Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Can't See the Forest for the Trees

Recent research indicates that positive moods can influence what we see. The time worn phrase about looking through rose colored glasses turns out to be more true than not. Unfortunately, wishful thinking may blind us to what is really going on around us.

Think back to the time of the seating of the Emperor. All hailed and praised the rocket scientist with more degrees than fingers on our right hands. As the Kool-Aid flowed, we reveled in the plans to renew the minions' skills for building cathedrals to the sky. We marveled at the safety numbers that flew out of the supercomputers. And we ignored the mounting number of little things that were "normal for a development program." The steroids flowed, the oscillations increased, and the dollars disappeared.

Fast forward five years with nothing to show for the investments made so far. "Wait a little longer," they say. "We're getting our arms around this." And the congressfolk from Florida push for more money to shower over the falls. And the Senator from Alabama holds up any investments in commercial opportunities so that his precious voters will hold on to their jobs.

But it is already too late. Indeed, the seal on the codex has been broken. All the President's men do not carry rose colored glasses around with them. They see the forest for the trees. They know that American astronauts will continue to fly to the ISS for the next four years, without a shuttle, and without a single new system coming on line. They know that the only place additional monies can be found will be from international and commercial origins. And with diplomacy goals and economic expansion high on their list of objectives, who can blame them?

So when Sen. Shelby holds up NASA's stimulus package resources because some of it is directed away from his broken rockets and towards commercial opportunities, its like the proverbial tree falling in the forest to the President's men. They know that there are too many minions standing in the way of an efficient program. Jobs are an issue only for the choir, not for the band leader. And they know, that voters in Brevard County, in Madison County, and in Harris County only see red through their colored glasses, not blue. The door to 1600 Pennsylvania was opened without the help of those districts in 2008, and so, too, will the doors be opened without them in 2012.


Jon Goff said...

I hope you're right. I know that Obama put some pretty darned talented people in NASA (and in the Augustine commission as well). I also know that contorting and destroying the nation's manned spaceflight capabilities just to keep some jobs in deeply red districts never seemed to make much sense to me, what with the blues in charge right now. That said, while I actually think that Obama's heart is more in the right place when it comes to space than most recent presidents, I'm not sure he's going to really be willing to go to the mat with Shelby or Nelson over this. I really hope you're right.


Chuck said...

What if Shelby switches back to his original party?