Jeff Bezos’ post-flight remarks go over like a lead balloon
WASHINGTON. Founder of e-commerce mega giant Amazon, billionaire Jeff Bezos, soared 66 miles into the skies above Texas on Wednesday while strapped inside his Blue Horizon rocket.
Ten minutes after liftoff, Bezos’ New Shepard capsule deployed its three parachutes and landed softly among the desert sagebrush and sand. It’s unknown what Alan Shepard, America’s first man in space, said upon his return to Earth in 1961. But Bezos had a few choice words for the world shortly after touching terra firma.
Would they overshadow remarks made by Neil Armstrong before planting his boot treads on the lunar surface?
Donning a ten-gallon cowboy hat on his five-gallon head, Bezos said:
“I want to thank every Amazon employee, and every Amazon customer, because you guys paid for all this.”
Clearly, Bezos thinks he has all the right stuff. But not so much for members of the Twitter mob.
One angry soul tweeted,
“Bezos made over $11 million every hour of the pandemic while Amazon warehouse workers made an avg. $15/hour, spending up to 12 hours on their feet.”
Another advised journalists,
“If you are reporting on the Bezos spaceflight tomorrow, please mention the carbon emissions.”
Yet another opined,
“Has anyone noted that Blue Horizon looks like a large hotdog?”
Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a member of the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, told ABC News,
“Space exploration isn’t a tax-free holiday for the wealthy. Just as normal Americans pay taxes when they buy airline tickets, billionaires who fly into space to produce nothing of scientific value should do the same, and then some.”
The staff at the Washington Post, which Bezos owns, did the unusual. They reported the event straight and without the usual anti-capitalist handwringing. Like insisting it would have been better if Bezos had spent the money feeding the nation’s hungry and housing its homeless.
But the Post did report that the anonymous bidder, who paid $28 million to accompany Bezos on his maiden spaceflight, was a no-show. The person in question said the Post, “could not make it because of scheduling conflicts.”
It’s unclear if the anonymous moneybags managed to sneak a peek at Bezos’ post-flight remarks, cringed, and immediately booked an impromptu trip to an extremely remote, mid-Pacific, luxury resort.
We don’t know because the Post was mum on that subject.
It seems the arguments against billionaires shooting themselves into space are the same as those that faced NASA’s space missions.
An editorial appearing in the Los Angeles Sentinel shortly before the Apollo 11 moon landing, observed,
“Here is a country that cannot pass a rat control bill to protect black babies from rats, but can spend billions to explore rocks, craters, and dust thousands of miles away.”
President John F. Kennedy and a Democrat-controlled Congress thought “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth” was a swell idea. But a Gallup poll found most Americans (58 percent) opposed the plan.
And why not? It was average Americans who the president and Congress asked to foot the bill. And in 1961, the average American family took in around $5,700 annually.
The early Mercury missions (1959-1963) cost US taxpayers the equivalent of $2.2 billion. And when adjusted for inflation, Apollo missions 1-17 cost them $257 billion.
That said, we must remember that Bezos used his own money to rocket himself 66 miles above his ten-gallon hat. Not one penny of taxpayer cash went toward this narcissistic, Fourth-of-July display.
But Bezos owes a debt of thanks to those that came before him. Like Albert, the rhesus monkey. In June of 1949, the US military shot Albert into space aboard a captured German V-2 rocket. Albert soared 88 miles into the sky, 20 miles higher than Bezos.
Unfortunately, the rocket had no parachute and Albert died on impact.
A heroic monkey who gave his life so a space capsule bearing a billionaire primate-like Jeff Bezos might parachute safely to Earth and live.
About the Author:
Originally from Los Angeles, Steven M. Lopez has been in the news business for more than thirty years. He made his way around the country: Arizona, the Bay Area, and now resides in South Florida. A cigar and bourbon aficionado, Steven is a political staff writer for Communities Digital News and an incredibly talented artist.
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