Thursday, May 21, 2009

Making Up the Rules As He Goes Along

Despite several months of delay, and the passing over of several exceptional, unfettered, and vetted candidates for the job, white smoke is finally coming out of the chimney on E Street.

Unfortunately, the smoke has a high tar content.

In 2005, the candidate likely to be sent up the Hill in the next day or two, lobbied for ATK. And we all know what we hope they won't be building after Norm has a look. Until March 2008, the candidate also served on the board of directors for the parent company of Aerojet who provides propulsion systems and maneuvering engines for the shuttle and Orion.

But brother astronaut, Sen. StickMan, who ramrodded the nominee down the President's throat, said he was unaware of these connections. “I don’t know anything about that,” he said in a brief interview.

Of course, not.

And he apparently doesn't know that it has been mandated that presidential appointees shall not for a period of two years from the date of appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to former employers or former clients, including regulations and contracts.

We guess ethics in this case is just a detail? Nothing a waiver can't fix?


Anonymous said...

Of course there will be a waiver. How could there be any other course of action? Rules only apply to those who abide by them.

Since the 'wiggle stick' solution is made by a former benefactor, must one even waste a guess as to which way this decision tree is leaning? Thanks for the evaluation Norm but we pretty well knew all along what the solution was going to be.

Thus, the minions will dance in the halls with vindication of their position and tout the new emperator's direction as solid proof of their knowledge and expertise. It happened on ISS and twenty years later it is going to happen again.

I wonder if it is too late to invest in the whitewash concession in DC?

Eric the student said...

I hope youre wrong.

I know youre probably right, I still hope your wrong and somebody gives the DIRECT alternative some time at the table in an honest assesment at a high enough level to at least open peoples eyes about the stick not being the best possible answer.

Have members of the blue-ribbon panel been named?

Chuck2200 said...

Might as well have put the president of ATK at the helm. What's the difference? Now we will probably have to actually endure the A-1X bottle rocket PR stunt and sit quietly by while the emporer's minions all declare the wisdom of the emperor, the greatest rocket engineer in the world, by some accounts. Of course we all know that IX is nothing but a waste of STS hardware that bares NO resemblance to the real thing. But the emporer's minions will all declare that it is, as they talk out the other side of their face, like they have been for 4 years now

Anonymous said...

Direct is just as bad as Ares, the folks working this are just as inexperienced and incompetent as cook, hadley and stanley.

Anonymous said...

I think every contributor to this board wants the 'right' decision to be made. Nobody wants to waste years of their careers on efforts which are destined to fail.

How serious of a review can be accomplished with an August delivery date. We will be well into June before the Augustine Commission will be able to meet. That means that material has to be gathered, evaluated, a consesus reached, report prepared and approved within four to six weeks.

That means that an evaluation of design alternatives is a non-starter. Constrained to evaluate the current program, what information do you think will be provided? Will it be real data or will it be data from a non-rid review. Will it be real requirements or will it be those whitewashed toner and paper flying in loose formation documents? What will they be given to review - that is the question!

Couple that with the fact that all efforts are being expended to commit procurement of system components based upon flawed requirements and the high up corporate officials are writing public commentaries about how they will have to lay off tens of thousands of highly talented rocket scientists. It all adds up to a thinly veiled threat that America's space program will be a thing of the past unless we keep going down the 'wiggle stick' path.

So, we have an administration that wants to spend the money somewhere else, a design that has drawn the ire of many engineers, corporate executives warning of layoffs which means that they do not believe in the future of the program, an investigative commission on a very short time leash, a public that couldn't care less about going to the Moon or Mars because they in a financial misery all their own and we are stuck in the middle.

LBJ's fear of going to sleep under the light of a communist Moon may very well come to light!

Anonymous said...

IIRC, Bolden's registration as an ATK lobyist was cancelled after 3 months because he was really 'just a consultant'. Good grounds for a waiver...

Anonymous said...

Ah well, let's see if this astronaut can engage his brain and do the right things. If he ends up touting the wonders of Ares I then we all know what we are in for. Yet another dolt at the controls. I struggle with this guy being the best that could be mustered and wonder at what that Florida congresscritter has in the way of bargaining chips. is it simply his ability to deliver those electoral votes?

One only hopes that the recent practical realities will trump his prior efforts on behalf of a desperate subcontractor. I do hope that he has some adult supervision - unlike the total inattention of the Bushies.

Anonymous said...

Rand Simberg of the Transterrestrial Musings blog is accusing you of making a racist statement because you said "Unfortunately, the smoke has a high tar content." in you blog post. :
(“Rocketman” isn’t happy, with what is arguably a slightly racist post (and accompanying comment from an anonymous commenter).")

He is implying that you wrote 'tar' because Bolden is black.

Did you use the word 'tar' because Bolden is black?

Also, Anonymous commenter from May 22, 2009 2:26 PM, apparently you were making a racist statement because you used the word 'whitewash'. Did you in fact use the term 'whitewash' as a racist statement?

As for the comment from 'Eric the student', perhaps you may want to re-think using the phrase 'blue ribbon panel' before someone accuses you of racism against blue people. Or racism FOR blue people. Or something.

Les Nessman

Rocket Man said...

For the record, we do not normally respond directly to comments, but felt it important to note that racism is not part of our vocabulary here. The only bias we ever express is technical. Any reading otherwise is mistaken and uninformed.

engstudent said...

This is nonsense. I never meant imply anything racist in my comment and I'm sure that in the great meritocracia that is our great USA that not everybody on the panel will be blue-blooded. (:

And about the DIRECT team being less competent the the Ares folks - I don't see how that's possible.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your response, Rocket Man.

I normally wouldn't get involved in such an off-topic subject on other people's blogs, but it was such an ugly implication that I just had to ask. Hopefully Simberg will stop being 'mistaken and uninformed' in the future.
Best wishes.
Les Nessman

Anonymous said...

"Hopefully Simberg will stop being 'mistaken and uninformed' in the future."

Asking Simberg to not be uniformed, is like asking Rush Limbaugh to be slim.