The Ground Continues To Shift

For years, since its founding in the wake of the Challenger disaster by June Scobee (not June Scobee Rogers), widow of perished commander Dick Scobee, the Challenger Center has been a strong defender of the Shuttle program and traditional NASA human spaceflight. So this press release supporting commercial human spaceflight is sort of a big deal (or as the vice president would say, a BFD), I think. At some point (and particularly if we can get a new president, and people have forgotten that it was Obama who came up with the new direction), the only supporters of the Senate Launch System will be those who benefit from the pork. Most others who are truly interested in actual space accomplishment will see it for what it is.

[Update late morning]

It’s nice to see Bolden standing up for sanity at the National Press Club:

Bolden: ‘When I hear ppl say last shuttle launch marks end of human space flight, I say u must B living on another planet.

We’ve been getting lots of dispatches from other planets over the past year and a half.

The Decisive Battle

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg, the battle that, combined with the fall of Vicksburg to Grant on July 4th in 1863, broke the back of the Confederacy, though the war would go on for almost two more years. Here’s an interesting story about the fiftieth reunion. Two years from today will be the sesquicentennial. Needless to say, there will be no veterans of the battle attending. Or if there are, they would be interesting medical curiosities, from which we might learn a lot about longevity.

Is The Space Age Over?

The Economist seems to think so. More thoughts later.

[Friday morning update]

Clark Lindsey has a good comment over at their web site:

The author uses the cheap-shot pejorative “Space Cadet” to demean those in favor of space travel. So I will use “Earth Child” to characterize the author’s parochial one planet view.

Go read all, as he takes Earth Child to task. A lot of the other comments there are also pretty critical and disdainful.


[Update a few minutes later]

More comments over at NASA Watch.

It All Makes Sense Now

Larry J. has figured out what happened to the country:

I think I’ve finally figured out what happened in 2008. We’re all living the ultimate reality TV show. Obama is the hapless boob – think The Truman Show or An Idiot Abroad – with no job experience and nothing to show for his life except for two autobiographies written by age 45 (and it isn’t even certain he wrote them). The pitch for the show must’ve gone something like this:

Pitchman: Hey, I’ve got a great idea! Let’s push to elect someone totally unqualified to be the next president of the United States! We’ll be guaranteed at least a four-year run as we watch him blunder from one stupid thing to another.

Media Exec: Won’t that be hard?

Pitchman: No, I’ve got it figured out. First, we’ll push a black guy as our dupe and call anyone who doesn’t support him a racist. Second, we’ll get the news department to push every negative story we can find or invent to get the country in a bad mood like we did in 1992. Third, we’ll tell everyone how brilliant the guy is and expect everyone to believe it without a shred of evidence. Finally, we’ll point out how “cool” he is to get the young and stupid vote.

Media Exec: Sounds like a plan. What’s in it for us?

Pitchman: We’ll be more influential than ever before!

Media Exec: Who will be the boob?

Pitchman: We’ve found the idea candidate. His name is Obama and he’s the junior senator from Illinois. He reads well from a teleprompter and has a nice looking family but the guy is a total idiot when it comes to economics, history, or actually accomplishing anything. He spent years hanging around radicals and Marxists. He’ll run the country into the ground in no time.

Media Exec: Go for it!

I wish the show would end sooner.

The Wisconsin Disaster

…is only disastrous for unions:

…for one beleaguered Wisconsin school district, it’s a godsend, not a disaster.

The Kaukauna School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the law went into effect, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it’s all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous.

In the past, teachers and other staff at Kaukauna were required to pay 10 percent of the cost of their health insurance coverage and none of their pension costs. Now, they’ll pay 12.6 percent of the cost of their coverage (still well below rates in much of the private sector) and also contribute 5.8 percent of salary to their pensions. The changes will save the school board an estimated $1.2 million this year, according to board President Todd Arnoldussen.

Of course, Wisconsin unions had offered to make benefit concessions during the budget fight. Wouldn’t Kaukauna’s money problems have been solved if Walker had just accepted those concessions and not demanded cutbacks in collective bargaining powers?

“The monetary part of it is not the entire issue,” says Arnoldussen, a political independent who won a spot on the board in a nonpartisan election. Indeed, some of the most important improvements in Kaukauna’s outlook are because of the new limits on collective bargaining.

It will be interesting to see if stories like this appear in Wisconsin media, particularly in Madison.

History Making

When it comes to racking up debt, no one can top Tim Geithner:

When Geithner took office the total national debt stood at $10.6 trillion. As of June 30, 2011, it had risen to $14.3 trillion.

In fact, the debt accrued under Geithner is greater than all federal debt accrued in the first 204 years of the nation’s history. The national debt did not reach $3.7 trillion until October 1991, according to historical Treasury data that reaches back to 1791.

Geithner, who reportedly may step down from his position soon, has overseen the accrual of more federal debt (in only 2.5 years) than every Treasury secretary combined from Alexander Hamilton to Nicholas Brady, who was Treasury secretary in October 1991 when the national debt reached $3.7 trillion.

That’s quite a legacy.

Well, at least he thinks that tax rates should go up on small businesses so that we don’t have to reduce the size of the federal government.

He will be missed. But I’m not sure by whom.

Paving The Way For An Islamist Egypt

seems to be U.S. policy: recognizing the Brotherhood and having contacts with it, the Obama administration also makes a unilateral concession encouraging the Brotherhood. People who know the Middle East understand how this works: Soon many Egyptians will say (as they said in Iran and as they now say in Turkey) that the United States wants the Islamists to win.

What a comprehensive disaster this administration is, on almost all policy fronts. And as usual, Al Reuters doesn’t cover itself in glory, either.

[Update a few minutes later]

This comment is interesting:

The comparisons of Egypt to Nazi Germany are increasingly appropriate. First comes the overthrow of the government (mission accomplished). Next comes the “cleansing” of the state of “undesirables” (in this case Coptic Christians and any other identifiable non-Muslim minorities in the country) and then comes the war of aggression (against Israel). Egypt is in Phase II right now. It’s unclear how long it will take for Phase II to be completed. But when it is completed and there’s nobody left in Egypt to oppose it, then will come the war. Of course the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t have to wait for Phase II to be completed to attack Israel. They’re already doing it by supporting anti-Israeli Islamist terrorism as well as the anti-Israeli agenda of the Left.

The good news is that, unlike German, they have no industry to speak of. But that by itself won’t stop them from acquiring the weapons they need.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!