Orin's post about NASA's plan to build a permanent base on the Moon reminds me of this quote by former Texas Senator Phil Gramm:
If the Senate voted this afternoon on building a cheese factory on the Moon, I would no doubt vote against it. But if the Senate decided, in its collective lack of wisdom, to build a cheese factory on the Moon, I would want engineers from Texas to design that cheese factory. I would want a construction company from Texas, since we have the best construction companies in the world, to build that cheese factory. If we were going to use milk from earthly cows, I would want milk from Texas cows to be used to make the cheese in the factory on the Moon, and I would want the celestial headquarters for it in Texas. But am I for a cheese factory on the Moon? No.
Perhaps NASA is about to make Gramm's hypothetical cheese factory on the Moon a reality. More likely, we will get lots of juicy contracts for Texas (or perhaps - thanks to Bob "King of Pork" Byrd's return to the Appropriations Committee Chairmanship - West Virginia), engineers, construction companies and cows, but no actual moonbase that can do anything useful.