Friday, September 23, 2005
Last week, WN characterized NASA's plan to return to the moon in
2018 as an impossibly expensive and pointless program that some
future administration would find it necessary to cancel, thus
sparing the Bush administration the blame for ending human space
exploration. Yesterday, the NY Times printed an expanded version
as an op-ed http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/22/opinion/22park.html .
Meanwhile, the Republican Study Committee, a group of fiscal hawks in the
House,launched Operation Offset to strip unnecessary spending from the
national budget to offset the cost of rebuilding after Katrina. Moon/Mars
is high on their list of things to cut, but the list is 23 pages long.
Terminating the ISS, for example, is not on the list, which includes things
like delaying Medicare drug benefits, eliminating increases to the global
AIDS initiative, cutting off federal money for the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting, and numerous other soft fuzzy programs.
Just a month ago the NASA Administrator was saying the shuttle
would not fly before March 4. But the Stennis Space Center,
which is responsible for testing the engines, is just 45 miles
East of New Orleans, and many of the employees are without homes.
On Monday, it was announced that six-nation talks in Beijing had
reached an agreement under which North Korea would scrap its
nuclear arms program in return for something to feed its citizens
and perhaps a little respect. By Tuesday, North Korea said it
would start to dismantle when the U.S. gave it a light-water
reactor. The U.S. said it wasn't sending any reactors until the
weapons program was gone. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rice
said everybody had to stick to what had been agreed to, but no
one agrees on what that was. Today, North Korea said it will
"simultaneously" pursue peaceful nuclear power, while the U.N.
inspects its weapons program. Tomorrow? Who knows.
With the first court test of whether intelligent design theory
belongs in science class beginning on Monday, visitors to natural
history museums complain that exhibits disagree with biblical
accounts. Meanwhile, the Discovery Institute issued a statement
dissociating itself from the Dover School Board's "misguided"
approach in treating the trial as a test of the "establishment
clause" of the First Amendment, rather than the "free speech
clause," as the Discovery Institute would prefer.
Maybe, with another hurricane tearing up the Gulf. Boelert and
Markey are leading the effort, selling it as a way to combat high
gas prices. They didn't have many sponsors a week ago, but that
was before Rita took aim at the Texas refineries.