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I'm Brendan Loy, a 26-year-old graduate of USC and Notre Dame now living and working in Knoxville, Tennessee. My wife Becky and I are brand-new parents of a beautiful baby girl, born on New Year's Eve.

I'm a big-time sports fan, a politics, media & law junkie, an astronomy buff, a weather nerd, an Apple aficionado, a Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fanatic, and an all-around dork. My blog is best-known for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, but I blog about anything and everything that interests me.

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McCain: Let's go to Mars

In an obvious and blatant attempt to shore up the crucial Space-Obsessed Law Professors With Highly Trafficked Blogs voting bloc, John McCain said yesterday he would like to put a man on Mars.

Sounds good to me, but what I want to know is, will we do the other things?

P.S. In other John McCain-related news, he's apparently trying to fight off the "age issue" by making references that the youngsters of today will understand -- like, for instance, comparing Obama to William Jennings Bryan.

The year was eighteen ninety-six, and John McCain was just sixteen...


P.P.S. And yet more McCain-related news: he's released his first general-election ad, in which he states: "Only a fool or a fraud talks tough or romantically about war. ... I hate war. And I know how terrible its costs are."

TPM's Greg Sargent says "McCain is using his bio to achieve separation from George W. Bush," suggesting that "even if he's continuing Bush's war policies, he's different from Dubya in that he understands the costs in a way that Bush never did." The subtext, Sargent writes, is: "Even if that reckless chicken-hawk took us to war, someone who actually understands and has experienced the costs of war -- someone you can actually believe -- is here to tell you that we must continue it."

So, to review: John McCain hates war, yet he wants to send a man to Mars, a planet which is named after... war. :)

UPDATE: Glenn links here, and says of my above joke, "somehow the Obama backers manage to make everything about Iraq... Heh." Hey, now! What's this about "Obama backers"? I know it might be hard to believe, given my blog's recent focus, but I repeat:

I am undecided. In fact, if you put a gun to my head right now and made me choose, I think -- *think* -- I'd vote for McCain. But it's really entirely up in the air how I'll vote in November. I like and admire Obama, but that doesn't mean I think he'd make the best president. The best Democratic nominee, yes, but that's only because his opponent is such a lying, conniving, deceitful [bad word]. Against McCain, he doesn't have such an obvious "character" advantage (both candidates are, as best as I can tell, generally good, decent and honest, though of course not pure or perfect), and I'm not at all sure who I think is, on balance, better on policy.

If that confuses you, consider this: "The portion of my brain that views politics as a sport can't help 'rooting' for Obama (he's exciting! he's inspiring! he's shiny!), [but] the rational part of my brain, which governs my actual vote, is totally undecided between Obama and McCain." Obama is the scrappy mid-major going up against the staid, boring, established program; he's Boise State against Oklahoma ("They said this day would never come: a WAC team in a BCS bowl! Yes, we can!"), he's Appalachian State against Michigan, he's Davidson against Kansas. Or, as McCain might prefer to say, he's Hawaii against Georgia. :) The point is, he's fun to root for, and that fact bleeds over into my blog coverage. (Also, my blog coverage has just been generally Dem-dominated because that contest has been much more exciting since late January.) Moreover, it's fun to poke fun at John McCain because, you know, he's old. (In fairness, I've also poked fun at Obama for being messianic and cultish. Whee, humor is fun!) But none of that necessarily means that I support Obama, because in the end, politics isn't a sport, and voting isn't about "rooting" or making jokes, it's about deciding the future of the country. So yes, I'm undecided. Really.

P.P.P.S. Speaking of the Red Planet, Andrew Sullivan this morning posted a picture from 2005 of Sunset on Mars. He should have included it in his "The View From Your Window" series!


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It would be a good comparison except William Jennings Bryan had substance too. Damned Gold Standard.

You shall not crucify mankind upon a star and crescent of gold!


Have you seen this yet?

I actually started that thread's debate over Brendan's "schilling" (sic). What I came to realize after reading his responses was that a big reason he was writing about Obama so much was because the Republican nomination had already been decided. There wasn't any news worth commenting on coming from the McCain camp.
Now, if Brendan's not a schill (sic), which I don't think he is, I think we'll find much more balanced criticism of both candidates. At least until he makes up his mind. :-P

The sports analogy makes sense only in the nomination... For the general, when you add in the overwhelming sense that the GOP is/should be in bad shape for this election cycle, McCain becomes the underdog. But neither one is Boise or App State. Not sure what the analogy should be...

Three predictions:

(1) The total cost of any manned Mars mission would approach or exceed $1 trillion. This number is at least double the estimates you typically see thrown about, but I'm pretty confident of my prediction nonetheless.

(2) Therefore, the manned mission won't happen, at least not in the next couple decades.

(3) We'll probably spend many billions pretending that it will.

Unmanned is superior in every way except cool-factor. I'm as big a space-geek as anyone, so I appreciate the cool-factor. But unmanned robotic missions are the way we will (and should) explore space for the foreseeable future.

And you are surprised that McCain would like to put Obama on Mars ? Preferably sometime in October, perhaps ?

Makes sense to me ... especially if he can take Clinton, Pelosi, Reid, LaRouche, and David Duke with him ... Ron Paul can be the spare ...

Oh - and the reason for putting a Man on Mars is for the striving more than the arriving ... there is value to setting high goals ...

I do have to wonder, however, how Rice plays Texas now ... when she was NSA, I think the answer was "well" ... as Secretary of State, I suspect the answer is more likely to be "Well !" (with disappointed sniff) ...

the reason for putting a Man on Mars is for the striving more than the arriving ... there is value to setting high goals

I'm not unsympathetic to that argument. And a Mars mission would be a wonderful subsidy to Boeing and Lockheed and dozens of smaller companies and tens of thousands of people like me who work at companies like that. But let's recognize it for what it is (or would be): a New Deal style jobs program for engineers.

You're as undecided as I am purple.

I'm glad you've got the inner workings of my brain figured out, Bob. Some people might say that I'm the best source of information about my own thought processes, but luckily you're here to set them straight. So, tell me, how am I going to vote on the down-ballot offices in November? Also, what's my favorite color, and do I like cheese?

Now now Brendan, its entirely possible Bob could be suffering from any number of conditions, which would in fact make his skin quite purple

Why didn't any other country go to the moon besides the United States? It's strange, I mean, I have more technology in my desktop calculator than "The Eagle" had in it's entire lander, but no other country seems to be able to get to the moon 40 years after we went. Funny how that worked out.

Brendan - well, we already know that you like cheesecake !

Nevada Bob may be a mind-reader or he may not ... consider the evidence he has on which to base his comment ... if you-as-lawyer were considering the evidence of a certain B Loy's postings on a certain blog, how would you rate the respective chances of Obama vs McCain getting a certain B Loy's vote ?

From the evidence available, is it 90% Obama 10%McCain ? Or 98% Obama 2% McCain ?

Because you *say* that you are undecided, I remain willing to take you at your word ... when I consider the available E-vidence (that's the evidence available on a blog, commonly known as E-vidence, m'Lud), Obama seems likely only to lose a certain B Loy's vote if said Obama is found Fosterized ...

Maybe if McCain were more interesting then Brendan would pos about him more, but the story has been Obama and Hillary. If you can't tell the difference between interest in a topic and support of a candidate, well thats just plain sad.

Dear Mr. Loy: After reading your blog, you are right, it is hard to believe that you won't endorse Obama. Nor do I. I could see it if your interests were focused entirely within the United States, and the devil take the rest of the world, but that hasn't been true of your non-Obama postings. Nor do you seem to be a fickle fellow in the manner of Andrew Sullivan who makes the occasional noise of discontent with Obama in between tsunamis of saliva. Perhaps, for example, you could discuss Obama's tacking on the question of Jerusalem, and if you think they show presidential caliber. That might make your assertions easier to believe. Or not.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

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