City Journal Winter 2014

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Winter 2014
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Pete Peterson
Of Space Ships and Bullet Trains « Back to Story

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Brian Richard Allen April 06, 2011 at 8:58 PM
John Rich says: NASA's time has come, and gone. And that happened over 30 years ago. Long past time to eliminate this useless and expensive agency."

Well said.

Hear! Hear!

NASA's claim to infamy? How about: "Never in Human History has so little been achieved by so few for so many for so much." Something along those lines?

Even Kennedy's institutionalized moon gazing had way more to do with symbolism and with looting than with substance and/or achievement. A kind of Bostonian Big Dig made small. And far away.
Brian Richard Allen April 06, 2011 at 8:47 PM
.... Boston’s “Big Dig” traffic tunnel upgrade, which ran 200 percent over "budget: ....

Begun with a $2.6-Billion estimate - final cost more than $20-Billion and most of it into the pockets of Kennedy Crime family and other mobbed-up RICO-racketeering "Democratic" potty and union cohorts and cronies? Rather more than "200%!" Way closer to 1000% than to 200!
Wow. What wisdom. How can you make this REQUIRED READING for every decision maker in Washington, President Obama included?
The problem with insane cost overruns and poor performance in the majority of public projects of this type was almost identified correctly. The problem is not lack of public input, as the European authors concluded, but a lack of those "representatives" pushing the projects HEEDING the public input. And the public, thus scorned and ignored, fails to hold their REPRESENTATIVES accountable.

Case in point: some years ago a large corporation from Texas began festering a light rail transit system in Portland Oregon. The citizens said "no thanks" in the comments period, ANd in a vote. Guess what? The county commissioners from the three counties involved formed a new transit district, "representatives" were selected, and THEY went ahead with the project... which came in WAY over budget, and fails to function efficiently to bring the more outlying commuters into the downtown business sections. That same Texas corporation, some years later, targeted Seattle, same scenario. Since Seattle had not been involved in the Portland debacle, they were blindsided. Public refused, government "representatives" pushed it through anyway, over a vote or two of the public they ostensibly "serve". It is now under construction... set to come within about a mile of the downtown area of Tacoma.... whence many commuters travel to Seattle and points north daily. So, the "cure" misses again... on every count but profit to those pushing it.

And they put away for life the entrepreneur in Carolina who had the good sense to provide people a means to protect their cash from the ravages of devaluation... by providing them minted silver coin.

Is this scenario nuts, or what?
Hughes aircraft didn't get 70 feet off the ground, it took off from and landed on water.
As an engineer and lover of science fiction, the shuttle program has been worse than disappointing. It's been almost a mockery of "going where no man has gone before."

Taking nothing away from the courage and skill of the astronauts, most shuttle missions seem devoted to delivering some small, perhaps essential, but hardly interesting payload. And, not least, checking for problems that might prevent the shuttle from landing safely.

What's worst, at least from a technophile's perspective, is that the basic technology is unchanged from the V-2: huge chemically-fueled rockets lifting relatively tiny payloads into low Earth orbit.

NASA's time has come, and gone. And that happened over 30 years ago. Long past time to eliminate this now-useless and expensive agency.