If Mollohan Goes Down…

As looks exceedingly likely, who would replace him as chairman of the house appropriations committee for NASA?

If he goes down as part of a big GOP sweep that restores them to a majority, then presumably it would be Frank Wolf, who might be favorably disposed to commercial, given that Wallops is in his state, though not his district. Culberson taking over would be a disaster, given some of the ignorant comments he’s been making about the new plan.

But if Mollohan loses, but the Dems retain control, who would replace him? I hope it wouldn’t be Chaka Fatah, but I think he’s the most senior member, other than Obey (whose seat is also shaky). None of them have much NASA in their districts, other than Schiff (JPL).

Anyway, none of this would be as big a problem as Dick Shelby replacing Barbara Mikulski, from the standpoint of getting something useful out of NASA.

But if anyone has better insight than me (probably not hard), please chime in.

A Green Tea Party

That’s what Pulitzer-Prize-winning authoritarian-government admirer Tom Friedman thinks the Tea Partiers should form. I always love this:

I’ve been trying to understand the Tea Party Movement. Sounds like a lot of angry people who want to get the government out of their lives and cut both taxes and the deficit. Nothing wrong with that — although one does wonder where they were in the Bush years.

They were there all along, and few of them were very happy about the spending, but they weren’t idiotic enough to think that the Democrats would be better. And sometimes quantity has a quality all its own.

Anyway, I think that what Beijing Tom really wants is a watermelon tea party.

Civil Service

Horror stories. Actually, I wish more of them were doing porn, like at the SEC. They’d be less likely to be causing other mischief. I’ve heard some specifically about NASA as well.

As Derbyshire is fond of saying — we’re doomed.

[Update Tuesday morning]

I’ve had to shut down comments on this post, because for some reason it’s drawing spammers like flies.

The Challenges Going Forward

G. Ryan Faith has a good overview of the differences between the original VSE and the new plan, and the problems it (and really, any) government space program will have in maintaining political momentum. Which is why it’s important to transition to a commercial program as soon as possible.

[Update a few minutes later]

I agree with Faith that the new plan is actually much closer to the original VSE (particularly as regards to the Aldridge recommendations) than it became with the misbegotten ESAS/Constellation. The only really significant difference is the lack of moon first as an explicit goal. But that goal had become meaningless anyway under Constellation, because all of the technologies that would have potentially made it useful to go to the moon had been defunded to feed Ares/Orion. As he notes, if we can keep this on track, there will be plenty of time to once again make the argument for lunar return, long before we go anywhere else. If we establish logistics nodes at the Lagrange points for departures and returns from deep space, the moon will look ever more compelling.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!