Spring 1961—President John F. Kennedy tells Congress the U.S. should set a goal of putting a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth by the end of the decade.
Lessons from how the U.S. shot down its shoot-for-the-moon strategy
Summer 1961—The House Democratic leadership presents the Affordable But Barely Doable Moon Shot Act of 1961 to members. The bill runs 33,765 pages. When the printer delivers copies to Congress, the Capitol building sinks 9 inches. The Senate promises to come up with its own legislation someday, maybe.
1962—Republicans denounce the Democratic plan as a government takeover of outer space.
1968—Lawmakers hold a series of town hall meetings to discuss space exploration. These gatherings are disrupted by protesters who say man wasn’t meant to fly and that the president was born to vampire parents in Transylvania.
1969—A group of congressmen known as Blue Moon Democrats say they will support the plan only if private contractors have sole rights to space. The Blue Dogs receive $3 billion in corporate donations.
1973—The Soviet Union lands a man on the moon.
1975—Democrats propose financing the space program by taxing disco music, a move blocked by a coalition of Donna Summer and the Bee Gees.
1980—Healthcare “expert” Betsy Hatfield goes on the Wolf News network to say that she has studied the entire House bill while wearing a tinfoil hat. She finds conclusive proof that the bill calls for senior citizens to be exiled to lunar nursing homes.
1983—Japan puts a man on the moon.
1985—Anti-government protesters known as “coffee grinders” because of their overcaffeinated behavior hold rallies blasting the dormant moon program. They liken the president to Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan and a variety of cartoon characters, including the Joker and Elmer Fudd.
1989—Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins retire from the space program after spending 25 years reading magazines in NASA’s lobby.
1990—Britain, Canada, France and Germany put men on the moon.
1991—The Senate Oversight of Space Committee, or SOS, approves legislation to put a man on the moon. It contains no money for the project, and so the matter is presented to the Senate Really Powerful Money Committee for financing.
1995—Sen. Lax Caucus, chairman of the Really Powerful Money Committee, says he is committed to achieving a bipartisan moon bill. He forms a “gang of six” lawmakers from the nation’s least populated states to draft the bill. Republicans send three crash dummies to represent them at the negotiations.
1999—China puts a man on the moon.
2001—Sen. Caucus presents his bill to the Really Powerful Money Committee. The committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Buck Treeley, announces he will vote for the bill if all other GOP members will. The other Republicans say they will consider the bill after they vote against it.
2005—The Common Planet Fund issues a study reporting that the moon is drifting away from Earth.
2007—Caucus offers special interest groups their own crater on the moon in return for support.
2009—In the latest plan, Caucus and the Blue Moon Democrats propose going halfway to the moon and then turning back to Earth.
2010—The U.S. shuts down its lunar program after Bangladesh puts a man on the moon.
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