U.S. Satellite Plans Falter, Imperiling Data on Storms

A year or more without key satellites could result in shaky forecasts about storms like Hurricane Sandy.

Comments: 245

  1. Bread? Check. Milk? Check. Candles and bottled water? Check. Now just have to charge all the electronics in case the lights go out (again). That way, at least I can download a good book to read by candlelight. Might be a nice diversion from all the political campaign calls I'm getting. www.valhallapress.com

  2. Well if you have a digital home phone and no batteries in that cable modem then you won't be getting any political calls. Sweet.

  3. How about kevlar and hollow points for when the tempest toss'd anarchy starts?

  4. If need be, don't be afraid to go to a storm shelter. It's the new social scene! During Irene, I went to a shelter and it was quite pleasant.

  5. I really think the National Weather Service should stop naming hurricanes and storms. Something that causes death and destruction, shouldn't have a human name attached to it and creates a stigma for those with that name.

  6. Yes, because calling something or someone "he who shall not be named" is a great way to the emotional impact.

    Are you also proposing that we un-name serial killers?

  7. Well, hurricanes could be named after basic parts of nature. You know, like Hurricane Oak or Hurricane Seashell or Hurricane Thunder.

  8. P.S.: Don't forget to empty your refrigerators before you evacuate. It might be a L-O-N-G time before the power comes back on.

  9. Saw the picture, immediately wondered "what is that guy driving? Not a good day for a classic car". Then realized it's Cuba.

    I hope for you East Coasters' sake that this storm is not the mega-storm predicted.

  10. Getting pretty windy here in Orlando...50 mph gusts from the offshore hurricane.

  11. Windy in Jacksonville too

  12. We'll keep you in our prayers, Jim. Hope you and yours ride out the storm without too many bumps.

  13. Sandy, combining with the storm system approacing from the Mid-West, is recipe for some serious damage and long-lasting effects. and a prime opportunity to gut-check all the "progress" FEMA and its state, local, business, and citizen emergency management partners have made in applying "lessons to be learned" from Katrina, Isabel, Oct. 2011 early snow, etc. etc.
    My 22 years in emergency management lead me to diasgree with Feltgen's "watchful waiting." FEMA and Red Cross prep guidance says citizens should have a 5-day supply of food, water, medicines, and cash, as well as battery operated NOAA weather radio.. If you need to stock up, DO so now!
    Given the current storm track, putting the most powerful, northeastern sector, of the system on New York City, some evacuation advisories, especially for Long Island, lower Manhattan, and Staten Island, may well be in order. But, evacuation of the NYC area is a momentous problem and political (eventual blame game) considerations may outweigh the best emergency management advice. Bottom line, if I were a resident of the NJ/NY coastal areas I would make my own decision, no later than noon Saturday, to visit Boston, Hartford, Burlington, Buffalo or points beyond, Sunday through Wednesday, then check to see if things back home are OK for a return. Airport operations in the Mid-Atlantic region (roughly DC to Hartford) are likely to be halted around late Monday evening thorugh mid-day Wednesday, based on the current track timing.

  14. You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie

  15. Dennis, I have all that stuff ready all the time. The last minute is no time to stock up. Also lanterns and/or candles and matches.

    People shouldn't forget to be stocked up on pet medicines, pet food, and kitty litter, as well.

  16. You guys are stellar! Let's hope Obama wins or you'll be cut to shreds over the next 4 years!

  17. New York State, along with many others, doesn't have early voting. Please realize that Election Day is NOT next week. However, what's this about Tony?

  18. Amazing photograph. Stellar.

  19. I'm not sure which is more impressive in the photograph -- the wave, or that very cool car.

  20. Is that a 1955 DeSoto? Must be Cuba.

  21. The caption says Cuba!

    in any case, it sure does look nice.

  22. There are a lot of vintage cars (beauties!) still on Cuban roads. People learned to fix them so they will last ...

  23. It's either that or downtown Philadelphia

  24. It is amazing what nature can do. I will pray for all of you and Im glad you all are taking cover

  25. Last year the east coast got slammed with heavy, wet snow in October that ripped up the trees because they had leaves on the branches and couldn't handle the weight of the wet snow, and folks lost power for days. Cleanup was a freaking nightmare. Trick or Treating in many townships was cancelled.
    One year later, we are facing the same problem. What is with this freakish weather? "Storm of the Century" is becoming "Storm of the Year" because of how often we get slammed by them.
    What's the weather like in Seattle right now? I think it's time to take a little trip.

  26. It's raining.

  27. Well, Pooja, let me breath the words climate change to you.

  28. It's always raining in the fall in Seatlle. :)

  29. Great. I'm still planning on running in the Marine Corps Marathon in DC on Sunday. Guess I won't need to take a shower at the end.

  30. I don't know if the storm will hit here in NYC but one thing's for sure: Cuba has awesome cars.

  31. So does California -- and freedom to drive them anywhere, and say anything.

  32. Indeed, I think that's a result of some embargo or something.

  33. The very strange coincidence from the CT perspective is that this storm will affect us on the same day (October 29) as the storm last year that knocked out power in Northern CT for more than a week. So glad I bought a whole-house generator. Worth the $.

  34. Same here. Although we lost power for 4 days in AUGUST, because of hurricane irene. We are now the proud owners of a 17K whole-house generator.

  35. Even as an independent with libertarian leanings, one must recognize that this is an essential obligation of the Federal Government. One of the responsibilities enumerated in the Constitution is the insurance of domestic tranquility and common defense. Threats to our people are not constituted solely by our enemies; there are natural disasters as we see here that should be "defended" against.

    Our government has a responsibility to actively update and manage advanced systems. That is why our dollars would be better spent on advanced satellites that can predict weather and monitor foreign countries as opposed to billion-dollar programs for tanks, UAVs, and other proxy war tools.
    It should be the defense policy of this nation to focus on a DOD ground in defense, deterrence, and technological advancement. It is an insult to our own security to finance our imperialistic, interventionist foreign policy while neglecting our own security at home, as demonstrated by the lack of satellites this article points out.

  36. Even as an independent with libertarian leanings, one must recognize that this is an essential obligation of the Federal Government.

    is an oxymoron if your liberation than you should think government should disappear completely. That is the real problem with this country to many flip flopping in the middle.

  37. "Even as an independent with libertarian leanings, one must recognize that this is an essential obligation of the Federal Government"

    Quite the contrary. If govt was not doing it the private sector would and more efficiently at that.

  38. Yoda. You are way off the mark.

    Question - Were that true, where for instance is the missing pipeline of R&D stage drugs?

    Answer - Nowhere, The private sector does not take over the horizon bets.

    Private sector short term-itis is one reason why US R&D has suffered.

  39. I think I remember that Bush 2 wanted to get rid of NOAA entirely and by doing so, save lots of money.

  40. Well, maybe he should have because they are still around and still evidently not doing their jobs under Obamma's watchful eye....

  41. NOAA - too much science, not enough faith.

  42. Sounds like this all went off track during W's first term (quelle surprise). But the article makes it sound like the current administration is at fault for not fixing the bureaucratic problem faster. In fact they've been gathering data and making an informed diagnosis -- what a concept!

    "The lack of trust is partially the result of the tempestuous experiences during the NPOESS development period. While there is recognition that there is an understandable and legitimate basis for the distrust, the success of the critical NOAA satellite enterprise is dependent upon moving beyond the NPOESS experience and reestablishing a culture of trust."

    Source: http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/docum...

    "Originally planned for launch 5 years earlier as a joint NASA/NOAA/DOD project, NPP was to be a pathfinder mission for the larger National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System until DOD participation in the larger project was dissolved. The project continued as a civilian weather forecasting replacement for the NOAA Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) series, and ensured continuity of climate measurements begun by NASA's Earth Observing System.[7] The spacecraft was launched 28 October 2011..."
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NPOESS_Preparatory_Project

  43. The amount of cleaning up that Obama's administration has had to do is stunning.

    Cut the vastly bloated military already!

  44. "Sounds like this all went off track during W's first term (quelle surprise). But the article makes it sound like the current administration is at fault for not fixing the bureaucratic problem faster."

    Yes, it did and, yes, they are. No excuses. This is a huge problem. It's been known for a long time. There is no excuse for it still being a huge problem nearly four years after Pres. Obama took office.

  45. Don't worry about this. I've never known a time when early warnings did any good. Usually warnings are dramatically stated, getting everyone frightened and then when you go outside, it's a lovely day.

  46. May 3, 1999: A massive F5 tornado approached Oklahoma City, and then hit it. Total dead in the city: 39 people.

    Had it not been for the 40-minute lead time, at least thousands would have perished--tens of thousands of houses and other buildings were destroyed.

    And that is just one out of MANY times that early warnings have saved people--from hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, and ice storms. I would think that living in Florida, you'd know that.

  47. --Sorry, my response should read "thousands of houses and other buildings", not tens of thousands.

  48. Don't you get it - we have to nation build in Iraq and Afghanistan. Doesn't seem to matter that our country's infrastructure is falling apart and there is no government accountability for project management to bring it in on time and ON BUDGET.

  49. The money went to the drones.

  50. Raise taxes on the evil rich 1% immediately to fund this vital replacement project.

  51. you are funny...to have 1% pay for something that 100% use equally

  52. Nah. Let's give em more money, because we all know the rich won't work unless we give them a tax break.

    Then let's build a bigger military. We don't need weather predictin' when we got Jesus, a Y shaped stick and some chicken bones.

  53. I'm 82 and have the same kind of problems. Things won't get better with age....they will have to be replaced.

  54. Yes, do spend our blood and treasure in the Middle East and just ignore our national infrastructure. Smell the Oil Industry, anyone?

  55. After getting pounded by the likes of KATRINA, RITA, GUSTAV and most recently ISSAC here in south Louisiana, there's a certain shadenfreude at seeing our northern cousins enjoy the delights of tropical weather. We hope you fare well. Does NYC have a viable evacuation plan? What about Long Island?

  56. I sympathize with your feeling of "better them than us" We were lucky last year, Irene did very little damage here. But I thought I would add this CBS news headline from this morning -
    AP/ October 26, 2012, 10:05 AM
    Vt., still recovering from Irene, braces for Sandy

  57. Our brethren in Nawlins: if you've never been on the Long Island Expressway, its nickname isn't The World's Longest Parking Lot for nuthin'.

  58. Actually, having once lived on Long Island and also in Manhattan, I have some appreciation of the LIE.

  59. Could this be Mother Nature reminding the campaigns to talk about climate change?

  60. I wonder how over-saturated coverage of this storm will be once we hear it has a 2% chance of hitting Manhattan.

  61. To all of you in the path of the storm; if you have early voting, please go vote!

  62. Already did!

  63. Greetings from the capital of the de-developing nation of the dis-United States of America. Our roads are crumbling, our bridges are falling down, our water mains are bursting in midair. When the wind blows it rocks this Western cradle of democracy and we get a silent night. And day. And night. And day. And night. And day.

    Hey. At least it isn't January. We won't need to worry about the heat not working. Funny. I didn't mind that it got so cold but it stressed me out to no end that I couldn't charge my computer, ipad, ipod, iphone.

  64. First world problems

  65. The water mains are always bursting here in San Diego...it's the weirdest thing....

  66. Did anyone mention global warming? No?!!!!

  67. No, why would they? It's irrelevant to this story.

  68. Right. Before global warming there were never any hurricanes. All those Spanish galleons loaded with gold at the bottom of the Carribbean were sunk in the 1500's just by the weight of their treasure.

  69. I suspect based upon your comment, hurricanes did not exist prior to the global warming craze. Then again, should Romney win the election or the Jets make it to the Super Bowl, you will probably point to global warming as the cause.

  70. THE SILVER LINING:

    No power, no TV. No TV, no political ads.

    BRING ON THE STORM!

  71. The non-silver lining: people will be hurt and maybe killed, among them those who are out trying to restore power and rescue others. People dependent on electricity for heat will be without it, and people dependent on electrical devices for oxygen and other life-support will need to get to hospitals (one hopes, with sufficient generator-power to last the distance). Then the monetary damage...

  72. Why don't you just turn off your TV? Presto, no political ads... =)

  73. I bet if the U.S. Government offered a suitably sized "Grand Challenge" prize, private enterprise could design, build, and launch a small fleet of acceptable weather satellites in time to avert the crisis. The new satellites really only need to be as capable as the old ones, so we don't actually need to develop new technology, we only need to adapt existing "rocket science."

  74. Nah. All we need is a Y shaped stick and some chicken bones.

  75. Private enterprise already designs and builds all of the US civil and military satellites. In this case they are the ones who have been unable to merge the requirements of the various agencies into a package that they can engineer and build, at a price that Congress will fund.

  76. If you won't pay taxes, you won't have public goods.

    And we are seeing that in every aspect of our national life, even while the taxes we do pay are poured out to corporate contractors (military, "security", and others)who are leeched onto our government while the people's needs go unmet.

    Education, environment, provision for the sick and elderly, our electrical grid: all are neglected if not maligned--it is an ongoing robbery, with half the populace gulled into cheering it on. Meanwhile, no extravagant amount is spared to defend us from "terrorism". No other threats are held to matter. Outrageous.

    And it may cause not one, but a "perfect storm" of destruction to our nation and its people if it is not withstood, and soon.

  77. And nearly 20 fatalities and hundreds sick due to contaminated steroid injections. The FDA tried to get the records from these compounding companies (regulated at the state level) but the companies (lobbyist) fought back (and won) (see earlier NYTimes article). Sure - who needs those pesky regulations; let's leave it all up to the states. We, the people (rich, middle class and poor) are the big losers in the long term.

  78. The Congress evidently doesn't want to fund instrumentation that measures climate change in real time.

    At the present rate of population growth, we can expect to be using 100% of the Net Planetary Plant Production, or photosynthetic capacity of land based flora, within two or three decades.

  79. >At the present rate of population growth, we can expect to be using 100% of the Net Planetary Plant Production, or photosynthetic capacity of land based flora, within two or three decades.

    I predict that will not play out well.

  80. Guess I don't want to live to be 100 after all.

  81. So the crucial piece of information is at the very end of the article: the whole problem started when the then administration nd congress tried to merge the NOAA satellite program with the DoD weather satellites. And of course as soon as the DoD got their fingers in, costs skyrocketed. But now the civilian side is getting the blame for "mismanagement" - and strict budget constraints. Of course those strict budget constraints will lead to the new program management fudging numbers if necessary to "stay on budget" - otherwise they will be blamed - and four years from now congress will be outraged - outraged! - that the program is over budget.

  82. The least efficient government service is the one that never gets scrutinized: the military. As long as our military is a sacred cow, it will be hideously inefficient.

    By the way, the longest supply train in the history of armies, and still growing!

  83. But under President Romney, private business will take over this necessary but unprofitable function, right?

  84. Well, you will pay a dollar every time you use your GPS. Where's there's a bill there's a pay.

  85. Good, maybe then people will again take serious why we need science to be our number one priority and not lame military spending into the trillions.

  86. Kiljoy I agree with you, however, a lot of very beneficial science and valuable spinoffs come from the military spending, and it keeps a lot of bright people in good paying jobs.

  87. Mismanagement at all levels seems to have quite a history on this program: Didn't Lockheed Martin drop the latest satellite in orbit during manufacturing, with millions of dollars in damage?

  88. Why didn't Obama direct stimulus money toward this instead of Solyndra and other green pork projects?

    Why hasn't he addressed the apparently obvious management failures in four years?

  89. The question is why have these management failures not been addressed over 12 years! Govt needs to get out of this service. It needs to be privatized.

  90. Solyndra is an outlier, the exception that proves the rule. Most of those investments in the energy sector are doing very well.

  91. I don't know if you understand hoe the govt works. The president does not control the govt checkbook, Congress does. The POTUS can advise and suggest programs but Congress allocates the funds.

  92. Why is it that cut after cut takes place, we proclaim do more with less, and then bean counters cry when a vital service might not be there? It is why you have a third world power grid. It is why you outsource instead of invest. We have 90% of the worlds' firepower and we order parts from China or Germany (two very successful manufacturers), for our jets.

  93. Also, Korea and most of the world is beating our pants off in the Internet, which we invented. Theirs is faster and cheaper. This, even though a better net is proven to improve the economy. We are just doing so many Dead Wrong things, thanks to the lies of Hateradio.

  94. Who needs satellite. we do spending too much money these filmsy stuff. Tea party is thinking exactly like this. Ask them what they are going to say.

  95. Yes, we don't need cell phones, wi-fi, GPS, etc. We can go back to using drumbeats and smoke signals.

  96. Probably all the money is going to the military and defense instead of protecting us from mother nature. Typical.

  97. Yeh. Dick Cheney's name is all over this one!

    Actually, one of the reason we spend money on weather satellites is to support our defense efforts. I think your blame may be misplaced.

  98. This is the type of essential service that our taxes pay for and is money well spent.

    I pay taxes and I want my money to pay for this type of thing. Do we have to take a vote and allow only taxpayers as voters? If so, I suspect many people like me would vote to cut the military budget and pay for this type of thing instead.

  99. In 'Casablanca' Claude Rains' Captain Renault expressed shock to find that gambling had been going on in the very parlor where he had run up big winnings. Doubtless, Republicans (including the liberal Republicans masquerading as Democrats in the guise of Clinton and Obama) would express comparable shock that the US infrastructure, like its satellites, would be in disrepair because they failed so completely to fund any maintenance or replacement program for so long. If our roads, bridges, water supply systems, and airports are in disrepair, why should we be surprised to find that the satellites are failing - or that the FDA can't keep fungus out of inject-able drugs or that the it and the Department of Agriculture can't keep salmonella out of peanut butter or lettuce. The Republicans have trashed the commonweal and someone now finds the vandalism to be unacceptable.... Yeah, right.

  100. "The program's problems began a decade ago with an effort to merge military and civilian weather satellite into a single program " Let's see, who was in power in 2002 presiding over that bone-headed plan...oh right!- that guy!
    "Fool me twice, shame on me!"

  101. I monitor the Polar low earth orbit satellites with an old computer, a radio scanner, and an antenna. The active satellites are; NOAA 15 ( frequency 137.620 Mhz ), NOAA 18 ( 137.920 MHz ), and NOAA 19 ( 137.100 MHz ). I use free software called "WXTOIMG" that can be purchased for automatic operation. The radio scanner audio output is connected to the computer sound card input with a simple audio cable. The software processes the Facsimile audio transmissions into a picture on the monitor screen as the satellite transits and scans the surface photographically. The satellites are in range for about 15 minutes each time they pass within range of my location. Their orbits are about 500 miles high and they provide stunning images of the earths surface and the clouds.

    Within the last couple of years, another satellite, NOAA 17 failed and the ability to see the earth at short distance was lost in the morning and evening hours. Currently, the three remaining satellites provide varying coverage in the afternoon and late night hours, at which time, infrared images can be read.

    There of course is a serious lack of coverage for when some of the worst weather occurs in the evening hours.

    It simply amazes me that we can put men on the moon, or probes on Mars, but drop the ball on observing the most important planet to us,.

    Thanks for the terrific article, it was very enlightening for me.

  102. Thanks for posting. Nice to hear from one who appears to a be a legitimate civilian "in the know".

  103. No. Let the satellites fall from the sky.
    This is another fine example of what Congressman Broun was talking about: "Science from the Pits of Hell."
    God sends these storms for a reason. Our attempts to forecast and to warn are direct interference in His Divine Plan. Lives that are saved by our warnings are in direct contemp of His wishes. Property damage that is averted is in direct disobedience of His Mighty Hand of Vengence.
    Besides, this is interferring with Jeb Bush's plan to set-up a private alternative to FEMA so the profits can be "harvested".

  104. The founding fathers had no such tracking implements, so why should we need them (let alone spend taxpayers' money)? If people have their lives disrupted or even terminated, it must have been part of the original plan.

    This is just another area (like Homeland Security) where we should rely on private enterprise, not public funding.

  105. I'm sure we've spared no expense, however, in launching myriad secret military satellites and others designed to keep a watchful eye on the pesky American populace.

  106. It appears that lack of government spending in this are will create jobs - what a pity that they'll be for repairing damage resulting from surprise storms.

    As noted by other commenters, George W Bush specifically called for eliminating NOAA as a means of shrinking government and justifying more tax cuts intended to "put a little money back in taxpayers' wallets." Pop quiz: if cutting your taxes by fifty dollars a year results in you incurring several hundred dollars per year in increased maintenance costs due to storm damage, didn't those tax cuts do you more harm than good?

  107. I'm surprised there was no mention of the recent GOES satellite that went off-line just a few weeks ago.

    I prefer the GOES loops to any TV weather broadcaster, with Doppler StormTracker and Viper Whatever. When the satellite failed, the loops NOAA posted were choppy and incomplete, and the daily Full-Disk images were off, as well.

    We need a measure of modest government.

  108. As President Romney pointed out in the debates, the ruling party have decided the Big Bird has a greater priority for our limited resources then weather satellites. The great failure of the stimulus was not the size - it dwarfed what was done during the Great Depression - but how it was spent.

  109. " The great failure of the stimulus was not the size - it dwarfed what was done during the Great Depression - but how it was spent."

    You're absolutely right. Over a third of it was given over to business tax abatement.

    That did a hullava lot of good, didn't it!

  110. Ask the Republican Governor's like Paul Ryan. He asked for and recieved Millions for Wisconsin three times and as lately as May 2012!!

  111. Oh yes, big bird and his giant nest egg of 445 million is really taking away from the NOAAs 5.1 billion dollar request... while the military budget's 668 billion dollars is so sacrosanct that any talk of cutting it is verboten (just ask Romney and the GOP).
    That stimulus was spent on Romney's precious 'job creators' and he's insisting that's not enough and that more tax cuts are needed. Brilliant, the rich aren't hiring because they don't have enough money! I think that money would have been better spent force-feeding them that money... at least when they burst, that money will actually trickle somewhere for once.

  112. Looks like there are going to be some prison terms on the horizon for missed storms and other natural events. Wait, is this for the U.S.? Okay, whew. We're screwed up but at least we aren't that screwy yet.

  113. The moronic budget slashers endanger the public health and safety to fund giveaways to the already fabulously rich. But it's OK because global warming and the multiplication of extreme weather events don't exist according to the doctrinnaire neocon idiots in charge, it's all a conspiracy of big government scientists.

    The plutocrats who already pay low taxes use shell companies in places like the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands to further cheat the treasury. Maybe a fierce wind will one way blow away all these nests of thieving phony corporations of the ultra rich and pathologically greedy.

  114. This is a perfect example of Federal Govt services at work and why we need this type of servie privatized (i..e., like Social Security, roads and education). ONLY the PRIVATE SECTOR can effectively provide these services.

    Why do liberals not understand this simple fact? May the Republicans sweep the excecutive and legislative branches and make this badly needed privatization possible!

  115. A perfect example of Fed Gov services being cannibalized because people like you would rather make a profit and keep your own money and demonize government than admit that we are all in this together. Why do conservatves not understand the simple fact that privatizing invariably costs much more, and is frankly far less effective because the bottom line overrides results every time? Anyone who wants ROADS privatized doesn't deserve to be an American.

  116. Gosh! Maybe they could even operate as effectively as have our health insurance companies.

  117. You're kidding, right? Privatization means no accountability except to the shareholders of the company.

  118. An inexcusable consequence of budget reductions which must be corrected

  119. Who needs weather satellites? Send up the drones.

  120. Who needs the drones. Send in the calvary! Arm 'em with swords. Consider it a dress rehearsal for the apocalypse. That should make the religious right happy.

  121. Article states the problem goes back at least a decade but also indicates Obama cut a problematic program after it slipped 5 years. Someone is sure to leave out some of this article and focus on the Obama administration effort. It will most probably be "spun" as Obama's fault. Maybe someone should forward this whole article to the fine people of Florida so they think twice before they vote in November !

  122. It's not just NOAA's weather satellites that are being mismanaged. NOAA has fallen behind managing it's weather and navigation buoys in the oceans, putting sailors at risk. And yet this power hungry organization seeks to expand itself.

    Meanwhile NOAA continues to propose to expand their so called "Marine Sanctuaries," so they can "manage" our (the publics) resources (shipwrecks etc). What they actually do is prevent the public (divers etc.) from ever accessing the shipwrecks and resources, while wasting our money.

    Gary Gentile's (a famous diver) book Shipwreck Heresies ISBN 1-883056-39-X
    is a great book and goes into depth about the disservice NOAA is doing for the public.

  123. Yes, we should let whoever just dive down there and pry off whatever souvenirs they can get. That's the American way!

  124. NOAA isn't all bad, but it and NASA have a long way to go to become efficient. But they'll never compete with the Army Corps of Engineers, the singularly most incompetent, corrupt, and wasteful agency in the government. Aside from the DHS, of course. And DoD.

  125. I love the picture of the car ... in fact, its my new background

  126. Same here! Such a great photo.

  127. Halloween, '91, we got 38 inches of snow in the western Great Lakes region. Heck of way to begin winter in Minnesota since it's here until May 1. Be safe out there.

  128. This is a very good reminder of why national elections should not be limited to a single day. What if this storm were coming a week later than it is? What if several million people were in an area being hit by 6+ inches of rain, hurricane-force winds, and flooded roads on election day? How many poll places with electronic voting machines have back-up generators? What a MESS that would be!!!

  129. I agree. Should be a week, and there should be a holiday. Also, no number should be released until 24 hour after the final voting booth has closed.

  130. Is this the end coming again?! How many times in the last ten years or so, have forecasters predicted that the storm of the century is coming? Thank G-d I read the old gray lady and New York Times, who had a very informative article last year, explaining how advertisers (who ultimaely are their paycheck!) encourage forecasters, and supposedly professional meteorologists, to always make their predictions sound scary (whether truly warranted or not!), so the public stays tuned to the goods that are being presented. Nonetheless, thank G-d too, I'm a former Boy Scout and hope to be prepared anyway. Be careful out there!!!

  131. On the other hand, if scientists who have the job of forecasting natural disaster underestimate the risk, they could be thrown in jail. Just ask an Italian seismologist.

  132. Do you recall the weather predictions right before Katrina? I don't think they overplayed the potential for destruction in that case. And I remember some pretty dire predictions back then. But these are probabilities from computer models, not absolute known behaviors. People tend to notice the forecasts that don't pan out.

  133. We have guests flying in from NYC today who were supposed to leave on Sunday. Guess we'd better be prepared for a long visit. Arrrrrrrgh!

  134. Hey, why should we rebuild our decaying infrastructure (which would also create jobs) when we can cut high-end taxes about the fourth time in a row, and make the super-rich even super-richer. The .01 percent needs that extra money. Look how well it has trickled down to us.

  135. Pretty soon they will figure out how to outsource this to China.

  136. There is trickle down... I was walking down Wall Street just the other day and there was a golden mist tricking down from the higher floors!

  137. Is anything not mismanaged in the usa?

  138. Government everywhere – including in Europe – is always mismanaged.

  139. Especially when today's type of conservatives have the power. That has been shown time and again. Republicans spend more, mismanage more, and have for decades. Then Democrats get the clean up started and sometimes stay in power long enough to get it done. Then republicans get back in power and it all starts again. Since the early 80's when the "Bedtime for Bonzo" star was president. The world is diverse, the US is diverse. The days of old white men like so many of today's gop, even their younger versions, are numbered and they are getting desperate. And I'm an old white guy.

  140. Hey, who cares about weather forecasting? It's not the government's job, which is only to bomb countries that refuse to do what the US thinks it wants them to do. Moreover science is bunk, there is no global warming, the world is only 1000 years old, plus god is punishing us all for being born anyway. Not to mention that scientists can get jailed either for making or failing to make predictions. Let's all go back to the stone ages when fire and a stone axe was all it took for a man to be a MAN.

  141. Hold on there! The world is 6000 years-old. Come on, don't you know your biblical science?

  142. guess the gov't shouldn't have funding for NASA.

  143. Yup. Pretty much the only logical conclusion. At least, it sure feels true. Just like Chariots of the Gods: pyramids and the other wonders of the ancient world are pretty much only explainable by space aliens visiting us in prehistoric times.

  144. A great majority in our nation is taking these things for granted. Most of our political leaders are unskillful to understand the impact and repercussions of such negligence. Society will pay a high price, followed by ..... nothing more than politics and empty words! Good Luck!

  145. It means that research primacy wlll continue to shift away from the US. We will then spend 30 years blustering about how we have the best universities and research centers in the world while our smart people patiently do the paperwork and necessary language courses to go the real best places.

  146. More drowning in the bathtub! Get government off our backs! Stop ripping us of with taxes even though it's the smallest percentage of assets since the 1950s! Why do my hard-earned tax dollars have to fund this 'science' that is against my personal religion?Obama is a socialist, a communist, Mitt Romney will reduce our (and most importantly, his) taxes from this spend, spend, spend Administration!
    OK T-peoples, here's an example of your 'smaller' government at work, how's it working out for you?

  147. Federal REvenues are 15.8% of GDP, not assets. But yes, that is the lowest % of GDP since 1950.

    But please do not tell that to anyone who only watches Faux News, as the person's brain may explode.

  148. The sad thing is that most of those same T-party people are the least able to cope when natural disasters hit. They''ll see their houses taken by floods, their crops fail, their cost of living go up while their ability to make a living goes down. They'll be the first to enter the life of perpetual misery and wanting, that true serfs endure.

  149. Don't worry, my GOP associates told me that there are no storms, we don't need computer models and satellite data. Everything will be fine, God told them so.

  150. And don't forget, if anyone does get hurt by a storm, it was Jesus' will.

  151. Very funny indeed.

  152. A perfect storm is a gift from God.

  153. We spend $1 trillion on the military-industrial-security complex each year. Romney wants to spend an additional $2 trillion dollars on the military over the next decade. That’s insane. It’s corporate welfare. Infrastructure projects create 40% more jobs per dollar than spending on the military, health care creates 70% more jobs, and education creates 240% more jobs.

    End the wars and significantly reduce the bloated military budget. Return to a progressive tax code, tax capital gains as income, and eliminate loopholes and subsidies for corporations. Enacting a modest financial transaction tax—0.5% on the purchase of stocks (0.25% for the buyer and the seller) and taxing bonds and derivatives at lower rates—would generate $350 billion a year.

    Nation building is needed here at home, not in far off places.

  154. There are those who correctly point out (and some even protest by refusing to pay) that income tax is unconstitutional. Corporate tax, capitol gains taxes, inheritance tax and the rest however are ALL perfectly Constitutional. Yet the wealthy, whoget most of their "income" from investments and corporate profits have rigged the system to keep lowering the taxes that target them, and that ends up raising income taxes on the rest of us. It is exactly why the GOP wants to cut so many programs and paint Government as incompetent (even if they are the ones making it more so with their policies), because you can't continue to lower taxes on Corporations and the wealthy and still fund programs that benefit the rest of us.

    What do they care if most Americans get a good education? They send their kids to private schools, and an educated electorate does not serve their interests. What do they care if tens of millions of Americans have no health coverage. They can afford to pay for the best care available. What do they care if the infrastructure goes to pot. They have private jets. Wake up people! Almost half the country is being suckered into voting for people who are going to ruin them and their kid's futures, and not leave any safety net in place to catch them either.

  155. Hi Open Your Eyes,

    Open your eyes and read the constitution. Admendment XVI reads, "Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

    Since this is an amendment to the constution, passed by Congress and ratified by the States, it superceeds any other constitutional text which is related. In this case it modifies Article I, section 9, specifically the part reading "No capitation, or other direct, tax shall be laid . . . ," which is the paragraph all the conspiracy theorists love to cite when they try not to pay their taxes. Also, what do you think capital gains are? What do you think corporate profits are? They're income. That's why those taxes are levied via the income tax collection system. If you're in favor of those taxes, you're in favor of an income tax.

    Anyway, the rest of your comment is great. It's too bad you opened with such a poorly informed statement.

  156. "The program’s problems began a decade ago with an effort to merge military and civilian weather satellites into a single project. After its cost doubled and its schedule slipped five years, that project was sundered by the Obama administration. "

    Here's how you blame Obama. Bush Jr knew that Obama would succeed him and wanted to leave him with multiple challenges on multiple fronts. Jr. never thought that Obama would actually get a health care plan passed. He also never thought that Obama would be able to end one war, take care of bin Laden, and try to fix the economy. Nor did the Republicans and since the Republicans are in constant contact with the Gods Of Power they knew that Obama was meant to fail somehow somewhere and they had to help that happen.

    Well it has but if our weather satellites are successfully replaced what will they blame Obama for next: their own inability to work and play well with others?

  157. Maybe if NASA weren't wasting their time on BHO's order to tell Arabs what great contributions the islamic world has supposedly made to math and science over the years (which, if true, makes one wonder why things as simple as indoor plumbing are so rare throughout the Middle East), they could have have spent more time looking after things useful to Americans like this.

  158. Yes, we can't have our presidents actually citing history and science. That's just un-American!

    By the way: did you miss the part about the program's "sad history"? This is a long term problem that, no doubt, originated in the anti-government/anti-science administration of Geo. W. Bush.

  159. NOAA was underfunded by the Bush Administration and combined with DoD, which was killing (and designed to kill) this critical Government agency. The Obama Administration put an end to that by making the agency independent again, but the funding part is done by Congress, and we know who controls the House currently and what their agenda is...

    Maybe if you weren't wasting your time parroting sound bites and spent more time paying attention to what's really going on, you wouldn't make such ill informed statement in public.

    A little history lesson. The Arabs did make invaluable contributions to math and science, centuries ago. That civilization was cut short by the Mongolian nomadic invasions of the middle ages. Despite that, most modern math and science has been built on that foundation that the Arabs created. The current situation in the Middle East (many people lacking even indoor plumbing) has more to do with Western countries (led by the US) propping up despotic dictatorships for most of the past 100 years than any thing else. There are also over 1 Billion people of Islamic faith world wide. Only a tiny percentage of them are extremists and "terrorists". Only a real fool (or a really foolish country) would think that alienating that many people is a good idea. The best way to fight the extremists is to convince the rest that we are not their enemies thus denying the extremists easy access to recruits. That is simple math ;).

  160. "they could have have spent more time"

    Working for free, and financing the launches with bake sales. Right.

  161. People never seem to understand that there is a MINIMUM 2-4 year lag time between government action (or inaction) and consequences. You really think these satellites decayed in 3.5 years? You think our launch systems to get satellites into orbit decayed in that time? These decisions were made 8-10 years ago.

    Wake up and use your heads. Stopping jerking the knee. This country needs critical thinking, not parroting of ideas you heard elsewhere.

  162. Yes you are right if there is an infrastructure to produce the satilites. We had 8 years of gutting research so money could be transfered from the Middle Class to the rich. And Obama kept most of Bush's policies so we have had Bush's policies for the last 12 years and if we start now it will take 12 years to get out of the hole the Republicans dug for us.

  163. This article seems blind to the attempt by the Bush administration to merge NOAA with the DoD, and attempt in which the military gained and NOAA lost and which the Obama administration killed. It's not all just mismanagement by NOAA, but the efforts of the GOP to kill spending wherever it can. Hence, NOAA has to operate its weather satellite program "within a strict limit — about $900 million a year", which is about 1/4 of one percent of the national budget for 2011.

    Let's get real here. If NOAA weather satellites are crucial (and I think they are), then Congress and NOAA should be working to fund the program properly.

  164. Well said.

    Programs requiring an investment over the horizon require proper funding and long-term planning throughout.

    So it would seem like so-called budget hawks from yesterday took the short view and we are all the poorer for this decision.

  165. They were busy working to de-legitimize President Obama. That was their number one priority according to Kentucky Mitch McConnell.

  166. The 1% didn't fully think out the consequences of thoroughly defunding public infrastructure. Now they're going to have to privately finance their own hurricane satellites, earthquake sensors and tornado detectors.

  167. The rich don't care the government that they hate will protect them while poor people die in old cheaply made timber houses.

  168. No, they'll just privatize it all and make us citizens pay for it through the nose. Want to know if a hurricane is headed your way? Just pay $19.95 for each hourly report.

  169. Typical federal (and for that matter state, country, etc) organization. Grossly mismanaging what it has while demanding more money to expand. It doesn't matter who wins the election, the governmental behemoths continues to feed and grow until its host is dead....like cancer.

  170. Dear Brodston in Gretna, Nebraska. What do you care what happens to the East Coast? All you need to worry about is tornadoes, hail storms, droughts and crop insurance. Oh, wait, the government subsidizes those weather forcasts with dopler radar and crop insurance. Maybe you could chip in a few ears of corn for your fellow citizens. When Romney is elected he can say that the loss of life and property was just God's will.

  171. You know that's not true. Unless you have been deaf for the last 30 yearss when all we heard and all we got was less government and less taxes.

  172. Indeed.

    Fantasies of efficient, productive, modern and helpful “government” are just that: wishful thinking by not-very-smart Progressives.

  173. Didn't have no weather satellites in 1917, as long as we have enough battleships and buggy whips, what the heck do we need them now for anyhow?

  174. Just cut the salaries of the weather forecasters, meteorologists, and give them just one minute to sum up long windy useless diatribe, especially that of Lee Goldberg of ABC. Just tell me what is happening here and when. We don't need to know about his mother, his childhood or even his children.

  175. ABC is corporate entertainment, not a government agency. Your favorite weather personality doesn't work for the agency that's operating (or mis-operating) the satellites; he gets his weather data from them and then tries to be entertaining. Don't like it? Turn it off.

  176. So the mismanagement and delays started under the Bush administration... Sorry, but can anyone other than me think of a reason why that administration would be in no hurry to get improved atmospheric measurements? Perhaps the information we stand to lose will make it harder to refine climate models, thus prolonging the "uncertainty" around climate science and climate change?

    And as for those who keep saying privatization is the answer: Who is the customer for that private service? Who would pay the privatized enterprise for weather data? Governments? Insurance companies? TV networks?

  177. Government. But in a truly free economy, efficiency will provice an incentive to cut out the middle man, so ... umm ... wait a minute ...

  178. If this storm moves up near Hatteras, with enough juice, then turns left ... well, I'd be surprised. There's a formidable low pressure churning north of Newfoundland and strong ridge of high pressure holding up the front. With luck, the massive front and the big low will shove that Sandy off, into the northern Atlantic. Wait till Sandy gets a little more north, then make up your mind.

  179. The tropical storm blogs are a buzz over Hurricane Sandy's potential impact for the east coast. My biggest concern is that people will not see a menacing storm until the it is too late. Hurricane Sandy will weaken, but when it moves west to just offshore the interaction with a traditional storm system and very cold air will produce a "perfect storm' stronger than the storm dramatized in the movie by the same name. I strongly recommend that people follow all emergency agency recommendations and for heaven's sake, please prepare for extended periods without power. Don't wait until supplies are out. This is a very dangerous situation and your life may well be at risk if you under estimate the power of the forecasted storm.

  180. Like in wars, hurricanes destroy large amounts of property and often kill many people, so I suggest we name them after leaders of nations that have become known throughout the world for their warmongering. For example, Hurricane Bush, Hurricane Obama, Hurricane Netanyahu, - Merkel, - Cameron, - Sarkozy, etc. It’s harder to imagine a more appropriate way to honor our great leaders than to name natural disasters after them.

  181. Only in a fantasy is Obama "known throughout the world" for his "warmongering." I travel a lot, and that is not the image of Obama seen in the world.

  182. Power outages = No TV = No Political Ads.
    Awww, gee.

  183. Global warming = warmer ocean. Warmer ocean = greater hurricane strength.
    Regardless of politicians (and those that fund them), if A=B and B=C then A=C.

  184. The biggest storms _ever_ recorded hitting the East Coast were in the 1930s and 1950s, with the ones from the 1930s larger than the ones from the 1950s.

  185. Edward - The biggest earthquake ever to hit San Francisco was way back in 1906. Recent ones have been much milder. Shall we apply your logic?

  186. if you have followed the depression of the 1930's we are right in line with 1937 it is just history repeating itself. But man has not been kind to mother nature and she is getting even - big time

  187. Is this global warming's way of getting back at two candidates who have ignored this issue in their campaigns?? Swing states right in the path!

  188. You do realize, Kate, that we had large storms long before the "global warming" hoax, don't you?

    To that point, it's not that the candidates are ignoring the issue, they are simply not making fools of themselves by talking about something that doesn't exist. Sure, BHO cynically played along in the last election, but mostly in the primary phase because HRC was playing along. After that, he paid lip service through the general election just so it wouldn't be blatantly obvious he had taken the gullible for a ride.

    I'm not even so sure that Al Gore believes this nonsense anymore. His carbon footprint (all the private jets and all) surely implies that he doesn't.

  189. One of the issues with global warming that the neigh-sayers choose to ignore - a pattern of more severe storms. It's not that we haven't had bad storms in the northeast before, but we've been having more of then over the last 30 years or so.

  190. I have a flight booked from Ottawa to Fort Myers, Florida, through Philadelphia on Wednesday morning. Hearing of the storm's approach and expected severity, I called US Air this morning to ask their advice on whether I should re-route through another city, or travel another day. I was told that I could re-route through Charlotte on the 31st but it would cost $150.00 to change, plus $25.00 reservation fee. However, if I do nothing and I wait until Wednesday morning for my flight to be cancelled (which it surely will be), there will be no charge, but I will be just one of thousands of people on Wednesday that they will be trying to re-route. So, they are charging me $175.00 for having the foresight to try to re-arrange my travel myself, saving them the time and paperwork.

    Oh, and on top of that, the flight insurance that I purchased for $35 on the US Air website is no longer valid because I booked my flight on October 24 and the storm became a "known event" on October 24. Why didn't this pop up when I paid the fee for the flight insurance? I booked a flight into a city that is going to be in the center of the storm, and no red flag appeared on the system that I shouldn't waste my money on flight insurance?

  191. You should check again, because that does not sound correct. US Airways has issued a travel advisory for a number of cities: essentially, if you are traveling through one of the cities affected on October 29th through 31st (and Philadelphia is one of the cities they have listed), you will not be charged the $150 change fee to shift your reservation, so long as you keep the same origin/destination, and change to fly on October 26th through 28th, or November 1st through 4th.

    Simply go to USAirways.com and click the "learn more" button next to the "US Airways has issued a travel advisory" near the top of the home page.

    It's also easy to change your reservation online instead of via telephone, which will save you the $25 phone booking fee.

  192. Tish. I had the same experience with US AIR in a storm situation a year ago. Worst yet, waiting til the day of the storm? You wont be able to get through to a live person unless you go to the airport.

  193. Andrew, I just got off the phone with US Air. Because I made the change voluntarily this morning, before the advisory was posted on the website, I have to pay the change fee and they will not waive it.

  194. Remember Diane in 1955. This sounds more like that. You were in serious trouble if you lived near a river, not so bad otherwise.

  195. Just cut the salaries of the weather forecasters, meteorologists, and give them just one minute to sum up long windy useless diatribe, especially that of Lee Goldberg of ABC. Just tell me what is happening here and when. We don't need to know about his mother, his childhood or even his children.

  196. Unbelievable panic. My mother lives on the CT/NY border and emailed me the new stations are freaking people out adn people are running to buy and hoard generators, they're flying off the shelves. This is storm is thousands of miles away
    and not even turning into a hurricane 4 level.

    Also, the NYT just reported today the satellites are pretty old and unpredictable and may very well be unreliable! One story contradicts another. My head spins from Vienna!

    Are the weathermen or newstations in bed with the mfg. company of generators, or are they just bored and excoted to report a potential storm?

    And people are that dumb to bolt and buy out the stores shelves like a nuclear B is coming?

    Oy! The drama over most likely a heavy rainstorm.

  197. In the past 2 years, several unannounced storms have come through my area (No. Virginia) leaving me without power for 10-25 hours and lots of debris. If this is bigger than than the past storms, I would want to know. In the meantime, be happy in Vienna.

  198. "This is storm is thousands of miles away"
    should they wait until its at their door step?

    It's not like the generators will evaporate. Worse case, they have them on hand you an actual event.
    The issue in this storm is severely thing are coming together that could make it a lot worse. which in no way is an excuse for many of the poor media reports. Nor does in excuse the Director from making is stupid 'Full Moon' comment.

  199. How will this affect the election? Early voting may get derailed (watch out, Obama), and state and fed response to the damage may affect voters' choices. I'm getting more and more worried.

  200. Forgive the terminology, but there's no reason to think that the effect will be more than a wash. (a) Most people who need to vote early vote on the weekend, while the storm will probably hit Monday. (b) It's probably a good thing for Obama that voters think about the storm, since many voters remember the ideological allergy Republicans have had over FEMA in the last decade.

  201. There will be areas of eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland that may have serious problems. Most of us might loose power. Other areas may have flooding. Kind of like what happened during Irene...except if the storm moves further north and inland, places like Vermont that got hammered by Irene last year could be hammered again this year by Sandy.

  202. Mr. Obama needs to get a rain slicker and a Detroit made yellow jeep and follow the storm until it makes land fall. Maybe then the Conservstives might believe he is head of state charge and looking after the nation.

  203. Forget all the stuff about global warming--it's real all right--and warn the people there to get themselves prepared as we do down here. I'm in South Beach. Fill your pots and pans with water. Get batteries. Get candles. If you are low on food supplies, get canned goods. And stay away from windows because up there you don't have storm shutters. These storms are powerful and scary. Don't put off getting yourselves prepared. Then after you can shout as you should about global warming.

  204. You don't need a hurricane to silence political ads.
    You just need an off button.

  205. Unfortunately, there is no early voting in Pennsylvania, and barely managed to beat back a very strict voter ID law for this election cycle. Bet our Republican governor will be happy to receive federal disaster funds, though . . .

  206. Corbett's already declared Pennsylvania a disaster area so that federal disaster funds could be more rapidly processed. He hates big government except when he loves big government.

  207. I'm heading out now to fill up all the cars with gas, and then stop by the supermarket to strip all the bread off the shelves. Five or six gallons of milk should get me through and maybe 12 cases of Beer.

  208. I'm taking this serious; stocked up on Gin, Bud, and pretzels.

  209. Looks like light houses have once again become strategically critical.

    If only we had more horse and bayonets to protect these vital assets. ; - )

  210. So who has been fired?

  211. You don't want to fire people; you want to redirect them to the solution. Talent is very hard to come by, and unless they're incompetent (probably not), there is no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water.

  212. Who needs satellites when the super-rich can look down from their lofty thrones and tell us what the weather will be? Oh.

  213. They should just get Google to handle this!

  214. The program was doomed by two decisions. First, the decision to merge civilian and miltiary requirements into one satellite program. Military and civilian authorities have VERY different views of how to build a satellite. Contrary to what the story states, NPOESS was created by Presidential Decision Directive/NSTC-2 of May 5, 1994 wherein the military and civil meteorological programs were merged into a single program.

    Sorry folks, Bill Clinton started the problems, not Bush.

    The second decision was made by a contractor for one of the satellite's major instruments. The contractor decided to staff the project with younger, less experienced engineers becuase they intially felt the instrument was a slight upgrade over what they've done in the past. Bad call. The instrument accounted for an astounding portion of the program's cost over run.

    George Bush's adminstration get's credit for not keeping an eye on the till.

  215. I think that your first point has some validity, but it doesn't tell the whole story. NPOESS was designed to replace the military DMSP program and the civil (NOAA) POES program.

    The DMSP sensors were/are not very robust; its primary imaging sensor only has two channels (one visible and one thermal infrared), while the POES AVHRR sensor had 5 channels. The military liked two aspects of the DMSP imager, the constant field of view (so to speak) which allows for full spatial resolution across the image swath (AVHRR data gets very coarse at the edge of the image swath due to the curvature of the earth), and the low-light capabilities of the visible sensor (which can image city lights, fires, etc at night, as well as moonlit clouds).

    NOAA on the other hand wanted more channels than the AVHRR to do additional cloud micro-physics and atmospheric properties. Trying to build a constant spatial resolution sensor with all of these additional wavelength channels proved to be more difficult than the contractors anticipated (to put it mildly).

    In my opinion, this was a failure by the contractor who underbid the costs and over-promised the results (sound familiar to anyone?). I suspect that there was some serious friction between DoD and NOAA managers over this, as DoD seems to have more "budgetary flexibility" than the civil agencies.

  216. The $13 billion dollar program is at least ten years old which translates to $1.3 billion per year. The current military budget is $683.7 for one year. We vest Congress to secure our present and future, yet normalized at 0.0019% of the current military budget they do no secure. Perhaps it will take a very destructive storm, inadequately predicted because of a gap in satellite coverage, before Congress understands the substantive meaning of the word - secure.

  217. There won't be any less destructive damage to property even when predicted in advance. There'll just be greater loss in lives.

  218. The Republicans say satellites we don't need no stinking sateliltes. We don't need no research. We don't need no stinking schools. The only thing we need is more money for excutives.

  219. *Years* of mismanagement. Years. That includes "years" of mismanagement under our science-oriented Administration.

  220. This program was de-funded by the Bush neocons because earth watching satellite data supported global warming theories. They also removed references in NASA's mission statement that referred to monitoring earths climate.

  221. What's the problem anyway? Haven't we been told that the space program is a waste of money and that we should be using that money to solve problems back here on earth? Yes, It's NASA that launches the rockets.

  222. Something else which was working fine but was deliberately broken (through delays) due to stupid ideology and somebody thinking they should be able to make a buck instead continuing what was working - just dandy.

    Since the SEC collects more in fines each year than it uses for its budget, let's ramp up their inspections, send their overages over to NOAA as needed, and what's the status on that proposed financial transactions tax aimed at cutting down on flash trading ?

    Infrastructure is not just on the ground !

  223. The only good thing about losing satellite coverage is that the republicans responsible for it will suffer along with the rest of us.

  224. Maybe more so with all those "cottages" along the sea-shores. But then, they're covered by insurance and they'll just rebuild and the government will pay to import sand to rebuild the beaches for them.

  225. If Romney is elected, taxes will be cut, military spending will increase, the debt will explode and as essential services at all levels of government rapidly disappear Republicans voters will shake their heads and wonder what happened. Don't say we didn't warn you.

  226. True. And they'll still blame democrats and the poor. They're doing it now, and succeeding far beyond the merits of their argument (which is nil).

  227. increasingly our quality life is tied to the project management capability of our government and this reality has translated for some of us into the current fear of big government. While it may feel good to blame Bush or even Reagan we all have been disappointed over the meaning of "shovel ready". My vote will go to the politicians who are not talking about shrinking or growing government but rather the ones talking about how to make it work. You only need to look at the massive US trade imbalances to see which countries have governments that are working.

  228. Project Management has and should reside at the Prime Contractors. Government folks do oversight well, but Government personnel policies, save for DOD and Agency Programs, generally fail to find the right people, give them enough lattitude to actually manage and utterly fail to hold feet to the fire.
    You don't get very far out of DOD or the Agencies before real project management devolves into employment programs.

  229. Why would a then eight eight year Republican Bush administration which deemed climate change "funky science" want to concentrate any funds in areas that might clarify the same for the slow learners in the GOP.
    Besides they had two unfunded wars and a drug bill to be concerned with didn't they?

  230. The problem was precisely that the administrations of both Bush and Obama concentrated almost $100 bn on changing climate while neglecting to monitor it.

  231. This problem is just our republican tax cuts at work. It would have been nice to take some of the trillions they squandered on wars, tax cuts, and huge swaths of deregulation, to have some satellites, but what the heck, people bought into the scary ads when the elections came around, and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

  232. "You see there are these things call aircraft carriers that planes land on" ...oops wrong talk .

    Well it happened on Obama's watch regardless of past administrations foolish moves so he is to blame .

    He has gutted NASA so this is no surprise to anyone who cares about space we are quickly falling on all levels ..... unless it's for the military the all the money you need pentagon .

  233. Where has the current administration been for the past four years where this situation has been allowed to worsen? c'mon!

  234. "The mismanagement of the $13 billion program, which goes back a decade, was recently described as a 'national embarrassment' by a top official of the Commerce Department."

    Where is the accountability and has anyone been fired?

  235. Love him as I do, Obama has caved to the war machine. Weather satellites are chump change compared to endless and useless wars and Cold War weapons systems (eg F-35) into which we flush $ billions and billions. Not having to worry about reelection, perhaps he'll stand up to the chicken hawks next term.

  236. No surprise. Hey, this nation, i.e. those proud to live in a ''red'' state, doesn't care about weather satellites -- they have the weather channel! (Disconnect, but explaining that will burst their fairy bubble.) Plus, those red voters can't see these devices up there to make sure it was money well spent. But don't touch spending for invasions and occupations of other countries they fear, no sir, or question how the military puts their children to good use at age 18...with eighth-grade education. Bush-little did dramatically reduce funding for satellites (ironic, since he had an invasion fetish) along with reducing funds for NOAA.

    I do not know if Obama has improved NOAA's balance sheet. Climate study, forecasting and research should be a govt. / business partnership, in my view. I can think of four private weather forecasting companies who get info free from the govt. and these satellites simply to feed data to commodity speculators...who then drive up our cost of corn, wheat, etc. Make those who use, and making a killing, chip in, at the very least.

  237. Notice how most of the comments are about Republicans v Democrats, Bush v Obama? Have we gone completely nuts as a country? Can't we think straight anymore? We don' seem to be able to get together and set priorities anymore. Everything is a crisis.

    We really are on track to join the third world if we can't get our act together. Have we had too much for too long? Well, not to worry. Looks like we are going to fix that.

  238. No, we haven't gone completely nuts. W's administration trashed our economy and trashed our reputation in a war of choice justified by lies. The "war on terror" was really intended to trash the Constitution. There was no interest in our infrastructure, and Obama has been blunted by GOP filibusters.

    All Romney/Ryan--and the GOP/"Tea Party"--offer is the same-old, same-old. We need another space program, but "We can't afford it!" Medicaid and food stamps grew because of the blockage--and the deep hole that W had dug could not be set right in four years.

  239. I remember a similiar situation under Regan. A satellite was put into orbit a very short time before a critical situation arose. This is crucial stuff but the government has other wars to fight (pun regretfully intended).

  240. Wow! A SATELLITE FLEET! Sounds like Buck Rogers for sure. So we can't live without it? Cellphone fleet too.

    I asked a college student what she would rather give up; her cell phone or weather satellites. She looked confused and thought for a few seconds. She said she could do without weather satellites.

  241. The military had its nose in the Weather satellite business and design from the very start. They constrained equipment that would have worked for the weather functions but caused noise for the unpublished military hitchhikers. NPOESS would have been up on schedule if the military didn't want to hide amongst the sensors. Even when the schedule slipped, it was time to throw more bodies and money at the problem, and not focus on the safety and need of reliable weather prediction.
    When the budget blew up, it was time to stop and reassess everything, instead of pursuing the core needs and requirements. And, stop it did. It was easier to start the new project JPSS instead of proceeding with NPOESS. Too many had their hooks in the budget, and the brains who could make it happen had to run before the lay-off hammer fell. Aerospace has always been hampered by the feast or famine of large project budgets.
    How can you expect someone to pursue the right educational specialties when their are no jobs available when you complete your studies? There are currently no liquid rocket engines being built in the US. Rocketdyne has laid-off more than half of their staff. All of our expertise is gone to the four winds. Unemployment in the Aerospace sector of the economy is over 11%. How many people have to die before short sightedness is seen as a dangerous disease, communicable and virulent?
    R

  242. Just as I suspected. If they left the military functions out, it would already have launched.