The Current State Of Space Policy Play

Henry Vanderbilt has a summary of what’s going on with the NASA budget, though it’s a fast-moving topic. For instance, this sort of nonsense occurred after he got the mailing out:

On Wednesday the full House, debating the full-year continuing resolution HR 1, voted 228-203 to approve an amendment that would transfer $298 million from NASA to the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services, a program that provides funding for local police forces. The amendment, introduced by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was actually debated Tuesday evening by the House and failed by a voice vote, but prevailed in the recorded vote hold over to the next day, with 70 Republicans joining 158 Democrats to approve the amendment.

In the current environment, the agency is a wounded antelope on the savannah, and the jackals and hyenas are going to be swarming on it in the coming days and weeks, with people like Anthony Weiner foremost among them.

This is awful on two levels — first, that there is no sensible discussion about what our space policy should be, and second, that there was no discussion of whether or not community policing is even a legitimate federal responsibility. I’d like to see the names of the Republicans who voted for this atrocity, and see how many have claimed fealty to the Tea Party, because if so, they’re flaming hypocrites, and should be mocked and shamed.

[Cross posted at Competitive Space]

[Update a few minutes later]

John Healey at the LA Times agrees:

…it’s hard to extrapolate from the actions Wednesday to a coherent vision of smaller government. The vote that really confounds me is the one in favor of a proposal by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) to restore $298 million for COPS, a neighborhood policing program. The money is to come out of NASA’s budget, shrinking that agency’s funds by an additional 1.6%.

I wouldn’t argue that hiring cops is more or less important than conducting space missions. But hiring cops is clearly a local responsibility, and NASA is clearly a federal responsibility. If you’re going to shrink the federal government, the starting point should be eliminating its involvement in what are purely local affairs. You can’t get more local than neighborhood policing.

But that’s not the logic typically employed by members of Congress. In their calculus, anything that promotes law enforcement is A Good Thing. And until NASA has a mission as sexy as winning the race to the moon, it will never be able to compete with programs like COPS.

Here’s an idea for an even sexier mission: opening up the solar system and its resources to humanity. Which it could afford to do if we would end the insistence on making it a jobs program for engineers of unneeded new rockets.

The Lunacy Of Federal High-Speed Rail

A take-down by Robert Samuelson.

[Update while later]

Florida Governor Rick Scott has turned down funding for it.

* My decision to reject the project comes down to three main economic realities:

o First – capital cost overruns from the project could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.

o Second – ridership and revenue projections are historically overly-optimistic and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur. (from $300 million – $575 million over 10 years) – Note: The state subsidizes Tri-Rail $34.6 million a year while passenger revenues covers only $10.4 million of the $64 million annual operating budget.

o Finally – if the project becomes too costly for taxpayers and is shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in federal funds to D.C.

That last “if” should be a “when.” Good for him. Too bad we don’t have as much sense in Sacramento.

[Update a couple minutes later]

This seems to have been influenced by my friend (and fellow member of the Competitive Space Task Force) Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation:

the Reason Foundation issued its report nearly two weeks ago. Using estimates for a proposed rail line in California, it projects the Tampa-to-Orlando link could cost $3 billion more than estimated.

Research by the Reason Foundation and the study’s main author, Wendell Cox, regularly offers a skeptical view of rail, so the findings are not particularly surprising. What’s notable is the work was overseen by Robert Poole, a foundation director who served on Scott’s transition team for transportation issues.

“It’s understandable that some are dreaming of flashy high-speed rail trains carrying tourists and residents between the two cities,” Poole said in a news release. “When you look at realistic construction costs and operating expenses you see these trains are likely to turn into a very expensive nightmare for taxpayers.”

Hey, Jerry, I’m sure Bob’s available for a similar analysis for CA. In case you haven’t noticed, you have budget problems, too.

The Climate Of Civility

What is wrong with these people? Remember, just like “racist,” when they call others misogynist, it’s pure projection.

[Update a few minutes later]

Speaking of projection, now the left is attacking Herman Cain. Guess he got too uppity for them. Remember this the next time a moron like Janeane Garafolo calls the Tea Partiers racist.

[Update mid-morning]

A little good news on the Lara Logan front — the Journal is reporting that it was “not a rape.” Which raises the question — what is a “sexual assault” against a woman that is “not a rape”?

[Update late morning]

Funny, she doesn’t look Jewish to me. The mob was shouting “Jew, Jew” as they attacked her. Sure gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling about the prospects for peace between the new government and Israel.

Competitive Space Task Force

I have a new web site up. It’s not pretty but it does the job. I may start blogging over there on space policy issues. If so, I’ll cross post here, though.

[Wednesday morning update]

I’ve got the site blocked temporarily while I fix some things that I broke last night. I hope it will be up a little later this morning.

[Update a while later]

OK, I’ve fixed things, I think, and reopened the site.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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