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Tuckerfan
2008-Dec-11, 10:38 PM
This looks really bad. (http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_space_thewritestuff/2008/12/nasa-has-become.html)
NASA administrator Mike Griffin is not cooperating with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, is obstructing its efforts to get information and has told its leader that she is “not qualified” to judge his rocket program, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.

In a heated 40-minute conversation last week with Lori Garver, a former NASA associate administrator who heads the space transition team, a red-faced Griffin demanded to speak directly to Obama, according to witnesses.

In addition, Griffin is scripting NASA employees and civilian contractors on what they can tell the transition team and has warned aerospace executives not to criticize the agency’s moon program, sources said.

Griffin’s resistance is part of a no-holds-barred effort to preserve the Constellation program, the delayed and over-budget moon rocket that is his signature project.Nixon foisted the shuttle program on NASA and had them promise more than they knew the system could deliver. (http://www.spacedaily.com/news/shuttle-03p1.html) I've long suspected that the Constellation program was something created in the same vein as the shuttle (i.e. they folks at NASA knew it wasn't the best idea, but were forced by their political leaders to pursue it), and now it appears that might be the case.

KaiYeves
2008-Dec-12, 01:55 AM
Okay, what I originally wrote here was stupid, and I was tired when I wrote it. But suffice it to say that I disprove of Griffin's actions, although I respect his motives.

Tuckerfan
2008-Dec-12, 02:08 AM
Kai, this is not behavior to admire. You do not make waves with your new boss, no matter what he's doing. You do everything you can to curry favor with him, while you scope out what he's after. Then, when you've got some idea of what he's like, you target your pitches to those areas he's most likely to support.

You don't go around cutting his people off, or blocking their access in the beginning, because if you do, then they will not have any problems in replacing you with someone more willing to work with them.

If this story is accurate, then Griffin is not only slitting his own throat, he's also slitting that of NASA's.

KaiYeves
2008-Dec-12, 02:55 AM
I guess I just mean I wish I could be that dedicated to something. I can't even finish my fan-fics.

JonClarke
2008-Dec-12, 08:18 AM
Griffin denies the story. http://www.space.com/news/081211-nasa-obama-transition.html

Blogger with an agenda?

Jon

Ara Pacis
2008-Dec-12, 09:12 AM
After reading the last few paragraphs of the blog, I'm no longer sure if it was talking about Mike Griffin or Stewie Griffin.

NEOWatcher
2008-Dec-12, 04:05 PM
After reading the last few paragraphs of the blog, I'm no longer sure if it was talking about Mike Griffin or Stewie Griffin.
I saw a lot of hearsay and a lot of vague sources in the article. They make it hard to seperate the wheat from the chafe.

Now; I wouldn't doubt that things can get heated on both sides of the coin, but I wouldn't rule out the fact that they may have been talking about the menu and somebody's allergy.

I would like to hear some details about what they were at odds with, not just who's upset.

But yeah, if it is as bad as it sounds, there's going to be some major issues all around.

Tuckerfan
2008-Dec-12, 04:51 PM
Griffin denies the story. http://www.space.com/news/081211-nasa-obama-transition.html

Blogger with an agenda?

Jon

Well, would you expect him to admit it?

slang
2008-Dec-12, 05:27 PM
Well, would you expect him to admit it?

I do not expect him to lie. I do however expect journalists to say the craziest things they can come up with based on the fact that someone scratched his nose at the wrong time.

Wouldn't be the first time that any statement by Griffin was taken out of context and ridiculed. BA's story about that radio interview, that spat on global warming, was ridiculous, full of misinterprations and misquotes. And of course the commenters went silly about what was claimed he had said. I doubt anyone took the trouble to actually listen to the piece.

Mike Griffin is doing a great job, and I hope gets to continue to do it, with better support than he has now. And with less kneejerk blogging about it.

Tuckerfan
2008-Dec-12, 05:37 PM
I do not expect him to lie.That would mean he wasn't human.
I do however expect journalists to say the craziest things they can come up with based on the fact that someone scratched his nose at the wrong time.Even Satan has to tell the truth some time.


Wouldn't be the first time that any statement by Griffin was taken out of context and ridiculed. BA's story about that radio interview, that spat on global warming, was ridiculous, full of misinterprations and misquotes. And of course the commenters went silly about what was claimed he had said. I doubt anyone took the trouble to actually listen to the piece. You do realize that Bush Administration has gotten caught forcing NASA to cover up evidence of global warming, don't you?


Mike Griffin is doing a great job, and I hope gets to continue to do it, with better support than he has now. And with less kneejerk blogging about it.It is too early to tell how good of a job Griffin has done, really.

slang
2008-Dec-12, 09:04 PM
That would mean he wasn't human. Even Satan has to tell the truth some time.

True enough. I did not mean he would not lie, ever.


You do realize that Bush Administration has gotten caught forcing NASA to cover up evidence of global warming, don't you?

Yes. A sad affair. But I fail to see the relevance. Surely you don't mean to say that because some people in the administration act a certain way, all people in the administration, or appointed by the administration, must also act that way? And why would that be a reason to misrepresent Griffins words?

Tuckerfan
2008-Dec-12, 09:32 PM
True enough. I did not mean he would not lie, ever.But one cannot rule out the possibility in an instance when telling the truth would make you look bad. Griffin is working from a weak position at this point, even if Obama is pro-space. NASA is just about everybody's favorite whipping boy, and certainly not the focus of positive attention right now, even discounting the claims of Griffin being uncooperative. Obama, and the US as a whole, have to focus on things like the failing car makers. Griffin saying that he's having problems with Obama would hurt him even more, even if it was a minor quibble (like changing the NASA logo or something).


Yes. A sad affair. But I fail to see the relevance. Surely you don't mean to say that because some people in the administration act a certain way, all people in the administration, or appointed by the administration, must also act that way? And why would that be a reason to misrepresent Griffins words?Given that Griffin himself has admitted that he wasn't clear in his remarks and misspoke, it is apparent that he recognized there was a problem, and one of the problems with the current administration meddling in things it shouldn't is that it makes everything they do suspect. So if someone says something which can be easily misinterpreted, it should not come as a surprise that people take the negative view of what you said, even if that was an unintentional comment on your part which sparked it.

Were the distortions of this administration limited to one or two areas, it would be a bit of a stretch to paint everything they did with the same broadbrush. However, when those distortions cover nearly everything that administration has touched, it becomes very difficult to believe that something negative about them is a falsehood.

Griffin certainly has the qualifications to run NASA (unlike some of the other appointees this administration has made to important departments), and if this story is false, then I see no reason why he shouldn't be allowed to continue in his current position. However, it cannot be ruled out that he's been able to remain in his position because he was willing to sacrifice the truth about how things have been going at NASA (there's been plenty of firings of people by this administration which were caused by them being unwilling to "play ball" even though an objective assesment of their actions indicates that they and not the administration were in the right). I've heard grumblings from people connected with NASA that the amount of money they've been promised to get us back to the Moon is not nearly enough. (Its short on an order of tens of billions, from what I've heard.) I suspect we'll get our answer sometime after January 20th. Whatever it might be, I hope that we'll get a reinvigoration of NASA and proper levels of funding, no matter who is in charge.

slang
2008-Dec-12, 10:34 PM
But one cannot rule out the possibility in an instance when telling the truth would make you look bad.

There's a lot we cannot rule out. Doesn't make it true, or likely.


Given that Griffin himself has admitted that he wasn't clear in his remarks and misspoke, it is apparent that he recognized there was a problem,

Did you listen to the actual interview, and or analyze the transcript? After all the ruckus I did both, a couple of times, to make sure I didn't miss a suble intonation or emphasis. The only problem was that he left a soundbite that could be taken advantage of, when taken out of context.


and one of the problems with the current administration meddling in things it shouldn't is that it makes everything they do suspect.

The more reason to accurately report what was said, instead of taking a juicy line and running off with it.


Were the distortions of this administration limited to one or two areas, it would be a bit of a stretch to paint everything they did with the same broadbrush. However, when those distortions cover nearly everything that administration has touched, it becomes very difficult to believe that something negative about them is a falsehood.

That is a personal interpretation that to me delves too deep into politics to pursue further here.


Griffin certainly has the qualifications to run NASA (unlike some of the other appointees this administration has made to important departments), and if this story is false, then I see no reason why he shouldn't be allowed to continue in his current position.

On this, we are in agreement. Yay. :)


However, it cannot be ruled out that he's been able to remain in his position because he was willing to sacrifice the truth about how things have been going at NASA

And it cannot be ruled out either that he kept his position because he promised to keep quiet about Area 51. So there must be something going on there. Unfounded speculation.


(there's been plenty of firings of people by this administration which were caused by them being unwilling to "play ball" even though an objective assesment of their actions indicates that they and not the administration were in the right).

And some of those may be indeed for such reasons, and some of those may well be for other reasons, despite such an interpretation being possible. Too many ifs for me to allow drawing any reasonable conclusions. Anyway, that some may have been fired for dissent does not extrapolate to "the ones that did not get fired only remained because of assent".


I've heard grumblings from people connected with NASA that the amount of money they've been promised to get us back to the Moon is not nearly enough. (Its short on an order of tens of billions, from what I've heard.)

In an organisation as large as NASA you will always find people grumbling. They may be right. They may be wrong. Budgetting a project is an extremely difficult task, and deciding which uncertainties should be factored in decides how the budget turns out. Factor everything in, and plan for a maximum of unknowns, and the budget will be too high to ever be approved. Factor no uncertainties in, and the budget will almost certainly eventually explode in ridiculous fashion, with guaranteed cancellation. Finding a workable solution will mean by definition that some will be grumbling.


I suspect we'll get our answer sometime after January 20th. Whatever it might be, I hope that we'll get a reinvigoration of NASA and proper levels of funding, no matter who is in charge.

You and me both. Griffin has said (not a literal quote) that he would not want to keep his job without the necessary means to do it. I hope he keeps it. It would mean he will probably be given what he needs.

Tuckerfan
2008-Dec-12, 11:24 PM
There's a lot we cannot rule out. Doesn't make it true, or likely.Human nature makes it likely that a person will lie to keep themselves from looking bad.


Did you listen to the actual interview, and or analyze the transcript? After all the ruckus I did both, a couple of times, to make sure I didn't miss a suble intonation or emphasis. The only problem was that he left a soundbite that could be taken advantage of, when taken out of context.Which is a strike against Griffin. As much as we might decry the practice, the news media lives and dies by the soundbite. Anyone who ignores this fact, does so at their peril. That Griffin is not someone used to being in the spotlight is somewhat forgivable, but one thing NASA needs right now, is someone with a lot of media savy.




The more reason to accurately report what was said, instead of taking a juicy line and running off with it.We're talking about NASA, an agency which most people don't have the first clue as to what it does, or how important it is.




That is a personal interpretation that to me delves too deep into politics to pursue further here.The distortions are facts, not opinion. What is opinion is if they rise to one's level of automatic distrust. In my experience, if one has a high level of mistrust of political types, you're less likely to be disappointed, than if you have a low level of mistrust.




And it cannot be ruled out either that he kept his position because he promised to keep quiet about Area 51. So there must be something going on there. Unfounded speculation. Not true. Area 51 and the image surrounding it is vastly different than the one which surrounds NASA. As one of the links in my OP shows, NASA has been forced to lie about a program because of a directive from the White House. Admittedly, it was not this administration (though it should be noted that several of the folks in this administration also worked for the Nixon administration), but this adminstration has certainly been tainted by a level of malfeasance, which as at least as great as that of the Nixon administration. As such, it would do well to view things with a jaundiced eye until we're able to have a clearer picture, which will not occur until after Obama takes office.

Now, I can understand if Griffin was faced with a choice of lying about the program or having no program, that he would choose to lie. That does not excuse being obstructionist when meeting with members of the new administration. In such a situation, it would be best to simply lay your cards on the table, and offer up suggestions as to how the administration can keep going with the program, while reducing the risk of those who oppose the program being able to kill it outright.




And some of those may be indeed for such reasons, and some of those may well be for other reasons, despite such an interpretation being possible. Too many ifs for me to allow drawing any reasonable conclusions. Anyway, that some may have been fired for dissent does not extrapolate to "the ones that did not get fired only remained because of assent".Agreed, however, one of the first things which happens when a new administration takes over is that many of the sins of the previous administration become exposed. We cannot say how much, or even what will come to light, but in many areas if the amount revealed is equal to, or slightly greater, than what we know about now, it will be huge. The US could potentially be thrown into a period of deep disarray, such that any progress on important issues is delayed or discontinued.




In an organisation as large as NASA you will always find people grumbling. They may be right. They may be wrong. Budgetting a project is an extremely difficult task, and deciding which uncertainties should be factored in decides how the budget turns out. Factor everything in, and plan for a maximum of unknowns, and the budget will be too high to ever be approved. Factor no uncertainties in, and the budget will almost certainly eventually explode in ridiculous fashion, with guaranteed cancellation. Finding a workable solution will mean by definition that some will be grumbling.While one will always have some grumbling, it is another thing entirely when folks are saying, "We do not have the money to do this at all." and not, "We'd like to be able to do much more than what we're able to." Bear in mind that NASA's budget has not been adjusted for inflation, and that it has been essentially frozen at the same level of funding as it was during the 1960s. If you adjust for inflation, NASA is currently operating at about 1/10th the level of funding they had during the Apollo-era. Not only are they being asked to be able to do almost the same thing as they did during the Apollo-era (build a rocket capable of sending men to the Moon), but to do more at the same time (maintain the ISS, send probes to other planets, climate research, etc., etc., etc.). That is a very difficult task, and one which is unforgiving of mistakes (even when nobody dies, just having something like a probe crash is enough to bring out the anti-NASA folks).




You and me both. Griffin has said (not a literal quote) that he would not want to keep his job without the necessary means to do it. I hope he keeps it. It would mean he will probably be given what he needs.I hope that whomever leads NASA in the future is given what they need.

KaiYeves
2008-Dec-13, 12:30 AM
On an unrelated note, you have 48 signatures now, Tuckerfan! I'm sure you'll get to fifty by Christmas!

slang
2008-Dec-13, 12:54 AM
Human nature makes it likely that a person will lie to keep themselves from looking bad.

Well, yes, It's true that it is very much less likely that someone will lie to keep themselves from looking good. A meaningless statement without facts (instead of assumptions). If I say something to keep myself from looking bad, it does not follow that I must be lying. Human nature also allows one to speak the truth to keep one from looking bad.


Which is a strike against Griffin. As much as we might decry the practice, the news media lives and dies by the soundbite. Anyone who ignores this fact, does so at their peril. That Griffin is not someone used to being in the spotlight is somewhat forgivable, but one thing NASA needs right now, is someone with a lot of media savy.

IMHO you're grasping at straws now. AFAIK Griffin usually does an excellent job of interacting with the media. It's unrealistic to expect anyone to never ever make a mistake in phrasing that can be exploited, and still say something meaningful every once in a while. Even a few seconds of silence can be abused to allegedly have the most hilarious meaning. Ask Dawkins. You can't say it's somewhat forgivable and still demand perfect behavior. Well, you can, but it certainly loses meaning.


We're talking about NASA, an agency which most people don't have the first clue as to what it does, or how important it is.

(I mentioned a story by BA, who should have such a clue.. and does). The more reason to accurately report what was said, instead of taking a juicy line and running off with it.


As such, it would do well to view things with a jaundiced eye until we're able to have a clearer picture, which will not occur until after Obama takes office.

And then we will have to be extremely vigilant about which persons in that administration will be lying to further their agendas. Vigilantly looking for facts, not suppositions, fears, or assumptions.


Now, I can understand if Griffin was faced with a choice of lying about the program or having no program, that he would choose to lie.

And I can also understand it if he cares for his personal integrity more than his job or the program, and choses not to lie.


Agreed, however, one of the first things which happens when a new administration takes over is that many of the sins of the previous administration become exposed.

And some of it will be exposed or spun in such a manner that re-election of the new administration is advanced. Why would that process be any more honest than the preceding one?

And I should stop starting my replies with and.


Bear in mind that NASA's budget has not been adjusted for inflation, and that it has been essentially frozen at the same level of funding as it was during the 1960s.

Oh, I'm not arguing that the budget is "good enough". I'm all for expanding NASA's budget (and ESA's budget too! I'm not dodging my own tax requirements). I'm just wary of "some people in the know grumbling".

ToSeek
2008-Dec-13, 04:35 AM
Bear in mind that NASA's budget has not been adjusted for inflation, and that it has been essentially frozen at the same level of funding as it was during the 1960s. If you adjust for inflation, NASA is currently operating at about 1/10th the level of funding they had during the Apollo-era.

If you trust Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Budget), this is something of an exaggeration. NASA funding peaked in the mid-60's at around $33 billion in 2007 dollars ($5-6 billion in 60's dollars). The current budgets are around half of that. The lean years were around 1974-1982, when the budgets were around $11 billion in 2007 dollars.

Tuckerfan
2008-Dec-13, 06:28 AM
Well, yes, It's true that it is very much less likely that someone will lie to keep themselves from looking good. A meaningless statement without facts (instead of assumptions). If I say something to keep myself from looking bad, it does not follow that I must be lying. Human nature also allows one to speak the truth to keep one from looking bad.Yes, but the Obama campaign (who're well known for being media savy) haven't issued anything clearly stating that there are no problems. One news site has Obama's people making a rather generic statement about the transition process as a whole (meaning every government agency, not simply NASA) being positive and that when issues arise they will take them up with the White House. The only other news site I could find which mentioned the Obama campaign's reaction was Fox News (always a dubious source) and it had no direct quotes. That's not really a good sign, IMHO.



IMHO you're grasping at straws now. AFAIK Griffin usually does an excellent job of interacting with the media. It's unrealistic to expect anyone to never ever make a mistake in phrasing that can be exploited, and still say something meaningful every once in a while. Even a few seconds of silence can be abused to allegedly have the most hilarious meaning. Ask Dawkins. You can't say it's somewhat forgivable and still demand perfect behavior. Well, you can, but it certainly loses meaning.Griffin's better at it than some of the previous folks at NASA, but he's still not been able to capture the public's imagination.




(I mentioned a story by BA, who should have such a clue.. and does). The more reason to accurately report what was said, instead of taking a juicy line and running off with it.Yes, well, BA apparently has a couple of issues with Griffin besides the current dust up or his comments about global warming. (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2008/12/11/nasas-griffin-butting-heads-with-obama/) And expecting the mass media to be able to accurately get something as complex as the space program correct is a bit much when you have a society which has spent a decade or more denegrating science.




And then we will have to be extremely vigilant about which persons in that administration will be lying to further their agendas. Vigilantly looking for facts, not suppositions, fears, or assumptions.



And I can also understand it if he cares for his personal integrity more than his job or the program, and choses not to lie.It all depends upon who the information is coming from. A career bureaucrat is going to keep his mouth shut when there's a hostile administration in charge, but happily spill the beans about what was going on when a more favorable one comes into power. Political appointees can be expected to complain, and much of what they say can be passed off as exaggerations and distortions. Those who've spent much of their professional lives working for an organization should be taken much more seriously.




And some of it will be exposed or spun in such a manner that re-election of the new administration is advanced. Why would that process be any more honest than the preceding one?Again, it all depends upon who is making the claims. If its a political appointee, there might be some kernal of truth to the matter. If its a career bureaucrat, then he's probably being more honest than the appointee is.


Oh, I'm not arguing that the budget is "good enough". I'm all for expanding NASA's budget (and ESA's budget too! I'm not dodging my own tax requirements). I'm just wary of "some people in the know grumbling".This isn't "grumbling" that I've heard. Its specific complaints about the amount of money given and the demands being placed upon people in the project.

Tuckerfan
2008-Dec-13, 06:35 AM
If you trust Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Budget), this is something of an exaggeration. NASA funding peaked in the mid-60's at around $33 billion in 2007 dollars ($5-6 billion in 60's dollars). The current budgets are around half of that. The lean years were around 1974-1982, when the budgets were around $11 billion in 2007 dollars.One of the problems with doing things like adjusting for inflation is the fluctuating value of the dollar. I did the figures about a year or more ago, using an inflation calculator on one of the Federal Reserve sites. IIRC, the budget figures I used for NASA was $25 billion in 2007 dollars, which at the time worked out to around $3 billion in 1966 dollars.

Mind you, everything I've seen has said that NASA's budget has held steady at roughly $20 billion (in unadjusted figures), with occasional dips and spikes (the spikes generally being related to one of the shuttle disasters, unfortunately).

mugaliens
2008-Dec-13, 10:41 PM
This is disheartening. I am usually among the first to fire criticism at those in high places, but from what I've been able to discern of Griffin, he's done a great job. If he's previously had direct access to President Bush, to insist that he, the head of our nation's Space Agency, talk with an underling is unnecessarily demeaning, and merely confirms some political suspicions of mine.

I hope Obama realizes the politically insensitive blunder he's making by allowing this to continue, and how much support from the scientific/engineering/academic community he stands to loose on these grounds...

Ara Pacis
2008-Dec-15, 08:50 PM
This is disheartening. I am usually among the first to fire criticism at those in high places, but from what I've been able to discern of Griffin, he's done a great job. If he's previously had direct access to President Bush, to insist that he, the head of our nation's Space Agency, talk with an underling is unnecessarily demeaning, and merely confirms some political suspicions of mine.

I hope Obama realizes the politically insensitive blunder he's making by allowing this to continue, and how much support from the scientific/engineering/academic community he stands to loose on these grounds...

Why? Obama is popular and very busy at the moment. Griffin can wait since there isn't anything time-critical that eclipses the current business at hand for the President elect. It might also be noted that the Bush space plan may be considered a plan to prop up his sagging popularity, thus he'd be more hands on... especially if he is the one trying to convince people in that agency to advocate for a specific climate position.

Any political blunder that is occuring between NASA and the incoming Obama administration will be on Griffin's head, not his new boss's. What is the scientific community going to do, give him misinformation on GW to spite him? Refuse to accept grant money? Name a planet "Obamanation"?

Tuckerfan
2008-Dec-17, 10:46 PM
This, however, is most definately, a good sign. (http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2008/dec/HQ_M08264_Inaugural_Parade.html)
The Inauguration Committee for President-elect Barack Obama officially extended an invitation Wednesday for NASA to be part of the 56th Inaugural Parade on Jan. 20.

The crew of NASA's recent STS-126 space shuttle mission and other agency officials will join representatives from across the country and our armed forces in this historic parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington following swearing-in ceremonies on the steps of the Capitol.

Chris Ferguson commanded the STS-126 mission and was joined by Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Donald Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Sandra Magnus. Magnus remained aboard the station, replacing Expedition 18 Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff, who returned to Earth on Endeavour after more than five months on the station.

In addition to the Endeavour crew, the NASA contingent will include a small pressurized rover. That vehicle is a concept for a new generation of lunar rovers that astronauts will take with them when they return to the moon by 2020. The rovers are being tested at sites around the country that have terrain similar to the moon's.(Official NASA press release, so there's no worries about copyright violations from the long quote)

KaiYeves
2008-Dec-17, 10:50 PM
I knew it would all work out...

Tuckerfan
2008-Dec-17, 10:55 PM
I don't know if this means that things have "all worked out," but it does seem to indicate that Obama wants NASA to have a high profile role in the future, which is more than we can say about several previous administrations.

publiusr
2009-Jan-13, 01:06 AM
Griffin looks to be canned. Sadly. We are going to get another VSE-hostile Earth Scientist who hates rocket production and wants nothing but weathersats.

I hope I'm wrong. There was some talk about accelerating Ares V--as called for in the Jan 5 SPACE NEWS article.

That had better be the case.