Interesting Items 5/28 -
Howdy all, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy -
In this issue:
1. Dragon Flies!
5. Side Bets
1. Dragon Flies! SpaceX successfully launched its reusable Dragon spacecraft on its first test flight to the Space Station. The test flight successfully executed a rendezvous with the station; was grappled and attached to the station. Over the weekend, the crew onboard the station opened the hatch and removed cargo delivered to the station. The Dragon capsule will then be loaded with over a thousand pounds of equipment for return to the surface. This is a very, very big deal for opening space to non-government employees, as the Dragon was designed to also carry people into space, something that SpaceX is looking at doing in three years or so. The launch was the third flight of the booster, the Falcon 9. The launch was aborted Monday when a valve malfunctioned as the engines were lit. SpaceX and Falcon were developed to meet NASA’s need for commercial off the shelf lift capability to support station. SpaceX has invested around a billion in the development and flight of Dragon and Falcon 9. NASA has paid in the vicinity of $380 million for services so far. The successful flight is a strong response to critics of commercial manned space flight, the same critics that supported NASA’s monopoly on manned space flight for decades as it became more expensive, less functional and less safe. The commercial world can figure out how to do this, cutting costs by orders of magnitude, and the marketplace will work, as it has every other time it was allowed to operate. There is a downside to this. Eventually there will be a failure and a booster and / or a spacecraft will be lost. This is the price of doing something difficult - and it is to be expected. When it happens, expect the same critics who kept their mouths shut as NASA lost astronauts and shuttles to foolish operational decisions to be all over SpaceX like white on rice. Then ignore them. You can find SpaceX information here: http://www.spacex.com/
2. Facebook. The initial public offering (IPO) for Facebook hit the market last week in one of the most anticipated offerings in years. And it was to all reports, mostly a dud, with stock prices falling over the course of the week. The first series of lawsuits have been filed based on over inflated expectations. As reported to regulators, Facebook owners sold significant blocks of stock the first day to recoup their investment in the company. This does not mean that they sold controlling interest, but converted their paper holdings into real money. There were some â€œglitchesâ€ in trading and reporting of price movement during the first couple days, leading some of us to conclude that the stock market is still rigged against the small investor, with the big boys getting inside information in a timely manner while everyone else having to wait a while. Among the first things that must be done by the next administration is to eliminate the insider advantage in stock trading, advantages which appear to me to be based on intentional delays in information flow. None of the other regulatory reforms of the past decade have done anything other than make it more expensive to operate and carve out places for insiders to operate freely. How else could Obama bundler John Corzine â€œloseâ€ over a billion dollars and not be in jail? His company knew of an opening in the law and took advantage of it to take very good care of themselves. His investors took it in the shorts. Repeal of Dodd - Frank would be a very good idea. Requiring complete transparency and timely reporting of financial information to everyone simultaneously would also be a good idea. We will see if the next congress is up to the task.
3. Kimberlin. There is a very bad dude named Bret Kimberlin who is currently conducting lawfare on right wing bloggers. He is a convicted domestic terrorist who set off a series of bombs in Speedway, Indiana in 1978. There were significant injuries to a gentleman and his wife, both of which spent significant time hospitalized and in rehab for their injuries. The gentleman, a Viet Nam vet, lost his leg and later committed suicide. Kimberlin was convicted and sentenced to just over 51 years in jail. He was released on parole after serving 13 years in 1994. Parole was revoked in 1997 and he returned to prison for another four years. While in prison, he educated himself in the legal world and used his spare time to learn how to use civil lawsuits as a weapon against anyone who might come to his attention. While in prison, he was the source of a rumor that Dan Quayle used marijuana during the 1988 election. Kimberlin set up and operated a series of non-profits popular on the left and has turned into what appears to be a black bag man for the left. Funding for his Justice through Music Project has been traced back to the Tides Foundation and George Soros. Kimberlin has a group of associates who have been harassing bloggers via workplace threats and anonymous calls to local law enforcement. His associates are suspected of â€œSWATingâ€ bloggers Patterico and Eric Erickson of Red State. SWATing involves an anonymous call to local police of a killing or a death at the blogger’s home which is intended to roll the SWAT team which shows up at the front door with firearms drawn, ready to take down a dirtbag. Writing this piece may put me and my family at risk, as Kimberlin has Google Alerts set up on the use of his name in the blogosphere. There was a right wing blogburst on Kimberlin Friday. Malkin’s link will be at the end of this piece. Kimberlin is an example of what the left will do to shut up people who do not agree with them. You will be dragged through the courts fighting a series of harassment lawsuits, all of which are funded by donations to the non-profit. Read more here: http://michellemalkin.com/2012/05/23/free-speech-show-solidarity-for-tar...
4. Jaczko. The Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko resigned last week. He was yet another anti-nuclear green, having served on the staff of Edward Markey (D, MA) and Harry Reid (D, NV). Jaczko was under fire for abuse of his authority as Chairman of the NRC, abusing employees, and unrelenting nastiness. He most famously - and illegally - temporarily killed the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility in Nevada, something near and dear to the hearts of Harry Reid and greens in Nevada. This decision is making its way through the courts and not doing all that well. He also whipped up anti-nuclear hysteria in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, recommending a 50-mile exclusion zone for US Navy operations, limiting support by the Navy for those closest to the plant who needed it most. The large exclusion zone was unwarranted. Jaczko frequently found himself on the losing end of a series of 4-1 votes by the commission, something you would expect when an environmental activist is installed at the head of a technical agency. After his resignation, Obama nominated yet another academic with no experience in nuclear energy. Clean, safe energy is at the heart of our future prosperity as Americans, and nuclear energy is part of that puzzle. When you put environmental activists at the head of agencies responsible for licensing and permitting advances in nuclear energy, they will do everything humanly possible to ensure that those technical advances do not happen. We are on the edge of making advances to very safe, very clean, very inexpensive thorium reactors for electricity. Unless the feds get out of the way, licensing and permitting of the new designs will never happen.
5. Side Bets. The Greek melt down continued last week, threatening to take the entire European Union down with them. The Greek welfare state has refused to cut spending to the levels necessary to control their impending fiscal catastrophe, and they have been propped up via a series of loans over the last year or so. If the dollar amount, while significant, is not huge, as compared with multi-trillion dollars printed by the Obama administration and the fed since 2009, why would a Greek financial collapse take down the entire EU with them? The best I can find is that there are a series of side bets - loans made by national banks to Greece, which if defaulted upon, will drag the banking system down with them as they go under. And as usual, the banksters are demanding that governments bail them out with taxpayer or printed dollars to â€œsave the banking system.â€ That’s what they said in September 2008. Perhaps this time around, we need to let the marketplace do its work of flushing the crud out of the system and jailing those that would irresponsibly place side bets with the funds of their investors.
More later -