He Shoots, He Scores

Mickey Kaus, on Barbara Boxer’s pop gun:

“Fine,” he said today. “If I’m out of the mainstream, then Boxer has nothing to fear from debating. Let’s both present our views and see who is in what stream. Let the voters decide. That’s what democracy is supposed to be about.”

Kaus noted a debate would also give Boxer a valuable chance to respond to the L.A. Times editorial board’s observation that “she displays less intellectual firepower or leadership than she could.”

“If the Times is right, this is a chance for her to unleash the intellectual firepower she’s been holding in reserve,” Kaus said.

I may run out of popcorn.

I’m guessing there’s at least a forty-point difference in IQs. I’d pay quite a bit to see that debate.

Blaming the Norks

Isn’t this, kind of, you know, an act of war?

The navy ship Cheonan sank on March 26 after an explosion on the vessel as it sailed in the Yellow Sea off South Korea’s west coast.

The Post said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because South Korea had not yet disclosed the results of the investigation, said analyses showed the torpedo was identical to a North Korean torpedo previously obtained by South Korea.

The formal accusation is expected to be announced on Thursday and South Korea will ask the U.N. Security Council to take up the matter, Post sources said.

Do they seriously expect the Security Council to do anything about it? Especially with this White House?

Do Both?

Sorry, but we can’t afford to do both. I disagree with this OC Register Op-Ed by Peter Navarro, Stu Witt, and Greg Autry:

At least to date, the private space sector has demonstrated very limited capability to move either cargo or crews into orbit or to dock with anything. Moreover, none is human-rated for orbital space flight while there are very difficult challenges requiring large infrastructure and access to larger investment.

Really? Atlas and Delta have “very limited capability to move cargo into orbit”? I think that the military satellite community will be wondering where all those satellite went, if not into orbit. As for docking, SpaceX plans to demonstrate that this year. It’s not like it’s just a twinkle in their eye. Crew will be along shortly after that, with the development of launch abort systems, and long before Ares I is projected to be complete.

We believe all these limitations can be overcome if the private space industry is encouraged along the lines of Mr. Obama’s plan. However, pressing matters of national security also call for a continued U.S. government presence in space. That’s why we believe Mr. Obama was dead wrong in cancelling the Constellation program, the successor to the shuttle program developed after the shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.

While we have been winding down our space program, other countries – China, in particular – have been working on (and, with China, even testing) capabilities to weaponize space and seize a strategic position on the moon. To prevent this, we must present a credible deterrent with ongoing robust and responsive manned and unmanned space programs. That’s why Constellation remains important, both as a concrete program now and as a bridge to a cooperative public-private space partnership.

Obviously, there are national security implications for a US government presence in space. But not for a manned presence. There have been no national security implications for that in forty years. And if it’s a national security issue to put humans in space, then the Pentagon should be responsible for and paying for it, not NASA, which is a civilian program. And how having a launcher that costs a couple billion per flight and can only fly a few times a year contributes to national security remains unexplained, even if one really believes that the Chinese are “working on seizing a strategic position on the moon” (what does that mean?).

They go on with the standard flawed and failed spinoff argument. And then this:

What we do not need is what President Obama is leaving us with: Showing up at the doors of countries like Russia and China, begging for a lift up to our space station. To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan: “Weakness invites aggression.”

Hey, I’m not a big fan of relying on the Russians either, but you know when the time was to complain about that? First, six years ago, when Bush baked it into the policy cake for at least three years, and then four years ago, when Mike Griffin increased the gap with his disastrous decision to build a whole new horrifically expensive and unnecessary launch system, instead of finishing Steidle’s plan for a CEV flyoff that would have resulted in something (and possibly two somethings) that could have flown on existing vehicles. The one person whose fault it isn’t is Barack Obama’s, and going back to the Program of Record doesn’t fix that problem.

I’m disappointed.

There’s a lot of discussion about this over at Space Politics, where I found the link.

The Horror

Here’s an interesting tidbit in a story about Blumenthal’s fabrication of his Vietnam experience. Some people apparently think that this is equivalent:

“It’s appalling that the Attorney General of the state of Connecticut – a highly-educated and trained lawyer – would misspeak about such a significant issue,” Simmons told POLITICO this morning. “Clearly he knows he never was in Vietnam, and yet he’s on record saying he was in Vietnam – obviously to appeal to an audience, and that’s a very troubling disclosure.

“But it’s matched in some respects by Mrs. McMahon who brought the charge — when just a few montnhs ago it was disclosed that she did not tell the truth about her college education and her degree — which is again something everybody should realy know,” Simmons said, referring to a Hartford Courant report that McMahon claimed on documents filed with her appointment to the State Board of Education that she had a degree in education, when her degree was in French.

“I got a degree in English Literature,” Simmons said. “It’s hard to make a mistake about something like this.”

What I find hilarious about this is that both Simmons and McMahon apparently believe that an education degree is of more merit than one in French. I disagree. At least the French major has some knowledge to impart to her students, if they want to learn French. I’ve never noticed that a degree in education teaches doesn’t provide much knowlege of positive value, and much of negative value. I would think that if you were going to upgrade your degree, you’d pick something worthwhile to substitute for French, like business, or even poli sci, not the degree that has the lowest entrance scores of all majors.

As I’ve said before, I’d abolish schools of education if I were dictator. Or at least eliminate government-backed loans for them (though actually, I’d eliminate government-backed educational loans, period).

A Big Thumb On The Scale

It’s three on one at a House hearing today:


* Mr. Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Administrator, NASA
* Mr. Neil A. Armstrong, Commander, Apollo 11
* Capt. Eugene A. Cernan, United States Navy (Ret.), Commander, Apollo 17
* Mr. A. Thomas Young, Executive Vice President (Ret.), Lockheed Martin Corporation

I don’t expect Bolden to acquit himself well. I wish I were testifying instead. It’s a shame that Gordon couldn’t get Sally Ride, or Leroy Chiao, or some other astronaut who actually understand the problem for balance (not to mention Augustine versus Young, who has no manned space experience). As Clark notes, it’s too bad that the media doesn’t point out how stacked the deck often is in these show hearings. It does reduce confidence (never high to begin with) in the honesty and integrity of congressional deliberations in general.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!