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Congress Dumps James Webb Space Telescope 409

Teancum writes "On the list of items on the upcoming federal budget for 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives has announced they are going to cancel the continued development of the James Webb Space Telescope. While this debate is certainly still very much a preliminary draft, the road ahead for this project is now very much uncertain. In this time of budget cuts, it seems unlikely that this project is going to survive at this time. It certainly will be an uphill battle for fans of this telescope if they want to keep it alive."
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Congress Dumps James Webb Space Telescope

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:51PM (#36677784)
    War and Destruction... untouchable
    Knowledge and Progress... Short list for cuts

    Not surprised the least
  • whack! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:52PM (#36677794)

    This was a way cool project that could have led us towards life in the distant cosmos! Maybe its because were in for a much bigger revelation... (FINGERS CROSSED, and by revelation I don't mean that in a religious sense)... More than likely though their probably just rerouting the funding to war crime projects....

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:57PM (#36677840)

    It's too bad you posted as AC, because it's true.

    And it's funny how the people who cut this will take pride in how our country is on the so-called cutting-edge of technology and science.

    We're on the fast track to becoming a banana republic.


  • Absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln ( 21727 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:58PM (#36677864)
    Cutting this project will do basically nothing to help the deficit situation. Until they start seriously talking about slashing defense spending, drastically reforming Medicare and Social Security, AND raising taxes, it's obvious they're just playing politics with no intention of doing anything to fix the problem. They could cut this and everything else in the discretionary non-defense budget and still run a huge deficit.
  • by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:00PM (#36677886) Journal
    Barack "I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011" Obama?
  • Re:Absurd (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NiceGeek ( 126629 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:03PM (#36677908)

    If you think the Repubs are going to do any of that, you're dreaming. They're busy pandering.

  • Re:Budget problems (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:04PM (#36677916)

    The panel noted that the project was in good shape technically, but that NASA had not budgeted enough for the project initially. In other words, it would have cost less if they'd put more in up front and completed it on schedule. This is why you shouldn't let penny-pinchers be in charge of cost estimates (or anything, for that matter). If they weren't willing to commit sufficient funds to the project, they shouldn't have done it at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:06PM (#36677940)

    In the future, when people look back at our age, they will see things as Hubble, and (hopefully) the James Webb telescope as some of the true wonders of our time. INNA (I am not American), but where has the USA's sense of wonder gone?. Truely, the USA needs to invest in things like this great telescope. They can afford not to build another (half a?) stealth fighter, surely.

  • Hah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beadfulthings ( 975812 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:10PM (#36677972) Journal

    What do we need with a space telescope or space exploration program anyway? Our children are being groomed to be the poorly fed, poorly housed, poorly educated drones of the likes of of the Koch Brothers--or worse, cannon fodder in the next forever war undertaken to line the pockets of the defense contractors. Other countries will gladly assume the exploration of frontiers and the advancement of knowledge while our kids get to learn about creation science.

  • by Fluffeh ( 1273756 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:18PM (#36678034)

    From the appropriations document []:

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $16.8 billion in the bill, which is $1.6 billion below last year’s level and $1.9 billion below the President’s request. This funding includes:

            $3.65 billion for Space Exploration which is $152 million below last year. This includes funding above the request for NASA to meet Congressionally mandated program deadlines for the newly authorized crew vehicle and launch system.
            $4.1 billion for Space Operations which is $1.4 billion below last year’s level. The legislation will continue the closeout of the Space Shuttle program for a savings of $1 billion.
            $4.5 billion for NASA Science programs, which is $431 million below last year’s level. The bill also terminates funding for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management.

    Meanwhile, in the same document:

    Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) – The bill provides $2.7 billion for the PTO – the full requested level. This funding is equal to the estimated amount of fees to be collected by the PTO during fiscal year 2012, and is an increase of $588 million or 28% above last year’s level. The bill also includes language that allows PTO to keep and use any fees in excess of the estimated collected amount, subject to standard Congressional approval, and includes language requiring PTO to report on efforts to reduce the patent application backlog

    (Bolding is mine)

    Stop a space telescope, cut back NASA funds while retiring a space shuttle... increase patent office funding... This is just a normal day in the office chaps...

  • by ridgecritter ( 934252 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:25PM (#36678098)

    Our sense of wonder was spent in Iraq, Afghanistan, Goldman-Sachs, and AIG.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:27PM (#36678118)
    All of which has been paid back, with interest. So, what is your gripe here?
  • Re:Absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:34PM (#36678182)

    They don't "forget" to raise taxes. The Republicans have instituted a very well-crafted and carefully executed plan for the past decade or so. They pass a massive tax cut to wipe out the surplus. They then drive us deep into debt with wars and the unfunded Medicare expansion. Next, they use that debt as an excuse to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. Then they take the savings, and insist the way to grow the economy is with more tax cuts. See where this is going?

    The end result is a society with no safety net to support the ~250 million serfs, who must therefore work for whatever wages their lords are willing to pay, and die in the streets when they are no longer of use. Meanwhile, those lords pay no taxes. The government, with no revenue, cannot regulate the lords to keep them from further abusing their serfs. We're on a fast track to return to the Gilded Age. This is not an accident.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:35PM (#36678196)

    the jobs that are being made aren't really jobs, they give the bare minimum so the person can live in a trailer park with 20$ to spend a week. That's not a life its just slavery.

    Those were also the jobs that were lost. Though if you lost one, you might think of it as somewhat better.

    I'm on your side, poor people get screwed by the economy, but were getting screwed worse when the jobs were evaporating in the Great Bush Recession.

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @10:12PM (#36678470)

    the leader's job is to LEAD.

    see any of that?

    I don't. I see same-old same-old. he is NOT standing up for his so-called principles.

    you can say its the system but if the president can't accomplish his goals, I blame HIM. backroom deals, etc - just make it happen.

    but he does not. he's useless. /dev/null would be as effective.

  • by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @10:31PM (#36678638)

    Nothing a single U.S. president does can "fix" economy or add/destroy jobs. Sorry. People who think so are so out of touch with reality it's scary. U.S. economy has been self-destructed from inside by greedy and unscrupulous businesspeople at all levels (both in small businesses and on tops of corporations), and by equally greedy and uneducated/ignorant consumers. The only way to "fix" it is to let a generation or two die off and be replaced by better people. Where the heck we'll get those, though, is a hard guess.

    Somehow blaming G.W.Bush for job losses is, as much as I disliked him and his policies, simply retarded. It's a coincidence there was a silly guy in the office in the time where a lot of bad shit happened -- plenty of it a result of policies of several administrations leading up to him. Same with Obama -- whatever happened economically would have happened no matter what, and my guesstimate is that it'd have happened stimulus or no stimulus.

  • by D'Sphitz ( 699604 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @10:39PM (#36678700) Journal
    The right has been drooling over abolishing the minimum wage for decades, then we can see what real poverty looks like.
  • by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @11:15PM (#36679010) Homepage Journal

    My taxes are going to Bush's wars. How can I redirect them?

  • by Jiro ( 131519 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @11:45PM (#36679208)

    I hear that if you vote for Obama in 2008, we will no longer have to deal with Bush's wars. Try it, maybe it'll work. He is promising change, after all.

  • by dachshund ( 300733 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @11:53PM (#36679256)

    The thing that's threatening to bust the budget is entitlements. Medicare and Medicaid speciically. Just the growth predicted for entitlements between now and 2035 will exceed the entire defense budget. Go read the CBO's long-term outlooks if you don't believe me. I'm not saying entitlements have to go, but any budget plan which refuses to change entitlements is doomed to fail before it even starts.

    Healthcare cost growth is a huge long-term problem, and it's one we're going to need to address. But it has precisely nothing to do with what we spend in 2012, 2013, 2014, etc.

    Military spending, on the other hand, really is great issue to address in the yearly budget. We can decide in 2011 how many overseas wars we should be fighting over the next fiscal year. We can decide in 2012 how much we want to spend in 2013, and so on.

    As best I can tell, the reason we spend so much time discussing "entitlements" is because politicians don't want to discuss issues that we can address today. So instead we have a stupid and fruitless conversation about problems that we're not facing yet. The inevitable outcome is that nobody wants to put their neck on the line to cut these programs, and all the serious decisions fly under the radar.

    Which, when you think about it, is the entire point.

    There's a pretty simple way to deal with Medicare spending in the future (note: it's not "entitlements" --- Social Security does not share Medicare's cost growth). Basically, leave it to the future. Oh sure, do what smart things we can do now to make healthcare costs grow less quickly. But when the costs themselves become unmanageable, let the voters and representatives of that time deal with it. Their problem, their decision. Cutting Medicare only requires one Congressional vote, it's not magic.

    If they can afford Medicare as it is now, good for them. If they can't, they'll have no choice but to cut it. That'll be unpopular, but in that case it'll also be necessary which means it'll happen.

  • by The Master Control P ( 655590 ) <ejkeever@neDEBIA ... com minus distro> on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:01AM (#36679296)
    You realize the illusion of prosperity under the Bush administration was the same as the illusion of prosperity in the Roaring 20s right?

    They're basically clones of each other... a false prosperity, supported by a bubble of circle-jerking investors, in which none of the "wealth" goes to the workers [during the 20s, income for the average American rose one percent and for the rich rose something like 50%], and in the end the bubble finally reaches a maximum inflation, jitters a bit, and implodes. Sound familiar?

    If there is any causal connection, it's that the change in House control was the pin that pricked the bubble - the first investor to panic then brings the whole lie crashing down. Do you blame those who exposed the lie, or those who inflated it, created it, and enabled it?
  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:14AM (#36679400)

    Liar. Stop regurgitating talking points and think. What caused all the job losses? The recession, obviously. What caused the recession? Rampant greed and absentee regulators. It was a long time brewing. Beyond that, the causes are irrelevant. What is relevant is that once the Democrats were in charge, which happened on Jan 2009, things quickly improved.

    And the Democrats were not in control of the government in 2007. They had Congress, but Bush had the veto pen. They could not begin undoing his damage until 2009. Stop regurgitating the lies that Fox has poisoned you with, and think for your self.

  • by mywhitewolf ( 1923488 ) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:19AM (#36679432)
    half of all money spent on military in the world is spent by Americans. you could half your military budget and still spend more than the entire EU. where as the expenses paid by social security is comparable to most other westernized countries.

    social security and healthcare actually help to stimulate the economy, as well as improving quality / quantity of life of your citizens, again increasing growth especially in the lower class which are hit hardest by economic problems.

    military spending COULD be used to increase your economy, but you'd have to revert to the now illegal act of stealing other peoples land and working it to produce a profit.
  • by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:52AM (#36679596)

    I think the issue is that if one can not protect the sovereignty of a country then its science is a moot point. The country will soon be owned or destroyed by someone else.

    War/Destruction and Knowledge/Progress are not mutually exclusive. Look at the advances in aircraft during WW2. We went from biplanes to jet planes in a scant ten years. More recently Kevlar and composites that are used in manufacturing were originally researched for military use.

  • by raddan ( 519638 ) * on Thursday July 07, 2011 @01:00AM (#36679628)
    That's because the the graph hardly shows military spending in decline. I'd say that it's level. Of course, that's proportional to GDP which means in reality, it's increased a LOT.

    But the fun doesn't stop there. The graph ends in 2001. Hmm, can't think of any large military expenditures between 2001 and 2011...

    Put a recent CBO graph up there, and we can talk. Of course, he's right about entitlement spending. My personal take on this is that the US has to decide between policing the world and caring for its own citizens, because it can't do both.
  • by Savantissimo ( 893682 ) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @01:15AM (#36679686) Journal

    It's ridiculous to measure military spending as a percent of GDP. The necessary expenses do not scale with GDP. We aren't facing any real military threats; the BS "terrorism" scare was just a marketing campaign to keep the gravy train rolling. We don't need the expenditures of the cold war today, yet we're spending much more in level dollar terms. We could cut $200B out of the DoD budget tomorrow and still be spending more than in the late 90s or the 70s. The accumulated interest on old military expenditures and increase in the veterans affairs budget due to idiotic wars of choice almost doubles the official budget, to over $1.1trillion a year, even before counting DHS, State Dept., DoE, etc. We're borrowing all that money, including the interest payments. Social Security and Medicare, on the other hand, pay for themselves, and have money left over to lend to the rest of the government. They'd have more but the rich don't pay Social Security tax on most of their income, and Medicare is forbidden from negotiating volume discounts with the pharmaceutical companies.

    We're going to spend $2.8 billion this year on the V-22 Osprey, which is a complete dog, unreliable, unmaintainable, dangerous. We're going to spend over $10 billion this year on idiotic, unworkable, destabilizing ballistic missile defense schemes. We're going to spend more on fucking air-conditioning for the Iraq and Afghanistan fiascos than the entire NASA budget. And it's worse than completely useless- it soaks up engineering talent, manufacturing capacity and materials and produces nothing of value - it actually destroys value at home and abroad by killing and maiming people and destroying property. It's fucking psychotic.

  • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @08:22AM (#36681480) Homepage

    But when the costs themselves become unmanageable, let the voters and representatives of that time deal with it. Their problem, their decision. Cutting Medicare only requires one Congressional vote, it's not magic.

    If they can afford Medicare as it is now, good for them. If they can't, they'll have no choice but to cut it. That'll be unpopular, but in that case it'll also be necessary which means it'll happen.

    Well, if I'm not going to get Medicare in 30 years, why not just cut it today so that I can stop paying all those taxes for the next 30 years? If it will work for me to pay taxes for the next 30 years and not collect a dime, then it will work fine for the previous generation to do the same. Besides, we don't need to cut it so much as we need to reform it (raise retirement age, only spend money where we have clinically proven results, etc).

    On the other hand, US foreign policy today will impact the kind of world I live in 30 years from now. I don't see a need to be as engaged overseas as we have been, but the fact is that an army is actually one of those things that the Federal Government was created for in the first place.

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.