.)

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The biggest tax increase in the history of the GOP alternate universe

When your Republican friends hit you with the statement, “Obamacare is the largest tax increase in the history of the world,” hit them back with this (from Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog):

… no, the Affordable Care Act isn’t the “biggest tax hike in history.” It’s not even the biggest tax hike in the past 60 years. Or 50 years. Or 30 years. Or 20 years.

And then hit them with this chart:

The biggest tax increase in American history happened in 1951 (for reading purposes, these top 15 are read from the bottom — being the biggest — to the top).

But the GOP had its talking points handed down by Fox News, and for the past couple of days, the line has been biggest tax increase in U.S. history, biggest tax increase in world history, biggest tax increase in the history of the Universe.

As it normally goes with their strategy, if you repeat a lie enough times, someone is going to believe it’s true. And those true believers in the Fox News universe have proven to be wrong more than other news viewers when it comes to current events.

Almost forgot: Obamacare is Romneycare. So in Fox News logic, Mitt Romney is responsible for the biggest tax increase in the history of the universe. And the alternate universe.

(An aside: Actually, the biggest tax increase in the history of the universe was the Galactic Empire‘s “revenue enhancement” for the building of the two Death Stars, leading to the destruction of Alderaan a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But you knew that already.)

Iowa and the Death Star dumpster dive

Setting: Trash dumpster, the Death Star. Characters: Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca.

Leia: It could be worse.

(A onimous growl echoes through the dumpster)

Han: It’s worse.

(Star Wars: A New Beginning)

The above is the first thing I thought when I read this:

With 96 percent of precincts reporting at 11:40 p.m. Eastern, former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) was in a virtual tie with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, leading him by just 79 votes. Both of them hovered around 24.6 percent of the total, with Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) close behind at 21 points. It seemed possible that this year’s winner — whoever it turns out to be — would finish with the lowest percentage total of any GOP winner in Iowa’s modern history, sinking below Bob Dole’s 26 percent in 1996.

Senator Man-on-Dog, Governor What-do-you-want-me-to-say, and Congressman Ayn Rand Sr. These are your front runners for the GOP nomination for the president of the United States of America. The most powerful man on the planet. Someone must have dropped LSD at the Tea Party.