Tough times have come yet again for Alabama government.
Government functionality will take one more hit in the state as dollars are sheared off of agency budgets, and what little social safety net for which the state government still pays will likely have more than a few more holes punched in it before the end of this legislative session.
Legislators are approaching the second half of the session with a stoic duty to choose the cuts that are necessary in the face of the governor’s duty not to make Grover Norquist mad by having taxes increase for anyone.
And then there are the ones who want to take you to motherf—ing space:
Today it was announced that measures are being prepared to create a Alabama Spaceport Authority.
It’s the state’s authority! On motherf—ing space!
Noted space travel expert Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, explained the concept and his reasons for bringing it up at a press conference today in Montgomery:
Simply stated, a spaceport is a site for launching and receiving spacecraft, [sic] currently there are only a handful of spaceports around the nation. …
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Alabama,” said Dial. “Years ago someone decided the the international airport should be in Atlanta and look what it has done for them. Imagine, what is will mean to our state to become an international spaceport. It will create jobs, put us on the forefront of technology and the make Alabama a vital part of the future.”
That’s right, one day your kids will be waiting in line at the Krystal at the George “Goober” Lindsey International Spaceport in Russellville, complaining about how they wished this spaceport was something better than a Delta space hub and voicing their support for aggressive measures by Alabama to crack down on a different kind of alien worker.¹
The article linked above doesn’t really explain some of the important aspects of the whole spaceport thing, which is who the hell will build and pay for it. The Obama administration seems set on commercializing space travel, which, given its high cost, has largely been a government-funded venture.
The legislators who would love to see Alabama plant its highly inappropriate Confederate flag in the new age of space travel via a spaceport would appear to be firmly behind the administration’s effort.
If so, their plans on the surface appear like they will not sit well with Sen. Richard Shelby, Alabama’s stalwart Republican congressional rainmaker, who expressed some pretty clear opposition to the administration’s plans at a hearing last week:
I believe that the core mission of NASA is to build cutting edge systems that allow us to expand our knowledge of the universe. This administration seems to think that NASA’s job is to use taxpayer money as venture capital to support speculative commercial companies, the future Solyndras [a bankrupt green energy company that received a half-billion dollar federal loan] of the space industry.
That Shelby would not be keen on sending people to space through a government agency is not surprising, what with all that NASA and the like up in North Alabama. Though I imagine if they name it the Richard Shelby International Spaceport, this project stands a pretty decent chance of getting a sweet federal earmark in the near future.
Dial, however, does appear to have some solid support from Republicans at the state level.
At a press conference today at the Statehouse in Montgomery, Dial was joined by Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Capshaw) and Rep. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) who all support the creation of an Alabama spaceport that could make Alabama a leader in space travel.
And Kay Ivey is never a portent of anything bad happening, is she?
Reran Tragedy is Weld’s satirical blog about politics and life in Alabama and the South. You can like this blog on Facebook here. The artist known as Cal Alabaster Jr., if that is his or her real name, may or may not also be the author of the Alabama humor blog called “King Cockfight.” If true, you may read Cal’s work there at kingcockfight.wordpress.com. You can also follow Cal on Twitter @KingCockfight or email Cal at firstname.lastname@example.org.