Patterico's Pontifications

7/13/2010

Restoring NASA’s Vision and Budget

Filed under: Space — DRJ @ 12:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It appears Congress doesn’t share President Obama’s vision for NASA:

“The commerce committee will begin considering the legislation, seen below, Thursday. It represents a significant departure from President Obama’s remake of NASA proposed in February.”

The Houston Chronicle blog attributes much of the legislation to input from Florida Senator Bill Nelson, a former astronaut “who many on the Hill look to for guidance on space issues.” The text of the Senate bill is at the link and it doesn’t mention reaching out to the Muslim world, which is consistent with yesterday’s statement by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Gibbs said NASA administrator Charles Bolden was wrong to say that reaching out to the Muslim world was a top priority of the U.S. space agency. Nevertheless, Bolden’s admirable career suggests he isn’t the sort of man who would lie when he told Al-Jazeera television that President Obama said one of his top priorities should be to “find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering.”

It seems Bolden just got thrown under the bus.

— DRJ

69 Responses to “Restoring NASA’s Vision and Budget”

  1. Mr. Bolden seems to have stepped on his umbilical cord, cutting off the flow of oxy to his spaced suit (sic).

    AD - RtR/OS! (9f28e2)

  2. I think President Obama and his advisers have beliefs to be spoken in public and a different set of beliefs shared in private. Anyone who confuses the two is apt to be thrown under the bus.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  3. It seems Bolden just got thrown under the bus.

    Well the shuttle has been referred to as a ‘space bus’ a number of times. So in one way, the bus line is being proposed to be extended for a year.

    And that way it’s still around to throw him under.

    rtrski (b47753)

  4. Ummm…

    Given the history of the present denizens of the White House, I’m betting that Bolden didn’t lie.

    Seriously.

    Anon 1:50 (ab0a05)

  5. Targeted statement, complete bullshit for gullible Al Jazeera viewers’ consumption – because, y’know, Muslims are stupid and would never check to see if we’re blatantly lying to them.

    And no US news outlet would ever monitor AJ.

    Dumb. Very dumb.

    Frank Drebbin (8096f2)

  6. In many ways this is the worst of both worlds. A good chunk of the money that was suppose to go to the commercial space projects and for technology development was cut. At the same time the boondoggle that was Ares I was cut as well. So…what are we to do?

    One thing I do wish is that the congress critters would quit saying that are for exploration or national prestige. Instead, just say NASA is a jobs program for their districts/states.

    tps (dedf5d)

  7. I have always believed that the manned program is mostly national prestige. The scientists would much rather spend the money on unmanned which will make far more discoveries. Nobody but Obama wants it to be Muslim outreach although I would go for some one-way space flights.

    Mike K (0ef8c3)

  8. We should start a rumor that the 12th Imam is in exile on the Moon….
    All the Shia’s would want to go to bask in his Glory;
    and the Sunni’s would want to go to kill him.

    One-Way Flights Only!

    AD - RtR/OS! (9f28e2)

  9. the manned space program is an absolute necessity if we are ever going to get off this rock.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  10. Well, algebra is an Arabic word and without algebra there would be no space program.

    Quizz:

    Mohammad can behead three infidels in one hour and Hussein can stone two fornicators in on hour. If Mohammad and Hussein work for three hours how many people will they be able to bring closer to the religion of peace?

    Huey (efe02b)

  11. Comment by Huey — 7/13/2010 @ 1:52 pm

    Everyone who is watching.

    AD - RtR/OS! (9f28e2)

  12. All the muslims know about rocketry would fill an RPG.

    Jim (844377)

  13. Victor Davis Hanson channels Charles Bolden …

    We are not killing “terrorists” or “Islamists” in Waziristan; instead our “overseas contingency operations” are aimed at reminding Muslims that their own past contributions to science have led to breakthroughs like Hellfire missiles.

    Neo (7830e6)

  14. I actually feel sorry for the man – he was just carrying water for his boss, and now he gets the shaft.

    Dmac (52f1e4)

  15. Huey — none. Might drive some away, in fact.

    htom (412a17)

  16. It is not Obama’s fault that beginning in months, the United States will no longer be a space-faring nation. That came because of failed decision making in NASA and the Bush administration before him. However, Obama has failed to address the issue and the United States intentionally plans on not being a space-faring nation for a decade and a half.

    I’m deeply ashamed.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  17. As previously noted, what many fail to realize (or deliberately ignore to score petty political points) about this skirmish is that it’s part of a bigger battle. For better — or worse — Bolden was simply following the newly proposed trajectory for the 52 year old civilian space agency, under the inclusive, ‘new space’ privatization space policy initiatives, recently released by the WH, and articulated by President Obama on April 15 at the Kennedy Space Center. It was a speech that could have stirred the bones of Ronald Reagan– or Ayn Rand. And it presents quite a dilemma for conservatives. For on one hand, embracing Obama’s ‘new space’ privatization policy essentially ends the historied, though expensive, big government funded and managed manned space program as Americans have known it for half a century; you know, the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and space shuttle/ISS programs that carried Americans into a leadership position space. Most of the experienced engineer/managers from NASA’s glory days– the people who actually managed and achieved the moon landings and other successes- opposed the ‘Obamaspace’ plan and have published their positions. But not all. And this new plan does not sit well with many GOP/conservative members of Congress in states where facilities were staffed working on the recently tabled (or killed, depending on your POV) ‘return to the moon to stay and explore’ project, the Constellation Program. Especially in an election year. (This legislation may just kick the problem past the election cycle.) Particularly those politicians in states along the Gulf Coast, where jobs are needed now more than ever given current events. And a significant number of space-related facilities are based there, including those where shuttle operations are being terminated.

    On the other hand, Constellation did have setbacks- both financial and technical. Under funded since the Bush administration first proposed the project, the Ares launch vehicle, a solid rocket design championed by former administrator Griffin, was greeted with mixed reviews after an October, ’09 test rocket flew, as private rocket companies were ramping up in competition. And there are existing expendable launch vehicles that could be adapted to carry the Orion spacecraft, a crew and/or cargoed vehicle planned as a ‘general purpose’ spacecraft which was supposed to be in the pipeline to replace shuttle. It was under funded as well, and is currently in limbo, to be redesigned as an escape capsule for the ISS or canceled completely. If it is terminated, it will be the first time since the late ’50s, when the X-15 was turned over to NASA and its pilots earned astronaut wings flying to the edge of space, that there will be no manned space vehicle in work designed/purchased and operated by NASA. All this means good technology-based jobs in a lot of states in a recession/depression. There is chatter of extending shuttle flights- but that’s expensive. And plans are to keep a trickle of flights up to service and crew the ISS with Americans, via purchased seats (estimates range around $50 million per seat per astronaut) aboard the reliable, 40-plus year old Russian Soyuz and, as contracted and proposed, private contracted servicing using the services of SpaceX hardware –the still untested Dragon spacecraft, launched a top SpaceX’s recently test-flown Falcon 9 rocket.And at KSC, President Obama articulated this more inclusive NASA policy (hence the genesis for Bolden’s comments), research-driven, long range, albeit somewhat nebulous, plans for visiting asteroids, rocket engine research and orbiting Mars in 2030 or so.

    Many seasoned, experienced shuttle and Apollo era managers and crews, including Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, have voiced concern that this ‘new space’ plan is little more than a ‘mission to nowhere’ which allows America’s leadership in space to simply fade away. They advocate a NASA managed and government funded return to and exploring the moon as a logical step to perfecting operations in near Earth space before making an expedition to Mars. Others, including Armstrong’s crew mate, Buzz Aldrin, support Obama’s vision for the future of space. Space exploration is a luxury, not a necessity and as the Age of Austerity approaches, it’s possible Obama’s – (or any other president’s, for that matter) long range plans will end up orbiting for eternity in the infamous circular file. And it is fair to say that some current private space enterprises show promise — but investment has been hard to generate for three decades. Given the largess of capital needed for operating private space ventures, the question for our generation is if it is worth investing in that promise at the cost of abandoning the government funded and managed civilian space agency. For that is really what is at stake.

    Americans equate NASA with putting people into space. If the manned space program is gutted from NASA by a Congress in agreement with the WH, there will be little reason to fund the civilian space agency in out years as budgets shrink and the demand for discretionary funding rises. And the public will agree. There isn’t a politician alive who wouldn’t crow over the chance to shutter a federal agency in lean times. It will be easy to dissolve NASA and blend any esoteric research it has on going into other existing agencies (DoD, FAA, NOAA, etc.) It has happened before. The NACA was created in 1917 for aviation and dissolved in 1958- its assets folded into a then new agency- NASA. It’s worth noting, too, that over the 80-plus year history of rocketry, in various political guises around the world, it was chiefly big government rocket development programs that funded and moved the technology forward. Private enterprise was the follow along, cashing in where it could. Bolden, a former shuttle commander w/a distinguished military career, is not naturally at ease in the PR arena as administrator. Few are and most need schooled in it. Even fewer NASA administrators have come from a military background as well. Still, over the years, NASA has been blessed with some individuals who’ve been very adept at it. You know who they are. Bear in mind that in 1985, during the Reagan administration, NASA flew a Saudi prince, (a Muslim) aboard space shuttle Discovery; a more appropriate individual to be performing ‘outreach’ to that part of the world than the administrator. Had Bolden been speaking to a group of Eagle Scouts, he’d have likely have been advised to tailor his comments for that target audience as well.

    So the issue really isn’t Bolden, but whether American space efforts will continue to be bold. That may be changing. The question is, for our time, if it truly is change you can believe in.

    DCSCA (e6df38)

  18. Obama is no leader. He would rather play golf. He has about fifteen people who do the Presidency job for him. Likely, one of them told Bolden that nonsense and was later outvoted by the rest of the junta.

    nk (db4a41)

  19. Conservatives don’t give a rat’s ass for sicence. They just want to stroke their…missiles.

    JEA (2c3a8c)

  20. One thing I do wish is that the congress critters would quit saying that are for exploration or national prestige. Instead, just say NASA is a jobs program for their districts/states.

    Amen!

    This is just another reminder that Congress thinks its real job is funneling taxpayer’s money to the politically favored, and that’s been the situation under both Democratic and Republican control.

    kishnevi (1afea2)

  21. JEA, your usual juvenile contribution.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  22. Conservatives don’t give a rat’s ass for sicence.

    Of course they don’t care about sicence. Neither do libertarians like myself. Why would I care about sicence? Only a troll would care about sicence. I’ve never heard of it in my life, and I’m old enough to remember the first moonwalk very clearly.

    kishnevi (1afea2)

  23. SPQR–you are overestimating the maturity of JEA’s comment.

    kishnevi (1afea2)

  24. kishnevi, correction noted.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  25. Did any of you read DCSCA’s spew ? Was there a rational comment in there ?

    Mike K (0ef8c3)

  26. And it presents quite a dilemma for conservatives.

    The only dilemma is from the ding-a-ling in the White House, once again, doing something so foolish it both astonishes and boggles the mind.

    His thrusting NASA into the middle of a whacked-out form of affirmative action (Obama: “I really, really want people to think I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Muslim!! Screw the doubters! I’m coming out of the closet!!”) is merely a variation of the truly ludicrous way he bowed — like a damn house servant — in front of not just one dignitary (ie, the King of Saudi Arabia), but another major dignitary too (ie, the emperor of Japan).

    There is something defective about the mind of the guy now in the Oval Office.

    Mark (411533)

  27. “Had Bolden been speaking to a group of Eagle Scouts, he’d have likely have been advised to tailor his comments for that target audience as well.”

    Disco Stu – The Muslim outreach BS is an extension of Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo and has nothing to do the the crap you spewed above. It has been pushed internally at NASA well before Obama’s FABULOUS April 15 speech. Try to stay on topic for a change.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  28. That’s what JEA told them when he was caught stroking a rat’s ass with his missile hanging out: “Honest, it’s for science!”

    Icy Texan (4a2bd8)

  29. I really feel that the end of NASA was written with the adaption of the Shuttle, which ended any USAian manned space program that was higher than Low Earth Orbit. Someone else will build the beanstalks, and charge us to use them (if we can afford it.) (Note that whomever builds the first is probably going to build the rest, it’s the first one that’s expensive.) ‘Tis sad.

    I think that Gen. Bolden was saying what he was told to say; it wasn’t meant for public consumption here, and so ….

    htom (412a17)

  30. I share kishnevi’s exasperation that NASA is a huge pork giveaway no matter what party is in control.

    And that is actually kinda saving the organization right not, but gives me little hope for our nation’s future. We’re out of money. the system is designed to make it impossible to bring spending and government scope back to sanity.

    He has about fifteen people who do the Presidency job for him. Likely, one of them told Bolden that nonsense and was later outvoted by the rest of the junta.

    Comment by nk

    No doubt, this is exactly what happened. This administration is a committee of some radical or at least nutty people. If Obama has simply kept up the centrism idea with a firm hand on his subordinates, he would have 75% approval and the capability to make far more long term changes to the country in his true liberal direction. The way things are now, repealing almost everything he’s done is a winning political advert.

    I want the USA to have a great space program. But the way our congress decides how to fund this project makes NASA a complete mess. The solution, of course, is a strong leader.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  31. Disco Stu used to actually provide links to these moderate-liberal opinion slabs that he cuts & pastes into his posts. Perhaps he now wishes to bs us into thinking that he comes up with them all on his own.

    Icy Texan (4a2bd8)

  32. Re 30: I seem to recall that someone posted this, or a very similar piece, in the earlier NASA thread; whoever did it there gave a Media Matters post as the source.

    kishnevi (3721d8)

  33. Being a cynic and all, I think that NASA actually had two original missions.

    One was for the public and that was sitting humans in tin cans and seeing if they could get into space.

    The other less public mission was to design ICBMs that would hit Moscow instead of Lisbon.

    Although there is no actual evidence of the second mission, NASA has been successful in the first, albeit with obvious failures.

    So, some forty to fifty years later, everybody is wandering around wondering what to do with NASA now.

    Personally, I don’t see an epic “Manhattan Project” to develop warp drive on the horizon, so I kind of wish they would concentrate on stopping another Tunguska or perhaps some sort of effort in cleaning up orbiting debris or maybe turning over space exploration to private enterprise for some truly astonishing advances.

    That’s just me.

    I did like JEA’s funny talking point, however. It’s always a joy to see the left exemplify exactly what it is.

    Ag80 (363d6e)

  34. Obama’s decision to cancel Constellation was entirely appropriate. Constellation/Ares was a plan to build an old-style heavy lift vehicle at enormous expense to redo the missions of the Apollo era at enormous expense.

    However, it was a huge platter of pork for well-entrenched bureaucracies and contractors. Notably ATK – the new Congressional plan basically commits the U.S. to relying on ATK SRBs forever (at enormous expense).

    Rich Rostrom (42578d)

  35. “I did like JEA’s funny talking point, however.”

    Ag80 – Exactly, given that the left has been nailed fudging the global warming science.

    Kagan got caught altering the medical conclusions on partial birth abortion.

    Salazar lied about the scientific conclusions behind the Gulf drilling moratorium.

    The EPA silenced its own scientist to come up with its BS CO2 is a pollutant finding.

    The list goes on and on.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  36. Daleyrocks, don’t forget my favorite: Timothy Geithner who cheated on his taxes.

    Pons Asinorum (7bcd43)

  37. Pons – I forgot the science of taxes. D’Oh!

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  38. Pons !!!

    Teh Narrative is more important to the Left than science. Teh Narrative trumps science. And math. And logic. And honesty.

    Did you see where the folks at NASA are basically calling out Gibbs and the White House? York’s article is hysterical.

    JD (2fdfce)

  39. Oh, and IMP is off his meds again.

    JD (2fdfce)

  40. I’ll only believe NASA’s credibility is completely restored when noted warmening hack Hansen is shown the door.

    Dmac (52f1e4)

  41. If anyone wants more information on why I think unmanned space travel was more important, look at this.

    Today, Voyager 1 hits a mission milestone of operating continuously for 12,000 days. The spacecraft launched on September 5, 1977, while Jimmy Carter was president, and has now traveled 14 billion miles.

    Voyager 1 made its closest approach to Jupiter in March 1979, coming to within about 217,000 miles of the planet’s center and making detailed observations of Jupiter’s moons. During its flyby of Saturn in November 1980, the spacecraft’s cameras and remote sensing instruments revealed stunning images and information about Saturn’s rings and atmosphere, as well as its giant moon Titan. In early 1990, Voyager 1 captured the now-famous image known as “Pale Blue Dot.” As the spacecraft was on its way out of the solar system, astronomer Carl Sagan commanded it to turn its camera and take a picture of planet Earth dangling in the vastness of space.

    By early 2005, Voyager 1 was about 94 times farther from the Sun than Earth is. Within the next five years, the spacecraft will enter interstellar space, where it will study the boundaries of the solar system, including the Kuiper Belt. Long-life nuclear batteries are expected to power Voyager 1 until at least 2020, when it will be more than 13 billion miles from Earth.

    Pretty good engineering in 1977.

    Mike K (0ef8c3)

  42. It is not Obama’s fault that beginning in months, the United States will no longer be a space-faring nation.

    America can
    NOT do it without some help
    it takes a village

    ColonelHaiku (9cf017)

  43. SPQR – If Republicans really gave a damn about scientific endeavors, why do they continuously cut education funding? Why did they block a bill which would train more scientists and technicians just last month? Why do they oppose alternate energy technology? Why do they continue to dismiss the scientific findings of globl warming? Why the condescending and paranoid criticism of the CDC during the flu pandemic?

    You’re really going to sit there and tell me the Dept of Energy should be eliminated (like Angle and other conservatives propose) while you advocate for NASA?

    Stop the goddamn hypocrisy. The GOP couldn’t care less about science. In fact, conservatives are about as anti-science as it gets.

    JEA (b561f6)

  44. JEA, every single one of those arguments assumes your method would work.

    You assume more ‘education funding’ would help education. You assume global warming is proven. Etc etc.

    It sounds like you’re the anti-intellectual. You complain about paranoia and then say conservatives are as anti-science as it gets. You’re a nutcase.

    Science != agreeing with you.

    Global warming is one great example where those who call for a scientific method, honesty, and access to data are labeled ‘anti-science’.

    You guys just want more government intrusion and money for democrat pet projects. You’re the ones who seem to have a problem with actual science.

    And let me give an additional laugh to your crap about alternative energy. It wouldn’t be hard to have clean nuclear power. You’re probably referring to unicorn energy, where we spend billions or trillions on boondoggles we know will not actually be an alternative for our present energy needs.

    It’s all about spending money we don’t have, for you, not actual science. I think we’ve seen enough from the democrats about science. Say, didn’t the Federal Courts say Obama lied about the scientific risks associated with drilling? What about his support for actual education reform (alternatives for kids trapped in awful public schools?). What about Michael Mann and Al Gore?

    The reason you engage is ridiculous hyperbole is that you have no better case than to pound the table.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  45. JEA, you don’t like “goddam hypocrisy” ? That’s pretty ironic given your juvenile horse manure. I don’t like your “goddamn” logical fallacies. Not to mention all the strawmen you litter the floor with.

    SPQR (b298a4)

  46. Our spending levels are simply horrible right now. We keep this crap up and there won’t be any room for spending on things we need.

    We need to eliminate the worst examples, including the counterproductive departments, education spending that’s completely screwing up education, etc. It’s hardly anti-science to support cutting the budget so that our government doesn’t collapse. By showing courage and leadership in the face of pork and greed and JEA’s nasty bigotry, we can have a sustainable government that will achieve a hell of a lot more.

    Just look at NASA… we’re seeing the objectives follow the needs of congressman who want to spend money for the sake of spending money. Eventually, if we continue down that path, we will suffer a collapse in our government. People who tell you this isn’t true are either stupid or lying.

    Look at MD’s attitude. He wants efficient spending that is productive in increasing the corpus of human knowledge instead of simply spending money on stupid crap. JEA’s reply is to start screaming like his aneurysm just popped.

    Strange that every single facet of science that he values requires a bloated government to be unopposed. Like a cult’s God. It’s almost as though scientific progress means nothing to him. Resembles the NAACP’s twisting of the concept of racism to mean opposing democrats.

    Democrats like JEA understand this. You show me someone who supports the current spending levels, and I’ll show you someone who simply doesn’t give a crap about sustaining the most important programs.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  47. JEA is anti-thinking.

    JD (621acc)

  48. “Global warming is one great example where those who call for a scientific method, honesty, and access to data are labeled ‘anti-science’.”

    The ‘climate-gate’ scientists have been exonerated by FIVE different investigations. What do anti-science conservatives say? “It’s all part of the big conspiracy.” Exhibit one – Ace of Spades just yesterday. So excuse me me for thinking this NASA line is a bunch of HORSE SHIT.

    JEA (b561f6)

  49. It’s like telling a hobo he is opposed to eating when the hobo refuses to buy a dinner at a 5 star restaurant with his last $20.

    The Democrats have ruined this country’s fiscal sustainability. It wasn’t exactly great in the Bush era. I was upset about it. But things are downright ruinous today with regard to spending.

    We can’t afford to spend endless amounts of money on ‘global warming’ and ‘alternative energy’ and ‘education’. We need to spend money on the environment, education, and energy in ways that actually do something more than fund government control. That’s a scientific way of looking at spending.

    JEA’s way is, as JD says, anti-thinking. He just wants to demonize one side without any actual analysis.

    A limited government approach is not racist, it is not anti-science, it is not evil. When people ignore the actual argument for limited government and insist it’s really about some secret and insane hatred of blacks or science, they are doing that because they are dishonest.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  50. They are not necessarily dishonest, Dustin. Many are just plain-old stupid.

    JD (621acc)

  51. I have such a hard time accepting that people are that stupid, JD. Maybe the NAACP really beleives that the Tea Partiers are racist, despite actually proving they aren’t with their stunt at Longworth.

    Maybe Michael Mann really thought all those papers he had boycotted from the peer review journals were anti science somehow, as he distorted the data and gloated about his power.

    But when the argument so transparently hinges on ‘you’re for cutting spending!!!! you must be a demon!’, I start to suspect the person saying that knows they are not all that interested in anything but a hugely encompassing government.

    That break in logic is hard for me to ignore. The dupes who don’t actually make clear, as JEA did, that they want spending spending spending…sure, they often are just fools.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  52. JEA’s first error lies in thinking that if you spend money, you will always get improvement, and that if the government spends lots of money, it will always get really big improvement.

    That this is not so can be seen simply by a look at the results of TARP and the stimulus package. The government spend a whole lot of money, and got–well, just look around and you can see that our economy is now the best in American history, right? Not!

    But of course JEA will simply tell you that we need to spend even more money.

    JEA’s second error lies in thinking that government involvement is always a good thing. Apparently he doesn’t realize that the best way to improve scientific education in this country is to get the government as uninvolved as possible.

    Oh, and haven’t I just boiled down progressivism to its core principles: government involvement is always good and government spending always solves problems?

    kishnevi (8174b2)

  53. 51.JEA’s first error lies in thinking

    FTFY!

    Icy Texan (c6cfbb)

  54. “If Republicans really gave a damn about scientific endeavors, why do they continuously cut education funding?”

    JEA – Look up what Bush did to education spending, moron. Republicans care about HONEST science, unlike your side’s scam artists that I pointed out above.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  55. Oh yeah, good catch, Daleyrocks. Not my preference at all, but the GOP certainly doesn’t cut education funding continuously.

    I don’t think the problem with education is specifically funding. A lot of school administration is like a puzzle for maximizing funding at the expense of simply running a school.

    Personally, I’d just flunk people who can’t pass a test at the end of the year, every year, and every major subject. And they would graduate with the ability to do a skilled job… no exceptions for the college bound.

    I mentioned this in the single education course I took at the University (an elective for me). The entire class thought it was cruel to people who can’t speak the language or are naturally stupid. There’s your problem… and I think it’s cruel to make a high school education worthless in order to preserve the illusion of universal success.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  56. This post is mainly to see if my computer is functioning.

    JEA said:

    SPQR – If Republicans really gave a damn about scientific endeavors, why do they continuously cut education funding? Why did they block a bill which would train more scientists and technicians just last month? Why do they oppose alternate energy technology? Why do they continue to dismiss the scientific findings of globl warming? Why the condescending and paranoid criticism of the CDC during the flu pandemic?

    You’re really going to sit there and tell me the Dept of Energy should be eliminated (like Angle and other conservatives propose) while you advocate for NASA?

    Stop the goddamn hypocrisy. The GOP couldn’t care less about science. In fact, conservatives are about as anti-science as it gets.

    I suppose the easiest answer is because Republicans, or in my case, conservatives, don’t actually believe the only solution to every problem is government.

    Besides, conservatives don’t believe in cutting funding for education. Education is one of the most important things in the world. Disagreeing on how taxpayer dollars are spent on education is the question.

    I’m all for investment in alternative energy sources, but I want it spent wisely and nothing the government has done in this endeavor indicates to me that wise has anything to do with it.

    You seem to operate under the delusion that the entire industrial revolution, that affords you the opportunity to post on this ether, suddenly arose from a government program designed to allow your proclamations.

    No it didn’t. It arose from the combination of government and industrial cooperation, unmatched in the history of mankind.

    And, as a matter of fact, I would like to see the Department of Energy eliminated, because it doesn’t do a god-damned thing that other agencies already have the power to enforce.

    Government does have the power to enable, but it does not have the power to create. That is the province of the individual. If you don’t understand that, I hope you will be happy, but I don’t want to live in that world.

    When exactly, did it become the government’s job to finance innovation? What created this obligation, when mankind has been able to do so for centuries without the help of the U.S. government.

    Your whole assumption rests on funding bills that may or may not be legitimate and the omniscience of the government to do what is right. And you do it on a computer created through free enterprise without realizing the irony.

    Ag80 (363d6e)

  57. Man will not venture substantially into space as long as NASA stands in charge.

    The only existing route into space is via either private corporations, or some other national agency — be it Japan, China, Russia, or Europe (the last is just put in there because they DO have some possibility in that regard, unlikely though it seems).

    Personal anecdote:

    In 1992, I attended the WorldCon, in Orlando, FL. That’s the “World Science Fiction Convention”. Needless to say, a lot of space backers there, and fairly vocal ones. NASA usually is there in force, but even more so with Orlando only 40 minutes away from Cape Kennedy.

    During one panel discussion, a number of mid-level NASA engineers were asked a question, and the response was, basically, that, under no possible circumstances could NASA put a man on the moon within 10 years.

    “What?” was the stunned response. “You mean you don’t believe the will to do it is there…?”

    No, they flat out could not.No matter the will or the funding.

    So — in 1992, NASA engineers were saying that they could not achieve with 1990s technology what NASA already did in 1960 with 1960s technology.

    Mind you, I’m not claiming it would be simple, or that it wouldn’t require a great deal of will to achieve the task — but the idea that it CAN’T be done shows that NASA’s “Can Do!” attitude from the 60s, which had been replaced by an arrogant “Can’t Fail” attitude leading up to the Challenger disaster, had morphed into a “Nope, Just Can’t!” attitude by that point.

    I gave up on NASA after that. They had replaced their bloated, arrogant bureaucracy with something even worse, a totally useless mindset of utter defeatism.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (79d71d)

  58. “Government does have the power to enable, but it does not have the power to create.”

    Which, of course, is the reason NASA doesn’t truly exist (and we never really landed on the moon, either), not to mention the Tenn Valley Authority, the GPS satellite system, Hoover Dam, the interstate highway system, the Library of Congress, airports, jet airplanes, the atomic bomb, etc. They definitely don’t exist because now I know, thanks to AG80, the government has no power to create anything. Especially anything that works.

    “Besides, conservatives don’t believe in cutting funding for education.”

    Hate to burst your rainbow-world bubble, but the GOP congress has consistently cut funds for higher education and made obtaining and paying student loans more and more difficult since they were in power. The conservatives’ beloved Gov. Christie, here in NJ, has slashed funding for state universities, which is where most people in the lower and middle classes get their degrees. Conservatives: penny-wise and pound foolish – as usual.

    Then conservatives have the f-cking nerve to talk about the US losing ground to other countries. So, please stop.

    As for “You seem to operate under the delusion that the entire industrial revolution, that affords you the opportunity to post on this ether, suddenly arose from a government program designed to allow your proclamations.”

    I’m interested to know – when did I say that? Anything even remotely resembling that? It’s amazing how often assumptions are made here, how often words are put in my mouth which I never wrote.

    JEA (1eb0e1)

  59. “Instead of inspiration the Democrat Party delivers shopworn socialist solution, numbing boredom, sheer despair, intellectual and spiritual poverty, sexism, and the worst sort of racism seen since it gave birth to the Klu Klux Klan. Classical racism loathes “the other.” The new racism of the Democrat requires one loathe oneself first and last, and to accuse those that do not of racism. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, “The Democrats want to get you down in the hole that they’re in.”

    Instead of telling us what sort of New Jerusalem it would have us build as our City on the Hill, the party requires that its members root about in the ghettos of the soul, to ponder the rightness or wrongness of the very babies of its opponents. Instead of waving the bright banners of America triumphant, the Party dons the rags and bones of defeatism and appeasement and moves about the country like a tarted-up Typhoid Mary, infecting all who kiss its chancred lips. As a party, it’s a poxed whore for whom no condom is thick enough. It’s a death trip.”

    – Vanderleun

    GeneralMalaise (9cf017)

  60. Bill Nelson was not an astronaut. He was a passenger on a publicity ride for his political career.

    charles green (43c9ce)

  61. Wow JEA,

    It’s pointed out that republicans do not consistently cut education funding, but are in favor of cutting it when it’s a wasteful failure, and your rebuttal is simply to deny the facts already demonstrated.

    We get it, you’re a partisan who hates any spending cuts, even ones that are obviously warranted. New Jersey’s teachers unions are completely out of control and Chris Christie wants to fix education instead of letting democrats continue destroy it.

    Ag80says you seem to have a problem understanding where progress comes from in science and society (often it is thwarted by big government, and usually it wasn’t funded by tax dollars). You start screeching that they are putting words in your mouth. But AG80 clearly wasn’t putting words in your mouth. He was clear that he was expressing how you appear to think, and it’s a very good description of what you’re expressing.

    If AG80 is really wrong, and you don’t think we need government spending for scientific progress, then dude, you just contradicted your whining.

    Democrats do now want vouchers, they want more funding for liberal public schools. They don’t want competition and freedom in education, they want power concentrated to best fund union members. Efforts to fix schools will often involve taking funding away from the overfunded and failed schools.

    a) the funding made things worse
    b) we are out of money and must preserve money for things that really benefit society

    You need to be a little less reflexively hostile and angry towards Republicans, and a little more honest about what you’re really saying. If you really think progress = spending more, you’re part of the problem in education today.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  62. JEA drops a deuce and savages a small army of strawpeople, then flees. Remember, he is not a partisan. Lying sack of excrement.

    JD (3b62be)

  63. Yeah, JEA is just a foolish troll, petrified by the Fall of his beloved democrats in reality and in the polls. So he needs to lash out. This was my favorite line:

    “…Conservatives: penny-wise and pound foolish – as usual.
    ..”

    To which I would say:

    “…Liberals, for every dollar of increased funding to their pet interests, less productivity or results…other than more bureaucracy…”

    And if this character has some proof otherwise, I would love to see it. Other than “jobs saved or created” nonsense.

    So far as education? Plot test scores against funding, per student, over the past forty years. Whoops.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  64. Plot test scores against funding, per student, over the past forty years.

    I would love to be this succinct.

    That’s an ironclad case that funding is not the end all be all of caring about education performance. In fact, it’s probably making things worse in plenty of cases.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  65. It seems Bolden just got thrown under the bus.

    Hell have taken his proper place under the bus when he loses his job as NASA administrator.

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (cf2f34)

  66. Those who do not remember the past are doomed. We can not build things now like we did in the 1970s because the world is different now. In this context, primarily the laws. Safety must now be “proven”, rather than risked. It’s entirely possible that Goddard’s experimental rocket would not be allowed to be demonstrated out of a fear of polluting the air.

    htom (412a17)

  67. Nelson is no astronaut. He was a politician who represented the district around Cape Canaveral and managed to wangle a ride. He was listed as a “Payload Specialist”. It is doubtful he did anything beyond riding along.

    Rick Caird (b43d2b)

  68. JD: “Lying sack of excrement.”

    Name-calling – the first refuge of the incompetent.

    Eric Blair: “Yeah, JEA is just a foolish troll, petrified by the Fall of his beloved democrats…”

    I hate both parties equally. Both of them suck.

    Dustin: “…you don’t think we need government spending for scientific progress…”

    Then why the whining about NASA being cut? You’re the one contradicting your own argument.

    And govt never pushed scientific progress?

    What about the Manhattan Project? You think we’d have commercial nuclear power if not for that?

    What about the GPS in your car? Think we’d have that if the military hadn’t developed it first? Think we’d have any satellites at all without the govt doing it first?

    What about genetic research? It was govt that funded it and allowed the devlopment of genetic sciences. What commercial enterprise would have taken that up – with its cost in billions and any commercial applications decades off?

    Government funds basic research all the time, because businesses don’t have the resources to invest decades into basic research without any return on their investment. Commercial enterprises regularly take advantage of it and develop products without having to reimburse the govt one dime. So if you want the United States to succeed, we need to continue that model and do everything to encourage it.

    Republicans – and Democrats, BTW – pay a lot of lip service to education but don’t do one damn thing to fix it. And it’s not just the teachers unions and it’s not just throwing more money at it and it’s not just relying on test scores.

    JEA (53fe4f)

  69. how anyone put
    words in JEA’s mouth when
    foot already there?

    HaikuHijacker (c06a05)


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