Why the sense of hostility, fear and paranoia that has followed this project? Well, let's hit a few (pardon the expression) "bullet points."
- The mosque is less than two blocks from the site where nearly three thousand Americans and other people were killed when two hijacked planes flew into the World Trade Center twin towers. This is equivalent to building a memorial to fallen Nazi SS troops a block from Auschwitz. Whatever structure or memorial gets built on Ground Zero itself, everyone who goes there will see this constant reminder of that event, a glaring gloat in concrete and steel. Even some non-radical Muslims are speaking out against it.
- The opening of the mosque is planned for September 11, 2011, ten years to the day after that horrific event. As a "thumbnail-in-your-eye insult to the West, it couldn't be timed more perfectly.
- The top of a 13-story building would provide an excellent detonation point for a nuclear weapon or other form of WMD, extending the kill radius much farther out from the virtual heart of New York City than a ground-level detonation would. It's not as though radical Muslims haven't thought of such things, because they have.
- As long as we're exploring the realm of "worst-case scenarios", there is also the possibility that an upper floor might wind up as a bordello for underage sex slaves, as has been found to occur in Britain. Of course, it can't happen here, right?
Educational Transformation report from the leftist think tank Center for American Progress. On his Thursday Fox News show, Glenn Beck pointed to the report's support for congressional cuts made to relatively inexpensive "niche" programs such as Academies for American Hsitory & Civics ($1.8M), We the People ($21.6 M), Excellence in Economic Education ($1.4M), and others, as found in a nice, neat little table on page 13 of the report. For all the unprecedented waste in education, these are the classes they want to cut?
anywhere else but here. He believes that events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis signal that man is near the end of his earthly existence, and believes we must abandon the planet in the next couple hundred years or face extinction. Hawking thinks we should head toward Proxima Centauri, a star system just a mere 4.2 light-years away - around 50,000 years with our current state of space propulsion technology. The fact that we essentially have no facts about what human-sustaining planet we might find there (somewhere) doesn't faze him; he's convinced that we can develop a faster-than-light drive like Star Trek's warp drive, and escape the eventual destruction of our planet.
Now for a small, infinitesimal dose of reality, brought to you by my own obviously less-than-genius mind. While Hawking, myself, and millions of other sci-fi fans imagine going where no man has gone before, the urgency of his warning leads me to a few warnings of my own.
First; although America has more or less led (or shared the lead) the world over the past 50 years in the race for space, we have now - under the amazing leadership of Dear Leader Obama - given to indefinitely pausing in our push for space travel technology, at least long enough for other nations such as Russia, India, China and the entire Muslim world "catch up." We wouldn't want the rest of the world to feel envious of us, now, would we? That said, I wonder if those other nations, finally conquering the technology needed to escape these earthly bonds, will be willing to share with us as liberally as we have shared with them over the years.
Second; if the time of global crisis comes that forces us to abandon the Earth or die, who will get to choose who goes? Obviously, competition for that final flight will be unlike any other in history, and if history has any influence, it's pretty likely that the flight would be stuffed with "special interests" like the politicians who would control the project and the 'fat cats' who would control the money and production. It would have to be a huge undertaking to allow a large enough segment of humanity to repopulate the (so far) unknown planet, and it's pretty easy to imagine that less than half the crew will be actual productive workers who would maintain the massive vessel. One thing for certain: I hope whoever gets to go on the spaceship takes a lot of toilet paper.