And The Hits Just Keep Coming

Here’s the latest, from AT&T. Bet this will encourage them to hire a lot more people:

AT&T Inc. said it plans to take a non-cash charge of about $1 billion in the first quarter following the passage of the health-care reform bill earlier this week, according to a filing submitted by the company Friday. The telecommunication giant will also evaluate changes to its health care benefits for employees and retirees.

But don’t forget — if you like your plan, you can keep it! As long as the ObamaCare hasn’t wiped it out, of course…

And of course, we can at least count on new jobs for IRS agents.

If You Liked The “Stimulus…”

…you’ll love ObamaCare. Further thoughts here:

In both cases, despite broad public skepticism, the Democrats pushed forward on their bill while the White House intensified its messaging efforts, turning President Obama loose on crowd after friendly crowd in an effort to sell Middle America on a near-trillion-dollar fix whose murky specifics were in flux even as it approached a final vote. Sure enough, in both cases polling found support for the measure slowly creeping up as Congress passed the measure (with virtually no Republican support.) And in the days immediately after each became law, public support even reached scant majorities or pluralities in some places, with many saying that though the bill was imperfect, it sure beat doing nothing at all.

Liberals, covered in the stink of success, are now enjoying that bump. But, as I outline in the piece, if Obamacare’s post-passage public opinion trajectory is anything like that of the stimulus, they shouldn’t get too comfortable. A year out, the popularity of the stimulus falls somewhere between Tiger Woods and John Edwards. — and for similar reasons. The stimulus is widely-perceived to have been a failure because it didn’t keep its promise to stop and reverse job losses. Instead, 49 of 50 states have lost jobs since the stimulus passed.

We’re only a few days out from Obamacare’s passage and already reports are piling in from businesses bracing for tax increases and coverage changes. Wait until it’s been a year.

Maybe they should have read the bill…

Another Blow To The Warm Mongers

Apparently cattle aren’t a greenhouse problem.

Is there anything they’ve gotten right?

[Update a couple minutes later]

You know, the correlation between things that leftists dislike (the beef industry, the energy industry, free markets, personal freedom) and things that we’re told are destroying the planet is positively uncanny. I’m sure it’s just coincidence, though.

Frum Update

Charles Murray dishes the dirt on his departure yesterday, and defends the AEI against what he calls Frum’s false charges.

[Late afternoon update]

Mark Steyn weighs in. With (not unexpectedly) a lot of weight:

So, by David’s own account, AEI should have been happy to go on giving him a hundred grand to do stuff he would have been doing anyway and for which he was already being paid. I mean, The National Post of Canada pays him to write for The National Post of Canada. It’s hard to see why AEI should also chip in. As for his other stated contribution to the cause, I’m not sure that hitherto I’ve ever heard the term “landed” applied to Canadian cabinet ministers. No disrespect – many likable chaps on the team – but I gave a speech last year and “landed” half the Canadian cabinet without even trying, never mind invoicing anyone a six-figure sum for the accomplishment.

I’ve never been that impressed by David Frum. Nothing about this episode has increased my respect.

[Late evening update]

Tunku Varadarajan has more, to confirm Murray’s account.

Good Space Policy News From The Health-Care Debate

It’s looking like there’s a good (or at least better — Tucson is a pretty Democrat place) chance that Gabrielle Giffords could lose her seat:

But AHCCCS officials concluded Thursday that the health care overhaul’s so-called “maintenance of effort” requirements require Arizona to keep its Medicaid program at current levels in order to keep getting federal dollars. They said the state will incur $3.8 billion of added costs for its Medicaid population before increased federal funding starts in 2014.

She’s one of three Arizona Dems who voted for it. It would be nice to not only get rid of her as chair of the subcommittee, so she will stop stacking the deck in hearings, but out of the Congress altogether.

Good News On ITAR

I’ve long said (to paraphrase Mark Twain) that ITAR is like the weather — everybody talks about it, but no one ever does anything about it. Well, that may be about to change:

The legislation gives the president the authority to remove satellites and related components from the US Munitions List (USML), hence removing them from the jurisdiction of ITAR. (It would not, though, allow the export of such items to China.) Other provisions of the legislation would direct an ongoing review of the USML “to determine those technologies and goods that warrant different or additional controls”, which could benefit the space industry even if the White House didn’t exercise the provision to remove satellites and related components from the list wholesale.

The legislation passed the House last year, but for several months has been sitting in the Senate, raising fears they may never consider it. But speaking on an ITAR panel at the Satellite 2010 conference last week, David Fite, a staffer on the House Foreign Affairs Committee but speaking only for himself, said things were going “somewhat on schedule” compared to authorization bills in previous Congresses. That schedule would have the Senate passing its version of the authorization bill by the summer and a conference report reconciling the differences between the two in September or October.

It’s unclear from the reporting whether or not this will fix the problem for launch providers, or just satellite manufacturers. For instance, will it make life easier for the suborbital folks? Of course, the biggest problem is this:

“We are in an election year,” cautioned Fite. In his 11 years on Capitol Hill, he said, “I have never seen an environment that has been this partisan.” Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, concurred. “The danger is that this will become a political issue in an election year, which means it’s not going to be addressed on its merits, it will be addressed by slogans.” That will make it harder for reform to make its way through Congress and could also hurt the administration’s other reform efforts.

I’ve also long said that, as it took Nixon to go to China, only the Republicans can fix ITAR (though Duncan Hunter made sure it would never happen all through the Bush administration) because the Dems can’t afford to look weaker on national defense than they already do. I do fear very much that this will become a casualty of the very ugly campaign we’re heading into.

Repeal And Replace

A commenter has an interesting idea for the Republicans next year:

Assuming we get a republican congress in November, the way to repeal ObamaCare is to attached a clause repealing ObamaCare in every single appropriations bill next year. As long as Obama continues to veto them, the federal agencies will not get any money at all. Of course, this requires that the congressional republicans have more balls than Gingrich did at the end of 1995 when he “chickened out” first in this game with Clinton. It is up to the tea party movement to support the election of fiscally conservative candidates who will have the balls to step up to the plate to make sure that ObamaCare gets repealed.

That would require Republican control of both houses, which is possible, but not likely (it will be tough to take over the Senate). But if it happens, the nice thing about it is that the “government shutdown” could be spun this time as being the Democrats’ fault. It won’t even have to be vetoed by the president, because they’d likely filibuster the appropriations bill in the Senate to protect an unpopular measure.

A Propellant Depot Architecture

Dallas Bienhoff of Boeing presented their current concepts at a recent NASA in-space servicing workshop. It’s an impressive story of the performance leverage that a depot gives you, even with Constellation. I wonder if the trade includes dry launch in the depot case?

It’s interesting that he shows how they could use a Falcon 9, and an Atlas, but that Delta is unmentioned. Of course, now that ULA has taken over, perhaps Boeing has no institutional bias any more. I assume that this is the story that he’ll be telling at Space Access in a couple weeks, in the panel that we’ll both be on.

I’d like to see more detail on the ops (one of the slides came through as black for me). How do they propose to reuse the GTO/GEO tug? Aerobraking, or impulsively? You might want to check out some of the other papers at the link to Clark Lindsey’s site as well.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!