Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dear Gen, Bolden

I wrote the following to General Bolden, NASA's current administrator:


General Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
300 E Street SW
Washington D.C., 20546-0001

Gen. Bolden,

My family and I are members of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, IL. As I’m sure you know, the museum is one of the great institutions in the city of Chicago, and also holds a special place as one of the United States’ great museums dedicated to space exploration.

My family would love to see one of the shuttle orbiters retired to the care of the Adler. It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate place in the country. Adler houses the oldest piece of space exploration equipment outside of Europe—an Italian telescope from the early 1600s. I imagine taking my daughter, an 11 year-old space enthusiast, to visit this telescope at the same time she can see the most important tool for 20th century space exploration, and I quite literally get chills.

Please consider the Adler’s bid to house a retired shuttle, you won’t find a more fitting or caring institution.


Matt Dick


The unstated PS to this letter:

Seeing a shuttle on the shore of Lake Michigan would be so cool!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


A few years ago I was planning for a St. Baldrick's even and told the group I was working in at the time, "In a few weeks, I'm going to go bald."

My very bald manager paused, then said, "Matt, I don't think you understand how this works."

A few weeks ago I went bald, as most of you know. Here's my beautiful scalp in all its glory.

When all donations are in, I will have raised over $4,000 and you all have helped raise more than $30,000 in my time with St. Baldricks.

But the big number is what our team, Nathan's Network has raised. This year we topped $25,000, which is spectacular!

Since 2005 we have raised $127,724 largely thanks to you who are reading this.

I can't thank you enough.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

NPR and Public Insanity

I have this issue.  I don't care for NPR (National Public Radio).  My issues with it are on a number of fronts, and here's a partial list:

1) It's boring.  I know people just love "car talk".  I have never heard it, but almost nothing interests me less than talking about cars.  There are things I'm sure I'd like, but there are whole sections of it that just can't possibly be worth anyone's time.

2) It's sooooooooo Liberal Correct.  It obviously makes people feel good to say they listen to NPR.  Maybe it does and maybe it is good to listen to NPR, but it definitely makes people feel good to say it.  That bugs me.

3) It's partially federally funded and it's obviously liberal in it's bent.  Not the worst offense, but hardly objective.

4) My libertarian feelings are bothered by funding a radio station.  I just think the government needs to fund things that aren't public luxuries.

Okay.  So that all having been said, I'm hearing lots of conversation about defunding NPR because of, and I (almost) quote a real, honest to goodness smart guy Howie Kurtz, "I don't know that we need to fund this during this time of real economic hardship."

Maybe I got the words wrong, but this was his message, and the message of at least two or three other pundits I've heard on the subject.


Here is what the federal budget spent in 2010:


Here is what NPR cost the federal government in 2010:


Not kidding, that's the actual number.

If you subtract the entire NPR budget from the US spending, US spending will be relieved of 0.0007% of its budget.

Whew!  Let's get right on that!

Seriously, is NPR even worth the conversation?  The federal deficit last year was 49% of revenue. 


Killing NPR would make that number:


I am not advocating that we waste $25 million, I do have libertarian leanings.  But I'm also a realist.  Do we really need to waste time talking about 0.0007% of the federal budget in this time of real economic hardship?