Friday Flybys (vol. 11)
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Florida governor Jeb Bush signed into law the Jessica Lunsford Act, named after the 9-year old who was kidnapped and slain by a known sex offender. How does space play a part in kids' safety? Among other provisions, the bill calls for lifetime tracking of the whereabouts of certain convicted sex offenders via global positioning satellite (GPS). The tough bill was widely hailed. (Although at least one editorial, in theTampa Tribune, questioned the lifetime GPS monitoring provision, "It feels good today, but why ask future taxpayers to spend $9 a day monitoring elderly offenders in wheelchairs in nursing homes?" Because they are convicted child molestors. That's why.)
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Should the government like the United Launch Alliance, the 50-50 joint venture announced by Boeing and Lockheed for the U.S. government launches of Delta and Atlas boosters? The deal, which will of course cost about a zillion space jobs, is supposed to save the feds $100 to $150 million a year. (Does this factor in the saved legal fees when Lockheed drops its civil suit against Boeing?)
But as Keith Cowing at NASA Watch asked, "Wasn't at least part of whole idea in having TWO companies providing EELVs to foster some competition - and therefore cost savings for the prime customer (U.S. government) who also paid a hefty portion of what it cost to develop both companies' rockets?"
Well. Brian Gorman for Motley Fool says, the alliance "does not actually change competitive dynamics much..." Hmm.
"In the end, can (and should) the two rivals put past differences behind them? And will they be able to make a decent profit on the launch biz? We'll see...
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Cindy Skrzycki of the Washington Post talks about the regulatory environment for the space tourism industry.
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If any of you tax law buffs are following all that satellite TV tax litigation, please e-mail me? (Tax law is not my thing.)
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And in case you didn't know, in his Law Day proclamation last week, President Bush declared May 1 - 7, 2005 the first National Juror Appreciation Week. And you don't have to watch Court TV or read about the Michael Jackson trial to realize, it's about time.
Thank you, jurors.