Category Archives: Social Commentary

You People Are Far Too Cynical

C’mon, folks! Didn’t you hear Michelle tell you that Barack was going to make you shed your cynicism?!! DIDN’T YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT SHE MEANT??11!!!

It was purely a coinkidinky that all of the people with whom Lois Lerner was communicating about those teabaggers at the time also had their hard drives fail. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU CONSPIRACY THEORISTS?!!11!Eleventy!!1

The Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Some reflections from Bill Whittle.

[Monday-morning update]

It’s long past time to rethink NASA:

Unrealistically, the NRC committee recommends a 5 percent annual increase in NASA’s budget to carry out its recommendations, which are to spend billions for many decades with the eventual result of putting a few civil servants on Mars. My assessment, as a space enthusiast and a taxpayer? As Senator William Proxmire once famously quipped, on the topic of funding for space colonies: “I say not a penny for this nutty fantasy.” I don’t know what the future of human spaceflight is, but I do know that the NRC’s recommendations are not it.

Read the whole thing. It was written by someone who knows what he’s talking about, one of the great minds of our age.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Some of the comments over there are amusing, albeit predictable.

[Update a few minutes later]

Should we go back to the moon? I participate in a debate on the topic, over at US News. I have to say that Etzioni’s remarks are certainly ignorant. And you’ll be shocked to discover that Bob Zubrin wants to go to Mars.

[Update mid morning]

I have a roundup of my and others’ apollo anniversary pieces over at Ricochet. Plus, hey moon! We’re coming back soon.

[Late-afternoon update]

I’m tied with Peter over there for thumbs up, if you want to go vote. Also, Bob is getting lots of negative ratings, but nothing like Etzioni.

[Bumped]

[Late evening update]

I assume that, thanks to my readers, I’m Number One!

The Next Generation Of Republicans

Are they already here?

What’s behind all these surprising numbers? I can’t say, but it’s hard not to notice that a decline in destructive behavior associated with peer pressure has happened at the same moment that the US became a fully wired nation.

Now that broadband access is nearly universal — 78% of homes, and that’s not counting all the schools and library and Wi-Fi hotspot connections available to most kids with minimal effort — restless youth don’t have to go along with whatever the local knuckleheads are up to.

They can find their community of likeminded souls online, and an unintended consequence of their tinkering with YouTube videos or playing “Call of Duty” with a buddy in Mexico City, they’re staying in. As a frustrated barman in England, where pubs have been closing in huge numbers, put it to The Economist, “Kids these days just want to live in their f- – – ing own little worlds in their bedrooms watching Netflix and becoming obese.” That sounds right, but at least no one ever got pregnant from eating Cheetos.

How are young people turning out politically? They’re liberal Democrats . . . who sometimes sound an awful lot like conservative Republicans.

I don’t really care whether or not they’re Republicans, as long as they’re vehemently not Democrats.

[Update a while later]

This seems related, somehow: How the Left got boring.

[Late-morning update]

Sorry, first link was broken. Should be fixed now.

Bill Gaubatz’s Service

I just got back. Saw a lot of old (in both senses of the word, unfortunately) friends. It was quite religious, at his Presbyterian church out on the peninsula. I hadn’t realized how devout he was. He seems to have a wonderful family. His younger son’s eulogy was part sermon. Also, it turns out that he is one of the attorneys who won the Hobby Lobby case.

Santorini

Lileks takes a vacation in Greece:

A few switchbacks up we found a nice niche that would have been an excellent spot for a small bar; seems it had served that function once, as it had benches and something like a table. We chatted with some Brits who were also dying but cheerful about it. They’d met some donkeys coming down, and the lass astride one of them leaned over and said “Worst Day of my Life.”

We continued on, up the shite-strewn path. By “567 steps” they mean a step, then a yard of irregular, ankle-snapping stone, followed by another step, followed by a yard of irregular, ankle-snapping stone smeared with ordure, and so on. Another herd of donkeys, this one thicker than the last, and not particularly concerned with our presence. Suddenly you realized you had two options: you would be crushed against the wall by donkeys, or pushed over the side by donkeys. Neither seemed appealing, just like the growing belief you would either suffer failure of the heart or the kidneys.

With pictures and video, of course.

An Open Letter To Eric Holder

No, it’s not about race:

What you don’t understand, Mr. Holder, is that there are many of us who are trying to take our country back—back from a group of politicians who seem intent on our destruction as a pillar of strength and liberty in the world. Many of your fellow citizens are dismayed by your conduct, and our anger has nothing to do with the color of your skin.

You are the first attorney general in the history of the United States to be held in contempt of Congress. This had nothing to do with your skin color, and everything to do with your failure to explain how the United States government provided guns to Mexican drug cartels that were eventually used to kill Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in 2010. This story may have disappeared from the headlines, but many of your fellow citizens are still upset our federal government would ever give guns to foreign criminals. Compounding this tragic error, neither you nor anyone else in the administration has explained what happened the night Terry lost his life. All we really know is that he was at the wrong end of a gun you approved handing over to drug dealers.

And our outrage here has nothing to do with “racial animus.” This is about personal accountability, and your failure to provide us with answers.

The black guy who wrote that is obviously a racist. Or something.

Safety In Space

“…is not negotiable”?

A bunch of hooey from Doug Cooke.

I love this:

Some critics attempt to trivialize the transition from cargo to human transportation, suggesting that designing a lower-cost vehicle at the expense of crew safety is perfectly acceptable. It is not. In fact, accident investigations and legislation have consistently dictated that crew safety should be the highest priority in the development of any human-rated spacecraft, reflecting concerns from past accidents.

Hey, we have to be stupid. It’s the law!

Scientists And Philosophers

Why they need to talk to each other:

Most of climate science is in ‘shut up and calculate’ mode. This is a very dangerous place to be given the substantial uncertainties, ignorance and areas of disagreement, not to mention the problems/failures of climate models. Climate science needs reflection on the fundamental assumptions, re-interpretations, and deeper thinking. How to reason about the complex climate system, and its uncertainties, is not at all straightforward. And then of course there are the ethical issues, including understanding how the climate debate has gone so badly wrong.

Yes.

Libertarianism

What it isn’t:

…journalists cover complex things they don’t know about all the time, and this is usually okay because they research and talk to people who do know about it.

Unless, of course, they’re writing about libertarians.

Not only do you not have to know the first thing about libertarianism to cover it for major news outlets, it is perfectly fine to a) decline to ask anybody who does know, b) make up your own version of what it is, and then c) lament the terribleness of this terrible philosophy or people you have just created. Cases in point: approximately every 10th article published by Salon, this piece by Damon Linker at The Week.

A lot of people seem to have difficulty with the concept of liberty.

If You Oppose Administration Policies

…you just might be racist.

My response:

[Update Tuesday morning]

The nation’s chief law-enforcement officer is trying to spark racial hatred:

For most, this is a joke. The meme that the bipartisan notion of “taking the country back” is somehow racist was long ago debunked. As the brief history lesson above demonstrates, however, no one is listening to this nonsense beyond the cult of true believers. Those for who racism is a religion – ubiquitous and unfalsifiable – nod in agreement at Holder’s self-aggrandizement. All others roll their eyes.

It is natural and right to be incensed over the attorney general’s statement here, but a 30,000 foot view suggests there is even more reason to take heart in his remarks. Only those liberals [sic] Democrats the party desperately needs to turn out in the fall are inspired by this rhetoric; that desperate need is met with increasingly desperate tactics. A glance at the polls suggests it will not be successful.

Let’s hope.

[Update a few minutes later]

The real problem isn’t racial animus, but Eric Holder’s animus toward his critics.

[Bumped]

The Border Tsunami

Have the Republicans forgotten how to play offense?

The first step to leading is understanding what you are up against. This border crisis isn’t incompetence. It isn’t bungling.

It is a calculated effort to crash the immigration system and fundamentally transform the nation. It is an effort to accelerate demographic trends and forever alter the nation’s culture. Until the GOP comprehends the full measure of Obama’s purpose, the GOP will be trapped in a prevent defense, never moving past complaints about Obama’s incompetence.

To the Obama administration and open borders groups, the tidal wave across the border is not an accident, and it is not a crisis. It is not even limited to unaccompanied children.

To be fair, they haven’t forgotten — they’ve never known how to go on offense.

[Update a couple minutes later]

The lie at the heart of immigration “reform” is exposed:

…does anyone think the people attending Obama’s White House meeting will accept any other new security measures that might actually succeed in blocking their co-ethnics from moving to El Norte – even as part of a “comprehensive” reform bill? They won’t. Once today’s illegals get their immediate “provisional” (i.e. permanent) legal status, security measures like E-verify (computerized checks of new hires), the border fence, and exit-entry visa controls will be subject to the same sort of counterattack as Obama’s request for more deportation “flexibility.”

Overcoming those attacks will only get more difficult as the Latino population grows — and it will grow even faster once a reform bill legalizes millions more eventual voters. It’s not hard to imagine that we’re at a tipping point: Implement border security measures now, or else they will never be implemented.

And the only way to implement them is to require they be done first, before any legalization — before the activists are free to attack them with full force (lest they jeopardize the eventual amnesty prize). The other way around, the McCain-Schumer-Obama way — ‘Legalization First, Security Later’ — is a swindle in the classic tradition. Just give us our amnesty. We’ll be there for you when it’s time to appropriate for the border fence. Really we will. You can trust us! You just have to wire the money to the Nigerian prince give us what we want first.

If we didn’t spot the fraud before, we do now.

Well, some of us do, anyway. Let’s hope it’s enough.