Campaign '04

Space Jam at the RNC

The phrase “Space Jam” usually brings up memories of a rather silly movie where Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and other basketball stars demonstrated their limited acting abilities, even when augmented by the presence of various cartoon characters. However, the AP reports, the name is also being used for a reception Tuesday night at Studio 450, a few blocks from the convention site. The guest of honor at the $50,000 reception, sponsored by the Coalition for Space Exploration and its member corporations, is House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX). The coalition organized a similar reception at the DNC in Boston, although apparently without the “Space Jam” appellation.

Correction 9/3: Although Mr. Banke’s comment below makes it clear that the Coalition did not formally sponsor the reception, he has asked me to formally correct that statement in the original post. This message serves as that correction. I can understand, though, why many people, myself included, were confused because the party was sponsored by many of the coalition’s key corporate members, and that coalition material was apparently distributed at the event.

42 comments to Space Jam at the RNC

  • Robert G. Oler

    DeLay is a leach and it was my pleasure today as it is every day to phone bank for his opponent.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Mark R. Whittington

    I hope Oler has a lot of pleasure. Delay is in an ultrasafe district and will only leave his seat either of his own will or feet first.

    And he is a lion in the advance of the cause of space.

  • Robert, the man you’re trying to get kicked out of office is going to be the ONE that will get your space exploration dreams fulfilled. I am an issues voter. Perhaps that means I’m willing to make a deal with the Devil if I must to get us back to the Moon and beyond. But Delay is the man who drew the line in the sand when Young’s House Appropriations committee deducted $1.8 B from NASA’s budget.

    And as Mark noted, Delay could die tomorrow and still get re-elected in November.

    And you are fighting this guy?

  • My bad–$800 M, not $1.8 B.

    Jim

  • Bill White

    And he is a lion in the advance of the cause of space.

    If Tom Delay is the reason the VSE gets funded this year, the odds increase that the Democrats will kill the VSE the very first chance they get.

    Delay is TOXIC to any effort to build bi-partisan support.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Bill, what you seem to be suggesting is that the Dems are like little children who will try to kill a program out of pique. You may be right, but the solution is not to trash supporters like Tom Delay, who seems to have almost single handedly stopped efforts to destroy the Vision in the House, but to spend the next four years (assuming that Bush wins, which is increasingly seems likely) to solidify support for Moon, Mars, and Beyond.

  • Mark Zinthefer

    Robert,

    Your opponent to Delay wouldn’t happen to be a robot would it?

  • Earl Blake

    Dose anyone here think that Bush will mention the VSEdurring his speach at the convention? I don’t think that he will. The only thing that gives me any hope is the fact that three different aids have said that the president will be talking about the future in his speach.

  • Bill White

    Mark, the case needs to be made to the American people about “why” are we spending money on space. From the Aldridge Commission report:

    The American people – - the taxpayers who pay the bill – - must assert ownership of the space program that transcends politics and the political environment.

    Page 44 of the Report (page 46 of the pdf file)

    It is not merely Democrat versus Republican. Didn’t Jeff Foust very recently post about a potential challenger to Hillary who would rather just abolish NASA?

  • John Malkin

    Even with Kerry as President, Congress would still be controlled by the Republicans. This combination could make for a more bipartisan approach to space and a longer term commitment. I’m so undecided; I can’t wait for the debates.

    I don’t think the President will talk about VSE but he might mention it. I’m not really sure what talking about it would gain. It would be best to keep NASA and space exploration as far away from the election as possible. Otherwise one of the candidates may say something we will regret.

    I am concerned that Bush is pushing for a world wide band on human tissue cloning. I know NASA would continue even if Adam Brech was elected but reversing the U.N. could take centuries.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Bill, of course the case needs to be made. And my answer is, make the case. Do not wait for the leaders to do it. And make the case in venues that reach people beyond the space activism community.

  • Robert G. Oler

    And he is a lion in the advance of the cause of space.

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at August 30, 2004 12:19 AM

  • Robert G. Oler

    And you are fighting this guy?

    Posted by Jim Hillhouse at August 30, 2004 01:52 AM

  • Mark Zinthefer

    There would be no “back to the Moon thing” if the government hadn’t gotten us there in the first place. Privatization of space is great but governmental bodies are the only ones with the money and manpower to seriously get the human race a foothold in space. Privatization is likely to follow, not lead, a government sponsored first step. Hell, even if I’m wrong, don’t we want to push the frontier of space forward on all fronts: governmental, industrial, and eccentric billionaire?

    It’s the duty of space advocates to try and steer government into taking the right first steps to open the door to companies and individuals. Many of those examples of private exploration that Ed gave in the last topic followed a government sponsored first step (Columbus).

    If in 2075, Shell energy sponsors an He3 exploration mission on the Moon, great. But it’s going to be after an initial investment of effort on the part of NASA before that’s an option.

  • John Malkin

    When Regan announced the space station there wasn’t any real intent to go further. VSE states that America should explore the solar system with humans and robots. Most of the cost overruns where from the private companies building ISS. Another thing that added to Space Station cost was the numerous redesigns ordered by congress.

    One of the complaints of the CAIB report was all the good jobs where privatized and many NASA employees felt there was no place to go as an employee thus they have been loosing engineers. Private companies are not going to act in the best interest of the nation, they will act on profits.

    Congress killed transhab to further cut NASA’s budget. NASA has worked closely with Bigelow Aerospace to transfer knowledge and help the company. Many of NASA concept work for VSE feature these inflatable habitats. NASA has purchase equipment from SpaceHAB for many years. NASA gets mix signals form Congress and it constantly has to realign resources to meet their changing whims.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Oler, you support a man who would shut down all American human space flight, public and private. The former by cutting NASA to pay for social programs. The latter by taxing away the sources of venture capital to pay for social programs. That’s what’s sad.

  • NSS is part of the “Coalition for Space Exploration” and we got some tickets to get in – should be interesting… :-) I’ll let you guys know what we hear.

    Followup comments on the NSS chapters blog are welcome too: http://chapters.nss.org/weblog/

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by John Malkin at August 30, 2004 06:10 PM

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark Whittington wrote:

    Oler, you support a man who would shut down all American human space flight, public and private. The former by cutting NASA to pay for social programs. The latter by taxing away the sources of venture capital to pay for social programs. .

  • John Malkin

    Robert

    There is alot of equipment use by NASA spaceflight that is “off-the-shelf”. Examples off the top of my head are wrench, laptop, pda, wires, connectors. NASA is using off the shelf Soyuz and progress.

    If the private sector can get us to space faster, why haven’t they?

    What do you want congress to do with NASA? By the way “if” NASA is a failure for the last 20 years it’s because of congress both republican and democratic.

  • Keith Cowing

    Oler you are just angry at DeLay because you and your pal Kolker came up with a lame proposal to privatize JSC’s KC-135. You never bother to mention that you had (have) a financial stake in this topic.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Oler forgets that there is evidence that a President Kerry would shut down publicly funded human space flight. He’s voted to do just that often enough.

  • Keith Cowing

    Hey Oler – why can’t Kerry release something like this?

    http://www.rnc.org/About/PartyPlatform/default.aspx?Section=2

    “In addition, the Republican Party will remain committed to America’s leadership in space research and exploration. We will ensure that this Nation can expand our knowledge of the universe, and with the support of the American people, continue the exploration of Mars and the rest of the solar system. We consider space travel and space science a national priority with virtually unlimited benefits, in areas ranging from medicine to micro-machinery, for those on earth. Development of space will give us a growing economic resource and a source of new scientific discoveries.”

  • Robert G. Oler

    Oler forgets that there is evidence that a President Kerry would shut down publicly funded human space flight. He’s voted to do just that often enough.
    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at August 31, 2004 12:07 AM

  • Robert G. Oler

    Oler you are just angry at DeLay because you and your pal Kolker came up with a lame proposal to privatize JSC’s KC-135. You never bother to mention that you had (have) a financial stake in this topic.
    Posted by Keith Cowing at August 30, 2004 11:48 PM

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by John Malkin at August 30, 2004 11:16 PM

    Hello John. NASA uses nothing of consequence in its own actions of human spaceflight “off the shelf”. Yes they use Russian stuff but that’s because they are “stuck”. There might be the odd wrench or so, but the laptops they use are nothing like the laptops of the same brand that you can buy at CEO, my favorite example is the amateur radio gear that they have on board. It has to be some of the most expensive ham gear used because while it may “look” like off the shelf stuff that’s about it. Its been modified left and right for all sorts of “special” requirements; and that does nothing but add to the cost.

    NASA doesn’t use and doesn’t want to use EELV’s to launch things, there is going to be “nothing” off the shelf about “constellation” and you cannot tell me that Boeing or Lockmart or Burt Rutan are not competent to build a vehicle within a set of performance guidelines.

  • Keith Cowing

    Oler – you are not a leader, but rather a follower. You jump on board other people’s issues and agendas so as to draw attention to yourself. Nothing more.

    At some popint the Kerry campaign will say “Oler – who?” and you will be in search of a new cause – just like you did when the Dean folks cast you off.

  • Bill White

    Bill White is against it and so far we are winning in court.

    Different Bill White. Just for the record. :-)

  • Robert G. Oler

    Bill White is against it and so far we are winning in court.

    Different Bill White. Just for the record. :-)

    Posted by Bill White at August 31, 2004 12:56 AM

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Keith Cowing at August 31, 2004 12:45 AM

  • Dogsbd

    You know, this was once a good place to find adult conversation about space policy.

    Thanks for ruining that Oler.

  • Hello Keith. How sad. You are truly a Republican.

    That’s pretty funny, Robert.

  • Keith Cowing

    I agree Rand. Oler seems to assume that if you say anything that is not in rigid lock step with his candidate of the moment that you automatically belong to the opposite political camp. In this case he is very wrong. He also omits mention of the fact that he was a big supporter of John McCain (R) and Ronald Reagan (R) – so wouldn’t that make Oler a Republican too? Or is Oler flip flopping? Perhaps he will write a Space News op ed and enlighten all of us.

  • Just to clarify, the Coalition for Space Exploration is not sponsoring the event tonight at the RNC, nor did we sponsor the space-related reception at the DNC convention.

    Some of our member companies did and are, as are other non-member companies, and there certainly will be Coalition stuff handed out, as there was at the DNC reception. (A cool poster is, after all, a cool poster.)

    The Space Foundation had a role in sponsoring both events as well.

    The Coalition has been working hard not to politicize the Vision, which we think benefits all Americans no matter their political persuasion or lack thereof.

    Jim Banke
    Director of Communications
    The Space Foundation

  • Keith Cowing

    AP says

    http://www.boston.com/news/politics/conventions/articles/2004/08/29/combustible_delay_may_be_low_key_at_rnc/

    “Sponsors of the invitation-only reception include Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Orbital, software company AGI and the Space Foundation. Brian Chase, the foundation’s vice president, said the $50,000 reception is to thank DeLay, not an effort to affect the outcome of the spending fight.”

  • Keith, AP is correct, exactly as written.

    Jim

  • Arthur Smith

    Yup – the three on the “host committee” mentioned in big print tonight were Orbital, the Space Foundation, and AGI. In smaller print were the “sponsors”: AIAA, Ball Aerospace, SpaceX, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, United Space Alliance, and Harris. In tiny print were “supporters”: NSS, ATK, Aerojet, and GPS Aerospace. CSE and space.com seemed to be there as un-named supporters – they contributed to the do-dads in the give-away bags.

    Despite being a somewhat minor supporter, there were about 10 of us NSS folks there tonight. About 400 people in all, I’d guess. Several congressmen, lots of their staff. Bob Walker. And Sean O’Keefe… Certainly a charming fellow in person :-)

  • Keith Cowing

    The NSS seems to think that the Coalition was a sponsor

    http://chapters.nss.org/weblog/

    August 30, 2004 NSS at the Republican Convention

    NSS is helping, through the new Coalition for Space Exploration, to sponsor a reception at the Republican National Convention Tuesday evening, August 31st, honoring congressional support for the new Moon-Mars vision. “Space Jam” will be held at Studio 450; a number of New York chapter members were able to get tickets, but unfortunately available tickets for the event have now been exhausted. We’ll report back on how it goes!

  • Hi Keith – you’re quoting me! The text in question has been corrected – I had misunderstood (actually, in true echo-chamber form, I’d heard about the CSE involvement from this post on spacepolitics.com!)

  • Anonymous

    > Just to clarify, the Coalition for Space Exploration is not sponsoring
    > the event tonight at the RNC,

    > The Space Foundation had a role in sponsoring both events as well.

    > The Coalition has been working hard not to politicize the Vision, which
    > we think benefits all Americans

    > Jim Banke
    > Director of Communications
    > The Space Foundation

    Sounds like much ado about nothing.

    The Coalition’s web site is “Copyright © 2004 The Space Foundation and the Coalition for Space Exploration.” It even uses the same style as the Space Foundation’s website.

    The Space Foundation’s director of communications speaks for the Coalition and writes press releases for the Coalition. The contact address for the Coalition is jbanke@spacefoundation.org. Even when speaking for the Coalition, he still signs his name as “Director of Communications, the Space Foundation.”

    The Space Foundation’s executive director founded and apparently runs the Coalition.

    The Space Foundation and the Coalition for Space Exploration may have different legal existances, but for all practical purposes, they seem to be one and the same.