Tag Archives: government

Fraud, Abuse Found in NASA Research Funding to Small Companies

NASA’s inspecter general has found fraud, waste, and abuse in NASA’s small business research program. Nor is this new news:

Problems with NASA’s SBIR program have been repeatedly criticized in recent years by the agency’s inspector general. Of some 46 investigations related to the SBIR program over the past decade, 17 percent resulted in criminal convictions, civil judgments, or administrative action, the inspector general told a Senate Commerce Committee hearing last year.

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The greed for power, or why it is always better to do without government help

In an article today on spaceref.com “NASA: It’s Our Space Station – Not Yours,” Keith Cowing has some harsh words for NASA and its management of the research on ISS. Based on what he witnessed at a NASA meeting, it appears that NASA wants to retain control over all research on the space station, while denying access to outside other researchers. Key quote:

In addition to prohibiting the ISS National Laboratory contractor from getting its hands on human-based research, Mark Uhran also stated that any proposal that proposed to do anything with spacecraft systems or engineering would be similarly deemed non-responsive. In other words two of the most interesting things you can do on the ISS – the sorts of thing you’d want a larger research base to focus on (assuming you are really interested in outside participation) are off limits due to executive fiat.

Where is NASA’s justification for limiting the ability of the private and educational sectors from making full utilization of the amazing capabilities that are offered by the ISS? Answer: NASA made it up. Truth be known, NASA was dragged kicking and screaming into supporting this National Laboratory concept. Congress had to enact a law to make them do it.

None of this surprises me. NASA is a government agency, and as a government agency it is going to protect its turf, come hell or high water. It is for this reason I think it a bad idea for the new space rocket companies to take any NASA money, up front. If they do, NASA will immediately use those funds as a club to force these new companies to do things as NASA wishes, rather than being free to compete and innovate on their own. In other words, NASA will use the funds to maintain control of all space exploration.

Better the new companies build their rockets and spaceships on their own, and then sell these new inventions to NASA or whoever else wants to use them. Let the profits pay for the work, not the needs and regulations of a government agency.

Not only will this free competiton produce a lot more creativity and innovation, it will almost certainly help to reduce the cost of space travel, as these companies fight to gain market share. And most importantly, it will frame the future exploration of space in the context of freedom rather that a state-run endeavor.

And isn’t freedom the principle that the United States of America stands for?

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DeMint wants to have the omnibus read

Maybe this might stop the spending: Republican Senator Jim DeMint wants the Senate to read the entire 1900-plus omnibus budget bill before anyone votes on it. Key quote

The reading could take 40 hours, some news outlets estimate. Last year, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., forced the reading of an 800-page amendment on the Senate floor. The reading ended when Sanders, who had proposed the amendment, came to the floor to withdraw it.

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Boeing Submits Proposal for 2nd Round of NASA Commercial Crew Development Program

In competition with the Orbital/Virgin Galactic proposal I mentioned yesterday, Boeing has submitted its own proposal to provide crew and cargo ferrying service to ISS.

Considering the federal budget debt and the political winds for reducing that debt, I have great doubts the subsidies for these proposals will ever arrive. Nonetheless, with the end of the shuttle program and nothing to replace it, the United States has a serious need for a system to get crew and cargo into space. And in a free society, fulfilling that need means profits, which is why these proposals are beginning to appear, and will get built, regardless of whether Congress funds them up front or later buys the services.

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EPA regulations to go into effect says court

Two stories on the recent attempts of the EPA under the Obama administrions to create new climate regulations. First, a federal appeals court decided Friday not to block the new EPA climate regulations. Second, the war between Texas and the EPA over the EPA’s effort to regulate Texas industry continues unabated.

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8 Observations From The Cancun Climate Conference

Eight observations from the Cancun climate conference. I like this quote the best:

“The enterprise is pompously and risibly dedicated in equal parts to wealth redistribution and self-perpetuation, as a platform for, and along the way, engaging in visceral anti-Americanism.”

Read the whole thing. Very entertaining, in a depressing sort of way.

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Kyoto Protocol is dead, long live the climate fund

It appears the climate meeting in Cancun has ended without much success. Unable to get an renewal of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, the diplomats instead agreed to create a $100 billion “Green Climate Fund” that is mostly funded by the First World nations but is mostly distributed by the Third World. See the notes at 10:45 am on this blog and at 12:20 am on this blog. Key quote:

[The fund] will have 25 members of developing countries on its board, compared to only 15 for developed countries. This gives developing countries a much stronger role. The World Bank is a trustee.

The real question is whether the new Congress in the U.S. will appropriate any money at all to this scam.

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Court to rule on ObamaCare constitutionality Monday

Court to rule on the constitutionality of ObamaCare on Monday. Key quote:

Normally, all comprehensive laws contain a boilerplate severance clause: it says that if any portion of the law is found to be unconstitutional, that portion is severed from the rest of the law — that is, the rest of the law stands. But ObamaCare contains no severance clause. Virginia is asserting that if it prevails on its substantive claims, the whole law is unconstitutional. (If Virginia does not prevail, any one of the twenty-plus legal challenges have the same severance argument available.)

This really isn’t the best way to get rid of this idiotic law, but we should also take any bone we can get.

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Obama climate cash pledge in doubt

The Obama administration’s $30 billion cash pledge at last year’s climate summit is in doubt.

Not only do I think this is good, I continue to wonder how any administration (not just Obama’s) can make such a pledge in the first place, considering the fact that under our Constitution all such allocations must first be approved by Congress.

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