Well, I'm sure if you've turned on a TV today, you know about Governor Spitzer of New York's involvement in a prostitution sting. Believe it or not, the title of this post is not entirely said sarcastically. While I'm sad for what it means for his family, I know that he brought it upon himself in a display of human weakness. Still, ultimately, it is they who will be innocent people punished for the actions of this flawed man. But apparently, this was not the first ethical lapse of his time as governor, as evidenced by his alleged misuse of State Police to investigate a political rival. It was, instead, the last, and for that reason, I'm thankful that he finally did something he couldn't get away with or brush aside.
Also, I'm thankful for Hillary co-opting the "3:00 a.m." ad created by an Obama supporter. This had the effect of simultaneously exposing further her willingness and eagerness to do anything to win, no matter how unethical, and providing ample fodder for amateur comedians, late-night talk show hosts, and one of my favorites, Saturday Night Live. I can almost see Amy Poehler portraying Hillary now. While nothing will ever compare to the Golden Era of Saturday Night Live, I think this cast is at least very good.
But most of all, I'm thankful that NASA, a government agency I have maligned often and vocally for their lack of progress during the last 30+ years and history of suffocating innovation through excessive bureaucracy, are at least doing SOMETHING towards exploring Mars. While manned exploration and colonization are vastly preferable to tossing robots at our neighbor planet, I suppose even a distant second choice is better than nothing at all. I love Mars. It's a beautiful planet rife with opportunities, and if given the opportunity to be one of those first explorers, I would gladly do so, knowing the risks would be far outweighed by the rewards for science and humanity. I fell in love with Mars when I was young, and though other interests came and went, my curiosity and fascination with Mars has never been sated. The most frustrating thing about it, though, is that the lion's share of the technology needed for safe human exploration of Mars has existed for 40 years or more. We should have had our first manned expedition to Mars when I was in grade school, yet it appears that, thanks to politicians and various special interests within and outside of academia, we might get a manned expedition two generations from now, if we're lucky, and not only is it sad on a level I can barely express, it's pathetic. What happened to the America that planted a flag on the Moon? What happened to that ingenuity and that political will? Bah.