straws in the wind...
Mark's recent Journal pieces - the SF chronicle piece and the more recent article - both have interesting stuff in them - apart from the pleasure of seeing the subject getting ever more serious treatment in the media.
It was notable that Terry Nagel in the SF Chronicle wrote "NASA... doesn't believe that its mission is to help taxpayers go to space." That wouldn't be nearly so hard-hitting if it said "tourists". And as that way of thinking spreads, more people are (hopefully) going to do a double-take and say "Eh? Then, er, what do we give NASA $14 billion every year for then?"
In the second piece, as Mark points out, the "NASA engineer afraid to give his name" is getting to be a sign of the times, eh? And though they may be afraid of getting bawled out by irate RLV fans - I think it's equally likely they're frightened of being sacked by Mr Goldin for admitting to the press that passenger-carrying RLVs could indeed be developed for a few $billion - that is, at most, just a few months' of NASA's monstrous gravy-train funding!