Which Senator?

…will save the space program from a Shuttle-derived parasite eating up all the technology funding?

This bill, however, will probably not get very far. Note Jim Muncy’s comment to the NASA Watch item:

Fortunately, most authorization bills can’t proceed in the Senate without unanimous consent. Which means one Senator can stop this monstrosity.

We continually hear about how “The” Congress is opposed to the Administration’s plan for NASA. However, most all of the vocal opposition to the plan has come from a limited number of Congresspersons protecting Constellation related projects in their states and districts. They deliberately biased the hearing witness panels to eliminate voices of independent support for the administration’s plan.

I’m thinking maybe Sam Brownback.

As a commenter somewhere (maybe over at Space Politics?) said, the key to settling space isn’t going farther now — it’s reducing the cost of access and making it routine. Commercial crew will do that for LEO, and the new technology development programs will do it for beyond. And heavy lift, particularly a Shuttle-derived version, will just continue to delay the day that we become spacefaring, as the falsely perceived need for it has done for forty years.

[Update a few minutes later]

What is Bill Nelson thinking?

A draft of the bill, obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, was presented to NASA last week by the committee, chaired by Florida Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. So far the White House has not commented on the bill, but several Florida Space Coast leaders have expressed concern about its impact here.

Of particular concern is the fact that Nelson — Florida’s main space supporter — would take away billions of dollars from commercial rocket and technology development that over the next decade would have diversified the aerospace industry in Florida and provided KSC with new jobs and prestige.

…Frank DiBello, the president of Space Florida, the state’s aerospace development body, is not pleased. “We don’t want to sacrifice Florida seed corn for an increased R&D role to be politically expedient and save jobs for Utah and other states,” DiBello told a Brevard County jobs-development meeting Saturday.

“The Senate bill kills outright the promise of a real R&D opportunity for KSC. It’s not good for Florida. I don’t know who Bill Nelson is listening to, but it’s not his constituents,” DiBello said.

Of course, the question itself is generous in its assumption that there is any cognition at all going on here. Bill Nelson has never struck me as the sharpest tack in a drawer of pretty dull ones, and this is just more evidence of it.

Just The Facts

The debate over the new space policy has been taking place in pretty much a logic-free and fact-free environment, at least on the part of those who oppose it. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation has released a fact sheet to dispel all of the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD), much of it nonsensical, that opponents have been tossing up for months. Clark Lindsey has an HTML version.

I found it a little amusing that they counted Jake Garn as an “astronaut.” I doubt if many of the astronauts consider him (or Bill Nelson) one.

The Long Fall Of Rocketplane

Some thoughts on the lessons of space investing, from Jeff Foust.

Fortunately, the situation that Jeff describes is starting to change. I think that VCs are starting to get interested now. The situation at NASA, where the agency is openly supportive of commercial (as opposed to the past, in which it was hostile, and often told investors doing due diligence not to waste their money) is one factor that may be helping.

What Were They Thinking?

So, I’m watching This Week this morning, and thinking that Jake Tapper is the best host they’ve had since Brinkley left, and of course, the thought is spoiled by an ad of Christiane Amanpour coming on and telling us that she’s taking over next month. At which point, of course, the show becomes unwatchable.

Why in the world did the ABC suits decide that Americans want to get their Sunday morning political news from an Iranian, British-raised anti-American “journalist”? I’ll be watching the ratings, but I won’t be watching the show. Especially if George Will is gone.

[Update a few minutes later]

Speaking of Jake Tapper, this is one of the things that he elicited from the always smarmy David Axelrod:

This morning on ABC News’ “This Week,” Senior White House Advisor David Axelrod insisted that President Obama’s recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to be the administrator of The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was simply “too important” to wait for a Congressional hearing.

Yes, when it comes to our nation’s health care, we can’t let that pesky “advise and consent” thing and the US Constitution get in the way. It’s for the children.

I Hate When This Happens

This seems like a paramedic’s nightmare:

Police said that in their investigation they learned that the people inside the car were dressed as zombie costumes and they were headed to a party at the time of the crash.

Yeah, a likely story.

Sgt. Greg Stewart said people who witnessed the crash initially thought the victims’ injuries were much more serious, because of the zombie costumes.

“We’re glad that everyone is alive, despite being ‘undead’,” Sgt. Stewart said, referring to the costumes.

I think that this was just a probe of the defenses, myself.

The Hidden Costs

…of the Jew-baiting in England.

Western anti-Zionists shy away from the dangerous and painful but legitimate and necessary criticism of Muslim radicals. They prefer the easy, cost-free baiting of any Jew proud enough to feel that his or her own people deserve a state. Instead of turning to the Muslims and saying “why can’t you express a fraction of the self-criticism of the Zionists?” they prefer to repeat the most toxic accusations against the Jews and claim: “I’m not saying anything that Jews haven’t said.”

They are the true Islamophobes — afraid to criticize Islam, eager to join in its chorus of hatred.

And in this act of demission before the Islamist challenge, British opinion makers and shapers also submit to their own bullies, their own zealots who push the Jew-baiting beyond the weekend sport of the salons, into the professional arena of anti-Zionist activism. When the founders of Hamas in 1988 penned their genocidal charter that explicitly targeted all infidels, little did they suspect that within twenty years, those infidels would chant “We are Hamas!” in the streets of London. Who could hope for a more useful infidel than that?

In the European past, Jew-baiting may have seemed relatively cost-free. After all, humiliate a Jew and the worst he’ll do is hector you. Sure, sometimes the sport got out of hand, and killing Jews en masse, or forcing them to convert, or kicking them out may have deeply damaged the economy and empowered repressive forces, like the Inquisition, to go after other religious dissidents. But who really noticed?

Today, however, the situation has changed dramatically because Europe doesn’t just run the risk of internal failure, but getting vanquished by an implacable and merciless foe. By failing to denounce toxic Muslim communitarianism and instead adopting its shrill discourse of demonization about Jews, Brits feed the monster that devours them. If it continues apace, if the British do not make Muslim civility towards Jews the shibboleth of assimilation to a free and democratic culture, they risk losing that civil polity entirely. As always with real anti-Semites, the Jews are only their first target.

As Churchill said, they feed the crocodile in the hope it will eat them last.

You Don’t Have To Be A Psychopath

…to be a politician. But it helps:

Psychopathy is a personality disorder manifested in people who use a mixture of charm, manipulation, intimidation, and occasionally violence to control others, in order to satisfy their own selfish needs. Although the concept of psychopathy has been known for centuries, the FBI leads the world in the research effort to develop a series of assessment tools, to evaluate the personality traits and behaviors attributable to psychopaths.

Interpersonal traits include glibness, superficial charm, a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, and the manipulation of others. The affective traits include a lack of remorse and/or guilt, shallow affect, a lack of empathy, and failure to accept responsibility. The lifestyle behaviors include stimulation-seeking behavior, impulsivity, irresponsibility, parasitic orientation, and a lack of realistic life goals.

Research has demonstrated that in those criminals who are psychopathic, scores vary, ranging from a high degree of psychopathy to some measure of psychopathy. However, not all violent offenders are psychopaths and not all psychopaths are violent offenders. If violent offenders are psychopathic, they are able to assault, rape, and murder without concern for legal, moral, or social consequences. This allows them to do what they want, whenever they want. Ironically, these same traits exist in men and women who are drawn to high-profile and powerful positions in society including political officeholders.

Words to remember every voting day.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!