From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.
“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.
A report released today [pdf] by NASA’s inspector general has found that NASA’s management of its infrastructure projects — designed to replace or upgrade existing facilities — is badly organized and routinely leads to cost overruns and delays.
According to the report, NASA has been spending about $359 million per year on its infrastructure for the past five years, about $1.8 billion. And what have we gotten from this spending? This quote from the report sums it up nicely:
Of the 20 [Construction of Facilities] projects we reviewed, 6 incurred significant cost overruns ranging from $2.2 million to $36.6 million and 16 of the projects are 3 months to more than 3 years behind their initial schedules. Costs increased primarily because requirements were not fully developed by the Agency before construction began, requirements were not fully understood by contractors, and contract prices were higher than originally estimated. Delays occurred because projects faced postponed start times and changing requirements, among other reasons. Finally, NASA did not provide effective oversight to determine whether the Agency’s portfolio of [Construction of Facilities] projects met cost, schedule, and performance goals. [Facilities and Real Estate Division] has failed to consistently keep up with oversight requirements of approved and funded projects and current oversight guidance does not align with Agency facility goals. [emphasis mine]
But don’t worry. Congress is about to pour several more billion dollars into NASA’s coffers for infrastructure work. I am sure the agency will figure out ways to go overbudget and behind schedule with this money as well.
For more than twenty years I have seen government-run projects fail miserably, across the board, Whether it be big rockets, high speed trains, military actions in foreign countries, foreign intelligence, or health policies in response to new viruses, our government routinely fails, its effort quickly falling far behind schedule while costing many times its initial budget. Worst of all, the final product is often useless or completely unable to achieve its initial stated goals.
And yet, Americans don’t seem to notice. We still turn first to government for everything. Too many of us depend on the CDC for our health advice, though its advice has been repeatedly mistaken, inconsistent, or just plain wrong for years. Others think NASA is the only one who can build and launch a manned space mission, though almost all of its in-house manned projects have been disasters for decades.
And above all, we must use our military to shape and reshape nations worldwide, though our military has done poorly in almost every war it has fought since World War II.
There are exceptions to all this, but the overall pattern is clear. As Tucker Carlson said recently, “We are led by buffoons.”
It really is past time for Americans to stop relying on these fools. Whether Americans will finally do so however will tell us whether we are buffoons as well.
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