Bridenstine Nomination to Run NASA Remains Blocked in Senate

Rep. Jim Bridenstine

Bloomberg has an update on the impasse in the Senate over the Trump Administration’s nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to become the next NASA administrator.

Bridenstine has been blocked by all 49 Senate Democrats. Florida’s Congressional delegation enjoys an outsized influence on NASA because of Cape Canaveral, and Senator Bill Nelson, who flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986, isn’t a Bridenstine fan. His colleague Marco Rubio, the junior senator for the Sunshine State and a Republican, doesn’t want Bridenstine, either. With fellow Republican John McCain of Arizona absent for cancer treatment, that leaves confirmation 50-49 against….

Beyond [Acting Administrator Robert] Lightfoot, the lack of movement on Capitol Hill effectively leaves NASA leadership to Scott Pace, executive director of the National Space Council, which [Donald] Trump revived last summer. The council has taken a direct role in overseeing NASA’s priorities, including the administration’s 2017 directive to return astronauts to the moon, but doesn’t have the same hands-on role an administrator would. Bridenstine has attended both National Space Council meetings, in October and last month, but only as an observer.

Rubio has argued that the NASA post shouldn’t be occupied by a politician, particularly one with stridently partisan positions. “It’s the one federal mission which has largely been free of politics, and it’s at a critical juncture in its history,” he told Politico in September.

Bridenstine, a member of the highly conservative House Freedom Caucus, has drawn Democratic opposition for his views on gay marriage and abortion rights, as well as past statements dismissing climate change. And he may have rubbed Republican Rubio, and possibly McCain, the wrong way on account of his past support for their primary opponents.

In the 2016 presidential primaries, Bridenstine, a former Navy fighter pilot with an interest in space issues, produced several advertisements supporting Texas Senator Ted Cruz in his failed quest for the Republican nomination. Those ads criticized Rubio, also a candidate, for his position on immigration and attacks on Cruz. Rubio has reportedly denied a connection between Bridenstine’s past barbs and his opposition to the NASA nomination. Bridenstine also supported McCain’s Republican rival, Kelli Ward, in a fierce 2016 primary campaign that McCain eventually won.

Read the full story.

  • duheagle

    The intelligence community is very right-wing at the rank and file level. As the old saying goes, reality has a conservative bias. And the intelligence rank and file love Trump. They cheered enthusiastically when he visited CIA HQ shortly after taking office.

    The higher-ups are another matter entirely. And it’s the higher-ups that invented all this crapola about Trump and Russia. It’s a tissue of lies from top to bottom. What we have here are the senior management of several executive branch departments infested with treasonous partisans at the top who have – in combination with the leadership cadre of the Democratic Party – decided to run the duly elected President of the United States out of office. There has been, in essence, a slow-rolling coup attempt underway ever since Trump was elected. There are hundreds of career bureaucrat Deep State types – and not a few Democratic elected officials – who richly deserve to get a blindfold and a last cigarette for their roles in this travesty.

    As for the November election, how charming that you imagine yourself to be “in the middle.” Based on what you write about politics in these forums you seem to be a more-or-less standard-issue far-left-progressive with the usual galloping case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    It is true that Independents – not “the Middle” – are often the swing votes in elections, but Independents broke big for Trump in 2016 and, despite the mainstream media frothing at the mouth for 16 months, very few seem to have peeled off in the interim. Trump’s latest initiative to target dumped imports of steel and aluminum, for example, is just going to cement the loyalty of all those former Democratic-voting blue-collar types who went for Trump in 2016. The jump in job availability and in wages since Trump took over, and the tax cuts, also contribute. These are people the Democrats had safely in their pockets for 80 years and now they’re gone and aren’t coming back.

  • duheagle

    As a knee-jerk progressive, it is unsurprising you are no fan of school choice. I see where a slate of pro school choice members was elected to your county’s school board in Nov. 2013. The ensuing alleged destruction of public schooling seems not to have adversely affected Douglas County property values as you allege. They’ve been rising smartly since 2012.

    As for the arch-demons Charles and Dave, what is this weird fascination you have with misspelling and even de-capitalizing their last name?

  • duheagle

    Quite right. I fairly often am one of those Wal-Mart customers by the way.

  • duheagle

    BMW, Audi, Lexus and Cadillac are all luxury brands, not everyman vehicles. You simply reinforce my point that the economics of EV production do not yet permit real price competition in most of the car market. That may change over time, but it is going to be a slow process.

    So will be the adoption of EV technology for long-haul trucking. All vehicle markets are dominated by their respective average replacement cycles. Long-haul trucks may see faster EV adoption as their replacement cycle is only a fraction that of cars and light trucks, but it’s still not going to happen overnight. And the practicality of EV heavy trucks in cold climates has still to be proven. I don’t expect to see any Teslas on Ice Road Truckers anytime soon.

  • duheagle

    Renewables are irrelevant to coal’s decline. Renewables have been around for decades and made no significant dent in coal’s share of generating capacity. Fracked natural gas, on the other hand, has proven to be the coal-killer app.

    Storage is almost by definition distributed because, other than pump storage, no technology is anywhere near capable of the level of storage that would be needed for an entire power grid of any real size at an affordable price.

  • duheagle

    Explain that to me. I didn’t drink the green Kool-Aid.

  • duheagle

    Link.

    But given what Trump has been able to do for the U.S. economy by simply ending a lot of Obama-era regulation, I’m gonna call bullcrap on this one.

  • duheagle

    If windmills could actually contribute significantly to the country’s energy needs, I might take the same position. But they don’t and won’t. Their output is sporadic and their service lives are pathetic. I live near a lot of windmills here in So. CA. A really quite astonishingly high percentage of them seem to be out of service and abandoned.

  • Michael Halpern

    it came up on my google feed and i am trying to find it again

  • Michael Halpern

    Coal and oil have lots of “permanent” subsidies 2017 a reported $20.5 b for instance, some is to keep unprofitable coal plants running, others are to control gasoline prices and others are because of pork,

  • Michael Halpern

    Depends on where you live

  • windbourne

    Wow. U continue to make assumptions because of your being so far right.

    I’m a fan of school choice. I went to Catholic high school, and 2 of 3 of my kids attend charter schools. What I’m opposed to is public money going to schools that want to teach their own. Otherwise, are u good with money going to satanic and madrasas schools?

    And had u looked up Zillow and looked at 7 years ago, u would have found that Doug co was fastest growing and our house values went up fastest in the state. Now, our house values go up, but very slowly. Otoh, cherry creek and Littleton screamed by us, and even Aurora passed dougco. That is scary.

    And knee jerk progressive? Just because I call out gop and traitors? Nope. I am no longer registered as Libertarian, but am a GDI. And will likely continue voting mostly middle of the road.

  • windbourne

    Actually, BMW 3 series, A4, etc are Everyman cars. They, like TM3, are $30-60k.
    The difference is with TM3, the operating costs are a fraction of the ICE vehicle cost.
    Are these 15K cars? Nope. Not yet. BUT that is coming in just 3-5 years.
    Regardless, in 2 years, ICE passenger vehicles sales will plummet. Even now, car sales are slowing, but in particular, all of Tesla competitor vehicles have slowed way down. The reason is that they used to have a great depreciation, but now depreciate faster than a GM. Nobody wants to buy a 60k car and then see it’s value at 20-30K 2 years later. That is why model S/X/3 are selling so well. That is also why all of the European car makers are now busting a gut to make EVs to beat Tesla.

  • windbourne

    Oh, last 2 things.
    1) the EV semis are a non-issue. They WILL be taking over regular semi trucks. In this case, the EVs costs the same, delivers 500 miles which is about the length of what a truck can go before it is required to pull over for a break. Then charge for 40 minutes and do another 400 miles. And at .10 / kwh, it is a fraction of the costs of diesel. And Tesla is looking at charging .07 / kwh.
    2) I would think that as somebody that witnessed how SX has massively changed the market place due to economics, and not really due to massive new technology, that you would realize that EVs will take over ICE. Tesla is doing to ICE car makers, what SpaceX has done to all rocket makers.
    Heck, SX was not even the first to land back on solid ground. Lunar module comes quickly to mind. So, does all of the automated landers.
    And oddly, it is tesla that has the most interesting new tech out of the 2 companies.

  • Douglas Messier

    A fake equivalency. The Democrats are not perfect, but by and large they support and respect science. The Republicans are defined by their lack of respect and hostility toward it. It’s a central tenant of their approach to governing.

  • duheagle

    I’m sure you believe all this garbage, but none of it happens to be true. Republican lack of respect for climate science derives from the fact that current climate science is in no way respectable. Some religious Christian Republicans don’t believe in biological evolution. But that’s also true of a lot of Democrats including the vast majority of the U.S. black population. In general, the further left a Democrat is, the less he or she tends to respect science. Science is about unraveling the mysteries of reality. Leftism is, to a pretty good first-order approximation, about denying reality in all sorts of ways.

  • duheagle

    No assumptions involved. The property value graph for Douglas County I posted is from a major real estate website. The growth rate of real estate values in Douglas County is leveling off, but to a level roughly equal to the growth of the U.S. national economy. Property values that rise appreciably faster than that are unsustainable as we discovered back in 2007 and, before that, in the early 90’s. Before Douglas County’s valuations started back up in 2012, they had fallen precipitously over the preceding four or five years.

    The faster growth in property values in counties closer to Denver than Douglas County is unsurprising as well. Property in major metro areas and in well-established suburbs does usually rise in value faster than in places farther out. At least it does so long as the population in those places continues even a modest rate of growth. I gather that that is the case in the Greater Denver area.

  • duheagle

    I’m all about the economics. World coal consumption has plateaued or declined recently. Fracked gas has way more to do with this than all the tree-hugger prating about AGW.

    Again, EV’s (mainly Teslas) have made some inroads in the luxury vehicle markets, but EV’s are not yet at a point where they can economically compete on a sticker-for-sticker basis with low-end ICE vehicles. That day may come, but it seems to me to be two decades or more distant right now.

    Insurance companies do all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons in setting rates. Despite their pose of rigid rationality and actuarial rigor, insurance companies are as inclined as any business – or individual – to reflexive bouts of panic and fight-or-flight reflex. Teslas had a few high-profile battery fires and traffic fatalities a few years back. That may have accounted for a sudden doubling of rates. If Tesla is now offering its own insurance, that would seem to be an appropriate market-based response to a sudden case of the yips on the part of legacy insurance providers.

    By “AP” do you mean “autopilot?” If so, you are right that driverless vehicles will bring huge changes to every part of the vehicle business in the vendor, user and third-party services sectors. Collision and liability insurance rates should fall. A lot of body and paint shops will fold.

  • duheagle

    The SX analogy doesn’t hold for the good and sufficient reason that Tesla has yet to achieve competitive economics anent the largest portions of the personal vehicle market. SX has a roughly order of magnitude cost advantage over legacy launch vehicle providers. The minimum production cost of a Tesla EV, though, still comfortably exceeds the selling prices of low-end ICE vehicles, never mind their production costs.

    SX also had the advantage of going up against a sleepy and stodgy industry. The world auto industry is neither of those things.

    I think Tesla will continue to make decent progress, but it’s not going to pull off any 85-yard touchdown passes. It’ll have to grind out its gains three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust-style.

  • duheagle

    I think a Tesla able to compete on price with an ICE Hyundai Accent is probably a minimum of 15 years away, not 3 to 5.

    You’re delusional if you think ICE vehicle sales will “plummet” in just 2 years. The luxury segment of the U.S. car market absorbed a majority of the 100,000 Teslas built last year and about 2 million of all other brands. Tesla is going to be many long years, if ever, in getting to any sizable share of the U.S. car market, never mind the rest of the world.

    The Euros are, indeed, all developing EV’s as are the U.S.-based legacy brands. But I would not describe their efforts as exactly gut-busting in their urgency.

  • duheagle

    Specifics and details would be nice. Lacking same, I think I’m more than entitled to assume your $20.5 billion number came out of some tree-hugger’s anal archive. Given the total size of the U.S. energy market, though, even a genuine annual subsidy of $20.5 billion amounts to little better than loose change.

  • Michael Halpern
  • Michael Halpern

    One thing to consider California has energy surplus problems, so windmills might not make economic sense currently there

  • windbourne

    ok, I am delusional. Just like I was when I believed in Musk and SpaceX.

    So, Lets wait and see.
    By End of 2020/2021, there will be a HUGE plummet in ICE vehicle sales.

  • windbourne

    Actually, in the first 5 years of SX, they were not economical either. It took until fairly recent times for them to be ‘economical ‘ and not need outside help.
    Tesla is the same way. The M3 will make the difference. In particular, they should be hitting 250K cars / year by end of June and then over 500K before end of year. According to accountants, around 400K/year of M3 is when Tesla is fully profitable and with their prices continuing downwards.

    And when it comes to the 20-25K car, all that is missing is high-end production, which will be this year.

  • duheagle

    250K cars/yr. is over 20K cars/mo. Tesla is not going to be anywhere near that production rate by June. With luck, it may manage to achieve the 5K cars/mo. number it was looking to have achieved in 4Q 2017 and didn’t. Mass production of vehicles is not easy. Tesla is climbing a steep learning curve, but it has a long way to go before 5-figure/mo. production rates become routine. That won’t happen until next year, at best, and maybe not then.

  • duheagle

    As previously noted, the competitive situation in the car market in no way resembles the competitive situation in the space business. You seem to entirely lack a grasp of just how much inertia there is anent major industries like autos.

  • duheagle

    Given that CA gets a third of its electricity from other states, and that this proportion has been rising, “surplus problems” are the one thing CA most assuredly does not have anent energy.

  • Michael Halpern

    And sells excess solar

  • duheagle

    Broken link.

  • Michael Halpern

    That’s unfortunate

  • windbourne

    no, I do NOT miss the inertia.
    That is why it will be 2020/2021 that all ICE car sales plummet.
    Even now, the car sales HAVE slowed down for the last 2 years;

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/199974/us-car-sales-since-1951/

    And that is with the economy doing just fine.

    Here are all non-commercial vehicles;
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/199983/us-vehicle-sales-since-1951/

    U can see that it drop last year and 2018 is already much lower than 2017.

    Economics will be dictating this. EVs will dominate within several years. Simple as that. Fight it all you want, but you will miss a golden opportunity.

  • windbourne

    Tesla’s and most EVs do just fine in Norway, Northern Canada, and Alaska.
    So, I think that your argument loses.

  • windbourne

    We have figured out that even with insurance figured in, our Model S that we bought used at 50K, will cost us less than .30 / mile. That includes the vehicle, insurance, the fuel (and we assumed that we paid for it all, even though we get it free if we want), the maintenance, the tires, and wipers. Regular ICE vehicles are going to cost you .35-.50 / mile. And the .50 / mile is for something comparable to our MS.

  • windbourne

    most recent was Jan 2018, and it was 30%. 2017 was 30%.
    And as long as nat gas remains cheap, and with UNSUBSIDIZED wind already cheaper than coal, it means that coal has ZERO chance.

  • duheagle

    Batteries work via chemical reactions. Lower temperatures lower chemical reaction rates. The impact on individual makes and models of EV’s varies, but all are impacted by cold weather. A Nissan Leaf, driven in MN in the winter, has 35% less range than the same car driven in CA. Teslas also suffer range decreases in cold weather, but their batteries are quite sizable compared to those in most other EV’s. Given that most people don’t drive as much in winter as at more clement times of the year, cold-weather Tesla drivers don’t seem to see much of a range problem. For other makes of EV’s, YMMV – quite literally.

  • duheagle

    I’m glad that’s working out for you. My operating costs per mile are much higher than yours, but that’s because we have to pay CA rates for liability insurance and gas and the wife and I drive very little anymore. Given that residential electricity rates in CA are about the 5th-highest in the country – and 50% or so higher than yours in CO – it’s far from obvious that we’d save anything even if we could magically swap our current ride for an EV.

  • duheagle

    I’m inclined to agree that the future of coal doesn’t look bright, but renewable energy sources have virtually nothing to do with that – it’s abundant and cheap fracked gas that’s killing coal.

    Wind will be a significant adjunct power source in windy states, especially large windy states (Great Plains) with small populations and/or large, windy, sparsely-populated areas within heavily populated large states (TX). But wind is never going to be a baseload technology anywhere because it’s too variable. Even mass, cheap storage – which doesn’t exist – wouldn’t change that.

  • duheagle

    You misunderstand me – fairly typically, it seems. I have zero interest in “fighting” EV’s. If they take over the personal transport market, I’m fine with that, at least as long as the gov’t keeps its thumbs off the scales.

    But the long-term trend in annual car sales is that we are finally returning to the rates that were typical for several years preceding the onset of The Great Depression 2.0. From the 90’s on, U.S. car demand – absent the aberrant Obama years – was flattening because the increase in U.S. population was roughly offset by the longer useful lifespans of typical automobiles. People keep their cars an average of almost 12 years now. That would have seemed like science fiction in the 60’s.

    2018 probably will be down a bit from 2017. The election of Pres. Trump seems to have stoked a bit of a spike in new car sales as his economic and regulatory policies rolled out. Now things are getting back to something resembling the pre-Obama normal.

    Annual ICE vehicle sales have varied a lot over the years. Almost none of this variation has been due to a sudden massive shift to EV’s. That isn’t going to happen by 2020 or 2021 either.

    Like most progressives, you have a seriously aberrant grasp of cause and effect anent most things, but especially anent economic things.

  • duheagle

    Link.

    CA has been a large net importer of electricity for decades. There is no “excess solar” if by that you mean excess to CA’s overall annual needs.

  • Michael Halpern

    Not overall annual some days of the year more is produced than can be used occasionally to the point where they have to pay to get rid of it

  • Michael Halpern

    Happens about 4 days a year