Tag Archives: policy

Last shuttle mission could be delayed until fall of 2011

If Congress does end up appropriating money for that last extra shuttle mission, NASA managers are considering delaying it as long as possible, until the fall of 2011. Key quote:

[Shuttle Program Manager John] Shannon said if the shuttle is retired prematurely, the ISS will not be properly supplied.

In other words, Congress and the President should never have retired the shuttle in the first place, at least not until a replacement was ready to go.

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Republicans weaseling out already?

Republican senator Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire) suggested Monday that it would be better to restructure the healthcare bill than repeal or defund it.

Idiot. I think he and the rest of the Republican Party are being as clueless as the Democrats if they think this strategy will work. They should instead pay very close attention to what Sarah Palin said on the same day about a third party threat:

“Some in the GOP, it’s their last shot,” Palin said Monday evening on Fox News. “It’s their last chance, and we will lose faith and we will be disappointed and disenchanted from them if they start straying from the bedrock principles that can grow our economy.”

I am also reminded of this prescience Iowahawk post. As he says so eloquently, “Retards.”

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Have global warming scientists admitted that carbon dioxide is not the main greenhouse gas?

In a paper published on Saturday in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres of the American Geophysical Union, scientists from the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (where scientists have generally been strong advocates of human-caused global warming) outlined the key atmospheric molecules that contribute to the greenhouse effect. Key quote from the abstract:

We find that water vapor is the dominant contributor (∼50% of the effect), followed by clouds (∼25%) and then CO2 with ∼20%. All other absorbers play only minor roles.

The scientists also noted that even if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were to double, these percentages would not change significantly.

Does this mean that carbon dioxide is a minor player in creating global warming? This remains unclear. First, the above research is essentially only modeling, not actual data. Second, the scientists themselves note that the interplay of any two of these molecules (such as water and carbon dioxide or water and cloudiness) can have a greater effect than just one molecule alone, which makes these percentages by themselves incomplete.

Nonetheless, these results are important politically. These global warming scientists have placed themselves on record as admitting that cloudiness appears more significant that carbon dioxide in creating the greenhouse effect. And since the combination of water and clouds can have an even greater influence on the climate than either alone, the scientists are also admitting that water is by far the most important greenhouse molecule. Any future climate models as well as political action must take this fact into consideration.

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APS responds to Harold Lewis’s resignation letter

The American Physical Society has responded to Harold Lewis’s resignation letter.

It appears from their response that they are feeling some pressure about their past position, which stated “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.” Compare that with what they say now, in their response to Lewis:

APS continues to recognize that climate models are far from adequate, and the extent of global warming and climatic disruptions produced by sustained increases in atmospheric carbon loading remain uncertain.

How nice. A science organization recognizing the uncertainty of science!

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Obama signs the NASA authorization bill

Obama signed the NASA authorization bill today.

Update and bumped: This Spaceflight Now article includes this quote from Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida):

“What is in this bill is $11.5 billion over the next six years, anticipated, even though it’s a three-year authorization, for development and testing of a heavy lift rocket. Now if we can’t develop a new rocket for $11.5 billion, building on a lot of the technologies that were already developed in spending $9 billion (on the Constellation program’s Ares rockets), if we can’t do it for that, then we ought to question whether or not we can build a rocket.”

Based on NASA’s track record in trying to build a replacement to the shuttle, I remain very skeptical indeed whether NASA can build this rocket. I do hope, however, that my skepticism is proven wrong.

Note also that the funding for this authorization bill is as yet not appropriated. Plans to do so during the lame duck session of Congress after the elections remain fraught with problems.

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Physicist resigns for American Physical Society over climategate

Physicist resigns from the American Physical Society over climategate. Key quote:

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.

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White House arbitrarily gives healthcare law waivers to some companies

The law for some but not for others: Threatened with a firestorm of protest just prior to the election because a number of large corporations were going to drop millions from healthcare coverage because of the new Obamacare regulations, the White House today arbitrarily waived for one year those provisions for 30 large companies.

This action raises three obvious points:

  • If the healthcare law was so wonderful, why is the White House suspending its inception?
  • Why should these companies get a break, and not others? In fact, if I was the owner of a company that did not get a waiver, I would sue.
  • This once again proves false the claim by Obama that the law would force no one to lose their healthcare plan. To me, the words “You lie!” come quickly to mind.

Ed Morrissey at hotair.com makes some additional good points about this absurd situation.

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EPA’s Own Estimates Say Greenhouse Gas Regs Could ‘Slow Construction Nationwide for Years’ — and Take a Century to Reduce Temperature 0.0015 Degrees

The EPA itself believes that its effort to regulate carbon dioxide under its Prevention of Significant Deterioration program could “slow construction nationwide for years”. And what would this accomplish? Global temperatures would be reduced a whopping 0.0015 degrees! Key quote:

“It is clear throughout the country, PSD (Prevention of Significant Deterioration) permit issuance would be unable to keep up with the flood of incoming applications, resulting in delays, at the outset, that would be at least a decade or longer, and that would only grow worse over time as each year, the number of new permit applications would exceed permitting authority resources for that year.”

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It’s okay to kill suffering children says UK journalist

Seems to be a lot of this kind of genocidal thought going around: A columnist for the Independent in Great Britain admitted in an October 4th interview that she considers it a kind act to kill a suffering child. Key quote:

“[I] think that if I were a mother of a suffering child, I would be the first to want I mean a deeply suffering child I would be the first one to put a pillow over its face, as I would with any suffering thing and I think the difference is that my feeling of horror, suffering is many greater than my feeling of getting rid of a couple of cells because suffering can go on for years,” Ironside said.

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The single most powerful political force in the nation

Want to know what the actual future consequences of the Tea Party movement will be? Read this op-ed by Glenn Reynolds. Key quote:

Both political parties are out of touch, and ordinary Americans are very unhappy about it, as they watch the Treasury being looted, the economy sink, and the political, journalistic, and financial ruling-class figures escaping the consequences of their ham-handed and self-serving actions.

Also:

For now, Republicans are (sort of) the beneficiaries. Though Tea Partiers aren’t happy with the GOP, they’re much less happy with the Democrats. In this election cycle, Republicans will benefit. But Tea Partiers are also taking over the GOP from the bottom up, running for precinct chairs and state committee seats.

This makes sense: There are barriers to entry for third parties, and it makes more sense to take over an existing party than to start from scratch, if that’s possible.

But those establishment GOP figures who think that they’ll cruise to victory and a return to the pocket-stuffing business-as-usual that marked the prior GOP majority need to think again. This election cycle is, in a very real sense, a last chance for the Republicans. If they blow it, we’re likely to see third-party challenges in 2012, not only at the Presidential level but in numerous Congressional races as well.

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The layoffs at NASA

More layoffs yesterday at NASA, this time at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Also, this report gives a good overview of all the layoffs so far.

One question: The authorization bill that passed Congress on Wednesday night specifically required NASA to continue construction of a heavy-lift vehicle, quite similar in concept to Constellation. Why then is NASA management laying off all these Constellation workers? Granted, the authorization did not provide Constellation with as much money as previously budgeted, but the layoffs seem greater than necessary at this time, considering the budget differences. Also, the lack of a final budget from Congress might require these layoffs to occur temporarily, pending a new budget, but NASA is not making it clear that this is the case. Instead, they are letting a lot of people go without giving them any guidance about NASA’s future plans.

If the Obama administration was serious about fulfilling Congress’s legal requirement to build a heavy-lift vehicle (as deputy administration Lori Garver said they were on Thursday), I would have expected them to be more forthcoming to these NASA employees, if only to encourage them to remain available for rehiring, for at least a short time. That they have not is very telling.

Do not expect this heavy-lift vehicle to be built.

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Watch out for those toxic paper clips!

The bureaucracy marches on! The Consumer Product Safety Commission wants the manufacturers of kids’ science kits to test the paper clips in those kits for lead and other toxic chemicals, even if the paper clips were purchased in an ordinary office supply store. Key quote

“It is crazy that the Hands-On Science Partnership needs to be concerned about doing lead tests on products purchased at an office supply store and then packaged into a science teaching kit for use with children,” Commissioner Nancy Nord wrote on her blog. “Even crazier is the fact that if a teacher buys the same paper clip at the same store and uses it for the same science teaching project, it’s okay.”

To me, this quote is even more disturbing:

Commissioners insist the regulations will not ban science kits and would be applied on a case-by-case basis. [emphasis mine]

In other words, the regulation will not be applied objectively, but subjective, at the whim of the regulators. Every product of every manufacturer will have to get the Commission’s approval before it can be sold.

If that isn’t a mandate for mischief, I don’t know what is.

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