NASA-Certified Space Taxi
It sure seems like that’s what NASA is doing. NASA has to do something in order to maintain its relevance as the space age dawns in the era of commercial space flight. NASA is still running scientific-exploratory missions to Mars and elsewhere in the solar system, but even this role will be soon be overtaken by private enterprises like Planetary Resources.
From Space.com comes news that NASA has launched a private space taxi certification program. The program will consist of a two-stage “process aimed at ensuring commercial passenger spaceships currently under development will meet the agency’s safety standards, schedule and mission requirements.” Yay, NASA’s record of safety, timeliness, and priorities with minimal bureaucratic waste leaves me reassured.
Budget cuts no doubt have something to do with the certification program as well. “NASA expects to award multiple firms a Certification Products Contract (CPC), each of which will run for 15 months and be worth up to $10 million.” Restrict competition, rake in the dough, ensure the continuation of your own jobs, and retain control of the space industry — all in the name of safety, science, human progress, and protecting taxpayer “investments.”
So….the Republicans have put out their Pledge to America. Is it any good?
Jeffrey Tucker sums it up pithily by juxtaposing short quotes from it and the Declaration of Independence:
Declaration of Independence (1776): “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”
A Pledge to America (GOP, 2010): “Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.”
If this goes on, related fellow TLS blogger Daniel Coleman to me, in another 100 years it will be “Whenever a subpoint of policy within a government agenda becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to organize a committee to change those subpoints of policy and replace them with better subpoints.”
Liberty Central, the Establishment’s attempt to co-opt the Tea Party, has a poll asking us to grade the Pledge. Head on over there and tell them what you think of it. Fellow TLS blogger Jacob Huebert has a couple of good posts on LewRockwell.com about Liberty Central, the Tea Party, the Pledge, and Glenn Beck.
The Liberty Central poll only lets you grade the Pledge as a whole. Here is a quick graded breakdown of important aspects of the Pledge, with short reactions by me in parentheses: