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posted by mrpg on Tuesday March 13 2018, @01:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the alien-subject dept.

NASA's acting administrator, Robert M. Lightfoot Jr., has announced that he will retire on April 30. The U.S. Senate has not yet voted on confirming Jim Bridenstine as a permanent replacement:

[...] In September, President Trump nominated Jim Bridenstine, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma, to be the next administrator. But the Senate has yet to vote to confirm Mr. Bridenstine.

All 49 Democrats in the Senate appear unified in opposition, in part because Mr. Bridenstine gave a speech disparaging climate change several years ago. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, has also expressed doubts about Mr. Bridenstine.

The space agency's No. 2 position, deputy administrator, is vacant. The Trump administration has yet to nominate anyone. Steve Jurczyk, formerly the associate administrator for space technology, was named in late February as a temporary fill-in for Mr. Lightfoot's previous job, associate administrator. NASA is also lacking a chief of staff.

[...] Mr. Lightfoot's 406 days as acting administrator is by far the longest NASA has operated without a permanent leader, eclipsing the 176 days that passed at the start of the Obama administration before Mr. Bolden was confirmed.

Previously: President Trump Nominates Congressman Jim Bridenstine to Lead NASA

Related: President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @01:54PM (20 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @01:54PM (#651812)

    NASA's mandate isn't clear.

    Spin off all climate stuff to another agency (e.g., NOAA), and then mandate NASA to concentrate solely on the exploration of not-Earth, with a specialization on expanding the human race out into the solar system, via colonies, mining, etc.

    Congress has the same problem with legislation: They try to glom together tons of totally unrelated ideas into enormous bills that cannot be processed by anyone. At best, everyone just throws up their arms and says "Fuck it!", and then they pass it without knowing what it says; at worst, 2 large-enough factions disagree, and nothing gets done.

    Rand Paul has constantly pointed out the solution: Break up the bills into a bunch of small, self-contained bills; that way, "right" politicians can vote on their ideas without having to agree to "left" ideas, and "left" politicians can vote on their ideas without having to agree to "right" ideas (choose various words to replace "left" or "right"). Things move forward, there can be healthy debate, and everyone feels clean.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Leebert on Tuesday March 13 2018, @02:14PM (5 children)

    by Leebert (3511) on Tuesday March 13 2018, @02:14PM (#651817)

    Do you believe that NASA shouldn't be engaged in planetary science at all? Since Earth is the only planet that we have easy access to, studying it gives us context for our studies of other planets.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @02:36PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @02:36PM (#651823)

      Agencies can talk, you know.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @04:00PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @04:00PM (#651856)

        Like the CIA, FBI, NSA, DIA, NGA, NRO, ONI... etc ad nauseam did leading to 9/11?

        Could, should, would... didn't.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @04:10PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @04:10PM (#651864)

          In other words, your reply is yet another horrific example of humanity's propensity for fallacious thinking.

          In your case, you're guilty of making a False Equivalence [wikipedia.org]:

          A common way for this fallacy to be perpetuated is one shared trait between two subjects is assumed to show equivalence, especially in order of magnitude, when equivalence is not necessarily the logical result.[2] False equivalence is a common result when an anecdotal similarity is pointed out as equal, but the claim of equivalence doesn't bear because the similarity is based on oversimplification or ignorance of additional factors. The pattern of the fallacy is often as such: "If A is the set of c and d, and B is the set of d and e, then since they both contain d, A and B are equal". d is not required to exist in both sets; only a passing similarity is required to cause this fallacy to be used.

          False equivalence arguments are often used in journalism[3][4] and in politics, where the minor flaws of one candidate may be compared to major flaws of another.[5][6]

        • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @05:06PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @05:06PM (#651882)

          don't be so ignorant/naive. you think some people didn't know that explosive charges were being planted all week? you think just any random bearded goat humpers can walk around in the basement setting up explosives? or you think a coke can full of jet fuel took down three buildings (perfectly in their own foot print. never mind that people normally have to pay big money for specialists to pull those demos off and at least one demo expert was quoted as saying it was a "beautiful job", in the sense that the operators were highly skilled.), at least two of which won awards for their awesome construction and were designed to withstand jet crashes and one which wasn't even hit but magically was able to be demolished way before any new charges could have been set up and the lease holder is on tape saying "they made the decision to pull it, so they pulled it".

          you want to believe these "do gooder" pigs just didn't communicate? i guess not like they communicated in OKC when the atf was paged and told not to go to work that day? just how brainwashed are you?

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday March 13 2018, @06:15PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday March 13 2018, @06:15PM (#651917) Journal

      National Aeronautics and Space Administration

      Hard to do the aeronautics bit where there isn't any air... Also, note the AND.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by takyon on Tuesday March 13 2018, @02:34PM (9 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Tuesday March 13 2018, @02:34PM (#651822) Journal

    Getting rid of Earth science at NASA solves nothing in particular. The real issue is that NASA is spending billions to develop what will become an obsolete launch capability, because Congress is handing that portion of the budget as pork to the beltway bandits. Everything NASA does on the exploration/colonization front will become much cheaper and more effective when flown using SpaceX BFR, and Blue Origin and other players may get in the game as well.

    If climate science is a bridge too far for the "right" politicians, maybe they should pick up the phone and call their owners [time.com].

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @02:40PM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @02:40PM (#651824)

      We're talking about the politics of gridlock.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday March 13 2018, @03:15PM (7 children)

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Tuesday March 13 2018, @03:15PM (#651837) Journal

        Gridlock has become a permanent part of the political playbook. Rand Paul will almost never get to vote on small, self-contained bills, and even those bills could be filibustered or held hostage, like when unrelated bills are voted down or not even considered, or when we get a government shutdown over a single issue.

        Trump has had more trouble than previous presidents at filling these positions because he's nominated unqualified people. People who often have to leave after Trump publicly feuds with them (see Tillerson). It would not be hard for Trump to find a NASA Administrator that could immediately earn the vote of Rubio or Democrats.

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        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @03:40PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @03:40PM (#651850)

          Chances are, things won't get better until they get much much worse.

          Rand Paul's solution involves putting into place mechanisms that force congress to define what it means for a bill to be readable by legislators, and then to force congress to meet that criteria.

          Secondly, such small bills would naturally obviate the "Omnibus" bills that are so often the cause of these government "shutdowns", as it would force Congress to pass budgets in a way that they already can pass budgets: By passing budgets for the various elements of government in parallel, thereby funding non-contentious aspects of government, and thereby pinpointing exactly where debate must occur with regard to shutdowns.

          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @05:12PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @05:12PM (#651884)

            "Chances are, things won't get better until they get much much worse.

            Rand Paul's solution involves putting into place mechanisms that force congress to define what it means for a bill to be readable by legislators, and then to force congress to meet that criteria."

            just like Ron Paul, it should be clear how screwed we are when an obviously honest, competent, patriotic statesman is rejected by the dependent invalids that call themselves citizens and voters.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @05:32PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @05:32PM (#651891)

          I didn't realize all the federal judge positions were having unqualified individuals appointed. By unqualified are you using the Schumer definition which means too many white guys? I just want us to be clear.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @06:03PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @06:03PM (#651907)

          It's partly just democrats being democrats. It's partly because there are many republicans that don't actually oppose the democrat agenda. All of them mainly want to please donors.

          Trump's nominations have been mostly wonderful. That includes Tillerson, and it is mighty sad that Tillerson was unable to accept that he doesn't get to unilaterally decide the Iran issues. His oil company experience makes him perfect for dealing with Russia and the Middle East, and pretty darn good for the rest of the world -- oil being an underlying factor in most conflicts, second only to Islam.

          Some other choices that were wonderful: department of education, EPA, DoD

          • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday March 13 2018, @06:15PM (1 child)

            by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Tuesday March 13 2018, @06:15PM (#651916) Journal

            DeVos and Pruitt are trash. We'll see how long Mattis sticks around before being thrown overboard.

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            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @08:42PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @08:42PM (#651991)

              DeVos got rid of the policy that forced colleges to consider people guilty-until-proven-innocent (exactly backwards) in rape accusations. That policy fucked up many lives.

              DeVos supports school choice.

              DeVos isn't anti-gun. Leaving our children like sitting ducks, totally unprotected, has been the leftist/liberal/democrat policy. That's likely to change.

              Both DeVos and Pruitt keep their agencies from the usual unbounded growth.

              Pruitt is putting a stop to economy-killing regulations.

              Pruitt has rescinded the Clean Water Rule, which was an uncompensated land grab that effectively stole private property in violation of the "takings" clause of the 5th amendment of our constitution.

              Mattis is mostly wonderful too, but I'll point out a flaw: he holds an incorrect view on torture.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @02:48PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @02:48PM (#651829)

    > ... at worst, 2 large-enough factions disagree, and nothing gets done.

    Sometimes this is a good outcome!

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @02:53PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @02:53PM (#651830)

      The recent budget deal in Congress shows what happens when an empire begins to crumble: Restraining principles go out the window, and the 2 factions vote for each other's bullshit; the Republicans get their massive military spending, and the Democrats get their massive welfare spending. The result is that the debt goes up ever faster.

      • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday March 13 2018, @05:13PM (1 child)

        by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday March 13 2018, @05:13PM (#651885)

        Or you get Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth where anybody in the legislature can veto a bill* and nothing ever gets passed again because the Russians are interfering in the government.

        Funny how history comes back around eh

        *actually all the bills approved so far in that sitting of Congress. apparently they passed everything as one lump thing.

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