The price of Monolithic Governance

Steve Blank:

Today, the fate of the SpaceX Starship offers an example of how government oversight agencies can stifle innovation when they are unable to distinguish between innovation and execution and throw roadblocks in front of the single company that has transformed access to space.

In delaying test launches of the SpaceX Starship, the FAA desired a lengthy investigatory period that created unnecessary roadblocks for a company that for better or worse now wears the mantle of the U.S. national champion for access to space.

While at first glance the FAA/SpaceX dust-up over their rapid rocket development might be looked at as a rich entrepreneur breaking the rules, and a federal agency trying to keep the public safe, it is actually an example of a government organization — the FAA — unable to distinguish between innovation and execution.   

In innovation failure is part of the process. Test rockets blow up, test airplanes may crash. If you do not push the envelope and discover the limits of your design you’re not innovating fast enough or far enough. It goes without saying that you strive to minimize loss of life and property, but the rules governing innovation programs should recognize a heightened need for speed. The U.S. government appreciated this when developing rockets and experimental aircraft in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Both the House and Senate investigations of the FAA’s failures in the Boeing 737 Max crashes found that there were “lapses in aviation safety oversight and failed leadership at the FAA” and called for “consistent oversight to ensure their work to protect the flying public is executed fully and correctly.” This meant the FAA failed to execute their basic mission — to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world. Execution, here, means following known, repeatable processes — in this case monitoring the design of new systems in an aircraft design — something they’ve done for 60-plus years. The goal is for the FAA to ensure aircraft don’t fail by design. For the FAA, risk reduction to protect the flying public is paramount. Failure in execution in monitoring Boeing meant people at the FAA failed to do their job. And two airplanes crashed because of that. 

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 


The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.