Friday, October 24, 2008


In the last presidential debate, Senator McCain criticized earmarks or "pork" for pet projects of Senator Obama.  Specifically, he mentioned a "3 million dollar overhead projector" for a Chicago planetarium.  I must say that this particular statement really got under my skin.  First of all, public institutions are allowed to ask their legislature for funding for particular projects with their state's share of federal funds.  There is nothing shady about this practice.  This is how, in part, public projects get paid for.  Secondly, Senator McCain's mischaracterization of the Adler Planetarium's projection system as an "overhead projector" is at best ignorant and at worst another attack on science and intellect.  The Adler Planetarium is the oldest planetarium in the western hemisphere where many of our top astronomers and space scientists were inspired as children to look to the sky and dream of what's 'out there'.  I really don't believe that most of us want to live in a country where we don't have these great centers of education, such as planetariums and museums.  Lest you see no reason for a Chicago planetarium receiving federal funds to replace it's aged projection system, consider that 58 percent of the users of the Adler are not from Illinois.  A great country maintains it's educational and social treasures.  Shame on you Senator McCain.

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