Friday, 2 July 1993 Washington, DC
1. STILL REELING FROM LAST WEEK'S VOTE, SSC HAS ANOTHER BAD WEEK.
John Dingell, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight
Subcommittee, led an unrelenting nine-hour assault on the
Supercollider management. At Wednesday's hearing, held in the marbled
magnificence of the Rayburn Building, Dingell aimed much of his
fire at potted plants in the grim converted warehouse that serves
as offices for the SSC. But he also charged URA, the university
consortium that manages the SSC, with mismanagement and obstruction
of government auditors. Could it get worse? It did. The
Secretary of Energy, describing the attitude of the laboratory
leadership as "arrogant and self-important," said that within 30
days she would decide whether to terminate URA's contract, limit
URA to purely scientific matters, or impose tighter accounting
rules. URA president John Toll acknowledged "the appearance of
an obstruction of information." Overruns had been disguised in a
separate "management reserve" account that was in the red. And
an overzealous employee ran amuck with a rubber stamp, marking
everything in sight "confidential"--even press accounts of the
failure to attract foreign participants. The leadership of the
laboratory was unaware of these problems until last week. The
GAO now puts the final cost of the SSC at more than $11B.
2. DEBATE OVER THE REDESIGNED SPACE STATION MOVES TO THE SENATE.
Early this week, the House approved a VA/HUD/IA appropriations
bill that included $2.1B for the Freedom-Lite space station. An
amendment to kill the station failed 220-196. It was authorized
by a single vote margin a week earlier
(WN 25 Jun 93). Yesterday,
in a Senate hearing, NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin warned: "If
there is no space station, there is no destination for the space
shuttle. If the shuttle is terminated, it will end the astronaut
program." An APS representative presented the position adopted
by the APS Council on 20 Jan 1991: "Scientific justification is
lacking for a permanently manned space station in Earth orbit."
3. ADMINISTRATION REPORTEDLY DECIDES ON A "NO-FIRST-TEST" POLICY.
Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary apparently tipped the balance away
from resumption of testing. Also, congressional opposition to
testing solidified after Senator Exon (D-NE), who had cosponsored
the law allowing 15 more tests before 1996, changed his position.
The President was pressured to resume testing by the Pentagon,
Britain, France and the weapons labs. A Russian moratorium also
expired yesterday; President Yeltzin pledged no-first-test and
said he will work with President Clinton toward a global ban.
4. EXPERIMENT GOES HORRIBLY WRONG! MURDER RATE IN CAPITAL SOARS.
To the scores who have asked: No, we did not make up the story
about the anti-crime field
(WN 25 Jun 93)! No, the $4M is not
federal money! String theorist Hagelin, a 1992 presidential
candidate (WN 4 Sep 92), is chair of the physics department at
Maharishi International University. The murder rate is way up.