Category Archives: Business

NGLLC Ceremony

Clark Lindsey has a first-hand report:

Mr. Bolden, a couple of House members and a representative of the administration all said very good things about not just the NGLLC but about prizes in general and their ability to leverage lots of innovation and productivity at low cost. Got the impression that there will be more money coming for Centennial Challenges and other prize programs.

Dave Masten and Phil Eaton gave brief but eloquent remarks.

Two former NSS executive directors were there: Lori Garver, now Deputy NASA Administrator, and George Whitesides, now NASA’s Chief of Staff. With entrepreneurial firms getting big checks via an innovative program like Centennial Challenges, which was inspired by the X PRIZE, and with space advocates in NASA management, I get the feeling that the NewSpace current is starting to flow into the mainstream.

Whatever comes of the Constellation mess, this at least is encouraging.

[Mid-afternoon update]

Chuck Divine also attended, and has more details.

A Free-Market Party?

What a concept:

The rise of free-market populism in this country finally has manifested in an election. And judging from the hyperbolic reactions, you know it’s a political movement with staying power.

When tepid, traditional conservative candidate Doug Hoffman knocked off liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava—a candidate who was supported by nearly every boogeyman in the GOP handbook—you might have thought that the rabble had stormed the Bastille.

Sophisticated New York Times columnist Frank Rich called the event “a riotous and bloody national G.O.P. civil war” and compared the conservative surge to a murderous Stalinist purge. (Remarkably, the esteemed wordsmith failed to unleash similar histrionic language when one-time-Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman met the same fate.)

Purging moderates is indeed a self-destructive strategy for any national party. But running a party without any litmus tests on the central issue of the economy seems to be similarly self-defeating.

The most impressive trick played by Rich and other liberals, though, is creating a narrative wherein the ones attempting to fundamentally reconfigure the American economy are cast as the moderates.

The nearly powerless who stand in their way? Well, they play the part of Stalinists.

But of course, as Orwell pointed out, the real Stalinists are the people who torture the language like Frank Rich does.

Is It 1993 Again?

…or 1938?

Democrats lost 80 seats in the 1938 election, after gaining seats in 1930, 1932, 1934 and 1936.

How did this happen? As Amity Shlaes notes in her history of the Depression, “The Forgotten Man,” Roosevelt believed less competition and high wages would heal the economy. Aided by Congress, he went about engineering those two things with a vengeance, trebling the size of the federal government in less than a decade.

At the time, such drastic action may have seemed warranted. Within three years of the 1929 crash, GDP had fallen nearly a third and a fourth of the U.S. work force was idle. Even so, the economy appeared to stabilize in 1934 and 1935, and in 1936, Democrats won landslides in both Congress and the presidency.

What happened next is a tale of overreach and hubris — one that holds lessons for today’s Democrats.

But they seem determined not to learn them. Because to do so would negate their entire world view.

Scrap Ares I

The editorial board at the Orlando Sentinel (Florida’s largest paper) weighs in:

If U.S. space-policy decisions were dictated based solely on spectacle, the Ares I would be a shoo-in as NASA’s next manned vehicle. Unfortunately for fans of the rocket, cost, design and timing also matter.

Problems with all three argue for scrapping Ares I and assigning commercial rockets the task of flying to the international space station in low-Earth orbit. That would allow the agency to concentrate on its pre-shuttle mission of cutting-edge exploration.

I think we’re reaching the point at which its supporters are trying to swim up Niagara Falls.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Mark Matthews over at the Sentinel has a story on the hearings discussing the future of the program.

This should shock no one:

“There are a few people in the administration who want to kill Ares I and put all the money in commercial and the [Augustine] report tends to endorse that type of scenario. I think that is absolutely wrong,” said Doc Horowitz, former astronaut and Constellation architect.

If I were him, I’d just shut up, and hope that the IG doesn’t decide to open a belated investigation into his revolving door between NASA and ATK.

And then there’s this little tidbit at the end:

…there are whispers that the administration is exploring plans outside options presented by the Augustine committee, although it is unclear as to what they could include.

I suppose they could include (e.g.) bringing in the Chinese. We could just put it on the tab with all the other things we borrow money from them to buy from them.