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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 @08:57PM (#36677832)

    Obama said today in the Twitter Town Hall that he's going to make defense budget cuts over time. There's also plans to reduce troups in Afghanistan. Assuming he follows through, he'll prove you wrong. Here's to hoping you (and a lot of people) are wrong.

  • by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:21PM (#36678066) Journal

    You mean the long-timers that developed Hubble, the Shuttle program, ISS, and (mostly) successful Mars rovers?

    If anything, NASA gets worse with each new generation. As I saw on reddit once, "If you watch NASA backwards, it's about a space agency that has no spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on moon"

  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:22PM (#36678076)

    Considering we went from losing hundreds of thousands of jobs every month under Bush, to adding jobs every month under Obama, I'd say he's done a damn good job fixing the damage. If you were expecting those jobs to magically reappear over night, you're deluded.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:26PM (#36678108)

    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.

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:56PM (#36678354)
    Defense spending is hardly untouchable. Defense is about the only part of the Federal budget which has been consistently decreasing over the last 50 years [] as a percentage of GDP. It's ticked up a bit since 9/11, but is still lower than during Reagan's build-up in the 1980s, and nowhere near as high as during the Vietnam War.

    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.
  • by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:58PM (#36678374)

    I don't disagree that there is other shit that needs cutting. Do we REALLY need a military that can stomp two of any other conventional armies on their own land at once? I personally think not. Self defense the ability to act WITH others in the world community is more than enough for me. I don't think the US needs a military designed to fight China and Russia on their own shores, considering that the only possible end game to that kind of 'victory' are a few thousand nuclear missiles up the arse.

    That said... the Jame's Webb telescope, while being an awesome piece of potential science, is a poster child for being a catastrofuck of poor planning and budgeting. They are going to miss both their launch data AND the cost by at least a 4X factor. Maybe canceling a few of these messes will convince people not to write rosy prediction of cost and time. Firing all of the management involves, killing the project, and proposing a realistic budget and timing is hardly the worst fate that cold befall NASA.

    Now if only we could fire all of the congressmen shit heads who propose their own unrealistic budgets on absurd timetables...

  • Re:Budget problems (Score:4, Interesting)

    by garyebickford ( 222422 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (cib73rag)> on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @10:17PM (#36678512)

    Boy, been there, done that, burned the t-shirt. As a VP R&D in a startup a long time ago (early 1990s) I once spent two months with my software manager doing a complete system plan for a complete rewrite, rearchitecture and platform change (including converting from several languages to C), down to the function level, with good estimates of the time it would take to do every piece of it. This was a product with several hundred thousand lines of code in FORTRAN, Pascal, Assembler of various sorts, maybe some C, and microcode for a custom image processor. It came down to six engineers and about two years. We got approval for that project plan at the board meeting.

    Then one of the engineers mentioned to the head of sales that he thought we would 'have an image on the screen' (meaning we would have figured out how to write a toy/test program to paint a window) in about two months.

    Within a few days, the sales guy had promised delivery of two systems in ... you guessed it ... two months, to GE. Oh, and by the way - the company didn't have the cash flow to hire more engineers, so we only had two guys available to the project. As it happened, I quit a week or so later for other reasons. According to what I was told later, by conspiring with the users at GE who agreed to receive the boxes, they managed to ship two completely non-functioning systems to GE, and spent the next two years 'fixing' it while the folks at GE got more and more pissed. I think GE finally sued them. After numerous equally dicey escapades, the company got forced into bankruptcy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @10:42PM (#36678740)

    ...No shit they paid it back. They bought treasury bonds with the money loaned to them at discount interest rates and sat on them until the treasury yields balanced their books. It was just a hand out by any other name. They repaid the loans with devalued capital, after using that money during a liquidity crunch to hostile takeover their competitors who didn't qualify for a government handout.

    If you convert the loan to gold at the time it was made and then make the same conversion when it was repaid you'll see that the tax payer was robbed of nearly 200 billion dollars, the majority of which sailed off in to the sunset as golden parachutes and bonuses for the people who crashed the american economy.

    The insult to injury here is that the Treasury department begged congress for unconditional trust and then turned right around and engaged in the largest example of graft in recorded human history - Carting wheelbarrows full of money out the back door in the form of secret purchases of toxic mortgages at 500% of their market value. The beneficiary? The treasury secretary's former employer Goldman Sachs and the new banking cartels: JP Morgan and Bank of America.

    These assholes caused the crisis and in return were handed majority ownership of the entire american real estate market on the backs of the people who they cheated out of house and home.

    Treason fails to communicate the gravity/magnitude of the events which you are so eager to forget. Why so forgiving? I suspect because holding a grudge would cause your illusion of democracy to dissolve if it meant that your favorite sock puppet was no less corrupt than his predecessor? Cognitive dissonance is a bitch ain't she?

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @01:11AM (#36679676) Journal

    The problem is the republicans wont budge. They are the ones who all of the sudden decided agaisnt' raising the ceiling. For reference the ceiling has been raised almost 50 times in order to keep up with inflation. With the recovery act this year the number is much much higher than normal and the republicans are seizing on it. ... correction the Tea Party is seizing it. When Bush expanded government the Tea Party didn't even exist. When somone with a D next to their name comes into office all of the sudden this grass movement appears. Give me a break. Half the bailout was designed by Paulson under Bush, not Obama.

    Either way the intended effect is done and we are going to create an artificial austerity measure on purpose rather than necessity to make sure another R is in the White House next year regardless of America's bond rating going into the toilet and another 3,000 point crash. Sigh

    For the record I am in favor of some of this deficit reduction and think government is too large. I just hate the slimy politics of this with lies and deceptions. Please republicans raise the darn taxes if you are going to walk the walk on the upper class and save 3.8 trillion. It makes me mad as the Tea Party is not dictating Obama's policies as well as the Republicans do not want to lose their seats to this small minority crowd who is active in the primaries.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling