The Lure Of A Real Space Program

A long (I haven’t read the whole thing yet) article on SpaceX and other private companies versus NASA in terms of its appeal to employees:

SpaceX inspired Hoffman to reimagine a career with opportunities to work on her engineering projects even if the technicians were busy and not have it considered diverting work from contract labor. If she chose to work long hours at a commercial company, she wouldn’t be “punished for being an overachiever.” If she spent months on a project, she could be assured it would get launched into space.

For Hoffman, having her projects go unfinished at NASA may have been the personal foul that tipped her toward private industry, but she also suspected her own engineering frustrations were only the surface byproduct of more institutionalized problems. NASA’s financial insecurity, its lack of administrative direction and its bureaucracy had worn on her confidence in its future.

As the author notes, today’s NASA isn’t capable of doing what the 1960s NASA could.

[Update a few minutes later]

Ah, here it is:

“You can take safety overboard,” Leonce said. “I’ve sat in many meetings where we’re just arguing over the simplest things. It just becomes borderline ridiculous. I don’t think we could have ever gotten to the moon if the culture that now exists at NASA existed in the ’60s.”

Leonce said he understands the older generation’s anxieties considering they’ve worked through the deadly Challenger and Columbia disasters. Yet private launch companies will be more attractive for engineers fresh out of school, he said, because that culture of risk aversion is “a death in itself.”


I would note that one of the reasons I left Rockwell over two decades ago was that in my decade and a half in the industry, virtually nothing that I worked on ever came to fruition (and many of the things I had to work on never should have). I also think that Bonnie Dunbar is deluding herself.

Hillary’s Dilemma

Her prisoner’s dilemma with Barack Obama:

…you can recast the choices as:

If Hillary and Obama expose each other’s role in the foreign policy debacle, then both face political ruin and possible criminal liability, if any laws were violated.
If Hillary can pin it on Obama or Obama can pin it on Hillary then one walks and the other takes the rap.
If Hillary and Barack can cut a deal, then both walk or emerge with minimal damage.

One of the assumptions of the prisoners dilemma is that they are isolated, precluding collusion. In this case since the parties are meeting, collusion is not only inevitable, but guaranteed.

On the other hand, you know what they say about honor and thieves.

Everything That Can Be Customized

must be.

This is where I differ with Lileks (and Virginia Postrel). I have no desire to customize anything. To me it’s pointless work. Perhaps because I have absolutely no artistic talent (at least visually) or even that much aesthetic sensibility. My computer screen has the same background that was installed with the OS. I did put an effect on my phone when I first got it, because I was playing around with it to see how it all worked, but I’ve never downloaded, let alone paid for, a ring tone. Or a fancy case. I really just don’t care.

A Federally Required Presumption Of Guilt

The latest anti-rights insanity coming from the Obama administration. It’s becoming child abuse to send a kid to public schools, or a son to college.

[Update a couple minutes later]

“If your boyfriend likes the First Amendment, be careful!”

This is how fascists think.

[Update a minute or so later]

“Law enforcement must take the lead in campus sexual assault cases.”

What a concept.

[Update another minute or so later]

“Illegals [immigrants] at the border have more rights than college students accused of rape.”

[Late-morning update]

No, one in five women on campus have not been raped.


Amazingly, a frequent commenter actually posted this (presumably with a straight face):

Obama set a standard for his administration that no other president has even tried to meet, and fell short of it, while still offering more transparency than any previous administration.

Josh Earnest (I still can’t believe that hired someone with that name for the job of presidential spokesman) repeated it.

But really, as Glenn notes, picking the biggest whopper of the Obama era is a tough task. I guess they’re operating on Goebbels’ Big Lie theory.

Mann Suit Update

I didn’t mention it last week, because I’ve been busy dealing with life, but both we and National Review submitted our brief in the case to the DC Court of Appeals last Monday. I’m not sure if the CEI brief has been discussed anywhere, but here’s a discussion of National Review’s. We requested that the lower-court ruling to refuse dismissal be overturned and the case dismissed (implicitly) with prejudice. That means that if the appeals court agrees, we can go after Mann for legal costs.

Anyway, the reason I mention it now is that Alliance Defending Freedom has filed an amicus brief today on our behalf. I’ve got the filing, but haven’t seen any links to it yet. We also have one from Reason, Cato, Goldwater Institute, and the Individual Rights Foundation.

[Late evening update]

OK, we’ve got a couple more. One is from Newsmax Media, Inc., Free Beacon,LLC, The Foundation for Cultural Review, The Daily Caller, LLC, PJ Media, LLC, and The Electronic Frontier Foundation. The other is from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and twenty six other media organization, which I won’t list here.

Also, as with the last time, the District of Columbia has filed an amicus on our behalf to defend its anti-SLAPP law.

I’m guessing that a lot more media organizations are filing this time because they they were shocked at the ruling the last time, and wanted to make their views clear to the appellate court.

[Wednesday-morning update]

CEI has links to all the legal filings in the case to date, including Monday’s amici.

Eating Out Alone

Are you ashamed to do it?

It seems like a strange question to me. I don’t like eating out alone, but not because I think there’s any shame in it. I don’t like eating out, period. It’s expensive, it’s hard to eat healthy, and I don’t like people serving me. The only time I eat out alone is when I’m traveling alone. Eating out is something that I tolerate at best, not enjoy, unless I’m with good company, and then I’d still prefer to be eating a meal at home with them.

The Tenants From Hell

Posting has been light because we came down to Florida last week to get our house ready to put on the market. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to extricate the tenants, who had previously agreed to vacate on the 31st of July. We’re finally playing legal hardball with them, but it’s been a lot of wasted time to date, and we have tickets back to CA tomorrow.

Just if you were wondering why posting has been light.

Obama Endorsements

“Run away! Run away!!!

Abercrombie, a longtime Democratic officeholder in the state, was ousted by state Sen. David Ige. That makes Abercrombie the first incumbent governor in Hawaii history to lose his primary.

Ige handily defeated the sitting governor, winning 67 percent to Abercrombie’s 32 percent of the vote.

Last year, Obama, who was born in Hawaii, endorsed the governor’s re-election.

“I’ve known Governor Abercrombie for decades,” Obama said at the time, “and I’ve come to appreciate him not only as a friend, but as an extraordinary public servant who has never let politics get in the way of serving the people of Hawai‘i.”

Remember, Democrats. This will be different than 1994 because “You’ve got me.”


At what point is the world going to recognize that this totalitarian ideology is at least as bad as Nazism?

By the way, for those who want to devalue the word “genocide,” does this count?

“We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic State have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar,” he said

“Some of the victims, including women and children were buried alive in scattered mass graves in and around Sinjar.”

But other than that, it’s totally a religion of peace. Good thing that these guys aren’t a real threat, like Al Qaeda. Like the president says, they’re just junior varsity.


The strange behavior of an ebola victim:

Looking to get to the bottom of Sawyer’s strange ailment on the Asky Airline flight, which Sawyer transferred on in Togo, hospital officials say, he was tested for both malaria and HIV AIDS. However, when both tests came back negative, he was then asked whether he had made contact with any person with the Ebola Virus, to which Sawyer denied. Sawyer’s sister, Princess had died of the deadly virus on Monday, July 7, 2014 at theCatholic Hospital in Monrovia. On Friday, July 25, 2014, 18 days later, Sawyer died in Lagos.

“Upon being told he had Ebola, Mr. Sawyer went into a rage, denying and objecting to the opinion of the medical experts “He was so adamant and difficult that he took the tubes from his body and took off his pants and urinated on the health workers, forcing them to flee.”

The hospital would later report that it resisted immense pressure to let out Sawyer from its hospital against the insistence from some higher-ups and conference organizers that he had a key role to play at the ECOWAS convention in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

So here’s my question. Was this merely an individual irresponsible in the first place, whose “undisciplined” behavior resulted in his contracting the disease, after which he simply lashed out in anger, wanting to take others with him? Or does the disease have a rabies-like component that in addition to its other horrific physical symptoms, drives the victim literally insane?

The Obama Administration As Criminal Enterprise

Yup, looks like it:

See a tree with 20 apples hanging on it and reasonable people conclude it’s an apple tree. So is it a criminal conspiracy when 20 government employees illegally destroy important official emails?

If that seems like an extreme question, consider the steadily accumulating evidence about the Obama administration’s modus operandi with potentially incriminating documents subpoenaed by Congress: A scandal erupts. Congressional hearings are held. Documents are requested and withheld. Subpoenas are issued. Contempt charges threatened. A few documents dribble out.

Then come the admissions that, oh by the way, emails required by multiple federal laws to be preserved have either been destroyed or “lost.”

Oh, don’t be ridiculous. People lose emails under subpoena all the time. In the mob, anyway.

[Sunday-morning update]

Inspector Generals say that Obama aides obstruct investigations.

[Update a few minutes later]

Elusive federal documents: Six serious questions:

In Fast and Furious, President Obama declared executive privilege to withhold documents in a controversy that the White House claimed revealed no evidence of White House involvement. Of course, if all the evidence isn’t turned over, then how is one to be confident no evidence exists? Further, multiple federal agencies have refused to turn over many documents requested in the case under the Freedom of Information Act as far back as 2011.

In the instance of Benghazi, the Obama administration failed to turn over requested documents when asked by Congress and requested under Freedom of Information law. Only recently, nearly two years after-the-fact, under court order, did it produce some withheld material to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which sued the State Department for failing to respond to its Freedom of Information requests. The documents continue to contradict the Obama administration’s narratives surrounding the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks.

With the IRS, President Obama insisted there wasn’t a “smidgen” of corruption surrounding the tax agency’s targeting of conservatives. But a key IRS official, Lois Lerner, refused to testify to Congress. And the IRS “lost” subpoenaed documents generated by Lerner and other key officials. These may include documents that Lerner sent to outside agencies and officials. Though the IRS says it will turn over tens of thousands of other documents, it’s hard to feel confident that the most damning ones, if any existed, will have been miraculously saved.

Now, HHS–which has stonewalled subpoenas and Freedom of Information requests in the investigation of–has likewise announced that it probably destroyed some materials that have been subpoenaed in that probe.

All just coincidence, I’m sure. After all, if we just happened to “lose” documents that the IRS demanded from us, nothing would happen to us except that we would be “retrained.” Right?

You don’t say.

Gridlock In Washington

…means that the government is working exactly the way the Founders intended.

And it doesn’t mean that it excuses dictatorship via executive order. If the president was a real “constitutional scholar,” he’d know that. But there are a lot of things with this president on which he was vastly oversold.

I’d note, by the way, that Posner’s argument is idiotic. Congress has the power to pass legislation. It has no constitutional responsibility to do so, and its failure to do so does not in any way empower the president. The idea was that no law was better than bad law. As ObamaCare proves.