Find The Missing Point


Success would be a win for commercial backers, but wouldn’t answer serious questions surrounding the approach.

And while failure would provide opponents with ammunition, it’s common for new rockets to have trouble on maiden flights and become highly reliable mainstays.

Those factors point to why the White House and Congress should select a dual-track strategy that would OK commercial companies to move forward while also allowing NASA to continue testing a system involving the Ares 1 rocket.

Note that there is zero discussion of cost in this editorial. Note also the fallacy of the excluded middle.

Mike Griffin sort of made this argument as well, saying that he was hoping for commercial to succeed but needed to do Ares/Orion as an “insurance policy” against their failure. But this is insane. On my planet, you spend most of your money on what you consider most likely, and pay a much smaller amount for an insurance policy (provided by, you know, an actual insurer who writes lots of policies and is betting that your main strategy will work so he doesn’t have to pay out). This “dual-track” strategy is exactly the opposite. They are spending six billion on the primary option, and plan to spend forty billion on the “insurance.” That’s just crazy.

But OK, let’s play along. If you really want a “dual-track strategy,” how about making commercial (in this case, SpaceX) one track and give a cost-plus contract to ULA for the other? Because they’ve already said that they can get there within the six billion. Of course, that’s not fair to SpaceX (at least theoretically) because they would then have to compete with a government-subsidized competitor (though I’ll bet they could still beat their price). But regardless, it doesn’t justify continuing wasting money on Ares.

Oh, and then there’s this:

…experts say it could take a decade before the companies have rockets and spacecraft that are safe and capable enough to fly astronauts.

You can find “experts” who will say lots of things. This wording implies that there are no experts who would disagree with that statement. Or at least its implications. Sure it could take a decade. It could take two decades. It could also take only three years or so. What’s magic about a decade? Nothing, of course, except it gives them an excuse to say that we have to have a “dual-track” (read, pork for Florida) strategy.

Good Point

From Dan Foster:

I was…struck by Gibbs saying that Rand Paul’s thoughts on the Civil Rights Act “shouldn’t have a place in our political discourse” — no wonder we’re a “nation of cowards” afraid to talk about race.

Indeed. It’s because of demagogues like Robert Gibbs. And Eric Holder.

[Update a while later]

An interesting conversation on this topic by Will Cain and Dan Foster.

[Early afternoon update]

More thoughts from David Bernstein and Randy Barnett.

…for Bartlett to attack libertarianism with the premise that American law was libertarian with regard to how blacks were treated in the Jim Crow South, when in fact they suffered from overt government discrimination, blatantly discriminatory Jim Crow laws, private violence acquiesced to by the government (and sometimes with the participation of the government), and a denial of voting rights based on race, is just risible.

This is of a piece with the insanity that slavery itself was a “market failure.”

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