By Pat Stacey
Perhaps you saw video of the final flight of the space shuttle Discovery. The shuttle fleet has been silent for a year now and Discovery was ferried on the back of a 7-47 from Florida to Washington D-C where it will become part of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. The piggy-back flight for Discovery is truly the end of an era. But I am reminded that this also marks the end of an economic era in that the Texas economy and Texans in general were all benefactors of the space program. Thousands of jobs in Texas have ended or will be ending as Texas gets short-changed by the Obama administration. There are 3 shuttles in the fleet and they will find permanent homes on the west and east coast but not in Texas. President Obama's decision makers seem to be challenging Texans to replace jobs and grow the economy through our own merits and, quite frankly, I believe we are up for the task. But it does not make the shuttle snub right. Mission Control in Houston has been the fulcrum of NASA for 50 years and politics are seemingly causing this once vibrant giant laboratory to grow close to silent. Texas deserves better. But we won't get it. But we will replace those jobs that have been phased out, we will grow our own economy and we will prosper. Finally, we are left to watch the Chinese develop their space program and we have to catch a ride on Russian rockets – a far cry from the national identity that once was the American space program. We have lost jobs here and we also have a black eye, but we will overcome and it will make for a Better East Texas.