Be Careful

Don’t hurt the burglars. I liked this comment:

Don’t leave bottles of brown-coloured bottles of pesticides in your shed – burglars might think you have left them some beer. Don’t leave a supply of bird nuts – burglars might get food poisoning – thinking you were leaving them some munchies to go with the previous item. Don’t put pitch forks in your sheds – burglars might stab themselves on them as they clamber through the window. Don’t put glass in the window frame – burglars might get a scratch followed by blood poisoning. Make sure there is adequate lighting – in case burglars accidentally step on a rake and whack themselves in the gob. Please provide an adequate seating arrangement – so that weary burglars can take a rest, before taking the rest of your stuff. A bucket is NO substitute for slopping out, sorry I mean going to the ‘boudoir’. Burglars expect a proper netty! Adequate toilet paper should be on supply AT ALL TIMES!

Somehow, Great Britain doesn’t seem so great any more.

The Country’s In The Very Best Of Hands

Depressing thoughts on the administration and Egypt from Victor Davis Hanson, Roger Kimball, and Judith Levy:

All the above said, the actual implementation reflects somebody with the experience of two years in the Senate, who had never navigated outside of academia and Chicago tit-for-tat politics. So Mubarak is/is not a dictator, must leave now/yesterday/sometime soon as he serves as sort of a figurative leader/a critical transition player/a suspicious counter-revolutionary inasmuch as the U.S. must lay down conditions/advise only/respect Egyptian prerogatives, as private conversations with Egyptians are spilled to the press, Obama suggests the Cairo desire for freedom somehow channels his own support, and Biden, Clinton, and Obama contradict one another hourly. This is very sad.

…That smart diplomacy, it turns out, wasn’t ’smart’ as in clever. It was ’smart’ as in how your cheek feels when it’s been slapped hard. The bigger issue here concerns the place of the United States on the world stage. We just sent a message to our friends and allies about how they should value our professions of friendship and our commitments to help them. President Obama has mastered a certain rhetorical schtick. It revolves around the communication of a certain emotion of righteousness. You look out a crowd, eyes raised, and turn your head slowly to the the left, then to the right, then to the left again. It requires a certain arrogance, which Obama certain commands. To work, however, it also requires competence, an understanding of the way the world actually works, which he has once against demonstrated he lacks utterly.

…There are two possibilities, and they’re both appalling. One is that Clapper knew everything he was saying was a gross distortion of reality but said it anyway, thereby deliberately misleading the American people and giving aid and comfort to a group whose interests are completely antithetical to those of the United States. The other is that Clapper is genuinely ignorant of the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, a thought that is just about as unnerving as can be imagined.

If it needs to be to pointed out to the Director of National Intelligence that Google is his friend, we are in a boatload of trouble, folks. I wish I was kidding.

It makes me long for the robust, intelligent foreign policy of Jimmy Carter.

[Update a few minutes later]

“…a sense of powerlessness.”

“We Cannot Survive Without You”

I’ve been pointing for a year now that NASA needs private providers a lot more than they need NASA. Jeff Foust has a report from the plenary session of the conference yesterday, in which Charlie Bolden confirmed it. This will, of course, cause exploding of heads in the moronosphere.

[Update a few minutes later]

And as predicted, here is the latest insanity from Mark Whittington:

Charles Bolden was reported to have told Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan that he would provide a bailout for commercial space firms “equal to that given the auto industry” if the private sector faltered in providing space transportation services. Bolden later issued a non denial denial of Cernan’s account.

This raises the question of in what sense is the Obama program “commercial.” Under the Bush era COTS program, the consequences for failure were that a commercial company would be out of the program. Originally a company called Rocket Plane/Kistler was part of COTS. But because RP/Kistler could not meet milestones, it was replaced by another company called Orbital Systems.

But under the Obama plan, the only consequences for failure would be more money pumped into the commercial companies that are developing private space craft. With the demise of Constellation, companies competing for ISS servicing contracts have become too important to fail.

So far this virtual guarantee of money has not had much of an effect on the performance of companies in the commercial space program. Recently, SpaceX successfully orbited, reentered, and landed on the ocean a prototype of its Dragon space craft.

I don’t have time to dissect it right now, so I toss it as chum to the comment sharks. I will note though, that there is no logical connection between the first and second sentences in that last paragraph. Which is not atypical of a Whittington piece.

Press Conference Coverage

Here’s a pretty good story from Clara Moskowitz, based on the actual event, as opposed to just the press release.

I should provide some context for Jeff Foust’s quote of me:

While this group may suppot the administration’s commercial space policies, just don’t expect them to start sporting “Obama 2012″ buttons any time soon. “I just don’t think that the president cares that much one way or the other about commercial space,” Simberg said in response to a question. “But I’m glad for that. I think if he did we’d have worse problems.”

The question this was a response to was one from Keith Cowing. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but a rough but I think accurate paraphrase would be, “You have called the president a liar on your blog. So how can you support his space policy?”

I don’t know if the people on the phones could hear my eyes rolling, but those present will attest that they were, which is why I didn’t bother to actually answer it.

By the way, I think that he does his readers a disservice by so steadfastly refusing to link to anything that I write, anywhere, but as he always tells anyone who complains, it’s his web site.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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