We got an email today announcing that Vice-President Cheney will be visiting and speaking at JPL tomorrow. The visit coincides with President Bush’s space policy announcement at NASA Headquarters, tomorrow afternoon. I suppose the VPOTUS will talk about that speech and what role JPL might be playing.
It’s really going to be a headache, though. The email suggested coming as early as 1:00 to the JPL mall for a speech scheduled to begin at 2:45. I remember when President Clinton spoke at the 1998 MIT commencement, the graduation caps kept setting off the metal detector we graduates had to pass through. The females were not happy about having to remove them, pins and all, just to go to graduation. So I wouldn’t be surprised if a metal detector is there tomorrow, along with very careful screening of anyone within 100 yards of Cheney. WHen I was leaving today, there was already a large area partitioned with water-filled plastic barricades.
As exciting as it is to have the vice-president address the MER team and JPL altogether, especially since one rarely sees Cheney in public anyway. I’m not sure I’ll be heading out to the mall tomorrow. Maybe I can watch on closed-circuit TV or something. I just have a hard-time spending nearly my whole afternoon listening to what is sure to be a speech full of political double-speak, general accolades, and too much applause. I’m sure the MER team and JPL is greatly appreciative of the phone call from President Bush and the recognition from the administration of a job done well, but NASA is one of the few government agencies that rarely gets fought over in the partisan battles. More often than not, it’s a geographical battle, not one over political affilliation. Heck, even Dean has proposed a crewed Mars mission.