CAGW

…has issued a press release on the wilfully wasteful spending by NASA, at Congressional insistence:

On October 11, 2010 President Obama signed the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, which provided $10 billion to fund existing contracts for Ares and Orion over the next three years. Nonetheless, NASA delivered a report to Congress this week that concluded that it still can’t build a rocket that “fits the projected budget profiles nor schedule goals outlined in the Authorization Act.”

The Orion space capsule has already cost the government $4.8 billion, requires another $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2011, and will not be operational until 2014. As WESH in Orlando has noted, commercial providers have already demonstrated the same capabilities at one tenth of the cost of the still in development Orion capsule.

“Taxpayers now recognize that President Obama and his congressional allies will say anything to sound fiscally rational, but their actions tell a different story. The spendthrifts in Washington, D.C. cannot continue to sink tax dollars into this black hole; the Constellation program should be a prime target for the new Congress as it seeks ways to cut wasteful spending and reduce the deficit,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz.

But it won’t be — too many phony-baloney jobs at stake.

A nit — Dragon hasn’t really (yet) demonstrated the same capabilities as Orion. Or rather, what Orion’s capabilities will be if it is ever completed. They really have different requirements. But they’re not different enough to justify the difference in cost, and it’s actually much greater than stated — Dragon is much less than a tenth of the cost of Orion.

[Update early evening]

Just to clarify, Congress is insisting that NASA waste money, not that CAGW issue a press release. Though maybe that’s their subliminal desire. They can be kinky that way. I probably should have left out the comma, to decrease the ambiguity. A practical grammar lesson.

I Don’t Love Lucy

And I’m gratified to see that Lileks shares my opinion:

It’s not funny. I’m sorry to Lucy fans, but it’s not. When Lucy and Ethel start to wail, when Reeky gets an idea and decides to foool Loocy, and Fred pitches in – gawd, it’s contrived and strained.

I laughed at it when I was a kid, but I got over it by the time I was eight or so. One can only watch shallow, star-worshipping empty-head ditzes so much. She made me embarrassed for womankind.

The Real Cause Of Incivility

I think that Tony Blankley has it right:

Now is the time for us all to pause, and consider how the working members of the media can live with their biased liberalism — yet not allow it to permeate their work and undercut the political dialogue and political process that is the foundation of our democracy.

Indeed, it may well be the case that the now institutional failure of the mainstream media to do its job with reasonable objectivity may itself be the cause of the incivility in political dialogue. Without an objective umpire in the political debate, the players are forced to shout louder and louder so that their interpretation of the state of play on the field can be heard by the fans.

Yes, while the notion of an “objective” press was always a myth, most of them don’t even try any more.

[Update a while later]

Once more into the breach of civility:

Like many of us stalwart men of the Progressive-Media-Entertainment Complex, I have never been so beamish. As the president explained so eloquently Wednesday night, what happened in Tucson was a tragedy and all, but watching the wild-eyed Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman, pin the Glock on the elephant in the pages of the New York Times was simply wonderful. Based on nothing more than the loud voices coming through the fillings in his teeth, our bearded, pot-bellied superhero leapt into action the day after the Tucson shootings and started pointing the finger of blame where it always belongs: at Sarah Palin and the “climate of hate” she has brought down from Mystery, Alaska, to torment us here in the Lower 48. Naturally, a few of you protested that there was no actual evidence that the hated succubus who haunts our fever dreams and saps our purity of essence had anything to do with the gunman. Nor did any of the other right-wing crazies on our (symbolic!) hit lists — and you Limbaugh-loving teabaggers know who you are.

It’s true that Obama said: “But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.”

But so what if he did? In the fantasy world in which we dwell, the only thing that counts is what’s inside our heads, and in our heads is where Sarah Palin lives and where she willfully continues to insert herself into the national conversation. Raised on relativism, psychiatry, and sociology; on values instead of morals; on transactional relationships instead of “absolute truths”; on heavy-metal music, atheism, and abortion on demand — we long ago slipped the moorings of empiricism and have ascended to the rarefied heights of Cockaigne and Cloud Cuckoo Land. Black is white, up is down, in is out — this is our world and you’re not welcome to it. Because it’s not for you to say what you do and do not stand for — we’ll be the judge of that. And here’s what we know about you:

You’re racists. You’re anti-Semites. You’re homophobes. You hate progress. You hate when people (i.e., us) have fun doing things you don’t like or, worse, doing things that deep down inside you really do like but don’t have the guts to actually do. You hate Metallica, Miles Davis, Mozart, and Marx. You think we’re something out of Petronius, licentious Roman poetasters, juvenile-delinquent voluptuaries peeling grapes while Alaric and Odovacar wait outside the gates. Meanwhile, you play the role of a disapproving, mocking Juvenal, satirizing our pagan ways.

Read the whole thing.

Statist Bunkum

…from the FLOTUS. Althouse dissects:

It would make more sense to teach creationism instead of evolution than to teach these wishful lies about government since children need to learn how to be effective citizens and lulling them into passive admiration of the government undermines the democratic process. Believing or not believing in creationism, by contrast, isn’t going to change what happened in the grand expanse of evolutionary time.

Yes, and understanding how politicians work is much more important than understanding biology for most people.

The Problem With Central Planning

…which is to say, the problem with HEFT.

There is a civil war going on within the space agency, and even at headquarters itself. On one side is the old guard, who still cannot envision a NASA that doesn’t develop, own and operate its own launch systems. On the other are those who see that it must abandon this old failed paradigm in order to both afford to, and have the robust ETO infrastructure necessary to, move aggressively and sustainably beyond low earth orbit. The people running space policy on the Hill are (so far), sustaining the old guard, but they’re going to have a collision with reality in the next year, and they’re going to have more trouble than in the past getting their colleagues to go along with them, as hard choices have to be made about the budget, and progress in the new mode of contracting becomes increasingly undeniable. It cannot continue.

[Update a few minutes later]

I should note that Clark’s well-justified rant is based on this post by Jon Goff, in which he vents his frustration at the wilful blindness of the HEFT team to both technical and fiscal reality.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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