ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s a topic Paul Ryan hasn’t discussed before on the campaign trail, but at an event today Paul Ryan unleashed on President Obama on the issue of space exploration, saying he has “presided over a dismantling of the space program over the last four years.”
“We are near the space coast, I think it’s important that we have a space program that has a clear space mission, a space program that we know where we are heading in the future, and a space program that is the unequivocal leader on the planet in space travel and space research,” Ryan said at an event at the University of Central Florida, about an hour away from the Kennedy Space Center.
“We don’t have that right now,” he said. “Look at what we have gotten out of this. The space program strengthens the entrepreneurial spirit and competitiveness. They launch new industries and new technologies. President Obama campaigned quite a bit around Florida, around the space coast, in 2008 — made lots of promises. This is another one of those broken promises.”
Ryan continued, saying the president has put the “space program on a path where we are conceding our global position as the unequivocal leader in space.”
“Today, if we want to send an astronaut to the space station, we have to pay the Russians to take him there,” Ryan said to boos from the crowd. “China may someday be looking down on us from the Moon. That’s unacceptable. Mitt Romney and I believe that America must lead in space. Mitt Romney and I believe we need a mission for NASA, a mission for a space program, and we also believe that this is an integral part of our national security.”
Ryan is referring to the president’s shift in NASA funding when he moved away from the goal of sending astronauts to the moon by canceling the Constellation program, which was begun under President George W. Bush and would have returned astronauts to the Moon by 2020 and instead turning to private companies to fund commercial Moon exploration. It’s a topic the Romney campaign hasn’t really stressed on the campaign trail — there was hardly a mention at their convention in Tampa last month — but, one they decided to focus on at Ryan’s event today as well as releasing a policy paper outlining their plan.
Republicans as well as former astronauts like Neil Armstrong, who passed away last month, were highly critical of the president’s plan. Armstrong called it “devastating” and there has been high joblessness in the space coast area.
The president has focused on unmanned space exploration, including NASA’s newest Mars rover, Curiosity, but there has been a shift away from the goal of manned moon travel.
In the policy roll out, the Romney campaign writes, “A strong and successful NASA does not require more funding, it needs clearer priorities,” but stays vague on specific space exploration policies.
This is an almost identical message to one Obama gave in a policy speech at the Kennedy Space Center in April 2010, when he said, “We’ve got to do it in a smart way … and we can’t just keep on doing the same old things we’ve been doing and thinking that’s going to get us where we want to go.”
Both the Obama and Romney campaigns also stress the need for private sector companies to invest in space travel and exploration.
The Obama campaign reacted to Ryan’s comment this afternoon by noting that Ryan voted against NASA funding twice in the 2008 and 2010 NASA Authorization Acts, and pointing a critique Romney gave to Newt Gingrich in the primary when he campaigned on the space coast and famously pledged to build a colony on the moon.
“In the past, Mitt Romney has criticized Washington politicians for pandering to Florida voters by making empty promises about space. After his event today, it’s probably time for Romney to have a talk with Paul Ryan. Congressman Ryan has repeatedly voted against NASA funding, and the Romney-Ryan budget’s cuts — if applied across the board — would cut funding for space exploration programs by 19 percent,” Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement.
Although space hasn’t been an issue discussed much by the Romney-Ryan campaign, the rising national debt is. Standing in front of a national debt clock ticking up, the GOP vice presidential nominee unveiled a new power point presentation at the event detailing the debt and how it affects Americans.
It was moments after hitting the president on space, but it remains unclear, besides the campaign’s promise of continued space exploration without “more funding,” how the two issues — space exploration while cutting the national debt — would be accomplished.
As part of the Plan for America’s Job Creators and the American Energy Initiative, the Republican-led House has passed many bills to address high energy costs by boosting production, cutting red tape and streamlining the permitting process so we can create American-made energy more quickly. Three years of President Obama’s failed energy policies have left small businessesstruggling to stay afloat, and American families struggling to make ends meet. These bills will help address high gas prices – which have doubled on President Obama’s watch – making it easier for the private sector to grow and create jobs. Here’s a look at what Republicans have done to harness America’s resources, develop new sources of energy, and put Americans back to work:
PASSING A FIVE-YEAR PLAN FOR MORE JOBS & AMERICAN ENERGY: The Obama administration’s five-year leasing plan blocks off 85 percent of America’s offshore areas, opens no new areas to energy production and provides for the fewest number of new lease sales in history. The House recently voted to replace the president’s plan (H.R. 6082) with “an environmentally responsible, robust plan that supports new offshore” production to help address energy costs and create jobs, Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) explained in an op-ed in The Hill.
UNLOCKING AMERICA’S ENERGY RESOURCES IN ALASKA: The National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act(H.R. 2150), passed as part of the Domestic Energy & Jobs Act(H.R. 4480), will create jobs and help lower energy costs by ensuring that resources in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA) “are developed and transported in a timely, efficient manner,” says Chairman Hastings. The PIONEERS Act (H.R. 3408) would open up a small portion of ANWR’s 19 million acres in the North Slope, an area that was specifically set aside by Congress and President Jimmy Carter for oil and natural gas development. And theJobs and Energy Permitting Act(H.R. 2021) would help end permitting delays by the Obama administration and unlock access to an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Alaska.
REQUIRING THE ADMINISTRATION TO CREATE AN ALL-OF-THE ABOVE PLAN TO MEET AMERICA’S ENERGY NEEDS: The Planning for American Energy Act (H.R. 4381) directs the Secretary of the Interior to develop an all-of the-above energy plan to meet America’s energy needs by establishing targets for all types of energy production on federal lands, including oil, natural gas, coal and renewables.
PROTECTING AMERICA’S ENERGY SECURITY: After years of blocking American energy, President Obama tapped the Strategic Petroleum Reserve last year in a transparently political – and ultimately ineffective - ploy to lower gas prices. The Strategic Energy Production Act(H.R. 4480) ensures that the Obama administration cannot once again tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve without taking steps to increase American energy production.
President Obama claims to support Republicans’ all-of-the-above energy policy, but has yet to urge Senate Democrats to act on these bills that are sitting on their doorstep. With gas prices once again on the rise, Senate Democrats ought to stop stalling these bills so they can be sent to the president for his signature. Learn more about the Republican jobs plan at jobs.gop.gov, and follow the progress of these bills by “liking” the American Energy Initiative on Facebook.
“Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts underwent a bone marrow transplant Thursday to treat MDS, a bone marrow disorder that affects blood cells production.
The transplant was a five-minute procedure in which the donor cells from Robin’s sister, Sally-Ann, were injected into Robin’s system through a syringe.
“Nobody can believe it,” Dr. Gail Roboz, the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center oncologist who is treating Robin, said today on “GMA” of the short procedure.
“People have in their mind all kinds of images of what can happen in a transplant but it’s still an incredibly powerful moment,” she said. “Inside of that syringe are millions and millions of stem cellsthat are now circulating around and trying to find their home and start growing which is what we’re going to be looking for over the next couple of weeks.”
As she underwent the transplant Robin was surrounded by Sally-Ann and another sister, Dorothy, and other loved ones, including “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer and “GMA”‘s weather anchor, Sam Champion.
“It was an emotional, scary and yet exhilarating moment, one that I’ll never forget,” Champion said.
Robin faced the procedure with grace, strength and humor. For 10 days prior to the transplant, she endured rigorous chemotherapy treatments to prepare her system to accept her sister’s cells.
Prior to the procedure, the Rev. A.R. Bernard prayed. Then, slowly and steadily, Dr. Sergio Giralt injected the millions of donor stem cells. After the procedure, Robin and her family and friends broke out in one of her favorite songs, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
“I will now wait and anxiously watch and see what happens,” Robin said after the procedure. “In the next seven to 10 days my counts will continue to go up and we’ll be on to phase three, which will be get out of here. Get out of here. Go home. It’s a journey.”
“I got a good email this morning,” Roboz said. “This morning she [Robin] sounds energized and she wants to be out of bed and the end of the email was “I want to go home” with an exclamation point.”
Robin, according to Roboz, will lack energy in the next few days. She may have persistent indigestion and heartburn, and won’t have much of an appetite. She will have chills, and may have a fever.
“We have to roll with the punches over the next few days because, don’t forget, her systems are down and Sally-Ann’s aren’t up yet so we’re in that in between zone of watching very carefully,” she said. “We are wanting every day to be a good day but we are ready for some bumps in the road.”
Doctors will treat Robin with intravenous fluids, electrolyte replacement and anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal medications, Roboz said. Though she’ll be monitored daily, doctors won’t expect to see significant signs of recovery for about 10 days. They will closely watch her for signs of infection.
Since her immune system was destroyed to make way for the new cells, she would be unable resist infection in her own.
“We actually check blood sometimes several times a day,” Roboz said. “You can start seeing normal blood cells recover and usually what I tell people is when you get three days in a row of the white blood cells coming up, then you’re starting to get excited that the graf is taking hold. The stem cells are talking hold and maybe we’re going to start getting to he finish line and getting out of the hospital.”
In two weeks or so, Robin should begin to feel better. Once the transplanted cells start to do their job, there is generally significant improvement in how patients feel, Roboz said. The primary goal of the transplant is to get Robin’s system to correctly produce white blood cells and platelets.
Even though Robin’s sister was a perfect match, Robin’s system will still try to attack the donor cells. Doctors will work to prevent any symptoms of graft vs. host disease – a rejection of the bone marrow transplant.
Robin’s time in the hospital will be determined by how well her body adapts to the transplant. The markers for recovery typically come at 30 days and then 100 days post-transplant.
Roboz has answered questions the “GMA” staff and fans had about Robin’s treatment, procedure and recovery process. Read her edited answers below.
The day a patient receives a bone marrow transplant is often called “Day Zero.” What are the benchmarks in Robin’s progress from there?
Days 0 – 30: The first 30 days are when the new cells are setting up shop and getting ready to regenerate. So many of my patients ask me, when the catheter is placed in her chest for the transplant, ‘How do these cells know where to go? How do they find the bone marrow?’ These cells have homing signals to help them find where they need to go and start growing and creating an environment for themselves.
“Early recovery” is when the bone marrow is taking hold, and blood is being created normally.
[Until her donated cells engraft and] she starts making blood cells and platelets on her own, she’s completely dependent on platelet and blood transfusions. It’s about filling in for what your system can’t do. It can’t fight infections. The medications have to fight everything that’s out there. You can’t make cells or platelets, so you’ll have transfusions. You can’t eat, so we give you something to keep you nourished.
This is a tough time in the treatment. There are mouth sores, weight loss, diarrhea, food doesn’t taste good, there’s hair loss.
What will her hospital set-up be like during this period?
The team is there the whole time, monitoring how you’re feeling, what your experiencing, constantly. It’s not the “intensive care unit” but it’s intensive care.
What will you be looking for and monitoring in the first 30 days?
We need to get through that period of wiped-out blood counts. We’ll start to see white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets growing on their own. That’s the evidence that the graph is working. That’s when we breathe our initial sigh of relief. She’ll need fewer transfusions, fewer medications, she’ll be getting out of the hospital [after 30 days]. At that point, she’ll still be on significant meds to regulate her immune system, but she’ll be recovering at that point.
Talk about Days 30 to 100.
Starting at that 30 Day mark, she’ll have bone marrow evaluations to see that it’s growing normally.
In the days that follow – until the 100 day benchmark – we’re seeing problems getting solved. She’ll get off the meds, she won’t feel as tired or as gross as you do when you’re on so many pills. She’ll start liking to eat again. She’ll have to remind herself what she likes to do. You’re separated from all that stuff for so long, you have to slowly reintroduce yourself to what you used to do.
Will she want visitors?
Probably not every day. It’s a day to day thing. Well-wishers have to understand that the patient drives what’s best for them. Sometimes it’s best to let someone sleep.
When does she go home?
If all goes well, Robin will go home after 30 days.
When she goes home she won’t be feeling like herself, but we hope she’ll be able to do some exercises, read and focus. It’s important not to put a time stamp on anything. People are variable. Especially the way people are micromanaged in this process. You can’t be worried if you’re slower than others.
When will she feel like herself again?
Transplant is an individual experience. …We can’t tell you how and when someone will feel better. Some people say they didn’t feel 100% for a year. Others are ready to go back out much earlier.
What happens after the 100-Day Mark?
We have to watch patients super-closely for 100 days. We don’t trust anything for the first 100 days. After that, we’re happy. With cancer patients, we use five years as a benchmark to a cure. When someone has had a marrow transplant, we’ll be watching her for life, to see if she’s having symptoms.
How will you monitor when Robin will be able to come back to work?
We’ll need to see high blood counts that don’t require transfusions. She must be totally off antibiotics. Feeling sharp. There’s an extra high bar for her because she has a harder job than most. She needs to have her system all up and running – marrow, immune system, nutrition – everything that was wiped out in chemotherapy has to be restored
Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources announced today that it is “eliminating 1,200 jobs companywide, including 400 with the immediate closing of eight mines in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania,” The Associated Press reports. Company officials cite “a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal” for the closures, adding to the growing list of American energy producers who say the Obama administration’s excessive red tape has contributed to thousands of recent layoffs. Here’s more:
“Murray Energy's Ohio Valley Coal Subsidiary Lays Off 29 Hourly Workers” “Ohio Valley Coal Co., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp. in Pepper Pike, said it has laid off 29 hourly workers at its Powhatan No. 6 Mine in Belmont County, Ohio — a move it blames on ‘the excessive and unnecessary regulatory actions of the Obama administration.’ … He [Ronald Koontz, general manager of Ohio Valley Coal] continued…‘The failed energy policies of the Obama administration and the ‘war on coal’ that the president and his Democrat supporters have unleashed are the direct cause of this layoff.’” (Crain’s Cleveland Business, 7/20/12)
“Two Coal Companies Downsize” “Two area coal companies announced layoffs Friday, saying weakened coal demand and an aggressive regulatory structure forced the idling of several mines. … ‘[T]he escalating costs and uncertainty generated by recently advanced [energy] regulations and interpretations have created a challenging business climate for the entire coal industry,’ he [PBS President and CEO D. Lynn Shanks] said in the statement.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/20/12)
“Coal Jobs Cut; Consol, Others Scaling Back” “[C]ompany officials are laying off 318 West Virginia coal miners, citing pressure from federal environmental regulators. Consol is not alone in reducing its coal operations in West Virginia, as Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources also announced recently plans to cut back their work forces throughout the Mountain State. All three companies blame [federal regulations] for causing a downturn in coal demand, citing this as the reason for reducing their coal operations.” (The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register, 7/8/12)
“Coal Industry Sheds Jobs, Leaving Eastern Kentucky Economy in Tatters” “The impact of an estimated 2,000 mining layoffs this year is hitting home across the mountainous coal counties of Eastern Kentucky. … Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, said whether the rules are in place or coming, ‘the uncertainty they have created in the industry and the reduction they will cause in our power generation market have already begun to take their toll.’ Utilities are deciding to retire coal-burning power plants because of the costs they would face to keep them in service under pending emissions rules, Popovich said.” (Lexington Herald-Leader, 7/29/12)
“Arch Coal to Cut 750 Jobs” “Arch Coal announced it is idling several operations and reducing production at others. The company said these and other recent changes will result in a total workforce reduction of about 750 full-time employees. … That, combined with what coal officials say is an uncertain regulatory environment…is a driving force behind the recent job cuts.” (Charleston Daily Mail, 6/21/12)
The Obama administration’s war on coal is costing jobs and forcing American energy producers to shift “their attention to markets overseas, where coal-fired power plants are being built faster than they are being abandoned in the United States,” says The New York Times. House Republicans are taking action on the Stop the War on Coal Act this week to protect American jobs by blocking some of the Obama administration’s most damaging new regulations and holding the administration accountable for the economic impact of several others. The House has already passed numerous bills aimed at eliminating the excessive regulations that are blocking American energy production and costing jobs. It is up to Senate Democrats to act on these and the more than 30 other bipartisan, House-passed jobs bills they are stalling.
Learn more about what Republicans have done to boost American energy and help create jobshere, and by “liking” the American Energy Initiative on Facebook.