BRANSON FLIGHT NOT HISTORIC, JUST A PUBLICITY STUNT

On July 11, Richard Branson flew in is own “rocket ship” to the maybe edge of space (53.5 miles) up and back; a suborbital space flight. There has been a lot of national print and TV media coverage over the success of this event; some young media folks even saying it was a first, similar in importance to the Wright Brothers first airplane flight in 1903. Whoa there media, you need to learn a little rocket history. The first documented such manned sub-orbital space flight was on May 5, 1961 with NASA’s Alan Shepard aboard. His space flight went up to 116 miles high, more than twice Branson’s altitude. Shepard’s suborbital flight made him the first American in space, and he brought back the first human-from-space taken photos of Earth.

So, Branson basically repeated (but not 100%) Shepard’s flight of 60 years ago. It was a first for his new technology rocket system, developed over many years with more than a billion of his dollars in research, development, engineering, and manufacturing. This whole project is to develop a commercial space-ride experience for anyone who can pay the price. So what we now have is sort of a “Space Amusement Park Ride” for the very wealthy. What Branson actually accomplished on July 11 was to pull off largest and most expensive publicity and advertising stunt in history, with the full cooperation of the world’s print and TV “news” media.

In a few days, another billionaire, Jeff Bezos, plans to fly in his own new “rocket ship” to just above 62 miles up (the internationally recognized edge of space) and back. Assuming success, this will double the number of Space Amusement Park Ride possibilities for the future.

Jack Gibson

Hideway

ABBOTT KEEPS FAILING TEXAS ON ELECTRICITY

After the February winter storm calamities, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott failed to deliver on his promises to improve the electric grid and to hold ERCOT and energy companies alike accountable for their past and potential future failures.

Recall in 2011 and 2021, the Texas electric grid failed, and when respective, special legislative sessions recommended that all energy companies (gas, nuclear, wind, solar, hydro, coal) weatherize equipment (pipes, plants, windmills, etc.), in 2011, then Attorney General Abbott failed to ensure that those recommendations were enforced. Therefore, in 2021, 125+ Texans died from hypothermia in their homes amidst the crippling electrical grid and water treatment plant failures all across Texas.

In 2021, Abbott imposed a $1,000,000 fine for energy companies that fail to weatherize their equipment. Yet, for energy companies averaging 1-2 billion dollars per quarter, this one-million-dollar fine is miniscule. This is similar to you paying 5 cents for a $1000 fine.

To ensure grid improvements, the penalties to energy companies must cost more than the cost to weatherize equipment. In addition, the Texas Legislature must cap the price of gas and power when the grid fails. Why? When the grid fails, power and gas prices skyrocket; thus, presently, all energy companies are motivated to fail at the expense of us Texans.

Mr. Abbott continues to fail Texas. His past and present decisions are expected, after all, Abbott is a career politician, who became a multi-millionaire from a lawsuit(s) without earning his money, and he has no experience running a business.

Roshin Rowjee

Lufkin

 
 

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