The Virgin Galactic Mess

There’s a long story at The Daily Beast about it. The author gets this wrong, though:

There has never been any doubt about who the Number One Passenger is going to be: Branson himself. Soon after last year’s crash he was repeating an ambition aired many times before—that he looked forward to going up—and taking his son Sam and daughter Holly with him. The idea was that seats for the Bransons would be installed in the cabin behind the pilots as soon as SS2 had achieved the apogee height in tests. (That probably couldn’t happen without the FAA approving an operator’s license, whether Branson realizes this or not.)

There’s no such thing as an “operator’s license.” In theory, if he’d wanted to, Branson could have been aboard the flight that destroyed the vehicle last fall, and the FAA would have had nothing formal to say about it.

Meanwhile, Andy Pasztor has his take at the Journal (do a Google search on the article title to read it). This quote seems a little disingenuous:

According to a summary of that interview released by the NTSB earlier this week, Mr. Hardy also said that “he had never seen an applicant [for an FAA launch permit] make the assumption that a pilot would not make a mistake” as part of a formal hazard analysis.

How many has he seen that actually had pilots involved?

Huma’s Special Treatment

Gosh, it’s like it’s corruption and cover up to the core:

By allowing it, Clinton wasn’t just helping a friend boost her income. She was increasing the potential leverage of the Clinton machine, and in ways that could, and maybe did, benefit the Clinton Foundation.

The Abedin scandal is thus related to the “Clinton cash” scandal.

It is also related to Hillary’s email scandal. According to Grassley, the State Department investigators have “reason to believe that email evidence relevant to [its] inquiry was contained in emails sent and received from her account on Secretary Clinton’s non-government server, making them unavailable to [the investigators’ office] through its normal statutory right of access to records.”

Laws are for the little people.

[Update a while later]

Then there’s this:

The finding against Abedin, which she disputes, is that she was improperly paid while on leave. According to Sen. Grassley’s description of the investigation’s findings, Abedin’s time sheets indicate that she never took vacation or sick leave during her four years at the State Department. However, the investigation discovered that Abedin did, in fact, take time off, including a 10-day trip to Italy. In emails, she told colleagues that she was out “on leave.”

Just FYI, if you’re a government contractor, falsifying a time sheet is a firing offense.

Anyway, it’s pretty clear that when Her Highness said that she used a private server “for convenience,” she meant that she would find it very inconvenient for her political career for people to learn the contents of her emails.

The Blue Model Melts Down

Get ready for the bankruptcy of Puerto Rico:

Ultimately, bankrupt blue cities and states and their pension funds will troop to Washington with their hands out, begging for bailouts. Already we’ve seen a leading New Jersey state Democrat call for a $1 trillion federal bailout fund for pensions. The political pressures around the issue will be intense. Some (mostly Republicans) won’t want to give a single dime to the improvident fools and crooks who created this mess. Others (mostly Democrats) will insist on no-fault bailouts, arguing that social justice demands nothing less than an infinite willingness to pour money down ratholes, so long as those ratholes are Democrat-run.

What the country needs is something in between: relief for reform. Cities, counties, and states (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, commonwealths) who can’t manage their debts anymore can qualify for limited help—but only if they undergo serious, life-changing reform. That may well mean the end of public unions, drastic changes in governance, haircuts all around, tax reforms, and other substantive changes. Forward-looking people in Congress should be thinking now about the legislation that would be needed to set up a framework of some kind to handle these cases. The legal issues are complex; courts have been upholding, for example, the inviolability of employee pensions under state constitutional provisions. It’s hard to see how federal bailouts would let those pensions go unchallenged.

As I’ve written before, a California bailout by the federal government should come only with the condition that it revert to territory status, and not be allowed back in as a single state. Individual regions (like Draper’s South California, or Central California) that get their act together could petition for readmission.

Political Correctness And SJWs

A long but useful essay:

Academic freedom is viscerally important: it guarantees the individual liberty to say what you want; and assumes your agency to hear what you don’t, or, choose to ignore. Censorship and self-censorship only disempower. In universities, it disempowers an individual from saying what they want in a place that should be a crucible for experimentation and discovery. More critically, it disempowers the people it wants to empower; assuming minorities can’t manage the condition that accompanies a free and open society – being offended by something. Political correctness is anathema to the values that constitute a free society. What’s more, it visibly undermines these values in places that should cherish them most – universities and academia.

Another distinctive feature of political correctness is the hodgepodge of critical race theory and identity politics. Discrimination is excused under the banner of liberation. Discrimination is not only being excused, but also conferred an attractive righteousness. Thus, individuals can say “kill all white men”, or declare white people are trash, or argue white people should be banned from events, without anything resembling compunction. Their justification is simple: their prejudice against whites isn’t racist, and doesn’t carry the peculiar stigma of racism, because racism is prejudice married with power. With an ugly sleight of hand, they pollute the conventional meaning of a term to absolve themselves from the scrutiny this term rightly merits. It doesn’t actually redress power balance, but reverses it. By suggesting power is an inherent feature of whiteness, where it ultimately resides, political correctness removes the possibility of non-white people exercising power and being fully responsible for their own actions: the concept of moral autonomy is undermined. This means that the non-white advocates of political correctness are free to act however they please without the moral scrutiny that attends white people – and should, in fact, attend every human.

The power-powerless concept is toxic because power is more fluid than assuming to be brown is too be powerless; a brown Islamist may be more powerless than a Jew because his skin is visibly darker, but when he murderously re-enacts the oldest hatred of our civilisation on the streets of Europe, who dares dilute the significance of his racism?

This power-powerless concept is faulty because it enables someone like Bahar Mustafa to assert she can’t be racist, after saying and endorsing perfectly racist things. It enables articles after articles after articles to be written that invert reality and reproduce something that should be consigned to history: one set of standards for one group of people, another set for another. The way to challenge inequality is not by reproducing the conditions of inequality – but, rather, by proceeding from an egalitarian basis: viewing each individual as deserving of equal dignity. The identity politics of Bahar Mustafa are a consequential challenge to this premise because they separate rather than stress our common humanity. Political correctness is a fundamentally anti-egalitarian movement.

The term ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ captures an important truth: an effective way to leverage power is by assuming the status of a victim. A culture of victimhood is inherent to political correctness. It is through this victimhood, ultimately, that the tribal hatred of its advocates are nourished, and the dignity of its opponents are undermined.

Yep. Don’t let them get away with it. As someone once said, punch back twice as hard.

“Useless” Liberal Arts Degrees

Aren’t necessarily useless in tech:

“Studying philosophy taught me two things,” says Butterfield, sitting in his office in San Francisco’s South of Market district, a neighborhood almost entirely dedicated to the cult of coding. “I learned how to write really clearly. I learned how to follow an argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings. And when I studied the history of science, I learned about the ways that everyone believes something is true–like the old notion of some kind of ether in the air propagating gravitational forces–until they realized that it wasn’t true.”

I’ve never opposed liberal arts per se. As Glenn says, it can be a very valuable education if taught with rigor (but that also traditionally included math, and logic). But it’s mostly not, these days. And certainly not at all in the “studies” departments.

Socialism Always Ends Up The Same Way

Thoughts on the Venezuela meltdown, corporatism, and fascism:

I don’t think Obama wants a brutal tyranny any more than Hillary Clinton does (which is to say I don’t think he wants anything of the sort). But I do think they honestly believe that progress is best served if everyone falls in line with a national agenda, a unifying purpose, a “village” mentality expanded to include all of society. That sentiment drips from almost every liberal exhortation about everything from global warming to national service. But to point it out earns you the label of crank. As I said a minute ago about that “We’re All Fascists Now” chapter, I think people fail to understand that tyrannies — including soft, Huxleyan tyrannies — aren’t born from criminal conspiracies by evil men; they’re born by progressive groupthink.

Yes. It’s all well intentioned in their minds, never understanding the paving stones on the road to perdition. Of course, Hitler was well intentioned, too. He just wanted to get a little lebensraum, and purify the race.

I should note that it’s not just Democrats. The problem with Republicans is that (per the Chamber of Commerce), they’re pro-business. They’re not pro-market.

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