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Congress Warns NASA About Shortchanging SLS/Orion For Commercial Crew

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the nobody-is-happy dept.

NASA 170

FleaPlus writes "NASA and the White House have officially released their FY2013 budget proposal, the first step of the Congressional budget process. As mentioned previously on Slashdot, the proposal decreases Mars science funding (including robotic Mars missions) down to $361M, arguably due in part to cost overruns by the Webb telescope. The proposal also lowers funding for the in-house SLS rocket and Orion capsule to $2.8B, while doubling funding for the ongoing competitive development of commercial crew rockets/vehicles to $830M. The ranking member of the Senate science committee, Sen. Hutchison (R-TX), expressed her frustration with 'cutting SLS and Orion to pay for commercial crew,' as it would allegedly make it impossible for SLS to act as a backup for the commercial vehicles."

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Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39036797)

Texas, home state of NASA's Johnson Space Center, much of NASA's manned space program, and about 12,000 NASA jobs. A state that, unlike its counterpart in Florida, is solidly red and at open war with the President. So surprise, surprise most of the NASA stuff the President wants to cut is in Texas, and the Texas Senators are fighting him on it. Relevant article [chron.com] on the subject.

Just thought I would point that out in case any of you are actually still naive enough to think this debate is about science, exploration, and all that shit.

In other news, Texas and Alaskan Senators say oil industry is "over-regulated," midwestern Senators defend corn subsidies, and Michigan Senators defend auto bailout.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (4, Insightful)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39036927)

In other words, "hands off my pork, dammit!".

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037151)

It is hypocritical coming from the party that say government is not good at *anything*, and that privatization is *always* the best route.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (4, Insightful)

TC Wilcox (954812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037303)

Both of the two major US political parties are mostly hypocritical. They just pander to different groups to get in power.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038103)

They are almost exactly the same. The only things they uniformly disagree on are the "wedge issues" like gay marriage and abortion. Since most wedge issues (like abortion) are, as a practical matter, off the table and forever stuck in status quo - this makes them the same for all practical purposes. It's a team sport - which team are YOU on? LOL.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038185)

Kinda reminds me [roosterteeth.com] of something.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037415)

Is Hutchinson an anarchist now?

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037533)

Both parties say that to different degrees. They disagree which portions of government should be reduced.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (3, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037803)

It is hypocritical coming from the party that say government is not good at *anything*, and that privatization is *always* the best route.

Republicans say "smaller" government, not "no" government. They also say that government is "inefficient", not "never" the best route.

If you don't want conservatives to say that liberals *always* do this that or the other or that all liberals are X, then don't do the same or else YOU are the one being hypocritical.

So, please, allow me, as a conservative to FTFY:

Government is usually inefficient compared to the private sector, but there are some things that private industries should not control. NASA and the military are two good examples.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1, Troll)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037919)

So the parent was correct, it's just that conservatives think they are entitled to their pork.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038267)

So the parent was correct, it's just that conservatives think they are entitled to their pork.

I'm not going to say that conservatives are not guilty of pork barrel projects, but there seems to be some confusion about what should be considered pork. The GP was saying that conservatives are ALWAYS against spending of any kind and that private industry should ALWAYS do the job and it was hypocritical for them to want the federal government to spend money anywhere for anything. I think he has conservatives confused with anarchists... or Ron Paul, who loads bills with pork that he knows will pass and then votes against him so he can say that he always votes against pork.

Maybe the problem is with the definition of "pork". How is this:

There are certain jobs the federal government must perform, according to the Constitution. The military and border security are examples of this. It gets a bit fuzzy when you start to consider other things that might fit under the guise of military for example, such as the Interstate Highway system or NASA, which both serve dual rolls. Conservatives want the federal government to do those jobs and do them well. The rest should fall to the states, per the 10th Amendment.

Conservatives tend to get a little pissed when the government cuts functions that it is bound to do per the Constitution, like the military, and extends things that are not spelled out in the Constitution as a federal power, such as education spending or welfare programs.

So when we are talking about federal powers mandated by the Constitution, conservatives do not consider those programs as "pork". Pork would be programs that are not necessary, and only benefit those states receiving it. The Big Dig in Boston or farm subsidies would be examples of pork. Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to rename an airport or highway after the very Senator currently sitting in the Senate is an example of pork. Upgrading that small airport, which no one uses with federal dollars is another example of pork. Trying to have the federal government to spend federal dollars in your home state or district for a job that it should be doing anyway, and will be doing somewhere is not pork. Expanding a military base, NASA, opening an FBI office are examples of NOT pork.

Are we clear?

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (2)

ThePiMan2003 (676665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038779)

Is it still not pork if we don't need the military base, but we want it in $SENATOR's home state so there is more cash in the area?

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (5, Funny)

trongey (21550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037243)

In other words, "hands off my pork, dammit!".

Which is why we should only elect Jews and Muslims. They hate pork.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

msheekhah (903443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037937)

but pork is so TASTY

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038541)

I can write off pork, no problem.

I'll just up my intake of ham. And bacon. Tasty, tasty, smoky, bacon. Baaaaconnnn.... <drool>

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037295)

Kwoo kwoo! K-snuck, k-snuc. Is that you, Mr Gimlet?

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

letherial (1302031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037421)

I dont consider science, nor NASA as 'pork' Hell, we got to find some place to live in a few hundred years.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

dxkelly (11295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037721)

We've got a place. We need to stop destroying it for the greed of a few selfish people. If we don't destroy the planet, future generations will look back on us in disgust. We'll be known in the history books as the "Generation of Greed".

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037517)

And their constituents support them keeping their pork coming and fighting the pork going to other states.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (2)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037647)

In other words, "hands off my pork, dammit!".

Do you consider NASA to be pork? I mean, sure, if rocket parts is made in six different states and assembled in a seventh, then we are talking about pork. But that's not what we are talking about here. Do you think Mission Control is pork?

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038201)

Do you think Mission Control is pork?

No, it isn't, and that's not what this is about.

This is about funding inefficient rocketry and aerospace development program through traditionally red-state and red-senator-funding Big Aerospace, when an alternative is new freer-market innovative and much lower overhead producers. And that is bloody red Pork.

OK, that's a French-derived word which isn't acceptable, so lets rename it to Aero-Swine.

True story, I had a relative in with an important job in NASA. He was testifying/discussing issues in a Congressional committee. The topic was about improving NASA's operational cost-efficiency; said Congressdroid said all the right things about lean and smarter, acting more like an intelligent business and not a bureaucracy etc etc. After it was over, Congressdroid said, in confidence to this administrator while walking down the hallway, "if you cut anything in my district I'll cut your fucking balls off!"

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038619)

I'll back that up with a little detail: The SLS program is the worst idea anyone could have come up with. It uses 30+ year old technology to provide a launch vehicle system at a development cost more than 5 times what private experts have said developing a new vehicle from scratch should cost. And to make matters worst, would not be completed till at least 2017...making it's technology even more severely outdated by the time it takes it's maiden flight. That's not even mentioning what it's operational costs would be (think more $$$ given the old technology). SLS needs to be cancelled as soon as possible so no more money is wasted on it.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038215)

Mission control several thousand miles away from the launch site is Pork. Other that it being a convenient pestilential swamp, there was no reason to put the Manned^HLyndon B. Johnson Spacecraft Center where they did. It just happened to be in Texas which needed a few bones to be thrown in their direction.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038341)

Mission control several thousand miles away from the launch site is Pork. Other that it being a convenient pestilential swamp, there was no reason to put the Manned^HLyndon B. Johnson Spacecraft Center where they did. It just happened to be in Texas which needed a few bones to be thrown in their direction.

Blame whoever was president at the time. I believe it was Kennedy or Johnson.

Johnson was from Texas btw, so you may have something. But there is a benefit to not having mission control at the launch site, and it had to go somewhere. Clear Lake is as good of place as any. And if something has to be built somewhere, I don't know if I'd call the target site, "pork". Otherwise, every government building, no matter where it is located is pork.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

Thuktun (221615) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038919)

ManneLyndon B. Johnson Spacecraft Center

I think you forgot a few backspaces.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39036971)

Everyone's so willing to violently fight for their ideologies up until the very moment it no longer benefits them. Rationalize it all you want, in the end we're all still selfish children.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (3, Funny)

fatboy (6851) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037017)

It is about "all that shit". No bucks, no Buck Rogers.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037029)

Actually, he's against privatizing parts of NASA's job because government can NEVER do anything right. Ever.

Except building billion dollar boondoggle launch vehicles on-time and on-budget. #notinttendedtobeafactualstatement.

The private industry is better than government at everything and the feds should be limited to doing things specifically authorized in the constitution.

Like building billion dollar boondoggle launch vehicles on-time and on-budget. #notinttendedtobeafactualstatement.

This demand of making NASA build a new launch vehicle after wasting over 10B on one that isn't even close to being done is another example of big government democrat thinking. Vote Republican so we can do away with this nonsense and let the private industry take the space reins! #notintendedtobeafactualstatementbutvoteformeanyway

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037197)

Yeah, except it's the Republican senator in this case arguing for the government to build it. The Democrat President wants to privatize it.

That's how hypocrisy works with all politicians. And yes, "all" includes YOUR guy too.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037231)

Whoosh.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037781)

Its ok #hecantreadwordsthatstartwithahash.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (2)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037377)

Since when have Dem's (or Obama) ever said the government is the only way to do things?

The GOP has been saying government is the entire problem with America since at least the Reagan era...

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

letherial (1302031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037497)

umm...unless the government is a hybrid theology....then the government is ok. Lets also not forget about the republican Governor stripping citys of their local governments in favor of a pseudo dictator. http://wearethepeoplemichigan.com/issues/emergency-manager-legislation/ [wearethepe...chigan.com] it is also fair to say that this was initially a democratic law, but once republicans took control...they injected it with steroids, crack and topped that off with a mug of pure caffeine. I agree, the republican controlled government is a problem.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (2)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037545)

The GOP has been saying government is the entire problem with America since at least the Reagan era...

Unless it is the FBI, CIA, military, TSA, corporate subsidies, etc.

Lets' not forget (2)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037941)

who can marry who.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038593)

Yes their fervor to use those agencies for many things is well documented. It's also a prime example of said hypocrisy because they have said time and again that the government can't do anything right and the private sector is much better suited.

All the way from Reagan:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'

To Pawlenty just last year:

If you can find it on Google, the government shouldn't be doing it

The pattern is quite clear as is their hypocrisy

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037881)

Likely the Democratic President will privatize it through liberal-leaning private companies... in liberal leaning states.

Hopefully good news for CA, WA.... lots of smart aerospace talent and domain knowledge is there and slowly being lost.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (4, Informative)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038505)

Well, look. The SLS program is projected to cost 18 billion in design costs through 2017, and an additional 23 billion to achieve four launches by 2025, with the full 130 metric ton capability coming some time after 2030.

Elon Musk says he can have a *150 MT* heavy launch vehicle ready in *five years* at *fixed price* of 2.5 billion, with a per-flight cost of around 300 million. And thus far SpaceX has shown it isn't just blowing smoke.

So why the heck are we taking only 175 million away from SLS? Why don't we give the private contractor *500 million a year* in return for a for a reasonable shot at getting the job done thirteen years sooner? Because this is not about getting job done. It's about keeping the spending on the program high for the indefinite future.

If SpaceX succeeded in building a heavy launch vehicle in five years for 2.5 billion, it's not going to be possible to even *pretend* to justify spending a couple of billion dollars per year over the next seven to twelve years on a system that will cost more to operate.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (2)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037235)

There were so many things backward about this I thought it was opposite day, not valentine's day: a Republican from Texas arguing for more spending by the federal government instead of privatization -- for science! WTF?

Thanks for bringing the facts.

Re:Senator Kay Hutchinson, representing Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037857)

And I'm sure all 12k of those NASA jobs are red followers.

Don't forget about all of the jobs that will be lost in places like Colorado, a swing state which I would think he WOULDN'T want to alienate, who are also working on the Orion project.

But I'm sure you are right, the Johnson Space Center just doesn't happen to be in Texas and you aren't trying to grasp at anything.

Backup? (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39036861)

Spending vast billions on a rocket which will only be a 'backup' for commercial launches makes as much sense as building a new aircraft the size of a C-5 Galaxy from scratch and maintaining a special airport it will fly from as a 'backup' in case NASA employees can't book a flight on a commercial airline.

Re:Backup? (2)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037055)

SLS isn't only a "backup". It will be the primary means of launching heavy materials and vehicles beyond orbit for deep space missions. It is only intended as a backup if the commercial services aren't able to provide a launch to the space station.

Granted, it is an expensive backup, but the commercial launch companies are proving themselves as we speak. Commercial access to a space station has been theorized since the 1960s when 2001: A Space Odyssey was released, now it's becoming a reality.

Re:Backup? (3, Informative)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037273)

SLS isn't only a "backup". It will be the primary means of launching heavy materials and vehicles beyond orbit for deep space missions

What "heavy materials and vehicles"?

No such missions are funded. No such vehicles are funded.

"Backing up" commercial launches, at $1.5 billion per launch, is the only mission SLS has.

Re:Backup? (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037861)

Spy satellites and orbital weapons come to mind. Most likely not the type you'd attack the ground with, but perhaps other satellites, perhaps Chinese satellites.

Re:Backup? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038571)

Then why isn't the vastly better funded DoD at all interested in, or funding, SLS development? The DoD is only paying for the X-37, Atlas and Delta.

Re:Backup? (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038689)

I don't know. It was just a guess. Though, I do seem to remember the DoD funding Atlas and Delta development while still flying payloads on the Shuttle.

Re:Backup? (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038611)

These already go on the well-funded and expensive United Space Alliance rockets which get funded much better than NASA's.

Re:Backup? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038255)

Why are you buying fighter jets that will last 30 years when you are not currently at war with russia or china?

There's no point in funding something to go into space you can't get there. Well ok, there is, once you're reasonably sure the vehicle will be available and how much exactly it will carry, but until that point, and even at that point, most of what you're doing is relatively cheap planning and talking about things not actually building.

A lot of government spending, especially this stuff, is long term planning and making sure future people have options. You don't want to decide 8 years from now you need ANOTHER space launch vehicle because this one is too small for something critical.

These rockets are supposed to be in service until about 2040. So what heavy materials and vehicles can you envision? Right. Lots. So there's a whole lot of space for 'when it's done we can do a lot of neat stuff'. That's just hard to fund more than a decade in the future.

Re:Backup? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038585)

This makes no sense. The reason you build military hardware in anticipation of a war is because wars can flare up much faster than hardware can be built.

So you are assuming that, while it takes a decade to build the launcher, the mission hardware is somehow available immediately, without warning? That's just silly.

You don't want to decide 8 years from now you need ANOTHER space launch vehicle because this one is too small for something critical.

Why the hell not? You'll then know precisely what capacity you need, what payload diameter, and what budget you have. Why piss $70 billion-plus on a launcher for an unknown, unfunded, unspecified mission today? Put it in the bank for when you know what you actually need. Or spend it on technology that reduce long term cost and enhance mission capability (like orbital refuelling and commercial crew.)

70 tons was a number pulled out of a senator's ass. What happens if it's too small for an actual mission? You've just wasted $70 billion on nothing.

Re:Backup? (1)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038543)

SLS isn't only a "backup". It will be the primary means of launching heavy materials and vehicles beyond orbit for deep space missions

What "heavy materials and vehicles"?

No such missions are funded. No such vehicles are funded.

"Backing up" commercial launches, at $1.5 billion per launch, is the only mission SLS has.

So you want them to spend money now on missions that will only be viable if the SLS works out?

Re:Backup? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038647)

So you want them to spend money now on missions that will only be viable if the SLS works out?

(I don't want them to spend money on SLS at all.)

SLS will cost $3 billion to maintain whether it has a mission or not. (Fixed costs.)

Say it takes 8 years to develop mission hardware (say a lunar lander and a base module). During that 8 years you are funding the development of that hardware and you are spending an extra $24 billion on a launcher you aren't actually flying.

So, if you insist on building SLS, then you can either spend that extra $24 billion on mission hardware while SLS is being developed, or you can wait and then waste $24 billion keeping SLS operational while you develop mission hardware. There's no savings unless you intend to cancel SLS early.

Re:Backup? (2)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037565)

Granted, it is an expensive backup, but the commercial launch companies are proving themselves as we speak.

Bullshit. SpaceX has already proven itself, as the only private company to orbit a vehicle. Falcon Heavy? Ahead of schedule. SLS? Still a dream.

Why are we giving the government more money to waste? Privatize what you can, aggressive fund R&D and not pork.

Re:Backup? (1)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038633)

1.) Falcon Heavy is still only half as powerful as Saturn V, while they are planning an SLS variant on par with Saturn V. Elon Musk did claim he'd build one for $2.5B though.

2.) SpaceX proving themselves will take a lot more than one successful demo flight and one successful satellite in orbit (they had three demo flight failures). Orbital's Taurus XL had five successful launches right out of the gate, and look how that worked out for OCO and Glory.

Re:Backup? (1)

wiggles (30088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037079)

Your analogy is only valid if there are exactly two commerical airlines, each with a fleet of one plane apiece that take six months to refuel and prep for the next trip.

Re:Backup? (1)

Tyr07 (2300912) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037087)

More like 'Help we're stranded in orbit and need assistance'

Kind of like having a special airport with a c5 galaxy ready to launch in case a bunch of nasa employees are on a commercial flight and crashed on an island where for some unexplainable reason is suitable for the c5 galaxy to safely land and pick them up to rescue them.

Rename SLS! (0)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39036867)

It should be called RETARD - Redundant Expensive Terrible Alternative Rocked Device

Late-Breaking News: SLS Renamed! (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39036945)

It should be called RETARD - Redundant Expensive Terrible Alternative Rocked Device

In years past, we defeated them on our soil. Now, the fight to starve the robotic invaders of funding advances to the blue world itself:

KBREEL: Kay Bailey (R)'s Expensive Electoral Largesse

Re:Late-Breaking News: SLS Renamed! (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037821)

All hail K'Breel, Mighty Speaker for the Council!!!

Where`s Neil (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39036881)

They need a lesson from Neil Tyson on what NASA means to America`s future. Here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQhNZENMG1o

Republicans for Big Government (5, Insightful)

bit trollent (824666) | more than 2 years ago | (#39036995)

Wait.. so now Republicans are the ones pushing for government built spacecraft while Obama and the Democrats fund corporate space travel.

I thought Republicans wanted government to be just big enough to fit in your bedroom. When did building spaceships get added to the list of things Republicans think government should do instead of private industry?

I've got a feeling government contractors like Lockheed martin have given generous "campaign contributions" to every Republican politician pushing for government spacecraft construction, with government sized profit margins for their chosen defense contractors.

Only some (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037041)

Yes, some Republicans are for big government.

We already knew that from those that voted for the various stimulus packages.

The Tea Party is attempting to weed them out.

No real fiscal conservative thinks using NASA as a backup for the commercial entities makes prudent financial sense.

The thing is there are examples just like this across the nation from both Republicans and Democrats. Why are the Democrats not decried when they pull exactly the same stunts?

Re:Only some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037093)

Ah, yes. The 'No REAL Scotsman' fallacy.

Re:Only some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037471)

Uh, no. You need to re-read. I've been watching you try to shoehorn that in for the last couple days... you'll get it eventually.

Re:Only some (5, Insightful)

bit trollent (824666) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037147)

It's the blatant hypocrisy that kills me.

When it's time for government to help the country out of a recession or help the poor get into the middle class we're "all out of money"

Every time sensible policies come up for a vote, Republicans all vote in unison, "We can't afford it".

Bridges - we can't afford it. Schools - we can't afford it. Compasion - we can't afford it.

Every single Republican. Almost every single time.

Yet, when their campaign contributors or pet causes come up, all the rhetoric they used to sabotage the recovery goes out the window, and government is the only answer.

Re:Only some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037361)

Once a Republican president gets in the White House we'll get to all that stuff.

Right after we build more prisons.
And tax the poor.
Oh, and have a short decade long war with Iran.

Then, after all that money-saving Republican leadership, we'll get to whatever it is you socialist bastards want. Education? Hmm, I don't know. After all those glorious years of sure progress we'll probably need more prisons. And the poor will probably be so poor by that time we'll need a new tax code just to keep their glorious lifestyles in check. Man, and Palestine. We'll probably need to have a war with them too.

You know what, with Republicans in charge this country would be so badass that we'll never need to listen to you whiners. Fuck you. Fuck your education. And fuck "bridges" whatever those are. There are no problems in this country that can't be solved by locking up the person complaining in a nice new prison.

Re:Only some (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037677)

Tell me, how is throwing more money at education doing anything but allowing a broken system remain broken?
 
The numbers are in folks. The United States spends more money per student than any other country in the world yet we continue to slide when it comes down to the test with other nations. We still have people crying about money but it's obvious that money isn't the solution here. How much longer are we going to let people try to misdirect our attention from the fact that education is suffering from reasons unassociated with funding?
 
Tell me how additional spending is going to fix this problem. Be sure to include unbiased cites. You might get my attention but I'm going to be skeptical and you're going to get a half dozen arguments out of me that you're wrong. So you'll need to have extraordinary evidence to back up any claim you make.

Re:Only some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037829)

Firing large quantities of teachers is bad for education.

We aren't talking about spending more on education.

We are talking about spending less on education by firing teachers and closing schools.

That's what we're doing. Not spending more on education. Spending less. firing teachers. Closing schools. Cancelling educational programs.

This is having an undeniable negative impact on students.

I don't bother citing statistics which demonstrate obvious facts for anonymous cowards, so please go fuck yourself.

Dumbass.

Re:Only some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39038045)

The numbers are in folks. The United States spends more money per student than any other country in the world

If ranking 36th [nationmaster.com] in per student spending means spending more than any other country you are right. Yes Estonia ranks well above us on spending.

Re:Only some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39038177)

He said "unbiased" cites. Which means only cites that agree with him. Just because yours is true doesn't mean it's true in his world.

Re:Only some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39038883)

Actually, it would have helped if the poster realized that this is by GDP and not really the dollar amount [nationmaster.com] . So much for how smart the Slashdot crowd is. Most can't even read from what I've just seen. Also note that I used the same site. So much for your assumed bias.
 
  More information [ed.gov] that is slightly dated but we can see the trend.
 
  And yet more [education-portal.com]
 
  And even more [usgovernmentspending.com] . You'll note that even with the budget cuts we're still spending more than we did in 2008. Certainly not stone age figures.
 
So there you have it. Point proven. The education problems in the United States are not a funding problem. We have a social problem that people simply refuse to address. I can't imagine why, with all the data out there, we continue to bang our heads against a wall that simply doesn't exist. I suspect laziness to be totally honest. As Americans we have this idea that the solution to problems is to throw money or bullets at it. We see this with The War on Poverty, The War on Drugs, The War on Terrorism and The War on Ignorance. All of these things have brought us down a notch and none of them have made any progress in their stated goals. Instead of knee-jerk reactions please join me in wanting a solid solution with long term benefits for all involved. These problems are being "solved" by misrepresentation of the true underlying issues. It's costing all of us in time, money and quality of life. The approaches taken by our collective "leadership" have done nothing but throw up more schism to people who are wanting the same end results. We can take the time and come to a common ground, common sense solution. We can be better than we were. Why don't we do it?
 
Thank you for your time.

Re:Only some (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038447)

Wrong.

The Republicans that go after pork as a primary means of staying in office get up and yell about their pork. That's the space program, farm subsidies, and defense mostly.

The Republicans that want smaller government stand up and yell about additional entitlement programs.

Note that the first group stays sitting quietly while second group yells, and vice versa. There is no lack of consistency, you're simply lumping in multiple groups' pet interests and saying that is representative of half of America.

I'm a geek - I love space, and technology. I almost always vote Republican. I am also an Anarcho-Capitalist, though, and I am therefore intellectually honest enough to see that government funding the space program is immoral. I still find it hard to be as upset about money going to NASA as I do about money going to supply free cellular phones to people without jobs.

Re:Only some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39038939)

Funny you mention education, since Obama's budget cuts funding for the highly successful school voucher program in D.C., but makes sure to increase subsidies to chevy volt purchasers. A direct transfer of benefits from poor urban minorities to rich environments and auto unions.

Your ideology so taints your judgement that you are blind to the actual politics of any given situation and instead led only by the hatred of ideological rivals that has been bred inside you.

Re:Only some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037307)

The Tea Party is attempting to weed them out.

lol. Seriously they just want a different government. They're fine with our military budget being as high as it can be. They're fine spending money for the war on drugs. They're fine having the government tell people who they can marry...

Re:Only some (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037789)

Dear mods:

The parent post is not a "Troll".

This post, however, could be considered "offtopic". Now try using your points according to the rules, not your ideology.

Re:Only some (2)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038525)

Yeah, only "some", such as 100% of Republicans ever elected to office.

I dare you -- dare you -- to tell me the last Republican President who cut the budget during his term in office. I dare you.

Republicans always, always grow the budget faster than Democrats. Always. Not just do they grow the government, they always grow it faster than Democrats.

But hey, you know, after 75 years of being lied to, maybe THIS TIME Republicans will pick a President who won't be a gigantic hypocrite. I doubt it, but hey, anything is possible.

Re:Only some (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038701)

You are, perhaps, unaware that the budget is a Congressional thing, not a Presidential thing...

Ultimately, the President can send suggestions to Congress, but, for all practical purposes, any Presidential "budget" is "Dead on Arrival" (a phrase used a lot when Reagan was President) once it's sent to Congress.

So, look carefully over the budgets for the last 50 years or so. Then look at the Party controlling Congress over those same 50 years...

Note, for reference, that, Constitutionally, only the House can initiate a spending bill. For practical reasons, historically both House and Senate do budgets in parallel, and then they compromise.

Re:Republicans for Big Government (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037045)

Grover Norquist's quote states that he wants it to be small enough to drown in a bathtub. Not sure where fitting in a bedroom came in, but we all played telephone in grammar school.

Re:Republicans for Big Government (2)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037121)

Its a reference to their constant and unending desire to interfere with peoples sex lives.

Re:Republicans for Big Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037137)

Republicans demand government small enough to fit in the bathtub but have easy viewing access to your bedroom so they can use their small government wonder powers to dictate who you can have sex with, who you can enter contracts with, and what morals you should have.

Re:Republicans for Big Government (2)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037269)

It probably came from the West Wing episode The Portland Trip [s2.e07], and quite frankly it's more insightful that way.

As far as "play[ing] telephone," the air date of the episode in question was 11/15/2000, which looks like it predates Norquist's quote, the earliest date for which that I have found is mid 2001 with citations as far out as 2004. Perhaps Norquist was the one playing telephone. Or perhaps you're just playing "taking shots at people for no reason?"

Re:Republicans for Big Government (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037207)

I know a lot of people get the idea that republicans are for small government, but they are almost as bad as the Democrats when it comes to being all encompassing every bit of your private life. Just because they are the lesser of 2 evils doesn't make them not evil. Vote for a 3rd party.

Re:Republicans for Big Government (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037813)

I know a lot of people get the idea that republicans are for small government, but they are almost as bad as the Democrats when it comes to being all encompassing every bit of your private life. Just because they are the lesser of 2 evils doesn't make them not evil. Vote for a 3rd party.

Vote for Ron Paul and you won't have to.

Re:Republicans for Big Government (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037717)

"By dividing the voter through the political party system, we can get them to expend their energies in fighting for questions of no importance. It is thus by discreet action we can secure for ourselves that which has been so well planned and so successfully accomplished."

-American's Banker Association, 1924

Typical Porker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39036997)

So, yet another case of a "cut cut cut" Republican who stands forthrightly to protect her district from cuts.

Move along, nothing to see here.

Why Should NASA Develop a Commercial Rocket (4, Insightful)

fortfive (1582005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037007)

I'm all for funding NASA, so many good and not directly things have come from our space program, plus it's just darn cool. But I have not heard any sound justification for public funding of commercial development. This has happend many times in the pharmaceuticals industry, where public funded basic research provided excellent treatments which private firms then took over and distributed (profiting immensely), without giving back to public coffers. Also, I think this happened with broadband funding in the 90s.

Re:Why Should NASA Develop a Commercial Rocket (1)

javakah (932230) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037131)

The issue is that NASA has become quite politicized. It's suffering because projects are not being decided based upon what are the best engineering options, but by the pork provided. So far, the commercial development has been making large strides, and doing so far more efficiently.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Launch_System#Criticism [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why Should NASA Develop a Commercial Rocket (3, Insightful)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037949)

I note that the development cost of SLS up to the first launch is $18B.
Assuming modest savings if you order that amount of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, you can with the same money launch spacestation components for a station ten times the mass of ISS, ten times the mass of all the Apollo missions. and have room left over!

(Around 20000 tons)

Re:Why Should NASA Develop a Commercial Rocket (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037681)

Yeah, in many things I tend to be on the Texas side of the issue, but this is wrong. If they want more space industry in Texas, they should try to entice more commercial business, not negotiate more of my tax money.

Re:Why Should NASA Develop a Commercial Rocket (3, Interesting)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037841)

But I have not heard any sound justification for public funding of commercial development.

NASA has a space station, ISS, run jointly with international partners. With the end of the shuttle program, NASA has no ability to launch crew or equipment to the ISS, and must purchase flights on a foreign launcher. The cost of seats has increased sharply since NASA became dependent, and the reliability of the foreign launch vehicle has decreased sharply. Each time the foreign launcher is grounded for safety reasons, there's a risk that the ISS will have to be abandoned because there is no alternative vehicle, and their capsule cannot land in winter. And NASA has no control over them, or any way to enforce standards.

So NASA is spending less than a billion dollars on subsidising (but not fully funding) four US commercial crew launchers, and two cargo launchers. That enables them to bring forward the first commercial crew flights, and gives them a powerful guarantee that the commercial systems will meet NASA's requirements. Judging by SpaceX prices, this will, in the long term, at least halve the cost of launching US astronauts to the ISS compared to the foreign launcher.

Once developed, some of the commercial players may also carry tourist flights and non-NASA funded science flights. This creates a secondary market that, from NASA point of view, subsidises the continued development of launch capacity to NASA's benefit.

Importantly, if any of the four commercial players do not meet NASA's goals, they will not be paid.

By contrast, NASA is spending $3 billion per year on commercial contractors to build NASA's own SLS launcher and MPCV capsule. This will likely launch no more than twice per year at about $1.5 billion per launch, and carry no more than 4 astronauts per year. It is estimated to cost about $70 billion to develop, and launch crew no earlier than 2021, assuming it doesn't go over-schedule or over-budget. (Prior to its cancellation, the schedule of the previous program, Constellation, was slipping 1 year per year.)

All risks of this project are NASA's, all cost overruns come out of NASA's budget.

So the issue is which of these two approaches is the most cost effective way for NASA to fulfil it's goals on the limited budget it is given.

Advocates of Commercial Crew believe that being able to develop four new commercial carriers on a budget of $200 million per year each, is much more cost effective than developing one launcher on a budget of $3,000 million per year. Thus cancelling SLS and directing it's $3 billion per year budget to CCDev style goal-driven development will allow NASA to leverage a much greater capacity for BEO missions.

Hope that helps.

Re:Why Should NASA Develop a Commercial Rocket (2)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038285)

NASA should not develop a commercial rocket but do research and provide test facilities for commercial rocket companies. Like what its predecessor N.A.C.A did in the 20th century. They did not develop commercial airplanes but did research and provided test facilities for commercial (USA) airplane companies.

Useful publication for aero people is the NACA 1135 "Equations, tables, and charts for compressible flow" which was very tedious to compile from numerous flight tests and wind tunnel measurements, all done at government expense (private companies would either be too cheap to do this or keep it locked up from everyone), download the 12MB pdf here, http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/BGH/Images/naca1135.pdf [nasa.gov]

But then there ain't much money in doing research ( the kind of work where "alchemists" and other assorted mad scientists do stuff that either nobody knows what they are doing or simply lack intellect to appreciate what they are doing).

Cut it to 0. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037149)

Fuck these pork loving congressional bastards. We don't need SLS at all. It makes absolutely no sense to spent all that money developing a launch system that's probably going to be more expensive and less reliable than what we can simply buy from the market.

Commercial development has one purpose only: SPEED (3, Informative)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037219)

Straight from the horse's mouth: The whole reason they want to increase the funding for commercial vehicles is so they can keep more than a couple competing companies in the running. The goal of course is to have multiple systems working in the end, which isn't going to happen if we start picking winners before they've even launched anything. Republicans should know that better than anyone, seeing how much they gloated over the Solyndra affair. The truth is that industry is much better equipped than the government to get something working and in orbit, given that all the underlying research has been done already, in order to get American astronauts back in American spacecraft as quickly as possible.

Plus, I don't know what Sen. Hutchison is smoking, but the part of SLS (also known as the "Senate Launch System") that remains funded is the smaller version of the rocket which is good for low Earth orbit--precisely the part that can be used as a backup to the commercial system(s). Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and the committee won't gut what's left of the Mars budget to fund their local firecracker factory.

Re:Commercial development has one purpose only: SP (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037323)

I don't know what Sen. Hutchison is smoking

She's on the pork. Stuff is worse than crack.

Re:Commercial development has one purpose only: SP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037871)

Yes! The SLS is a big waste of money, they should completely gut it, keep the small part of it that is actually useful, and use the rest to support other programs and/or commercial space flight. This is a rare time when I am happy with Obama's decisions. At least as I understand his space policy....

Social program is more important than space or R&a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037297)

Someday, these needy peoples might become the world saviors, it happens all the time in Hollywood movies.

Nothing to worry about.... (1)

micron (164661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037553)

.... check out how long it has been since Congress has passed a budget...

Simple solution to make everyone happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39037557)

Rather than fight over scraps of funding, increase NASA's budget to $23 billion and let them go at it. You cannot be honest in wanting a moon rocket on a shuttle budget.

Re:Simple solution to make everyone happy (2)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038113)

Money isn't always good.
If you want cargo delivered economically, you don't pick a design based around making a supersized carbon fibre version of a Delorian.

You want a vehicle designed from the ground up to keep costs low.
NASA has historically been extremely bad at this, for many reasons.

I'd vastly prefer SLS be axed, a billion spent on a kick-ass party for Congress, and the rest spent on actually doing stuff as inexpensively as possible.
You can do a hell of a lot more commercially at this point.

I may be misunderstanding this... (2)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39037651)

...but shouldn't commercial spacecraft be backed up by other commercial spacecraft?

Were I being snarky, I might point out that backing up, say, Virgin Galactic with Orion seems a lot like backing up Fedex Overnight with the US Post Office.

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