coondoggie writes: "The bottom line for NASA as well as any number of government agencies in this new era of sequestration is money — and NASA in this case has too many programs chasing too few dollars. That is just one of a number of bleak conclusions NASA's Inspector General Paul Martin laid out to a Congressional hearing today adding that "declining budgets and fiscal uncertainties present the most significant external challenges to NASA's ability to successfully move forward on its many projects and programs. For the first 6 months of this year, NASA has operated under a continuing resolution that funds the Agency at last year's level of $17.8 billion. Moreover, NASA's share of the Government-wide sequestration cuts reduce that spending authority by $894 million.""
coondoggie writes: "I couldn’t let this factoid slide by today: We aren’t celebrating it but apparently Jan. 8, 1835 was the last time the United States had – or came anywhere near a national debt of $0."
coondoggie writes: "It seems well past time that the US ditch its $1 bill, considering such a move could save the country somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 billion. But there is much resistance or perhaps a lack of real consideration of the issue from most people. Watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office this week testified before a Congressional hearing on the topic said dollar coins could save $4.4 billion over 30 years, or an average of about $146 million per year."
coondoggie writes: "The Drug Enforcement Administration today issued a public warning that criminals posing as DEA agents have apparently amped up an old scam to steal consumers' money. The DEA describes the scam like this: Criminals call the victims (who in most cases previously purchased drugs over the internet or by telephone) and identify themselves as DEA agents or law enforcement officials from other agencies."
coondoggie writes: "Over the course of a working career, the type of degree you have can be worth millions of more dollars to your bottom line. The US Census Bureau this week came out a wit couple first-time studies that show people with higher level technical or engineering degrees can on average make over $3 million more during their lifetimes than those who graduated with majors in the arts, humanities and education."
coondoggie writes: "Looking to address harsh criticism from its own inspector general that has been painfully slow in getting important technologies out of the lab and into commercial applications, NASA today said it has opened a revamped Technology Transfer Portal which aims to streamline the way the space agency handles that business."
coondoggie writes: "Should the government continue to share the monetary risk of a catastrophic spacecraft accident even as the United States depends ever-more on commercial space technology? The question is one currently up for debate as the program that currently insures space launches, the Federal Aviation Administration's "indemnification" risk-sharing authority, which can provide a maximum of $2.7 billion of insurance per launch, expires at the end of the year. According to the Government Accountability Office a catastrophic commercial launch accident could result in injuries or property damage to the uninvolved public, or "third parties." In anticipation of such an event, a launch company must purchase a fixed amount of insurance for each launch, per calculation by FAA; the federal government is potentially liable for claims above that amount up about $2.7 billion."
coondoggie writes: "The Federal Trade Commission today said it got five car dealerships to stop running ads in which they promise to pay off a consumer's trade-in no matter what the consumer owes on the vehicle. The FTC charged that the ads, which ran on the dealers' websites and on sites such as YouTube, deceived consumers into thinking they would no longer be responsible for paying off the loan balance on their trade-in, even if it exceeded the trade-in's value."
coondoggie writes: "The Internal Revenue Service today issued its annual "Dirty Dozen" ranking of tax scams the agency say tend t osurface around tax season each year.
"Taxpayers should be careful and avoid falling into a trap with the Dirty Dozen," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman in a statement. "Scam artists will tempt people in-person, on-line and by e-mail with misleading promises about lost refunds and free money. Don't be fooled by these scams.""
coondoggie writes: "If you can stand your house being pained garish green, orange and purple, and you need help paying your mortgage, then you might be a candidate for an offer from the folks at Brainiacs From Mars. The company, which bills itself as a social media marketing firm, says it will pay your mortgage for up to year if you let is paint turn the outside of your house into a billboard. The company wants to paint about 1,000 houses across the country and has had over 38,000 applicants since the company began the program last year."
coondoggie writes: "The political wrangling over NASA's future direction won't get any prettier in the coming weeks as congress will debate the future of the agency and whether or not to kill of one its most ambitious projects: The James Webb Space Telescope. The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2012 bill that includes the cut."
coondoggie writes: "The SETI Institute wants to get its Allen Telescope Array (ATA) system, out of hock and get it back in the radio astronomy business and has announced a community challenge to raise $200,000 by August 1 to get that job done. The group has set up a public challenge, known as SETIstars to "galvanize community action with clearly defined fundraising goals as well as a place to engage with and recognize supporters and contributors to the SETI Institute — both financial and non-financial. We are starting with a simple site with a clear mandate: raise funds from the community to help bring the ATA back on line.""
coondoggie writes: "In one of the great understatements of our times the GAO states the current system of how Federal climate change activities are managed is complex and crosses way too many agencies to be effective. Then it shows this impenetrable chart here entitled "Selected Coordination Mechanisms for Federal Climate Change Activities," and the "complexity" becomes more than clear. Makes you wonder how anything gets done."
coondoggie writes: "The cost of gold is skyrocketing, with the price today closing at $1,452.50 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. With that crazy number, which experts say is a result of US government shut-down uncertainty and the war in Libya, comes the scammers of course, and an uptick in thefts of the prized metal."