Bush Did It, Too

Iowahawk has found a secret transcript between the NEA and the arts community under the BusHitler administration.

MR. SMIRNOV: Oak Ridge boys, can you puts the phone on mute? Hey, in Russia, phone mutes you! Henghenghenhgg Hokay, now is time to stop for the jokings. For all yous on the phone I am Yakov Smirnov, and I am comedy artist escape from Russia. Now the President Bush he is making me the deputy outreach coordinator for the Nationals Endowments for the Art. What a country! This is why I make this phones call with all of you today. You are all very very important buddies from the Arts community and the Crafts community and the Vegas Lounge and Branson community. Is my job to lets you buddies know how much Mr. President Bush think you doing important Arts and shows. Is totally awesome!

MR. HANEY’S CHAINSAW: vrrruuppp vruupppa winggadinggg vvvvwiiing wiiiiiiiiing

MR. SMIRNOV: Mr. Haney, you put chainsaw on mutes, hokay? Now like Yakov say, Mr. President he is like many things you do with the lawn ornaments and needlepoints and like thats. But he knows is tough out theres for the Arts people and sometimes yous have to do two buffet shows every day to make the ends meet. So he say, hey! How abouts that Nationals Art Endowments? It gots plenty money for my buddies. So he say, Yakov get my buddies together and talks about how they can go do the Art things for service to me. Oops, I mean America!

MS. CZARNOSKI: Speaking as an artist, I would first like to say, what’s my cut?

MR. SMIRNOV: Is very good question. Is very much sliding scale depending how much service yous do for Mr. Bush. I mean America community. Mister Bush he sees many places where is good for Art. Here is to explain Mr. good buddy vice president Dick Cheney.

MR. CHENEY: Hello everyone and thank you Yakov. I would like to say…

MR. SMIRNOV: Please not to shoots me, Mr. Vice Presidents!

MR. CHENEY:

MR. SMIRNOV: hhenng heh… heee…

MR. CHENEY:

MR. SMIRNOV: uh… Yakov make bad joke. Please Cheney buddy, Yakov sorry.

So I guess that we won’t be able to complain about Obama.

Water On The Moon

There’s a lot of it?

If so, in a sane policy world, that would be even more impetus for depot-based refueling architectures. Unfortunately, that’s not the policy world in which we live, when it comes to space.

[Early evening update]

Speaking of depots, Jon Goff discusses the two papers he presented in Pasadena last week (which I still wish that I’d been able to attend).

But Don’t Call It Fascism

Did the NEA break the law?

Public funds are not supposed to be expended to support partisan projects. Beyond that, it is unconstitutional to grant or deny federal funds on the basis of the recipient’s political actions or opinions. National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley. The NEA is the single largest funder of the arts, and several participants in the August 10 conference call had recently received NEA checks. It would have been entirely reasonable for those on the phone call to conclude that future NEA funding could be influenced by their willingness to play ball with the Obama administration’s political agenda. Moreover, the Hatch Act limits the ability of federal employees to engage in partisan politics. Sergant’s sending of the email invitation to artists and arts groups, using his government email account, could be considered a bright line violation of the act, as could his apparent solicitation of political support from any arts group that had an application for funding pending before the NEA. Likewise, Ms. Wicks’ participation in the call would appear to be illegal if she was “on duty” and if the call was deemed political in nature.

It would take a thorough knowledge of the facts and more legal research than I’ve had time for to draw a conclusion as to whether the White House or NEA violated the law in connection with the artist outreach, but at a minimum an investigation is in order.

Why not? This administration, and its defenders, doesn’t seem to be all that fastidious about either the law or the Constitution. So how long does Yosi Sergant keep his job?

The Solar Power Satellite Business

Alan Boyle has a good rundown on the current state of play. I wonder, though about the assumptions underlying this comment:

To be competitive with other power sources, Maness figures that the powersat system’s launch costs would have to be around $100 per pound – which is roughly one-hundredth of the current asking price. Launch costs may be heading downward, thanks in part to the rise of SpaceX’s Falcon rockets, but Maness can’t yet predict when the charts tracing cost and benefit will cross into the profitable zone.

Launch costs to where? They’re that high to GEO, but not to LEO, and it doesn’t say where the satellite constellation will live. It’s going to be a long time before it’s a hundred bucks a pound to GEO, though though a robust market for LEO propellant depots will be a help in that regard. But we’re not far from having a thousand bucks a pound to LEO. Anyway, it would be nice to see more details on these things.

The bottom line, though, and the reason that I’m not that sanguine on the business prospects for SBSP, at least for base load, is this:

In addition to potential environmental concerns, large-scale solar farms can’t generate a steady flow of electricity at night, or during cloudy weather. But if engineers ever figure out a way to store up the intermittent energy generated by solar cells or wind turbines, at levels high enough to keep utilities flush with power, Maness thinks that would deal a heavy blow to his powersat dreams.

“At that point, I take my marbles and go home,” he said.

Yup. It’s not the technical risk of the space hardware and launch costs, but the risk of terrestrial competition as technology evolves, that is the biggest risk of all.

You’ll Be Even More Shocked Than I Was

…to hear about shoddy and libelous reporting at the WaPo:

“I’m missing some important context: what did Woodward’s father do for a living? Hard to pin down his motivation otherwise. And Bernstein’s mom, what was her deal?”

As noted, if they had gone after a “right wing” organization, they’d be up for Pulitzers. But because it’s the leftist thugs at ACORN, they get slimed. And they’re aided and abetted by those “layers of fact checkers and editors.”

Back Home

I got in this afternoon, but this is the first chance I’ve had to log on (using…borrowed…yeah, that’s the word, borrowed… bandwidth from a neighbor’s unsecured Dlink router. I’ll return the bits after I get my own set up in a day or so…if he can figure out the passphrase…).

I returned to a house full of boxes to unpack and find a place for their contents, so the next few days/weeks/months will be a massive exercise in entropy reduction. I hope to get back to a semi-normal schedule this coming week, though.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!