Friday, 31 May 1991 Washington, DC
1. MOVE IN THE HOUSE TO KILL THE SUPERCOLLIDER IS EASILY
on the floor. By a bipartisan 251 to 165 vote, the House rejected
an amendment offered by Jim Slattery (D-KA) to eliminate all SSC
funding from the FY 92 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. The
easy margin of victory came after the Illinois delegation settled
for an amendment that restored $10M for the injector upgrade at
Fermilab (WN 24 May 91). Rep. Charles
Wilson (D-TX) described the $10M as "hush money," but it did not
come from the SSC, which had already been cut $100M to $434M.
The five-hour debate centered on the escalating cost estimate for
the SSC and DOE'S failure to secure foreign commitments. Rep.
David Obey (D-WI) compared DOE's assurances of eventual foreign
participation to waiting for Shoeless Joe Jackson: "Just build it
and they will come."
2. PRESIDENT BUSH CHOOSES HAPPER TO HEAD ENERGY RESEARCH
As WHAT'S NEW predicted six months ago (WN 7 Dec 90), William Happer,
Professor of Physics at Princeton and a Fellow of the American
Physical Society, is the choice to replace James Decker as the
director of the DOE Office of Energy Research. Decker has served
as acting director since Robert Hunter resigned under a cloud 18
months ago. Happer, a highly respected physicist, is the leading
authority on optical pumping. He is a member of Jason and has
served as its head. The President announced his intention to
nominate Happer last Friday. Meanwhile, N. Anne Davies has been
named Associate Director of the Office of Fusion Energy, a
position she has held on an acting basis for 18 months.
3. JUNE 4, THE 2ND ANNIVERSARY OF THE TIANANMEN SQUARE
is being marked by the government in Beijing with
new crackdowns on student protests. A police raid on a Beijing
University dorm yesterday served as a warning; the student leader
of last year's anniversary demonstration at the University is
still in prison. The government warned that anyone who views a
protest and fails to report it will be punished. The students
have resorted to infecting China's computers with viruses that
cause messages to be displayed commemorating the bloody
suppression. But President Bush marked the occasion by calling
for renewal of most-favored-nation trade status for China--a
status denied the relatively progressive Soviets. But Congress
may balk; a bill introduced by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would
deny MFN status in 1992 unless the government of China makes
significant human rights progress.
4. SCIENCE COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP VOWS FIGHT TO SAVE SPACE
Vice-President Dan Quayle met with members of the House
Science, Space and Technology Committee to plot strategy to
restore Space Station Freedom, which was eliminated by an
appropriations sub-committee (WN 17 May 91).
George Brown (D-CA) and ranking minority member Robert Walker (R-
PA) pledged their support for the bloated boondoggle. The issue
may reach the House floor late next week. Let your
Representative know how you feel.