NASA Headquarters has a new political appointee in its employ: Patrick Rhode. He'll be working on the 9th floor.
For those of you who followed the post-Katrina management fiasco at FEMA you may recall hearing his name. Rhode served as FEMA Director Michael Brown's Chief of Staff and later, as Acting Deputy Director of FEMA. I am sure the folks at Stennis and Michoud will be thrilled to learn this.
Rhode has no relevant experience with science or technology, and he was a complete disaster at FEMA (where he was equally unqualified). In fact, like a certain NASA appointee who we know all too well around here, his only qualification seems to be his work on previous Bush campaigns. The NASA Watch post offers a variety of relevant media excerpts about Rhode, but this one, from The New Republic, is my favorite:
"Never fear, though: Rhode has covered disasters--as a TV anchor for local network affiliates in Alabama and Arkansas, in which capacity he developed "an acute interest in what responders do in times of crises." Perhaps not acute enough. He recently said that FEMA's response to Katrina was "probably one of the most efficient and effective responses in the country's history."
Here's my message for Rhode: You managed to get a cushy, undeserved appointment. Good for you. If you want to keep it, though, stay out of the way, maintain a low profile, and, whatever you do, don't even think about interfering with NASA science. I'll be watching you. We all will.
Hat tip to Evolving Thoughts
You're doing a heck of a job, Patty!
This adds to the claim that NASA is an acronym for "Need Another Seven Astronauts."
The evisceration of Science missions, in favor of the Shuttle-Space Station welfare system, and the too-little-too-late unfunded Manned Moon/Mars daydream, is an open invitation to Russia, Europe, India, China, and Japan to accelerate their space programs.
I speak as a deeply disillusioned ex-"rocket scientist" from Caltech, JPL, with 20 years in the Space Program for NASA, Boeing, Rockwell, and Lockheed-Martin. NASA and its contractors have slipped into being some sort of organized criminal enterprise. When I got canned as a potential whitsleblower on Space Shuttle safety projects, I found, by subpoena, almost 500 pages in my pesonnel file about which I'd know nothing. They were terrified that I'd go to the FBI and/or the NASA Inspector General. Years later, I testified to the Columbia Accident INvestigation Board, and the NASA IG. They didn't get it. They wouldn't look at my "pearl harbor file" of over 6,000 pages of alarming data.
Now Patrick Rhode will do his best to screw things up even worse.
Will NASA policy come to resemble the White House's Iraq policy?
Let me guess, you are better qualified.