Sunday, November 30, 2008

Is it Just Me? US Space Program Costly in this Economy

Is it just me or does anyone else think that continually flying the space shuttle to the International Space Station (ISS) in this economy is ridiculous. At a time when we are handing out 100's of billions of dollars of taxpayers money to bailout failing banks, automobile manufacturers, and now people who let themselves be duped into buying more house than they could afford with no money down, we should be cutting back on unnecessary spending. Now don't get me wrong, I am pro-science and an environmental scientist myself but every time we launch a shuttle it cost the US taxpayers. The space shuttle Endeavour cost 1.7 billion dollars, and every time it is launched it cost approximately 450 million per mission.

Yes, I now that we have personnel on board the space station that need to be replaced ever so often. The space shuttle also carries vital supplies to the space station. However, It is in the name of the space station, International. The US should let some of the other countries shoulder the burden. The ISS is the largest international scientific and technological endeavor ever undertaken, It draws on the resources and scientific expertise of 16 nations around the world. Canada, Japan, 11 members of the European Space Agency, Russia and Brazil are our partners.

There are other space vehicles. The Russian's have the Soyuz it is used primarily to deliver crews to space. Furthermore, Russian cargo ships have been used to deliver supplies to the ISS. The Chinese have developed the Shenzhou spacecraft to support its manned spaceflight program. The European Union has developed the Ariane 5 , an expendable launch designed to deliver payloads into geostationary orbit transfer orbit or low Earth orbit. In March 2008, the first Ariane 5 ES-ATV was launched to deliver the first Automatic Transfer Vehicle (ATV) called Jules Verne to the ISS. The ATV is an expendable, unmanned resuppply spacecraft. ATVs are designed to supply the ISS with propellant, water, air, payload and experiments. In addition, ATVs can reboost the station into a higher orbit.

So far, 30 out of 44 manned spacecraft dockings have been a US Space Shuttle. The rest have been Russia's Soyuz. There have been 34 unmanned space dockings, primarily Russian. Now, I am sure that Russia's economy is in no better shape than ours, but spending billions every few months to send people to a lab in space does not make sense.

I am not suggesting that we abandon the space program altogether, just bring the brave souls who live up there home and postpone future flights until the economy gets better or keep them up there but let our partner countries shoulder some of the burden.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thailand People's Protest Affect Americans

As I write this there is a rebellion going on in Bangkok. I do not claim to understand all of the issues involved, but a Thai faction is protesting and holding Americans (as well as other tourist)hostage, well sort of, they have taken over Bangkok's major airport and will not let them leave. This public dissatisfaction has been going on for a couple of years. As I understand it this ongoing coup was started to get the previous Prime Minister, Thaksin to step down for various reasons including allegations of corruption. BTW, Thaksin is a billionaire making his riches in communications, banking, transport and real estate.

In 2006, the Thai Army overthrew the government of Thaksin Shinawatra and soon afterwards King Bhumibol Adulyadej appointed Surayud Chulanont as Prime Minister until democratic elections could be held. In 2008, Chulanont was succeeded by Samak Sundaravej who filled the post for 8 months amid public street protests by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD). The PAD consists of middle and upper-class Bangkokians and Southerners, supported by the conservative elite and factions of the Thai Army, some leaders of Democrat Party, and leaders of state-enterprise labor unions.

On September 9th, Sundaravej was disqualified from premiership due to complaints lodged by the Senators and the Election Commission of Thailand. However, the People Power Party (PPP) vowed to vote him back to the premiership. Despite objections from its coalition partners, the PPP, in an urgent meeting, unanimously decided to renominate Samak Sundaravej. Ultimately, the Issan faction of the PPP and the coalition parties boycotted the vote. The boycott was a sign of Samak's disapproval from both his own party's members and coalition parties. Finally Samak gave up his re-election bid, allowing his party to choose new nominee. The majority of his party and coalitions eventually voted for Somchai Wongsawat, deputy prime minister, to be the new premier. Somchai Wongsawat was elected as Prime Minister in September 2008.

This brings us to what is happening in Bangkok currently. On October 7, 2008, protesters attempted to hold 320 parliamentarians and senators hostage inside the Parliament building, cutting off power, and forcing Somchai Wongsawat to escape by jumping a back fence after his policy address. But other trapped legislators failed to leave and flee from the demonstration. The 6-week sit-in and siege on the area beside the near prime minister’s office forced the government to transfer its activities to the former international airport. One female protester was killed after police use force to push back the demonstration and hundreds were injured.

In November, PAD forces blockaded Parliament prior to a crucial legislative session, used hijacked public buses to take control of the government's provisional offices at the former international airport. They have now seized the passenger terminal and control tower of Suvarnabhumi International Airport, forcing the airport to cancel all flights.

The PAD has called for the resignation of the governments of Thaksin Shinawatra, as well as Somchai Wongsawat, whom the PAD accused of being a proxy for Thaksin. The PAD refused to stop its protests, noting that Somchai is Thaksin's brother-in-law; thus, claiming failure of popular democracy in Thailand. The PAD has wants constitutional amendments making Parliament a largely royally-appointed body. The PAD is largely composed of royalist, and has regularly invoked the King in its protests, and has claimed that its enemies are disloyal to the monarchy. It has openly called for the military and Thailand's traditional elite to take a greater role in politics.

To make matters worse, a rival pro-government group, the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) said the movement would consider any retreat by the government to be a military coup, and immediately launch a counter street offensive against the army, raising the prospect of clashes.

If you read this entire post, you may be wondering why I wrote it. The reason I try to keep up with the political as well as economical landscape of Thailand is that my wife is a Thai citizen and I have considered retiring in Thailand. Now, I am not sure. The Thai government has been unstable for a while but before this Americans were not really affected. I can only wait and see.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Save Sirius Radio

A group of shareholders have come up with a plan that they hope will save Sirius radio (SIRI). I personally believe that Sirus will come back. I also believe that the best way to do that is to buy stock in the company. Its a steal right now and when it does come back money will be made. However, this is is the plan that I referenced, and it can be found here:Save Sirius

There are millions of retail longs in SIRI. If we organize, we can save SIRI single handedly. Here is how. The debt to be refinanced on Feb, 2009 is $300M Let’s refinance ourselves. Open a trust escrow account, with single purpose of lending money to SIRI with very low interest. Many of longs are down at least thousands of dollars. So assume everyone of us puts just $100 in the trust, and we lend the money to SIRI with 2-3% rate. If every long puts $100, we need just 3 million guys. Next, we refinance the other two installments of debt that are due in 2009 in same manner. So overall, $300 for 2009 per person to refinance all three installments due in 2009. SIRI solves its debt issue until 2010 and gets breathing room to concentrate on business. Sounds unrealistic you say? Probably yes, but why should only likes of Icahn be an activist shareholders. WE CAN TOO.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Bestmedicationstation site is back up

I am sorry for any inconvenience I caused anyone. I had to redo my website: Now, I am no wizard at webpage design or uploading essential files to the server, etc., The site was down for a while. That is the only reason it was down, my other sites were up but Best Medication Station is my biggie. So, now it is up and running just like before but with a few more options. So, if you need to order legal medication please consider us and visit We have great prices and overnight shipping as always. Our best sellers are Soma (carisoprodol), Ultram (tramadol), and Fioricet (Butalbital and APAP). Again, thank you for your patience.