G. Ryan Faith has a good overview of the differences between the original VSE and the new plan, and the problems it (and really, any) government space program will have in maintaining political momentum. Which is why it’s important to transition to a commercial program as soon as possible.
[Update a few minutes later]
I agree with Faith that the new plan is actually much closer to the original VSE (particularly as regards to the Aldridge recommendations) than it became with the misbegotten ESAS/Constellation. The only really significant difference is the lack of moon first as an explicit goal. But that goal had become meaningless anyway under Constellation, because all of the technologies that would have potentially made it useful to go to the moon had been defunded to feed Ares/Orion. As he notes, if we can keep this on track, there will be plenty of time to once again make the argument for lunar return, long before we go anywhere else. If we establish logistics nodes at the Lagrange points for departures and returns from deep space, the moon will look ever more compelling.
Oddball thoughts from Lileks. Yes, I’d never thought about it before, but he’s right — unless Samaritans are truly notoriously bad people, “good Samaritans” is sort of like “compassionate conservatives.”
Some thoughts on the health-care debacle, in Massachusetts and the nation:
Insurance companies in Massachusetts are thus required to offer numerous benefits as determined by politicians and lobbyists, but they may only charge what government bureaucrats permit. It would be akin to the government requiring restaurants to sell $50 steak dinners, but only allowing them to charge $25.
When similar price controls and “guaranteed coverage” laws were imposed in South Dakota and Kentucky, many insurers left these states rather than be slowly bled to death. As similar laws are phased in nationally under ObamaCare, the government could drive private insurers out of business altogether, enabling it to herd unwilling Americans into a “public option.”
ObamaCare thus places a noose around insurers’ necks. Insurance companies will be allowed to survive only at the arbitrary pleasure of the government.
…The trend is becoming clear. First, insurers must seek government permission to survive. Then, patients must seek permission to receive some forms of medical care. Will we soon need government permission simply to live?
That’s what seems to generally happen at the end of the road we’re on. A quarter of a billion people were, after all, murdered by their governments in the last century.
Maybe politicos should do more research before imposing half-baked energy mandates?
It wouldn’t do any good. They’re mostly too stupid to understand the results of the research, or too much on the take from the benefitting industry to care. But they get to pretend to be saving the planet.
Speaking of biodiesel, will the same be true of biokerosene? Is the “green aviation” initiative another unintended consequence on the way?
Liberals, to put it mildly, are not dealing well with their declining political fortunes. For some reason, liberals seem surprised that Americans have not warmed to the Obama administration’s policies, like government takeover of health care; bailouts and government ownership in multiple industries; wasteful and ineffective “stimulus” spending; unheard of deficits; massive tax increases slated for next year; and a foreign policy that perversely alienates our allies and caters to our enemies. There has never been a time in our history when most Americans would have approved of such policies, yet liberals are somehow convinced that today’s manifestation of longstanding voter attitudes represents a unique and sinister animus against Barack Obama and his administration.
As he goes on, Joe Klein is a poster boy for this.