Spaced Out in New Mexico

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(If the thought of The Pink Flamingo praising something Obama has done causes you great pain, please ignore this post.)   Something very strange is going on with Barack Obama.  He has run a dagger through the very heart of NASA, BUT has done something with nuclear weaponry that has not been seen since Ronald Reagan.  He is playing a good hard-ball game against the Taliban in Pakistan, and is now sending in some weapons to back up Israel.

The man is incompetent, inconsistent, and does not make sense.  Keith Cowing brings up something rather fascinating.

“…Seriously – this is not an insignificant task since there is an immense amount of VSE-related material that NASA has put online since 2004 that will now need to be modified or deleted. In addition, many third party websites contain large amounts of this material as well. And when do you start? Now? When Congress gives up trying to stop this cancellation?…”

The more you look at the decision, the more irrational and childish it appears.  One wonders if someone isn’t having a POTUS temper tantrum and is in a total snit.  But then, Obama would never be childish and irrational, would he?

Obama’s new budget is good and bad for New Mexico.  The whole NASA death march is going to hurt some programs at White SandsAJ Strata has a theory about Obama’s approach to NASA that deserves to be aired.  Is Obama destroying Constellation simply because GWB approved of it?

“…Is there some special reason (or corporate buddy) driving the White House to throw away all the work (and money) to date, and go with a solution 33% more expensive? This smells of funneling money at great taxpayer expense to me.

Or is this just more childish Bush Derangement Syndrome at work? That seems likely.

I should have known better. Anyone who thinks they can re-architect the dynamic, innovative and enormous health care system of this nation is clearly delusional and suffering from a demigod complex. Since they are pretending to be doctors and nurses, I guess pretending to be astronauts, engineers and entrepreneurs is not a surprise (since none of them have a clue what those careers are all about either)….”

The destruction of Constellation is going to seriously damage some work being done at White Sands, not to mention the country.

“… Former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who championed the Constellation program, views the Obama budget as disastrous for human space flight. “It means that essentially the U.S. has decided that they’re not going to be a significant player in human space flight for the foreseeable future. The path that they’re on with this budget is a path that can’t work,” Griffin said, anticipating the announcement today. He said that, although he pushed for seed money for commercial cargo flights to space, he doesn’t think that the commercial firms, such as SpaceX and Orbital Sciences, are ready to take over the risky and difficult job of ferrying human beings to orbit. “One day it will be like commercial airline travel, just not yet,” Griffin said. “It’s like 1920. Lindbergh hasn’t flown the Atlantic, and they’re trying to sell 747s to Pan Am.” John Gedmark, executive director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, said the critics underestimate the maturity of the commercial sector.

“The Defense Department began using commercial rockets a long time ago to launch priceless national security satellites that our troops’ lives depend on. If the Pentagon can trust private industry with this responsibility, we think NASA can, too,” Gedmark said. White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said Sunday, “The President is committed to a robust 21st century space program, and his budget will reflect that dedication to NASA. NASA is vital not only to spaceflight, but also for critical scientific and technological advancements. The expertise at NASA is essential to developing innovative new opportunities, industries and jobs. The President’s budget will take steps in that direction.”…”

WARNING:  If it pains you to see The Pink Flamingo praise Obama, skip this part.

But – and it kills The Pink Flamingo to admit it, I approve of what Obama is doing with Nuclear Weapons Research! (Who Knew?).  He is putting more money into specific nuclear weapons stockpiles since Reagan!

“…The administration on Monday asked Congress for more than $7 billion for activities related to nuclear weapons in the budget of the National Nuclear Security Administration, an increase of $624 million from the 2010 fiscal year. NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino defended putting more money into the programs, saying the U.S. needs the best nuclear weapons facilities, scientists, technicians and engineers as it moves toward eventual disarmament. “This budget is implementing the president’s nuclear vision,” he said. The total Department of Energy request for New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory totals $2.21 billion, up from $1.82 billion in 2010. The request for weapons-related activities is $1.6 billion, up from $1.3 billion, while nonproliferation activities would get $233 million, up from $188 million. The total request for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque is $1.49 billion, an increase from $1.3 billion. Weapons activities would get $1.14 billion, compared with the 2010 total of $953 million, while nonproliferation would increase to $187 million from the current $171 million. The investment would ensure a smaller stockpile will take care of the nation’s needs; the stockpile is safe and secure; and other nations aren’t cheating as the U.S. moves “from a Cold War nuclear weapons complex … into a 21st century, nuclear security enterprise,” D’Agostino said. Greg Mello, director of the nuclear watchdog Los Alamos Study Group, said budgets for NNSA and DOE have increased in recent years, but the nation “hasn’t seen any increase in weapons activities like this since the early years of Ronald Reagan.” He called the budget “a complete surrender to Senate Republicans,” who have argued that stockpile reductions must be accompanied by a modernized nuclear weapons complex. NNSA wants a 4.7 percent overall increase for infrastructure to more than $2.3 billion, including money for major long-term projects to replace aging buildings for plutonium work at Los Alamos and uranium work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Los Alamos’ budget includes about $225 million for design work for a chemical and metallurgy research replacement building, known as CMRR, to replace a 58-year-old lab where scientists analyze samples of plutonium and other radioactive materials….”

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