Being a member of the Senior Executive Service has its privileges. While you can be exiled out of your favorite job, its hard to find anyone who has ever been fired from those cushy government benefits and retirement plans.
Viceroy Wayne Hale is trying to be one of the few and proud.
The number one shuttle hugger has challenged the concept of flying the white elephant past the mandated 2010 date. Ironically, he was removed from his last job for trying to do that very thing. Now, in a self-destructive trend, he is openly challenging (on his blog, imagine that) the Emperor's move to "study" what it would take to send more launches off pad 34.
The first instance, noted here previously, might have been a matter of really bad timing, coming as it did just in front of the announcement of the Emperor's study. The second in your face instance can only be interpreted in one way. But, the third instance can only be described as a definite attempt at self-immolation. In the JSC senior staff meeting this week, the Viceroy openly and vigorously challenged the intelligence of maintaining the proud bird into the next decade.
We suggest the Viceroy may want to tone it down a bit, least he find himself collecting those SES benefits at a TAL abort site. November isn't that far away. As such, we will now update an old saying, "There is nothing worse than a shuttle hugger scorned."