"We're in a very different world today. The military and political competition has largely receded into the background; today we are primarily engaged in an economic competition. We increasingly live in a global economy where rising wealth and living standards also mean ever- heightened levels of competition from places we never before considered. There are now more software engineers in Bangalore, India than in Silicon Valley. Japan, Taiwan and South Korea generate more than one-quarter as many patents as the U.S. does each year - and their percentage is growing rapidly. The products of this innovation are all around us, in what has become a world marketplace. How many of you have a cellphone, television, or car from a U.S. manufacturer?
I don't think I need to spend more time on these points; they are superbly treated in Tom Friedman's The World is Flat, and in the report, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm", by the National Academy of Engineering. But I think the bottom line is that we all want our economy to continue to grow. We want better lives for our children. We want to be able to compete in the world. But economic growth and competitive success result primarily from the introduction of new products and services, or from finding more efficient ways to produce existing ones. Economic growth is driven by technological innovation. Societies that foster it lead the pack, while others lag behind."
"I just don't get it. Once again Mike Griffin went out of his way to diminish the history - and legacy - behind Barbara Morgan's presence on the STS-118 mission. Moments ago, in a post flight press conference, Griffin sought to reduce the media's emphasis on Barbara Morgan's global notoriety as a teacher and educator by saying "Once upon a time she was a teacher" and "Barbara Morgan is not an Educator-Astronaut".
Editor's note: Mike Griffin talks about this crisis we face - one wherein we will need the smartest, best-equipped workforce we can muster in order to compete in a global economy. So, how do you get that smart workforce? Education. So what does Mike Griffin do as Administrator? He cuts educational programs at NASA across the board. He then takes the global visibility represented by Barbara Morgan's flight - that of a teacher in space - and goes out of his way to diminish its importance.
Today, Griffin said that it is "scary" that we do not have "our own folks" (American citizens) in classrooms where so many non-American students can be found. So what does he do? He cuts education programs. Griffin also talked about inspiring kids to become a "zoologists" - about "bringing plants to another worlds" yet he has obliterated NASA's funding for such things. How can kids be inspired by something NASA no longer does?
This is pure hypocrisy from NASA's leader.