Fallen under the rule of lunatics

In the past, if anyone asked whether the folks in charge in the nation’s capital were certifiable lunatics, or whether policy decisions were being made by superannuated college kids with no experience out in the real world, who apparently stayed up too late last night, smoking too much dope and listening to too much heavy metal, those questions could be safely dismissed as exaggerations for rhetorical effect.

Last month, however, another wacky Obama appointee, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, told Al Jazeera Arab television that President Obama told him before he took the job that he wanted him to do three things: inspire children to learn math and science, expand international relationships and “perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering.”

Officials from the White House and NASA on Tuesday stood by Mr. Bolden’s statement that part of his mission is to improve relations with Muslim countries — though NASA soft-pedaled his assertion that such international diplomacy is Bolden’s “foremost” responsibility.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created by President Kennedy in the early 1960s, tasked with putting a man on the moon and bringing him back safely within the decade.

NASA succeeded. Manned lunar missions continued into the mid-1970s.

At that point, based on any sensible balancing of cost versus benefits, the plug should have been pulled. NASA for 30 years was largely an ongoing publicity stunt, launching schoolteachers and token foreigners into low orbit on an out-of-date fleet of orbital buses better known as “Space Porkies.” NASA was reduced to advertising on message boards specializing in antique computers for replacement parts for its maintenance systems.

The Obama administration, which pays lip service to budget-balancing, should close NASA. Failing that, if some mission is to be found, surely some use should be made of the existing corps of highly-trained NASA engineers whose expertise has something to do with — hold onto your armrests — space flight.

“Helping Muslim nations feel good about their historic contribution to science”? Yes, when innovative European scientists were oppressed by a hidebound church in the Middle Ages, math and science flourished in Arab lands, God bless ’em. But leadership in these fields shifted to Europe during the Renaissance, and to America a century ago, while much of the Islamic caliphate grew decadent, corrupt, backward-looking, and finally fell into murderous know-nothing tyranny after the debacle of 1917.

Many in the lands that “contributed so much to science” a millennium ago, today lack flush toilets.

Why should NASA teach the Muslims their own ancient history? Better someone from the National Endowment for the Humanities inspire them to stop sawing people’s heads off and start teaching engineering, instead of getting all homicidal should anyone suggest Muhammad once shaved his armpits.

Instead it’s Halloween in July, we’ve all paid our admission to the Funhouse, and we wait in morbid fascination to see what’s around the next bend.

How can you make up stuff to trump today’s headlines? Barack Obama warns against returning to the “failed ideas of the past.” Heck, by March of 1921 Lenin was trying to introduce his “New Economic Program,” admitting that three-and-a-half-years had been plenty of time to demonstrate that true workers’ collectives had failed utterly; that calling entrepreneurs “enemies of the state” had proven counterproductive, that a way had to be found to reintroduce “market-based” pricing and motivation.

But today the President of the United States dismisses free markets, tax cuts, ANY attempt to downsize government, as the “failed ideas of the past”?

We appear to have awakened inside Philippe de Broca’s 1966 film “King of Hearts,” in which the cheerful lunatics of a local asylum take over an abandoned French town near the end of World War One, or perhaps in Woody Allen‘s 1971 slapstick film “Bananas,” in which a Castro-like dictator seizes power in the fictional country of San Marcos and promptly decrees “From now on everyone will wear their underwear on the outside, so we can check.”

President Obama vows that cleaning up the Gulf oil spill is his “Number One Priority” … but spends more than two months turning down foreign nations that offer to loan us oil skimmers to help clean up the mess.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal does manage to get some skimmer barges operating off the environmentally sensitive Mississippi delta — whereupon the Obama Coast Guard sends them back to port for a life-preserver inspection.

They couldn’t just have air-dropped them some life-preservers? Can anyone spell “EMERGENCY,” here?

Waive the 1920s Jones Act and other federal laws that prevent foreign-based skimmers with non-union crews from helping out in the Gulf? President Obama, who has time for golf games and Paul McCartney concerts, hasn’t gotten around to that yet.

Or is it that subservience to union interests — the reason we also don’t have any new “bracero” legal agricultural guest worker program, by the way — remains this White House’s REAL “number one priority”?

Meantime, in a classic example of the perfect serving as enemy of the good, the EPA refuses to allow whatever Gulf skimmers ARE operating to release 97-percent-clean water back into the gulf, allowing them to stay on station much longer. Instead, if they can’t purify the water beyond 99.9 percent, they must haul all their captured water to shore, fatally shortening the time they can spend on station.

In fact, the Taiwanese-owned “A Whale” skimmer ship — 3 1/2 football fields long and 10 stories tall — is still negotiating with the Coast Guard to join the cleanup efforts, both because owners still lack a waiver of the aforementioned 80-year-old law aimed at protecting unionized U.S. shipping interests, and also because — according to The AP — “Environmental Protection Agency approval is required because some of the seawater returned to the Gulf would have traces of oil.”

You cannot make this stuff up.

Unless you’re Woody Allen.

2 Comments to “Fallen under the rule of lunatics”

  1. Rightwing Links (July 11, 2010) Says:

    […] Fallen under the rule of lunatics […]

  2. Mark Anthem Says:

    Lunatics have been in charge for 40 years now. The neocons and statists have been at the space race and forced us to spend trillions on this. All the Russians did was a monkey, a dog, and a ball in order, and we’ve flown off the handle and stayed off ever since.
    Nasa should back off and let the free market prevail.

    The refusal of accepting help of the Dutch and Chinese because their skimmers didn’t provide 99.5% pure water was the fatal conceit death blow to Obama. This lunacy is at the core of why even his supporters feel he did worse in the Gulf than Bush did handling Katrina.

    The Govt has only one competence, obtaining and enforcing military order and enforcing it’s laws. Dealing with an oil spill requires “real world” skills Obama is completely lacking.

    Give him another 18 years as president, he’ll get there. (Like Bloomberg, he will be repealing term limits.)