Clueless Scientists

Some thoughts on their foolish political tendencies. And as noted, this Sagan quote is crucial in the “settled climate science” debate:

Science is more than a body of knowledge, it’s a way of thinking. A way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility. If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those that tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs for the next charlatan, political or religious who comes ambling along.

“Scientist” isn’t a profession. We are all scientists to one degree or another, if we are successful at every-day living.

SpaceX Mission Reliability

General Shelton says they’re not ready for prime time:

Launches of NASA cargo to the International Space Station, including one planned early Sunday, don’t guarantee SpaceX is ready to launch military satellites, the head of Air Force Space Command said Tuesday in Cape Canaveral.

If a rocket failed, the loss of a national security satellite potentially worth more than $1.5 billion would be a bigger setback than losing food, clothing and other station supplies, Gen. William Shelton told the National Space Club Florida Committee.

“So there’s a big difference,” he said.

This is one reason that talk about “human rating” an Atlas (or Delta) is silly. If it’s reliable enough for a $1.5B satellite, it’s reliable enough to carry crew. All it ever needed was failure onset detection. And when SpaceX starts flying crew, the general’s argument will be much less strong.

The IRS’s Behavior

taxes credulity:

Lerner is, so far, the face of this use of government to punish political adversaries. She knows what her IRS unit did and how it intersects with the law, and for a second time she has exercised her constitutional right to remain silent rather than risk self-incrimination. The public has a right to make reasonable inferences from her behavior.

And from Obama’s. After calling the IRS behavior “outrageous,” he now says there is not a “smidgen” of evidence of anything to be outraged about. He knows this even though the supposed investigation of the IRS behavior has not been completed, or perhaps even begun. The person he chose to investigate his administration is an administration employee and a generous donor to his campaigns. . . .

Speaking of questions: Can anyone identify a Democratic Senate candidate whose tax records were leaked, as Christine O’Donnell’s were when she was the Republican candidate in Delaware in 2010? Is it a coincidence that in January 2011, after Catherine Engelbrecht requested tax-exempt status for two conservative groups she founded in Texas — King Street Patriots and True the Vote — the Engelbrecht family business was notified of its first IRS audit? Does James Comey wonder why (this was before he became FBI director), five months after Engelbrecht’s tax-exemption request, FBI agents appeared seeking information about attendees at the King Street Patriots meetings? Were five subsequent FBI contacts “checking in” for “updates” on the group’s activities really necessary? Why did the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives show a sudden intrusive interest in the Engelbrechts’ business, which has nothing to do with alcohol or tobacco or firearms or explosives?

Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

Lois Lerner’s Omerta

Who is she protecting?

These simple questions – each based on indisputable facts – establish that somebody outside of the IRS told her they wanted the tax agency to “fix” something involving groups seeking 501(c)(4) tax status, that she directed subordinates to begin a (c)(4) project she feared could be seen as “political,” that she viewed Tea Party groups as “dangerous,” and that she ordered that such groups be subjected to “multi-level review.” Those are the four essential points of the IRS scandal: Who ordered the tax agency to get involved, who in the tax agency responded, who they targeted and what actions they took. She cannot answer these questions because, as she herself has claimed, that would be incriminating. Lerner and others must hope Issa doesn’t already have the answers.

Gee, I kind of hope he does. I’m guessing White House counsel’s office, myself.

Obama’s Foreign Policy

…is based in fantasy:

For five years, the Obama administration has chosen to see the world as they wish it to be, not as it is. In this fantasy world, the attack in Fort Hood is “workplace violence.” The Christmas Day bomber is an “isolated extremist.” The attempted bombing in Times Square is a “one-off” attack. The attacks in Benghazi are a “spontaneous” reaction to a YouTube video. Al Qaeda is on the run. Bashar al-Assad is a “reformer.” The Iranian regime can be sweet-talked out of its nuclear weapons program. And Vladimir Putin is a new, post-Cold War Russian leader.

In the real world, it was a pen pal of the late jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki who opened fire on soldiers at Fort Hood. The Christmas bomber was dispatched from Yemen, where he was instructed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The Times Square bomber was trained and financed by the Pakistani Taliban. Benghazi was a deliberate attack launched by well-known terrorist groups. Al Qaeda is amassing territory and increasing its profile. Assad is a brutal dictator, responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 Syrians. The Iranian regime is firmly entrenched as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror and remains determined to lead a nuclear state. And in Russia we face a Cold War throwback willing to use force to expand Russian influence.

Well, to be fair, his domestic policies are based on fantasies, too.

Ideologues Of The Left

Some thoughts on the real “war on science”:

This, of course, is a charge that Democrats usually love to levy against Republicans. When Barack Obama took office in 2008, Democrats swooned that we finally had a “pragmatist” back in the White House after eight years of a Republican president who supposedly favored ideology to facts on everything from science to foreign policy. Translation: Democrats act based on knowing things because they are smarter and think about them rationally and scientifically, while Republicans act based on believing things because they are religious, ill-informed, or misled by powerful interest groups.

The last few years have supplied ample evidence of the opposite — namely, that Democrats are the ideologues wearing blinders to shield themselves from inconvenient realities. Indeed, it is worth reviewing a list of items on which Democrats seem incapable of overcoming preconceptions and interest groups.

The long standing deceit and conceit of the left, as Jonah Goldberg has documented in his books, going all the way back to John Dewey, is that they are “pragmatic” and that everyone else is “ideological,” when of course it’s exactly the opposite. The great irony of last year’s election was that the nation actually had a choice between an leftist ideologue and a pragmatist: Romney truly doesn’t seem to have any political principles, and just wants to do what “works.” They chose the ideologue.

Bullying

Some thoughts from Lileks:

Oh grow up. Please. Any form of disputation is now “Bullying,” as if the act of being less than supportive is a passive version of pushing someone down in the mud in the playground. The spread of the term beyond school infantilizes everyone and dilutes the term. Criticism is bullying; failure to agree with someone else’s precepts is “hate.” The internet did not invent this; it just allowed people with mushy noggins to retreat into supportive spaces where everyone outside the wall was a meany.

And there are a lot of mushy noggins out there.

SpaceX Versus “Boeing”

The headline of this good National Journal article on yesterday’s Senate Appropriations hearing is very misleading. One would think from it that’s it’s about the commercial crew competition between Dragon and CST, when in fact it’s about the competition between SpaceX and ULA for milsat launches. I assume that the copy editor screwed up, not the author. Anyway, note the typical socialist argument against competition that Dick Shelby uses.