Saturday, April 30, 2011

Failure To Launch

I was thinking today about how fitting it was for President Obama to be present at today's final launch of another Shuttle. After all, I thought, who better to preside over the end of an Endeavor? But I suppose this works, too.

Anyway, that scrubbed liftoff was very much on my mind as I read this piece from Investors about the Reagan Administration's recession recovery and that of 44 (H/T to Instapundit).

I remember in the 80s how righteous I felt as I poo-poohed "Trickle-Down Economics" (and isn't that just an infelicitous pairing of images!). The difference from then to now is akin to that from rocket fuel to corn-based ethanol.

We'll be lucky if we clear the gantry at this rate.

UPDATE: Bad link fixed.


To borrow a formulation from Glen Reynolds:

They told me that if I voted for John McCain, freedom of the press would be stifled. And they were right!

UPDATE:  Well, if I'm gonna be scooped, it might as well be in as fitting a manner as this!

UPDATE: Grf! Fixed another bad link. Thanks to Mr H for alerting me to another installment of the Blogger Follies.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Flush

(Adapted from a Facebook reply to a friend who wondered: "Not to offend anyone, but why should anyone on this side of the Atlantic give a rat's ass about the royal wedding?")

In a few hours, millions of people --an uncomfortable number of whom reside in the US-- will be rising early from their slumbers to witness the pomp and pageantry of the wedding of Prince what's-his-face with what's-her-name.

The best answer I can give to my friend's query is this: Because Americans have, right from the start, exhibited a deep (and, I submit, deeply unhealthy) obsession with the very sort of aristocracy which, I seem to recall, we kinda fought a war to shake off.

We're always trying to turn our celebrities and politicians and "Robber Barons" into a kind of royalty, while we look on, agog with admiration (and envy) from our serf-tilled fields. The tabloids and tell-all documentaries are our modern guillotines.

It's almost as though we've not ever quite recovered from the collective trauma of eliminating an hereditary gentry from our culture and society, and substituting a truly egalitarian, meritocratic system.

But there's really nothing quite as UN-AMERICAN as the very notion of an aristocracy. Personally, I find the whole thing nauseating in the extreme.

Needless to say, I won't be setting my alarm.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Progressive Standards of Civility - both of them

[by Mr.Hengist]

Last night I was mulling over something VPOTUS Biden said regarding the current budget dispute: "The Republicans this time are totally, and I don't mean this in a pejorative sense, are out of the closet." It's an interesting use of that phrase. Biden did of course mean this in the pejorative; they are "out of the closet" in terms of their public plans for the Federal budget, and pejorative in the sense that Biden thinks they intend to do wrong and wishes to debate against their nefarious plans. Nevertheless, what struck me was that he would use that turn of phrase at all - and that Liberals have let it slide. Progressives see themselves as gay rights advocates and the defenders of gay dignity, so how is it that one of their own can use this turn of phrase in this way - referring to Republicans revealing their true and (supposedly) harmful intent? If he had said, "the monster's out from under the bed" it would have been a different matter, but "out of the closet" is strictly associated with homosexuals revealing their orientation, and it's considered a good thing. Using it to describe what Liberals consider to be evil Republican goals is oddly inappropriate.

What, I wondered, would be the Progressive response if Republicans had used this "out of the closet" phrase in a similar way but aimed at Democrats? If, say, VPOTUS Cheney had remarked that we now see the Democrats "totally out of the closet" in regards to their intent to dramatically cut DOD funding? I imagined the response would be swift and strongly condemning. As luck would have it, today we are treated to a real-life example - and even better, it's not just used by Republicans but it's also aimed at Republicans.

A college Republican group called upon conservatives in the student body to "come out of the closet." University of Iowa professor Ellen Lewin's response, in an email back to the students: "F--- you, Republicans."

Vulgar and uncivil, certainly, and weren't Liberals decrying the "incivility" of the Right only a few of months ago after the Giffords shooting (by a non-right-wing madman, no less)? In a NYTimes blogpost just last week the Nobel laureate NYTimes columnist Dr. Paul Krugman's mask drops, falls to the floor, and explodes (to lift a phrase from Steven Hayward at Power Line) when he informed us that "Civility is the Last Refuge of Scoundrels." This would be the same Paul Krugman who joined the Right-bashing party by blaming the Right for the Giffords shooting (see here, and here). Note well the double-standards to which Liberals hold themselves vs. their political opposition; they demand civility from the Right as they continue to fling poo at them.

Call it another example of The Pretext of Principles. If it weren't for situational principles, what principles would they have left? This one: What we do is good, what they do is bad - always, even when it's the same thing.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Bare Cupboard of the EU Paper Tigers

[by Mr.Hengist]

It's been pointed out by many (and so asserted by me during my ’04 conversation with Noocyte) that the European militaries have been pared back past the point of their being useful allies in any significant conflict. This harvest of shame is the fruit of their folly in the war of the Euroweenies versus the Arsenal of Kleptocracy. In an article in the April 16, 2011 WaPo, we learn this:
“Less than a month into the Libyan conflict, NATO is running short of precision bombs, highlighting the limitations of Britain, France and other European countries in sustaining even a relatively small military action over an extended period of time, according to senior NATO and U.S. officials.”
Good grief, but there’s more:
“[…] the current bombing rate by the participating nations is not sustainable. “The reason we need more capability isn’t because we aren’t hitting what we see — it’s so that we can sustain the ability to do so. One problem is flight time, the other is munitions,” said another official, one of several who were not authorized to discuss the issue on the record.”
The problem of flight time is a function of their having to traverse relatively long distances from Allied airbases to Libyan targets. This has multiple effects on the campaign, all of them bad:
- Large quantities of expensive fuel are consumed,
- Wear & tear are put on aircraft, leading to increased maintenance costs and overall downtime, as well as hastening the point at which the aircraft will have to undergo overhaul.
- Fewer sorties can be flown overall because the strike craft spend so much time in transit.
- Enemy weapons can inflict damage on their targets in the meantime.
- Intelligence can become stale, and enemy targets can move out of area or into a protected space, like a residential neighborhood.
Would that they had carrier groups to park offshore, but of course, they don’t.
“European arsenals of laser-guided bombs, the NATO weapon of choice in the Libyan campaign, have been quickly depleted, officials said. Although the United States has significant stockpiles, its munitions do not fit on the British- and French-made planes that have flown the bulk of the missions.”
European airframes not compatible with American weaponry. How very stupid. What’s next? “We can’t put boots on the ground – our dainty stiletto heels will sink into the sand! Help us, Uncle Sam!”
“Libya “has not been a very big war. If [the Europeans] would run out of these munitions this early in such a small operation, you have to wonder what kind of war they were planning on fighting,” said John Pike, director of, a defense think tank. “Maybe they were just planning on using their air force for air shows.”
Perhaps a fresh salvo of strongly worded memos from the U.N. will do the trick, or it’s on to the big guns of U.N. binding resolutions!

Remember this the next time you hear a leftist indignantly whine about how U.S. military expenditures exceed those of our allies. Butterflies and rainbow unicorn farts do not win wars. It is our allies who have been underspending and are woefully unprepared.