Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Funday: All We Want Is A Brand New Death Star

About this time of year every year, even though our staff members are all fully-grown adults, we usually begin to notice that special holiday spark in ourselves. It's like our inner children coming out to play, as we begin to think about the toys and games of our past. This annual change of mindset seems to be a common effect that crosses borders, languages, and religions too.

Call it the spirit of the season, or the Santa effect.

That's not to say that all of humankind is suddenly acting like happy, well-behaved cherubs this month. There are still plenty of people playing politics right now, just in Washington, DC. The fiscal curb talks remain at a standstill, as the GOP continues their farcical attempts at looking like Santa, while acting like Scrooge.

There was also what we believe was an amazingly wise and unselfish act on Thursday, as Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her own name from consideration for Secretary of State. She clearly chose to put the best interests of the nation above her own ambitions - something we're pretty sure earns her a spot on Santa's "good" list.

As Jonathan Bernstein noted almost immediately after Rice's announcement, "Absolutely everyone who voiced any objection (conservative lawmakers and media, for instance) will have an interest in claiming that he or she was the one who derailed the nomination. Doesn’t make it true." Last night's sad and disgusting cable news coverage of Rice's actions proved this true.

Ambassador Rice remains strong-willed and determined, and more than qualified for the position of Secretary of State. She was certainly not scared away by the propagandists on Fox or the blowhards on right-wing radio.

She may have been a bit concerned about Americans, however, who made it clear this week, in a legitimate official national petition, that they know exactly what they want for the holidays, for America: A brand new, real-life, moon-sized Death Star, just like in the Star Wars movies.

While we may be kidding about the Ambassador's motives, we are not kidding about the Death Star.

An official petition, created on the White House's official "We The People" petition website, has now gained more than 25,000 signatures, urging the Obama Administration and Congress to begin construction of a real-life, planetary-sized weapon by 2016.

Unlike the GOP's proposals on the fiscal cliff, the real-life Death Star proposal by a semi-anonymous "John D." from Longmont, Colorado has more than a few details, facts and numbers, thanks in large part to the economics blog Centives.

Earlier this year, the folks at Centives sat down to figure out exactly how much it would cost to build a real "Death Star," in current dollars, and what kind of a timetable it would take for humankind to accomplish such a massive engineering feat.

You can check out the details yourself, both on the wacky proposal, and the exact proposed specifications of the man-made planetoid. While our inner children giggled at the thought of actually being able to visit a real-life Death Star - like a space theme park, filled with lightsabers and R2D2s - we were all taken aback by the estimated completion time for such a project.

As Michael Binkley might say, a Jedi knight doesn't wait 15 years for a sequel, let alone 833,315 years for a Death Star.

Maybe we'll just have to set our holiday expectations a bit lower this year. Like gift cards for the staff to Bed, Bath, and Beyond - or Toys R Us.

Lego Death Star anyone?

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