Friday, October 02, 2015

Scandal Casualty List Compiled; Impact On Voting? Plus: New Insight On NM Spaceport Woes 

Let's add up the recent casualty list:

---The Republican Secretary of State stands charged with multiple felonies for allegedly raiding her campaign funds to go on a multi-year casino spree.

---The Republican  Secretary of Taxation and Revenue is accused of using improper influence to benefit a former client of her CPA business.

---The Democratic State Treasurer is accused by the State Personnel Department of making sexist and racist comments. (Treasuer Eichenberg's response here).

---Two Democratic State Representatives are busted for filing flawed campaign finance reports.

---The Superintendent of the ABQ Public schools is forced out amid scandal over the hiring of an alleged pedophile to a top administrative position.

Does this catalog of scandal inspire outrage that gets voters out of their recliners or disgust that turns to apathy? Unfortunately, it is probably be the latter.

When folks start thinking "all the politicians do it" they feel powerless. That, in turn, can lower voter turnout. That benefits the party with the most likely voters--the Republicans. The more the R's can portray government as a mud wrestling pit involving players of all political stripes, the more they can control the playing field. Cynical? Yes. True? Yes.


We finish the week with insightful analysis and comment on the NM Spaceport from Republican Brent Eastwood:

I just read this WSJ article on Virgin Galactic: "Virgin Galactic to Unveil Enhanced LauncherOne Rocket." It appears that Virgin Galactic is diversifying its business plan and pivoting to launching micro satellites into orbit--quite a departure from sending tourists into space. No mention of New Mexico and Virgin CEO George Whitesides could not be pinned down on when the new version of SpaceShip Two would begin powered testing again. Most experts, according to the article, say February, 2016, at the earliest.I checked the Spaceport website to see what was going on.

“We are the home to Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo. We are also home to SpaceX’s Falcon 9R.”

Excuse me? Those Spacecraft are based at Mojave Air and Space Port and they are going to be in Mojave for a long, long time. That is Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s district and he has no intention of allowing those spacecraft to move to New Mexico.

Home to SpaceX’s Falcon 9R? Everybody knows that SpaceX uses two orbital launch sites at Cape Canaveral in Florida and at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. SpaceX has their suborbital rocket development and test facility in Texas and they want to lease another orbital launch center in Florida.

The last I checked, SpaceX had a tiny office at Spaceport America and were paying some pittance of a lease. But home to Falcon 9R? I think what they are trying to say is that in the future New Mexico could be the testing location for recovered booster rockets from SpaceX in the future. (See this.) But it is not home to the program.

When do we start telling the truth? It is one ugly baby and I understand nobody wants to look at the ugly baby. But legislators need to start asking tougher questions before the next legislative session.

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