We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Sunday, June 30. 2013
If, coulda, woulda, shoulda about history may not change it but does change our understanding of what happened and why. The two gravest mistakes the US made in Vietnam were to participate in, even bless, the overthrow of President Diem and then to not use our overwhelming force to bring North Vietnam to its knees.
The overthrow of Diem in 1963 upended the South Vietnamese pacification efforts and disrupted the organization of the professional army, requiring the large-scale US involvement. The failure to then use our massive force, especially in the air on North Vietnamese strategic targets instead of sending multi-million dollar planes against cheap trucks, allowed the North to extend its reach and prolong the war.
Mark Moyars wrote the book "Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965." It details how Diem's efforts were succeeding and were destroyed by the coup. In the June 29 Wall Street Journal (behind the paywall) Moyar reviews three other recent books that come to the same conclusion. Wise guys in Washington should not be in such a hurry to think they can superimpose their ideal of Western democracy where the foundations have not been laid and in the midst of war requiring unified stern measures.
Of historical note is, not only in 1964-5 the failure to bring to bear the Joint Chiefs' recommendations for strategic targeting of the North, but how in 1970 there was a similar failure of will in Washington. As President Nixon showed in 1972 by launching such a ferocious air attack on Hanoi and Haiphong, the war could have been shortened and many thousands of lives saved. Rear Admiral Joe Vasey was right hand man to Admiral John McCain Jr, Commander-In-Chief Pacific Command during 1968-1972. In an exclusive to this blog, for historical record, Joe Vasey has agreed to publish the below "after inaction" report on what could have been in 1970. (My apologies for the spacing below, due to copying-pasting from an email.)
Continue reading "What could have beens in Vietnam"
Readers know that I consider the trend in Psychiatry to obsess about diagnoses and nosology to be a silly pursuit. From Gary Greenberg's latest:
A friend drove a Tesla msp85 around 100 miles last weekend. The guy knows cars. Said it was the best car he had ever driven, by a long shot.
He said the power, comfort, and design were stunning. Goes about 400 miles before a 6-8-hour recharge with the super charging device. Consumer Reports says it's the best car they have ever tested.
I don't want one, even without the $125,000 price tag of that model. I'd be happy to try one out, though.
Each Tesla is made to order. When you think about it, they basically run on coal but the coal-burning is remote.
In British Columbia. h/t Adrenalist
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:50 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
The problem is that conspiracy nuts are exactly like global warming alarmists. You can show them graphs and videos all day long but it won't do the slightest bit of good. But, like AGW, it's still fun to try.
— Not brought down by enemy fire, check!
— Not brought down by friendly fire, check!
— Not an external explosion at all, check!
— Gas tank blew up from an electrical short circuit allowing high voltage to enter a low-voltage line, check!
— Flaming fuselage, still under power, streaked upwards after the nose cone broke off as witnessed by hundreds on the ground, check!
— Sensationalistic muckrakers opening old wounds for nothing but greed dragged out to the street and publicly flogged, unchecked!
The full episode is here.
One thing to note is that while it mentions that a handful of gas tanks have blown up over the years (lightning, sabotage, engine falling off), electrical short wasn't on the list. The implication is that this was a pretty rare event and that the equally-sensationalistic documentary continually screaming about how this could happen at any moment to any airplane in the sky (!!!) was quite a bit overblown.
And the same might be said of Boeing's reaction. While it's certainly caring of them to put in an 'inerting' system, all that'll do is add another quarter-ton of weight to the plane; weight that'll have to be compensated for somewhere else, possibly impairing the integrity of the aircraft. Merely replacing the wiring would have accomplished the same end. When they talk about the 'chain of events' that lead up to an airline disaster, about nineteen factors had to line up perfectly in order for the high-voltage line to arc into the low-voltage gas tank line in the first place, plus the perfect abrasion on the gas tank sending unit allowing the spark to occur at all.
On the other hand, this raises a key point. While the FAA has been criticized over the years for only taking action after a horrific accident has occurred, this is obviously a highly unjust complaint because it's simply impossible to predict everything that could go wrong on such a complex craft and the tremendous pressures it faces at altitude.
But when something does go wrong, the FAA is to be credited with making damn sure it won't happen again. Glancing over the Mayday airline disaster documentaries indicates that, with one glaring exception, not one accident whose mechanical cause was even suspected ever repeated itself. In many cases it was equivalent to the now-mandatory inerting system; that is, probably a serious overreaction, but the bottom — and only — line is that the tragedy hasn't happened again.
The one exception was the rear door popping off a DC-10, way back in '72. The FAA took the manufacturer's word for it that it'd be fixed, but two years later it happened again, this time with the explosive decompression taking out the plane's hydraulics and a loss of 346 lives.
That's when the FAA learned a valuable little lesson in 'trust' and started officially covering the bases, with the resultant sterling record of no repeats. There will always be the occasional piece of fuselage ripping off because of some metal rot that no one spotted; the occasional bird strike as well as the hopefully-rare control tower mix-up resulting in either an in-air or on-ground collision, but the crafts, themselves, seem as solid as they'll ever be.
The last stat I read:
You have a greater chance of being stung to death by bees than you do of dying in an airplane. So, just stay from any bee hives and, statistically, you should be good to go!
Saturday, June 29. 2013
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:49 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Why would it? Does fire insurance prevent fires? The main purpose of medical insurance is as bankruptcy insurance.
By the way, did I ever mention I own one of these?
It's a Guild F-212, a somewhat rare animal. I bought mine in 1968. What makes it special is that it's a 12-string but it doesn't have that usual monstrous 12-string body. It also has a standard 6-string neck, so while it's twice as hard to learn how to play, once one does, one can just fly because the fingers don't have to move twice as far as on a regular wide 12-string neck. It's a real honey.
But enough about me! Let's get to the links!
Hey, what a funny coincidence!
U.S. Discovers 'Miracle Drug' — Film at 11
So, along with curing athlete's foot, gout, lumbago, cancer, dandruff and other assorted ills, we can add to the list...
And, in what I'm sure many will consider the height of irony...
Get the low-down on the evil killer weed here.
Computer Virus v1.0 (Windows):
Computer Virus v2.0 (Apple/Mac):
Apple Releases Major Security Update for OS X
And now, Computer Virus v3.0:
As famed author Thomas Wolfe once said, you're either on the bus or you're off the bus. Staying a step ahead of the smartphone hackers sounds like a good bus to be on.
The Fawning MSM (part MMMDLXVII)
It's just disgusting the way the press protects the White House when a Dem is the current occupant. Remember all that talk about WMD and the Iraq War back in the Bush days?
Well, fifty thousand lives were recently lost due to a horrific WMD attack, but do you see any mention of it in the press? Of course not. Apparently, if it doesn't happen in Obama's own back yard, it's just not worth bothering with. But tell that to the fifty thousand innocents who were gassed to death!
Related: another horrific WMD attack on innocents reported here.
Question: How do you embarrass famed blogger John Hinderaker of Power Line blog?
Answer: Link to his latest article on global warming:
The one teensy, eensy little flaw in this otherwise idyllic scenario is that it escaped the attention of almost everybody else on the friggin' planet.
From Live Science just a few days ago:
It's a good thing they're not stooping to wild hyperbole, isn't it? The point is, this was approximately the twentieth article I've read with the term 'climate change' in it since John's post came out three weeks ago. All you have to do is click on every link that has anything to do with the natural world and there's an 80% chance it'll be there. I was warning about such complacency three years ago. The juggernaut continues its remorseless pace and these twilight articles do more damage than good.
As far as the decimation of species goes, I'm with the Darwinists on this one:
Never A Dull Moment Dept
Speaking of hoaxes and conspiracies, you might have heard that some glory-seeking and/or mentally-deficient morons are claiming the explosion aboard Flight 800 back in '96 was — and I hope you're sitting down — a government cover-up! That's right, it was a missile, either accidentally fired from a U.S. warship during exercises or a deliberate act of terrorism; your choice. And the government is keeping it all a secret because of, er, um, because it would be really-really embarrassing for everybody on the international stage. That part — along with who fired the deadly missile — remains a little hazy on the details.
Regardless, this delightful little theory has the same problem the 9/11 'Truthers' had. By the time you figure in all of the people involved in the investigation over three years, plus all of the outside people like those operating nearby airport radar units that tracked the crash, you are counting upon hundreds of people to keep silent for the rest of time eternal. In an age when everyone's 15 minutes of fame is just a YouTube video away, isn't it interesting that not one person has ever come forward, protected by shadowy face and encrypted voice, and said "I was working for the NSA/FBI/CIA when Flight 800 was shot down, and here's what really happened that fateful day." Not one.
On a semi-related note, right after Benghazi I read some comment about how it reminded the guy of the USS Pueblo, the first U.S. Navy ship to surrender in 150 years and a story quickly swept under the rug by an ever-obliging MSM with Democrat Lyndon Johnson as prez, and I thought the guy made a good point. I eventually blundered across an article on the parallel here.
Remember that guy landing a Cessna in Red Square a number of years ago? Well, some activist named Harry Atwood landed a biplane (of all things) on the White House lawn in order to prove how poor our security was, and he certainly succeeded. There's no question that if he'd been a terrorist carrying a small nuclear device, our government would have been paralyzed for years, so it's only right that serious steps be taken.
Daring exit question: Might Harry have been an NSA plant??
As I Walked out one Morning
As I walked out one evening,
"The voice of his generation." Wikipedia has a good summary of Auden's life. A versatile wordsmith and a very smart guy.
Friday, June 28. 2013
Fortunately, in America one is free to make the choice not to patronize a therapist who thinks like her. I think she imagines that her problem with freedom is everybody else's problem too.
I'd bet $5 that she is "Pro-Choice." Short version: I think she is as absurd as Cass Sunstein, a "soft totalitarian" whose choice is for me to follow their choices.
Being reasonably sane, I don't need anybody to share my choices in life. This video critique is pretty good, but takes her too seriously.
Madness Made Them Great - Thomas Jefferson, Steve Jobs, Estée Lauder, and Charles Lindbergh suffered from the same mental illness.
I do not think any professional would term obsessionalism to be a "mental illness." It's a character trait which exists on a spectrum, more common in men than in women. A good dose of it can be highly adaptive in life. Too much can be paralyzing.
DOJ Defunds Patriotic ‘Young Marines’ Group For Crime of Loving God
Next, he'll require us to wear rubbers when it rains
Most minority students are better off without racial profiling and double academic standards for college admission
Anybody in America can go to college. Whether it's worthwhile is another question.
Who's afraid of the Big Bad MOOC?
The author of that piece is.
What's Really 'Immoral' About Student Loans - It's not so much the interest rates charged. It is, rather, the principal of the thing.
This guy thinks the very concept of gay marriage is sicko:
Powerline on immigration:
Mexico wants these people to leave
Sultan's Bike Lanes to Nowhere:
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad MOOC? (Me.
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad MOOC? (Me.)
I am opposed to prison time for much non-violent crime. In fact, I don't even want Bernie Madoff in prison, living on my nickel at around $70,000/year. I'd rather see him shamed, shunned, fined unto poverty, and working as a greeter at an Orlando WalMart after spending a few weeks in the stocks on Wall St. or downtown Miami.
He would have made an excellent WalMart greeter.
I am also opposed to prison time for drug possession and, in fact, I am opposed to drug prohibition generally. Drug prohibition causes violence and craziness, makes drugs expensive, and feeds gangs and gang warfare.
This is not an endorsement of meth or heroin or even pot use, just pointing out that prohibition doesn't work and costs society more in the long run. If people mess up their lives and make themselves stupid with abuse and addiction, it should not be my problem. The prohibition is what makes it my problem.
Here's an article: Responsible Prison Reform.
"Legal" does not mean that you have to approve of it.
However, death is still slightly cheaper than divorce.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:46 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Why Warp Drives Aren't Just Science Fiction
Is the digital camera dead?
The Child Prodigies Who Became 20th-Century Celebrities
That's middle age for ya
GM to Invest $691 Million in Mexico
That's our $
The NSA presents a grave threat to liberty, but the pundits just talk about the Snowden sideshow.
Why are mortgages the government's business?
Why is marriage the government's business?
Farewell, Ataturk - An Islamist vision of the future
Hollywood braces for the Obamacare that Hollywood wanted
Corzine Officially Charged By CFTC For Filing False Reports, Commingling Funds And Other Violations
Major essay by Pethoukoukis: Taming the Megabanks
Illegal immigration: "My suspicion is that the Senate Dems actually don’t care if the House
China resettles two million Tibetans, says Human Rights Watch
Climate Change Deception Easy Because Most Don’t Understand
STUDY: Networks Air over 90 Global Warming Stories, Ignore Lull in Temperature Trends
James O’Keefe’s Rules for Radicals - The right-leaning provocateur has a new book out
Thursday, June 27. 2013
When people ask whether there is a constitutional right to gay marriage, I can't understand where they are coming from. The people do not have enumerated rights. It's the federal government which has enumerated powers. It's about freedom from the federal state.
I am not aware that the power to regulate marriage is among the federal powers. The case for polygamy:
How about two wives working on Wall St., one wife home with the kids, and the dude fishing and hunting all day? Well, I guess that would not be very manly in today's world and might not attract committed women.
The fact is that the meaning of Higher Ed has changed in the past 100 years in the US. In 1900, around 2% of Americans had BA degrees. That was a meaningful socio-cultural marker, but as the numbers now exceed 35%, and as even the most elite schools do not seem to know what their mission is, it no longer means very much more than a piece of paper required to manage a McDonald's store.
For a couple of decades, as BAs became commonplace, graduate degrees seemed to become more meaningful and popular as markers. Now, however, we are overrun with unemployed and marginally-employed MAs, PhDs, JDs, D. Divs, and MBAs with huge loans and no way to pay them off. And, assuming that MOOCs begin to take off thanks to the internet, there will be far less need for Profs.
Voegli has written a very important essay on the topic: The Higher Education Hustle
Like most of us Maggie's Farmers, I get my education now via a pre-MOOC. If you like to learn, that's what you do. It used to be called The Teaching Company, but now it's called Great Courses. Once you're hooked, you will never waste time on TV or movies again.
Books are good, too. Some students give it up after a paper credential, but some use it as a launching pad for a lifetime of curiosity and intellectual pursuits. In my view, the latter are the only ones deserving of a liberal arts education.
NYC's 12 best sushi places.
Some of these places are tiny (eg 9-20 seats) so you need reservations. A friend likes Kuruma the best. Bring plenty of cash.
Omakase means "I'll trust the chef" but for me, hold the Sea Urchin. Hold the sake too. I prefer beer.
It's estimated that Bob Dylan has given more than 2,500 performances in the past quarter century
How the Civil War Changed Your Life - 8 things to think about as we mark the conflict's 150th anniversary
8 Ways That Young People Are Getting The Shaft... And What To Do About It
Another IRS Official Refuses to Testify Before Congress
Repairing America's Unhealthy Relationship with Student Debt
Why governments and politicians really don’t have the ability to design an intelligent national health-care system
Where Was the Tea Party in the last election?
Why vote for Hillary? Because Hillary wants you to vote for her.
It has nothing to do with climate.
Sen. Manchin: It's war on America
Giuliani: Obama Can't Stand Up to Putin
Obama's only enemies are his fellow Americans
U.S. Spends More, Gets Less in Education
Affirmative Action: Who Does it Help, Who Does it Hurt?
It hurts kids of Asian background
Congratulations to Gay Americans Who Are Now Eligible for the Tax Code’s Marriage Penalt
Are Racial Preferences Now Entrenched for Decades?
Are Racial Preferences Now Entrenched for Decades?
(Page 1 of 8, totaling 193 entries) » next page