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NASA May Shut Down all Space Station's Research 116

jdoire writes "NASA is considering shutting down all the research programs it conducts aboard the international space station for at least a year to fill a projected budget shortfall of up to $100 million, a top station manager said on Thursday. Why the shortfall, you may ask? Because of $3 billion of Congress's pet projets"
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NASA May Shut Down all Space Station's Research

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  • Humm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rbarreira ( 836272 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:04AM (#15816236) Homepage
    I guess every minute in which the ISS isn't doing anything is money thrown away...
    • It could well be argued that even when ISS *is* doing research, it's money being thrown away. Thanks to budget overruns and shortfalls, almost all of the useful science has been cut of out ISS anyway. For example, it isn't going to tell us anything new about our response to radiation in space or to weightlessness. They cut out the big hamster wheel designed to test how many g's a human needs to stay fit enough to walk around after landing on Mars. The list goes on, but what they're left with are mostly
    • Sounds like, aside from the ongoing costs of having people up there (food oxygen fuel replacement-parts) all the current investment could be qualified as a sunk cost [wikipedia.org].
  • construction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:04AM (#15816237)
    If they're going to finish building the damn thing in less than 4 years, why doesn't it make sense to stop playing with that science experiment and put on their hard hat? They need to focus on construction or else you'll have this half finished barge in orbit. You'll get a lot more science done when the place is big enough for a 6 scientists.
    • Re:construction (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DrLang21 ( 900992 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:18AM (#15816288)
      However, this isn't allowing them to focus on construction anymore than they used to. The rerouted funds are simply coming out of the research and adding nothing to the construction project. This seems to be typical of Congressional thought processes. If only there was a feasible way to get the private sector to dumb as much money into space flight as the government used to, we could get so much more done.
    • But the hab module got cut! It may be big enough for six scientists to do research, but only big enough for three people to live there! LESS will get done if it gets bigger.
  • by BlackCobra43 ( 596714 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:04AM (#15816240)
    I want my own personnal Bridge to Nowhere, damn it. If the Alaskans have one then I want one too. In fact, I think every American citizen shouldget his own bridge. The world needs more bridges. Potential break-throughs in space travel or space exploration? Pfft, who needs that.
  • China (Score:4, Insightful)

    by astralbat ( 828541 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:06AM (#15816244)
    I can see China overtaking the US in space exploration within the next decade or so because of all the beurocratic nonesense and hoop jumping going on in West
    • I see you don't understand China's role in technological development.
      They are not technology deveopers, merely technology copiers. In fact, they wouldn't have half their navigation tech if Clinton hadn't circumvented security recommendations for campaign contributions [washingtonpost.com].
      • Re:China (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <(moc.nosduh-arab ... (nosduh.arabrab)> on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:37AM (#15816724) Journal

        "In fact, they wouldn't have half their navigation tech"

        So where'd the other half come from?

        The same could be said about the early American and Soviet space programs - they really needed the experience the Germans had. Or are you going to argue that the scientists and engineers from Peenemunde were not important?

        • I never suggested US Space Development wouldn't have developed the way it did without Werner van Braun et al.
          And there's a big difference between developing a big rocket thruster and being able to aim it. Some halves are more equal than others.
        • > The same could be said about the early American and Soviet space programs - they really needed the experience the Germans had.

          But of course! Keep in mind the reason "Our German scientists were so much better than Russia's German scientists" though. Their distribution was not random. Being 'rocket scientists' in both senses of the term they understood Germany was losing and made every effort to be captured by American or British forces instead of the Russians.

          In other words, they wanted to be here bu
      • Re:China (Score:3, Informative)

        by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 )

        They are not technology deveopers, merely technology copiers.

        Do you think that status will last forever?

        It was China that first developed gunpowder, printing, the magnetic compass, and the planetarium. When they recover from the effects of a few centuries of colonialism and Maoism - really just a blip on the course of Chinese history - expect China to be a dominant world power, technologically and politically.

        In fact, they wouldn't have half their navigation tech if Clinton hadn't circumvented secu

        • Have you read the Cox Report [house.gov]?
          I undertand there was tech sharing under Reagan and Bush (and I love how liberals HATE when you use Clinton as an example but will pull out Reagan or Bush for moral equivalence in a heartbeat), however certain things were prevented by being shared, among them Nav tech. What's more, one of the rockets 'blew up' and the Chinese stripped out the satellite control systems. Nice, eh?

          I also don't know where your link was going. It's all over the map. Mentions Wen Ho Lee, which was
    • Re:China (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tgd ( 2822 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:06AM (#15816539)
      What this story is talking about is beuracratic nonsense... its the absolute right thing to do.

      The only way we'll ever compete, or advance beyond the 70's in space technology, is to kill the shuttle and space station once and for all. Both were utter wastes of resources designed from the start to be nothing more than a civilian funding source for military research, then warped into corporate and international welfare programs with the fall of the cold war in the 80's.

      The space station was never meant to be finished... it was meant to be as expensive and difficult to build as possible, to keep pumping billions into defense contractors, ensuring they were still around when the next big war came along.

      It worked. Now our actions around the world more than support the funding of our defense contractors. Time to stop wasting money on the space station and put NASA's budget doing what it does best.
      • What this story is talking about is beuracratic nonsense... its the absolute right thing to do.

        Not if the money is going into crap that's even more useless, it isn't!

      • It worked. Now our actions around the world more than support the funding of our defense contractors. Time to stop wasting money on the space station and put NASA's budget doing what it does best.

        Sounds like they are doing that if the are taking away the money from the space assets that NASA doesn't do well to science museums, planetariums and science labs for colleges and Computers, classrooms and lab space for colleges and schools across the U.S, and a website and laboratory for the Gulf of Maine Aquarium
      • Re:China (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gumpish ( 682245 )
        Time to stop wasting money on the space station and put NASA's budget doing what it does best.
        Which is what? (According to you...)
    • Re:China (Score:4, Funny)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:24AM (#15816648)
      "I can see China overtaking the US in space exploration within the next decade or so because of all the beurocratic nonesense"

      Because China has no bureaucracy to speak of?
      • Because China has no bureaucracy to speak of?
        Exactly!

        Before the 3rd Century BC, the Chinese had no bureaucracy to speak of.
        • Exactly!

          I think they've already passed through their equivalent of "bloated bureaucracy" (during the Mao regime) and are entering a period of creative explosion (new manned space capsule design where the capsules can be joined into a growing station in orbit, new research in fusion technology), while the U.S. is entering a period of scientific stagnation and decline (cuts to space funding, increased crackdown on individual chemical research and other 'dangerous' areas, growth of process patents on software,
  • Wonderful... (Score:2, Interesting)

    I find it wonderful how politicians are sapping money out of a lot of technology-based funding and using it for completely different means.

    Where's IPAC (http://www.ipaction.org/ [ipaction.org]) when you need them?
  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:20AM (#15816299)
    From TFA, what the money is being spent on instead:

      Construction or renovation of dozens of museums, planetariums and science labs for colleges.
      Computers, classrooms and lab space for colleges and schools across the U.S.
      A website and laboratory for the Gulf of Maine Aquarium.

    Arguably worthy choices to spend scientific $$$ on. If you have X dollars, and X+Y projects to spend them on, then Y of those projects are going to go unfunded.
    • I agree. When I read the summary I was expecting some stupid government thing, but these seem like worthwhile efforts. I'm at least not upset that the money is going towards those goals and not other things (i.e.: Iraq). It almost seems as if the government is *gasp* acting responsibly.

      The proof of your last sentence: Pigeon Hole Principle (sorry, I had to).
      • They might be worthwhile projects but (pardon my shouting),

        WHY ARE THEY BEING PAID FOR OUT OF NASA'S BUDGET?

        You'd think that maybe there'd be other sources of funding for these things? Oh, wait. I forgot about the tax cuts and the wars.
        • The aquarium I'm not sure about. But as a rule, NASA not only funds space missions, it funds space *research*. This requires labs and computers. It also has (to varying degrees over time) funded science education initiatives under the logic that this ensures that the next generation of engineers and scientists will be there when we need them in 20 years. Realistically, it isn't enough to persue agressively the science and engineer research: we have to be able to sustain it for it to keep us on top. "Su
    • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:56AM (#15816474) Journal
      Nice troll is right;

      Construction or renovation of dozens of museums, planetariums and science labs for colleges. Oh I see NASA is uniquely qualified to provide laser light shows to rock music and the presence of museums and planetariums are instrumental to the exploration of aeronaughtics and space.

      Computers, classrooms and lab space for colleges and schools across the U.S. If you've checked the prices on tutition and contact hours recently you'd know that if a school wants something useful, they'd just cut a check and buy it, if a school wants something that's "well yeaah maybe it'll come in handy, I'm sure we'll figure out something to do with it" than why not get the money direct from congress and cut out the middle-man, doesn't the middle-man have better things to do than run community outreach when their primary mission is basicaly on hold?

      A website and laboratory for the Gulf of Maine Aquarium. Fish in space, KEWL I wanta aquarium on ISS! That'll make one hell of a screen saver!
      • Oh I see NASA is uniquely qualified to provide laser light shows to rock music and the presence of museums and planetariums are instrumental to the exploration of aeronaughtics and space.

        TFA never said anything about laser light shows. As for planetariums and museums, those are valuable in that they inspire kids to take up careers in science.

        Money for computers, classrooms, and lab space in schools and colleges is actually a good thing. I'm not sure what your middle argument is getting at, but for one thi

        • As for planetariums and museums, those are valuable in that they inspire kids to take up careers in science.
          I can assure you, if there were an orbital habitat/lab with 500 or 1000 or even 50 scientists and astronauts beavering away at stuff in space at any one time, there would be no shortage of kids interested in getting into science with the possibly achievable goal of working in space someday.

          As it is though, it's next to impossible for even the best of the best of the best to get more than a sin
        • Just seems everytime I hear an ad on the radio for one of the planetariums, they're pushing a laser-light show set to some rock music rather than for example a planetarium show involving stars, planets and other things in the sky and most planetariums just happen to be in areas that haven't seen a dark night-time sky since the last whole-grid black-out. I know community out-reach is important, but there are millions of people who have never seen a dark sky and more than 20 stars at a time.
      • "If you've checked the prices on tutition and contact hours recently you'd know that if a school wants something useful, they'd just cut a check and buy it,"

        You really don't understand the way higher education is funded. Tuition typically covers something like a third of the price of a college education at the more expensive schools. It's even less at public universities. The biggest source of funding for the latter typically comes from contract and grant overhead, which is often around 50% or higher. A
        • OK I'm sorry for being a bit more trollish than I meant to be, but I still think it would be more honest of congress to give education more funding through an education appropriation and NASA funding through a NASA appropriation; the way they are doing it makes it look like education is underfunded and NASA is overfunded. NASA is providing a lot of support for K-12 education as it is right now, just look at what you guys are doing.
          • What are we guys doing?

            As I've said, I agree that this money really should be sent out through the Dept. of Education in a perfect world. But for whatever reason, it isn't being sent through there. (In fairness, there are times when funding NASA to do the education does makes a fair amount of sense. There are a number of projects out there to hook up scientists with classrooms, for example. Getting Dept. of Ed. to run the program just adds to the beauracratic overhead in those cases.)

            Also, I don't think
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:58AM (#15816489)
      Are they directly related to space exploration and (related) research? If not, why are they coming out of the NASA budget? Surely the "Computers, classrooms and lab space for colleges and schools across the U.S." should come from a different budget? Similar with the Aquarium.

      Theres "worthy choices", and then there are "worthy choices that are funded by the appropriate budget". These may be the former, but apart from the museums and planetariums I think they are not the latter. They sound to me more like there is no way in h*ll that federal money would otherwise be granted to the project, so they got NASA to spend its limited budget on it instead.
      • Computers, classrooms and lab space.
        NASA is all about using space. Museums and aquariums use a lot of space. Match made in heaven.
      • First of all, NASA's mission statement isn't just for space exploration. It's for aerospace research *and* space research. That's significant because it highlights NASA's interests in math and science education in this country. While I would agree that the Dept. of Education should really be funding such initiatives, they clearly don't. (At least, they don't fund enough.) That leaves other agencies with vested interests to fill in the gaps.

        In any case, what does it matter which agency provides the mone
    • Every NASA mission and research endeavor has an incredible Return on Investment that far outweighs the risks. The Space Station is no exception. Especially when you consider NASA's goal of putting an orbiting station around the Moon and returning humans to our Lunar satellite within 15 years of now.

      While museums, planetariums, and all the other "pet projects" listed are indeed worthy choices for funding, this is a situation where if you have X dollars and X+Y projects to spend them on, go find Y more doll
      • Every NASA mission and research endeavor has an incredible Return on Investment that far outweighs the risks.

        Exactly what do you base that on? That's the kind of PR hyperbole that NASA has been spouting for decades now, with little or no hard evidence to back it up (aside from urban legends about NASA inventing velcro [wikipedia.org] and the like).

        Yes, they do scientific experiments onbaord the ISS and shuttle. No, there is no evidence that this is in any way cost-effective or has produced any of the kind of technologic

    • In other news, NASA funds AIDS curing research. Also a worthy project for spending scientific money, wouldn't you say?
    • Arguably worthy choices to spend scientific $$$ on.

      Yeah, but even if you grant that they should come out of the Federal budget, wouldn't the NSF or NOAA or DoEd be more appropriate?

      I, know, it's easier to hide pork if it's spread across multiple budgets.
    • "Arguably worthy choices to spend scientific $$$ on."

      And all excuses to spend federal money on state responsibilities. Federal legislators get to tell voters how much pork they brought home, state legislators won't have to do something drastic like raise taxes, and something that far better fits the definition of "general Welfare" than a spotty distribution of funds based on whose Congresscritter is on which committee goes unfunded.

    • Arguably worthy choices to spend scientific $$$ on.

      I agree. However it's not the mission of Nasa to create websites and labs for an aquarium in Maine, or classroom and computers for colleges across the US. I guess I don't understand why you don't think these projects aren't exactly as the article describes, pet projects for individual lawmakers. The fact that these project involve science (and not even directly funding a science program) justifies them receiving NASA funding in no way. Nasa is responsib
    • Isn't the space station a (NASA's) pet project itself? A justification for needing a shuttle fleet? Given how the station has been sucking down money, and how we've gotten essentially zero scientific results out of it (especially compared to unmanned missions), I personally wouldn't mind if they just let the thing burn up in the atmosphere.
    • Of course you forgot the bulk of the article

      A sprawling headquarters building for a non-profit research group in West Virginia created by U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan. The Democrat is now subject of a broader congressional ethics probe.
      Since 2001, Congress has directed the space agency to spend more than $3 billion on special projects, most of them small endeavors sought by individual lawmakers for the benefit of their home districts, according to NASA and congressional records.
      ...
      The cost of congressiona

    • Might I ask how "A website and laboratory for the Gulf of Maine Aquarium" has anything to do with NASA's mission? It's like the congressional hearings for steroids in baseball: a complete mis-management of resources.
    • Assuming you can only fund 1$ per project....
  • by GreggBz ( 777373 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:32AM (#15816354) Homepage
    I've not yet deiced if Michel Griffin is doing a better job, or if I just paid less attention when Sean O'Keefe, the previous administrator fought such battles.

    I think Michael Griffin is doing a better job.
    Focus on the missions, and the supplementary benefits will follow. NASA did not need to buy computers for students, build planetariums or make a special website so that I could learn about the Voyager missions. Instead, they supremely engineered those things, and the science that they returned (and are still returning) inspired and taught the world.

    People tend to underestimate the impact of one successful mission. Voyager, Hubble, Apollo and The Mars Rovers have done more for
    science and education around the world than any congressman.
    • People tend to underestimate the impact of one successful mission. Voyager, Hubble, Apollo and The Mars Rovers have done more for
      science and education around the world than any congressman.


      That's kinda why I think the entire organization of NASA should be replaced with something else. You are happy with one successful mission a decade that spends tons of money doing it! NASA needs to go now. I'd like to get into space alot more than you seem to
      People tend to underestimate the impact of one successful missio
      • That's kinda why I think the entire organization of NASA should be replaced with something else.
        Who is going to replace NASA? They are the best at what they do. You need to divest the organization from the burracracy. They have decades of experience. We should replace (about 1/2 of) our lawyer congressmen with scientists.

        You are happy with one successful mission a decade that spends tons of money doing it!
        So your suggesting cheaper-faster-more? That does not [russianspaceweb.com] work [sciencemag.org]. At least in the long run; in the econo
        • Who is going to replace NASA?

          The scary part, I'd say the same people in different places. I understand the red-tape of NASA. It's the mentality that demands that we have zero US deaths in space that caused it. That's why I think we shouldn't even think about manned space flight until just after we figure out nano-tech. Nano-tech would be neat if we could just send a probe to an asteroid and have an orbital hab after 1-2 years of it working to rebuild the asteriod. We could do the same thing without nanotech
  • Rest Assured (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Neuropol ( 665537 )
    NASA could have been budgeted free and clear for the next ten years if it were not for this stupid war we keep shovelling out the million$ for each week.
    • Re:Rest Assured (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zeux ( 129034 )
      No WMDs, we told you so.

      - The French.
    • Re:Rest Assured (Score:5, Informative)

      by Junior Samples ( 550792 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:14AM (#15816579)
      According to msnbc, the Iraq war is costing $200 million per day. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11880954/ [msn.com] A half day of war funding would take care of NASA's immediate shortfall.
      • A half day of war funding would take care of NASA's immediate shortfall.

        Easy answer:

        NASA Chief Administrator to Congress: " We have recently learned that Terrorists have established a base at Cydonia. As you can see in these photographs from Hubble, Osama Bin Ladens face has been carved into the mountains of Mars. It is our belief that this was done as a propiganda ploy, however we can not rule out the possibility of further efforts underway there. We therefore need an immediate budget increase to make

    • Comeon. The Viet Nam war torpedoed the Apollo program before it was done, killing off the last missions to the moon. Why not the Iraq war torpedoing the Station? We've been there before. Guns...Butter...Guns...Butter... But not enough $$$ for both!
  • Just a question from a german ;-) Why do you call those pet projects "pork" or "pork barrels"? It seems that there is a historical connection to a precendent of this kind which had to do with pork. But what exactly happened?
    • It's called "pork" because it's all about "bringing home the bacon," which is a colloquialism meaning to earn money for your family/constituents/whatever.

      As for where the "barrel" part came from, I have no idea.

    • From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pork_barrel [wikipedia.org] Pork barrel, in a literal sense, is a barrel in which pork is kept, but figuratively is a supply of money; often the source of one's livelihood. In politics, a pork barrel (or pork barrel politics) is a derogatory term describing government spending that is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes. The term is thought to have originated on Southern p
    • How can the parent be considered 'Offtopic' if he is simply asking a question about a term used in the title of one of the stories in TFA.
    • by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:36AM (#15816720) Journal
      Wikipedia has one theory [wikipedia.org].

      I think it has more to do with politicians buying votes by delivering actual barrels of salt pork to their constituents. There's also a related term, "Bringing home the bacon", but this is more general, and is more a reference to earning a wage.
    • ...What's the origin of the saying "pork barrel" politics?"

      The phrase is derived from the pre-Civil War practice of distributing salt pork to the slaves from huge barrels. By the 1870's, congressmen were referring to regularly dipping into the "pork barrel" to obtaining funds for popular projects in their home districts.

      http://www.porkboard.org/DidYouKnow/trivia.asp [porkboard.org]
    • In looking this up, I found what everyone else found about barrels of salted pork, slaves, etc., but I also found this bit from the Straight Dope about the term slush fund [straightdope.com], which is a related term frequently used in American politcs.
  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:13AM (#15816573)
    As I recall, most Slashdotters supported this policy. Don't think it has anything to do with Congressional pork, which has always been there. It's simply NASA's new priorities:

    When Bush announced manned spaceflight to the Moon and Mars, Slashdotters broadly supported it (perhaps someone can find the original post). But of course, there are not unlimited resources, so money must be diverted from something else, namely science.

    NASA now has cut all environmental science from its mission (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/22/science/22nasa. html) -- conveniently for Republican environmental policy -- and made manned spaceflight its top prioirty (http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/ 17/1415223).

    The mammoth deficit and the Republican's refusal to raise taxes ensure that funds are even more limited. NASA can't have it all, so which do you want? Science, or manned spaceflight?
    • I don't consider ordering NASA to build/refurb science labs for colleges, or a "website and labratory for the Gulf of Maine Aquarium" (from the article, did you even read it?) as part of the mission, or priorities as you put it, for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
      • When I said, Don't think it has anything to do with Congressional pork, I meant to imply: The pork isn't the issue; it has always been there, throughout the history of NASA, and always will be. What did change were NASA's budget priorities.

        Blaming pork is just a way to distract us from the real issues.
    • But of course, there are not unlimited resources, so money must be diverted from something else ...

      As others have pointed out, the current administration seems to feel there is an unlimited amount of resources for some causes. If only NASA had some alien threat they could use to drum up funding.
      • If only NASA had some alien threat they could use to drum up funding.


        Mr. Wolsey: Nothing renews your appreciation for the military like the threat of invasion from life-sucking aliens.

        -- Season 3, Episode 2"Misbegotten"
    • When Bush announced manned spaceflight to the Moon and Mars, Slashdotters broadly supported it (perhaps someone can find the original post). But of course, there are not unlimited resources, so money must be diverted from something else, namely science.

      Yes and no. NASA seemed to think it could implement Bush's Vision for Space Exploration with only moderate budget increases, by redirecting funds from the Shuttle infrastructure. This turned out not to be the case, so they're cutting science.

      Now, th

  • ... $419.3 billion (2006 official), it's no surprise that they have to cut certain other projects. Poor NASA, sadly there's not as much profit in exploring / colonizing space as there is in invading countries with rich oil sources.
    • Just imagine the possibility if Hubble spots an oil rich space colony...NASA will get half a trillion dollars and Boeing and Lockheed will be building the tools to deliver freedom to said colony in no time!
    • $419.3 billion (2006 official), it's no surprise that they have to cut certain other projects. Poor NASA, sadly there's not as much profit in exploring / colonizing space as there is in invading countries with rich oil sources.

      Of course, you do realize that NASA's overall budget has actually been increasing over the past few years, right?
      • Of course, you do realize that NASA's overall budget has actually been increasing over the past few years, right?

        That's correct. But if you take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_budget [wikipedia.org], you will see that the increase has not been as huge, especially if you consider inflation. Add to this the 3 Billion $ for the so called "pet projects" mentioned in TFA and NASA is at about the same level they were back in 1984. Of course I am no expert, you probably have more insight then me... I am not even f

    • .. $419.3 billion (2006 official), it's no surprise that they have to cut certain other projects. Poor NASA, sadly there's not as much profit in exploring / colonizing space as there is in invading countries with rich oil sources.

      Profit ? How about Titan (Saturn's moon) which is covered in liquid methane and has 1/8th of Earth gravity ? Not to mention Kuiper belt..

      For that kind of money one could have launched a train of dumb nuclear powered ships and have enough hydrocarbons to drown the planet..

  • All repeat after me:

    "Line item Veto"

    Yeah, the party not in power always hates the idea.

    • by wwahammy ( 765566 )

      The Line Item Veto is not the cure-all that a lot of people think it is. I think here in Wisconsin we've proven its weaknesses and drawbacks.

      It was enacted in the mid 80s and the first governor to use it was Tommy Thompson. Under him it became called the "Vanna White Veto" because he took letters from words and wrote totally different bills from the ones he recieved. The State Supreme Court ruled that's you have to use whole words and can't create new words.

      Tommy found a new way around the veto by elim

    • All repeat after me:
      "Line item Veto"


      Repeat after me: McCain's Anti-Torture Amendment. [boston.com]
      Repeat after me: Patriot Act Oversight Rules. [boston.com]

      Bush already thinks he has a line-item veto in the form of signing statements. Let's not actually give him the power to further neuter Congress and expand executive power in the ways that he's been striving to do by legitimizing his acts with an actual line-item veto power.

      No, I used to sort of support the line-item veto, but I'll never support it again. Even if just restrict
  • by kcurtis ( 311610 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:41AM (#15817129)
    The topic author points out $3 billion in "pet projects" -- many of which are a waste, but also many of which are valuable. Not that the budget should have itemized spending like this -- it is just absurd to say that pork of $3 billion in a year is the problem.

    The problem is the nearly $5 billion per month (USA Today article with the numbers here [usatoday.com]) being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Even if you think the wars are legitimate, logic dictates that this huge cost is the reason why our deficit is going up, and why programs are being shortchanged.
  • All the significant scientific research in space has been done by unmanned probes for a long time.

    About the only really significant thing the manned space program has done in aid of science was to repair the Hubble.

    We're putting humans into space so that they can build the ISS so that we can put humans into space. Into low earth orbit. The same place John Glenn went in 1962. It was thrlling then. Well, OK, the "Space Station 3D" movie is thrilling to watch now... but the scientific aspects of the ISS seem t
    • We're putting humans into space so that they can build the ISS so that we can put humans into space. Into low earth orbit. The same place John Glenn went in 1962.

      I'm always sick of that example.

      John Glenn spent 88 minutes at that place. We're currently spending months. Where John Glenn rode around in a an capsule with about five square meters of room, the ISS has about 425 square meters! John Glenn wore a pressure suit. These people work in a shirtsleeve environment. One thing that also tends to get mi

  • From the linked story:

    The price tag for politicians' "pork" has grown so large that NASA may have to delay the new spaceships and rockets needed to replace the space shuttles, to be retired in 2010. Instead, NASA will pay for:

    Construction or renovation of dozens of museums, planetariums and science labs for colleges.

    Computers, classrooms and lab space for colleges and schools across the U.S.

    It is an indication of how far wrong we are going with large science projects in space that we can define sup

    • t is an indication of how far wrong we are going with large science projects in space that we can define support for museums and college labs as "pork" and therefore waste. How can they honestly think that frog sex in space and the dynamics of a burning candle are more important than education here on Earth? How long are we going to accept that spewing our seed into barren space is the thing to do?

      Flawed thinking. First, the argument "first we should solve all our problems" is age-old and still pointless. I
      • Straw Man : a weak or imaginary opposition (as an argument or adversary) set up only to be easily confuted.

        I never said anything about solving all mankind's problems before going into space. I said education on earth is more important than sterile space programs. You just changed the discussion to suit yourself. But that happens a lot on Slashdot.

        Can anyone argue logically on Slashdot? Can anyone stick to the line of thought?

        • This does not change anything. There were STILL more important issues back in the 15th century than one wacko eager to find India. Most space research is fundamental, and thus cannot and must not be classied into "useful" and "useless". You can do this with applied research, but not with fundamental one. Now, if you want some money for education, it is STILL wiser to scrap Yet Another Bomb. Unfortunately, it is more popular to target NASA.
  • Split Up NASA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TomRC ( 231027 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:49AM (#15817607)
    It's time. Split NASA into operations and research.

    Turn the shuttle and space station and all non-research operation/facilities (including launch) over to the Navy (not the Air Force, despite the superficial similarities) with the mandate to provide the US a continuous capability to deliver large payloads into space on demand.

    NASA keeps making robotic probes and running science programs and focuses on organizing and developing for the "return to moon and on to Mars". All rockets and launch services to be contracted from the Navy or private industry.

    Actually, split it into three portions - the utter fat (museums and such) gets divided between various other agencies such as education. Or simply cut it out entirely.

    • Turn the shuttle and space station and all non-research operation/facilities (including launch) over to the Navy (not the Air Force, despite the superficial similarities)
      I'm just curious why you'd say turn it over to the Navy and not the Air Force? I have no opinion either way, except that the Air Force seems like a more natural fit than the Navy.
  • This reminds me of the horror stories my ex's grandad told me about his years as a park ranger. He worked all the big ones like Yosemite and Winchester Mansion and Grand Tetons, I can't remember them all but it was a good 30 years worth of service. He told me about having to lay off rangers at his park so that some yahoo in congress could get a national park in his district dedicated to squirrel humping or some such asinine thing and then have to justify the slippage in services at his park to the congressi
  • Now they are making up states? From TFA:

    U.S. Rep. David Weldon, R-Indialantic, has earmarked money in the NASA budget for hand-picked projects in Brevard, Florida.

    Someone tell them there is no state of Indialantic and kick this clown out of the Congress. Ok well his stuff wasn't bad and seems like a good guy from the rest of the article, so if he is from a real state I don't mind.
    • I'll emphasize the important parts...

      U.S. Rep. David Weldon, R-Indialantic, has earmarked money in the NASA budget for hand-picked projects in Brevard, Florida.

      Rep. means he's a Representative. Why they listed him as being a representative from Indialatic, I have no idea, but there is a town of Indialantic in the county of Brevard, Florida.

      But I like the concept! Since each state automatically gets one representative and people are stupid, all one needs to do is insist that there are 51 states.

      Step 1: C

  • Since the crippled space station can support a maximum of three occupents at time, because NASA-Russia delayed funding for a crew module, the space station now becomes the universes most expensive hotel. No, because the station is so buggy, it takes two people fulltime to maintain it, so occupants are more like janitors.

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