Public Schools As Child Abuse

Example #1,456,382:

To be thorough, they should have searched the neighbor’s yard for a dead Triceratops, too. Everyone involved in this tragedy should be flogged naked through the streets, then put in the stocks wearing a dunce cap.

Hey, the kid deserved it! He’s probably also a young-earth creationist, what with his apparent belief in the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs.

The Real Villain Of Ferguson

It’s LBJ’s (not so) Great Society.

Yes. It’s been a half-century of social disaster for blacks.

[Wednesday-morning update]

Jason Riley tells some hard truths:

Once upon a time, Eric Holder called for us to engage in a conversation about race. If that conversation were to be frank, it would have to start with the brute and ugly fact pointed out by Jason Riley. I do not doubt that racial prejudice still exists, but it does not constitute a serious obstacle to African-American advancement. The most grievous problems that African-Americans face today have little or nothing to do with the conduct of ordinary white people. Of course, they may well have something to do with white conduct in the past, which has a lingering effect. But nothing can be done about that. Long before they encountered George Zimmerman and Darren Wilson, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were on the downward path. Given their taste for dope, their instinct for defiance, and their predilection for violence, they were both likely to end up as killers or as killed.

If Barack Obama and Eric Holder were actually interested in the welfare of the likes of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, they would level with their fellow African-Americans. They would initiate a genuinely frank conversation about race aimed at altering African-American conduct. As things stand, they are only interested in manipulating African-American fear and anger for short-term political gain — and the same can be said for the scoundrels (largely white) who manage CNN, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, Pravda-on-the-Hudson, and Pravda-on-the-Potomac and who treat the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown as national news.

Yup. When it comes to discussing race, it’s not we who are the cowards. It’s the race hustlers like Al Sharpton. And Eric Holder.

[Bumped]

Against Editors

A writer’s rant:

Here is the traditional career track for someone employed in journalism: first, you are a writer. If you hang on, and don’t wash out, and manage not to get laid off, and don’t alienate too many people, at some point you will be promoted to an editor position. It is really a two-step career journey, in the writing world. Writing, then editing. You don’t have to accept a promotion to an editing position of course. You don’t have to send your kids to college and pay a mortgage, necessarily. If you want to get regular promotions and raises, you will, for the most part, accept the fact that your path takes you away from writing and into editing, in some form. The number of pure writing positions that offer salaries as high as top editing positions is vanishingly small. Most well-paid writers are celebrities in the writing world. That is how few of them there are.

Here is the problem with this career path: writing and editing are two completely different skills. There are good writers who are terrible editors. (Indeed, some of the worst editors are good writers!) There are good editors who lack the creativity and antisocial personality disorders that would make them great writers. This is okay. This is natural. It is thoroughly unremarkable for an industry to have different positions that require different skill sets. The problem in the writing world is that, in order to move up, the writer must stop doing what he did well in the first place and transition into an editing job that he may or may not have any aptitude for.

Engineering has a similar problem, in that if you want to advance, you often have to go into management, even though a lot of good engineers are terrible managers.

Misandry

Speaking of modest proposals, check out this totalitarian feminist:

I believe we must remove men from the community and place them in their own specific sections of society, akin to subsidised or state-funded reservations, so they can be redefined. We can make not only men safer, but women as well. By subsidising said reservations through the state we can provide men with activities, healthcare, entertainment, shelter, protection, and everything that one could ever require in life. This will remove conventional inequality from society. By reducing the number of men to 10 percent of the total population, their socio-biovalue will be raised. They will live out their lives happily and safely, and male disposability will be a thing of the past.

I can’t wait.

Those Evil Jews

Lileks has a modest proposal:

The people who want the grocery store to stop stocking Israeli products should sign waivers indicating that they do not wish to be treated with any medicine or device or course of treatment that is the result of Israeli research. This could be entered into their National Health Service database, along the lines of a “Do not Resuscitate” order, and possibly having the same effect.

Then everyone’s happy. But it’s only a start. I think there enough Israeli telecommunications patents to make the protestors think twice about using their mobiles, and it is time for the serious-minded in their midst to foreswear these tainted technologies. Going Jew-free isn’t as easy as it might look, but c’mon, you can still keep in touch. There’s always the mail. It’s not like every stamp has Disraeli on it.

In many ways, I feel like we’re reliving the thirties.

Our Face In The Crowd

Thoughts on Obama’s failing credibility:

On a deeper level, Obama habitually says untrue things because he has never been called on them before. He has been able throughout his career to appear iconic to his auditors. In the crudity of liberals like Harry Reid and Joe Biden, Obama ancestry and diction gave reassurance that he was not representative of the black lower classes and thus was the receptacle of all sorts of liberal dreams and investments. According to certain liberals, he was like a god, our smartest president, and of such exquisite sartorial taste that he must become a successful president. In other words, on the superficial basis of looks, dress, and patois, Obama was reassuring to a particular class of white guilt-ridden grandees and to such a degree that what he actually had done in the past or promised to do in the future was of no particular importance.

Then there is the media, the supposed public watchdog that keeps our politicians honest. In truth, Obama winks and nods to journalists, in the sense that as a good progressive Obama is about as liberal a president as we have ever had — or will have. Obama sees cross-examination as a sort of betrayal from journalists, who, for reasons of some abstract adherence to “journalistic integrity,” would by their own reporting subvert a rare chance of a progressive agenda. Obama’s anger is not just directed at Fox News and talk radio, but rather reflects a sense of betrayal that even slight fact checking by liberal journalists exists: why must Obama tell the truth when he never had to in any of his earlier incarnations?

In A Face in the Crowd, the charismatic Andy Griffith character could more or less get anything he wished by saying anything he wanted, largely because he said it mellifluously and in cracker-barrel fashion of an us-versus-them populism. His admirers knew that they were being lied to, but also knew that Lonesome knew that they did not mind. Lonesome had contempt for hoi polloi, largely because of his own easy ability to manipulate them for whatever particular careerist cause he embraced.

So Obama has disdain for those who passed out at his lectures, who put up the Greek columns at his speeches, who came up with his Latin mottoes, and who gushed at his teleprompted eloquence. He knows that we know he is not telling the truth, but likewise he knows that we don’t care all that much — at least until now. The secret to Lonesome’s success was to hide his contempt for those he lied to. When he is caught ridiculing his clueless listeners, he finally crashes and burns — sort of like Barack Obama serially vacationing with the 1% whom he so publicly scorns, or golfing in the aristocratic fashion of those who, he assures us, did not build their businesses.

It’s a little appalling, and frightening, that almost 40% still take him seriously.

Mike Griffin’s Latest

I agree that “we” (if by that he means NASA) are not on a path to Mars, but this is nonsense:

“The answer is because we are not a spacefaring nation,” Griffin asserted. “The bottom line, for me, is that we have better stuff in museums than we have in operations today. I can’t think of another technical discipline in which that statement would be true.”

Really? What do we have in museums that’s better than a Falcon 9, particularly if it becomes partially or fully reusable? What are his criteria for “better”? More (Tim the Tool Man) Power?

I do agree that we’re not a spacefaring nation, though. But neither Constellation or SLS/Orion are on a path to make us one.

[Update a few minutes later]

We’ve blown ten billion dollars on Orion so far, with billions more to go before it flies (if it ever does).

Commercial Crew

Greg Autry has a good overview of the current state of play:

All three commercial efforts should be funded. However, if the program must be reduced, it should be noted that both SpaceX and SNC are committed to pursuing a private market in space regardless of NASA support. Boeing’s panel representative expressed a lack of interest in continuing without government funding and in a cynical attempt to prod Congress the firm publicly announced looming layoffs. Professional investors only bet on teams that truly believe in their future returns and never on firms for which outside investment is the only goal. NASA must begin to think like an investor in America’s future.

Good luck with that.

The Lure Of A Real Space Program

A long (I haven’t read the whole thing yet) article on SpaceX and other private companies versus NASA in terms of its appeal to employees:

SpaceX inspired Hoffman to reimagine a career with opportunities to work on her engineering projects even if the technicians were busy and not have it considered diverting work from contract labor. If she chose to work long hours at a commercial company, she wouldn’t be “punished for being an overachiever.” If she spent months on a project, she could be assured it would get launched into space.

For Hoffman, having her projects go unfinished at NASA may have been the personal foul that tipped her toward private industry, but she also suspected her own engineering frustrations were only the surface byproduct of more institutionalized problems. NASA’s financial insecurity, its lack of administrative direction and its bureaucracy had worn on her confidence in its future.

As the author notes, today’s NASA isn’t capable of doing what the 1960s NASA could.

[Update a few minutes later]

Ah, here it is:

“You can take safety overboard,” Leonce said. “I’ve sat in many meetings where we’re just arguing over the simplest things. It just becomes borderline ridiculous. I don’t think we could have ever gotten to the moon if the culture that now exists at NASA existed in the ’60s.”

Leonce said he understands the older generation’s anxieties considering they’ve worked through the deadly Challenger and Columbia disasters. Yet private launch companies will be more attractive for engineers fresh out of school, he said, because that culture of risk aversion is “a death in itself.”

Yes.

I would note that one of the reasons I left Rockwell over two decades ago was that in my decade and a half in the industry, virtually nothing that I worked on ever came to fruition (and many of the things I had to work on never should have). I also think that Bonnie Dunbar is deluding herself.

Hillary’s Dilemma

Her prisoner’s dilemma with Barack Obama:

…you can recast the choices as:

If Hillary and Obama expose each other’s role in the foreign policy debacle, then both face political ruin and possible criminal liability, if any laws were violated.
If Hillary can pin it on Obama or Obama can pin it on Hillary then one walks and the other takes the rap.
If Hillary and Barack can cut a deal, then both walk or emerge with minimal damage.

One of the assumptions of the prisoners dilemma is that they are isolated, precluding collusion. In this case since the parties are meeting, collusion is not only inevitable, but guaranteed.

On the other hand, you know what they say about honor and thieves.