Space Development And Settlement

A new alliance. This is long overdue.

I’m not sure about the prize idea, though. I’d rather the government actually purchase bulk items (e.g., water) on orbit. The goal should be a low cost per pound, not reusability per se. I’m pretty sure that reusability would naturally fall out of that. And reusable vehicles will have to be reliable to hit the cost goal.

The “Phony” Benghazi Scandal

Hillary’s aides knew within the first few minutes that it had nothing to do with the video:

The revelations in the newly released e-mails were unveiled by Judicial Watch this afternoon at a press conference in Washington. In a press statement, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton asserted that the e-mails left “no doubt that Hillary Clinton’s closest advisers knew the truth about the Benghazi attack from almost the moment it happened.” Mr. Fitton further opined that “it is inescapable that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knowingly lied when she planted the false story about ‘inflammatory material being posted on the Internet.’ The contempt for the public’s right to know is evidenced not only in these documents but also in the fact that we had to file a lawsuit in federal court to obtain them.”

Nope, no stonewalling in this administration.

SpaceX Versus Boeing

Yes, SpaceX actually has more recent and relevant capsule experience than Boeing.

As I wrote in the book:

When I worked in business development for a government space contractor, I’d always be amused by the standard section we’d always have to put in our proposals to NASA or the Air Force about our company’s previous experience and heritage, as though the people who’d worked on those programs in the sixties weren’t dead or retired.

Organizations don’t have knowledge — individuals do. And to the degree that NASA has any knowledge, it is because it has retained employees who have it.. But many of those knowledgeable people have gone to work for the commercial companies, so there really is nothing “unique” about NASA. But to the degree that there is, it is primarily that, at least with respect to safety, its procedures have resulted in the loss of fourteen astronauts in flight.

But I’m sure Palazzo et al will continue to think that Boeing is a better bet than SpaceX.

A Defense Of The Humanities

This is not what Chad Orzel wants.

I think that he misses another point — that what “the humanities” have gotten badly watered down over the decades, since the New Left took over campi, lacking rigor and polluted by all the “studies” majors.

[Afternoon update]

This seems related: Ten questions for Camille Paglia. She is a national treasure.

The “Phony” IRS Scandal

Finally, a criminal investigation is taking place.

But remember, there’s not a “smidgen” of corruption.

[Afternoon update]

Here’s the story from the Washington Post:

According to Camus, the IRS’s technology specialists told investigators that no one from the agency asked for the tapes. His comments raised doubts about whether the IRS did its due diligence in trying to locate Lerner’s emails, or possibly greater troubles.

You don’t say.

“There is potential criminal activity,” Camus said.

…Koskinen acknowledged last year that the inspector general’s office was reviewing the circumstances surrounding Lerner’s hard-drive crash and the missing emails, but Thursday marked the first time that the office said it was specifically conducting a criminal probe.

The “Skeptical Seven” Witch Hunt

Roy Spencer says it’s just beginning. Yes, unless we inflict severe pain on the new Cotton Mathers.

[Update a while later]

More from John Hayward:

I must admit I find myself in strong disagreement with Dr. Pielke about the wisdom of these measures, being an out-and-proud unreconstructed climate skeptic myself, but it would never occur to me to hound him off the public stage or target him with intimidating government investigations. I’ve got some very old-fashioned ideas about how “science” and “debate” are supposed to work.

As Pielke goes on to observe, the “crime” that brought this “investigation” to bear was saying something true – “it is incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases” – and being a prominent scientist while doing it. It’s great that congressional Democrats have time for this sort of thing, isn’t it? They’re worse than useless when it comes to the IRS abusing its power against American citizens, the Department of Veterans Affairs turning into a horror show, the Administration lying about a deadly attack on a U.S. consulate, or the Justice Department running guns into Mexico, but they’ve got plenty of time and resources to crack down on uppity climate scientists.

The media’s all over this abuse of government power, right? Not so much, says Pielke: “So far, I have been contacted by only 2 reporters at relatively small media outlets. I’d say that the lack of interest in a politician coming after academics is surprising, but to be honest, pretty much nothing surprises me in the climate debate anymore. Even so, there is simply no excuse for any reporter to repeat incorrect claims made about me, given how easy I am to find and just ask.”

There might not be any excuse for it, Dr. Pielke, but there certainly are reasons. Come have a few sustainable, renewable drinks with the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy sometime, and we’ll compare notes on how modern “journalism” works.

Or doesn’t.

[Update a few minutes later]

If you’ve ever called someone a “denier,” read this. It’s about you.

Scott Walker’s “Insidious Agnosticism”

Ann Althouse takes the odious Dana Milbank to the wood shed.

It’s quite amusing to see all these non-Christians in the media (almost literally) pontificating on who is and isn’t Christian. It reminds me of the radio interview I had with Thom Hartmann a few years ago, when he tried to insist that McVeigh was a Christian terrorist. I said, no, he said himself that he was agnostic. “But wasn’t he born a Christian,” he asked, as though it was a race? Ultimately, he had to back down.

As I’ve noted on Twitter, Walker’s response is exactly right. He can’t know whether Barack Obama is a Christian, though there’s little good evidence that he is, or ever has been. As it says in 1 Corinthians 2:11, “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them?”

[Update a few minutes later]

Walker himself responds on his refusal to take the media’s bait:

There has been much discussion about a media double standard where Republicans are covered differently than Democrats, asked to weigh in on issues the Democrats don’t face. As a result, when we refuse to take the media’s bait, we suffer.

I felt it this week when I was asked to weigh in on what other people said and did and what others’ beliefs are. If you are looking for answers to those questions, ask those people.

Yes, and it infuriates them that they can’t get a gaffe out of him, and so they have to manufacture one.

Climate Skeptics

Are you now, or have you ever been one?

Don’t know why I didn’t make the cut.

[Update a few minutes later]

Related: Climategate, and the smearing of Willie Soon:

…the New York Times and other pro-government sources assume that government funding of research is lily-white, while corporate funding is inherently suspect. This is ridiculous. Put aside, for a moment, the fact that the American environmental movement is funded by Russia’s state-controlled oil company. Also the fact that Greenpeace gets money ($203 million) from the American Petroleum Foundation, with another $214 million coming from the Chamber of Commerce. [This has been reported, but the Chamber says it is not the case.]

That isn’t the real scandal. The real scandal is that the overwhelming majority of money spent on climate research comes from governments. Governments, most notably ours, fund climate hysteria to the tune of billions of dollars per year. Why? Because the whole point of global warming alarmism is to persuade voters to cede more control over Western economies to government. (No one actually cares about CO2 emissions from India or China, which together vastly exceed ours.)

Governments fund climate research–but only climate research that feeds alarmism–because they are the main parties in interest in the climate debate. Governments stand to gain trillions of dollars in revenue and unprecedented power if voters in the U.S. and other Western countries can be stampeded into ceding more power to them, based on transparently bad science.

Yup.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Thoughts from Judith Curry:

This is the first time I have been ‘attacked’ in a substantive way for doing my science honestly and speaking up about it. Sure, anonymous bloggers go after me, but I have received no death threats via email, no dead rats delivered to my door step, etc.

I think Grijalva has made a really big mistake in doing this. I am wondering on what authority Grijalva is demanding this information? He is ranking minority member of a committee before which I have never testified. Do his colleagues in the Democratic Party support his actions? Are they worried about backlash from the Republicans, in going after Democrat witnesses?

I don’t think anything good will come of this. I anticipate that Grijalva will not find any kind of an undisclosed fossil fuel smoking gun from any of the seven individuals under investigation. There is already one really bad thing that has come of this – Roger Pielke Jr has stated:

The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject. I am a full professor with tenure, so no one need worry about me — I’ll be just fine as there are plenty of interesting, research-able policy issues to occupy my time. But I can’t imagine the message being sent to younger scientists. Actually, I can: “when people are producing work in line with the scientific consensus there’s no reason to go on a witch hunt.”

Punch back twice as hard.

The Media’s New McCarthyism

Do you now, or have you ever had, a negative opinion about Barack Obama?

And you had better give the answer HUAC the media wants or you will be publicly and politically bludgeoned. Furthermore, you will also be destroyed if you do not publicly repudiate those among your colleagues who do not pass the loyalty test.

The media is currently on a full-bore witch hunt to root out and politically batter those in the GOP who refuse to vouch for Obama as a flag-waving Jesus freak.

Yup. It would be funny if it wasn’t so frightening.

I don’t know if Barack Obama loves his country. I don’t know if he’s a Christian (I don’t actually care whether he is or not, except for the fact that if he isn’t it’s just more evidence of his congenital mendacity). I have no evidence of either, except his word. And that’s not worth much.

[Update a few minutes later]

Who are you to criticize a government crackdown on the press, citizen?

Me, neither.

The Oxnard Train Derailment

That’s kind of an amazing scene. I’d expect a lot of injuries from being tossed around in those cars.

While this is the same line as the collision in Chatsworth a few years ago that killed so many, and that was also Metrolink, it’s just a coincidence — there’s no relationship between the two events. That one was caused by a driver who was texting and missed a traffic signal, resulting in a collision with a freight train.

Rice Avenue is actually a pretty major thoroughfare. If you’re coming down 101 from Santa Barbara, and want to take the coast highway through Malibu into LA, it’s the most direct route to cut over to the coast (you can’t hug the coast through Ventura and Oxnard, because Point Mugu Naval Air Station is in the way). So this will probably disrupt traffic somewhat. Also, it looks as though the track itself separate, so until they can repair it (and probably replace what looks like old, outdated ties with new ones), it will disrupt all rail traffic (it’s a line shared by both freight, and passenger traffic, with both Amtrac and the Metrolink commuter trains).