Category Archives: History

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.


[Late evening update]

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


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.

The Apollo Cargo Cult

Over at USA Today, I say that after four lost decades, it’s time to end it:

After over four decades, it is time to stop awaiting a repeat of a glorious but limited and improbable past. We must, finally, return to and embrace the true future, in which the solar system and ultimately the universe is opened up to all, with affordable, competing commercial transportation systems, in the way that only Americans can do it.

I’ll have some other stuff up later, in other venues.

The Obama Scandals

…and media bias:

Historically, reporters and editors have believed that their job is to disseminate news. That is no longer true. Now, most reporters and editors believe that their principal function is to prevent people from learning things they are better off not knowing. Day after day, they run interference for their party, the Democrats. Blockading inconvenient stories from making the news is job number one.

Yes. As he notes, if the parties were reversed, there would be non-stop coverage until the Republican president was hounded out of office.

[Update a few minutes later]

Joe Scarborough went on a similar rant:

“You know, if George W. Bush or any Republicans had an IRS member that went after Democrats and then there was an internal investigation launched, you would not have time or space on the front page to talk about [other] issues,” Scarborough said. “This really is a scam!”

“Scam” is far too kind a word for it.

The Unbelievable Missing IRS Emails

This really is much worse than Watergate now:

One doesn’t need reams of reports or public-opinion polls to understand the gut plausibility of an IRS scandal in full flower. Yet the Obama administration seems not to have imagined that this burgeoning problem might require more attention than anything else Republicans are screaming about. Rather than a president in over his head, Obama is behaving like a president who doesn’t believe the onus should be on him to head off an appearance of impropriety at the pass.

No matter how old-school the IRS scandal feels, that naïve arrogance feels rather new on the scene—the sort of attitude given off by people who believe deep down that if you have the correct stance on policy, you ought to be immune to political attack.

One of the (many) ways in which it’s worse is that Watergate was purely a White House scandal, whereas many Democrats in Congress are complicit in this one. And sadly, there is no Democrat equivalent of a Howard Baker to go to the White House and tell the president that it’s over.

Rousseau Was Wrong

That’s an evergreen post title, but the science is settled:

Human facial structure evolved to tolerate punches to the head, according to new research that suggests our ancestors spent a lot of time fighting.

So they weren’t corrupted by civilization. Huh.

[Update early afternoon]

On the other hand, maybe not.

But even without this theory, there’s ample evidence that prehistoric humans weren’t gentle pacifists.

Hillary’s Book

I know you’ll be as shocked as I am to learn that she lied about Benghazi in it.

Of course, in the nineties, she had an aide who testified to Congress that he lied to his own diary. It’s almost like this gang (as well as the Obama people, and there’s a great deal of overlap, notably Eric Holder) are congenital liars.

[Update a while later]

Diane Sawyer (of all people) destroys Hillary on Benghazi.

She’s really a fish in a barrel. She just isn’t generally an attractive target to people like Diane Sawyer. I wonder if the media is finally getting tired of her, and looking for another Obama?

Normandy’s Aftermath

An historic leader from The Economist, four days after the successful invasion (after it had finally become clear that it was a success):

…when all the thanks are made and all the contributions measured, there still remain the final artificers of victory, the men who, in the King’s words “man the ships, storm the beaches and fill the skies.” Although the first advances have been secured with surprisingly little loss of life, the hardest fighting lies ahead. In the weeks to come, thousands of men will lay down their lives or suffer disablement, will endure pain and hardship and strain, will throw everything they have into the balance of victory without particularly asking why or counting the cost. For them at the moment there is not very much that the people who stay behind can do. They can keep vigil, as the King has asked. They can face anxiety steadfastly. They can accept the losses when they come; but the real effort of gratitude will only be needed later on, when the men come home. They will not have been given victory, they will have toiled and sweated for it, all the way from Alamein to Bizerta, from Sicily to Rome, in the jungles of Burma, on the landing beaches in France. They have been the active agents of every military success. It is their courage and initiative and adaptability and common sense that have completed the historic reversal of the last four years. It will not be enough for their elders to give them “food, work and homes”—the essentials of a decent post-war society. They must be allowed their place in that society, they must be given scope and opportunity and responsibility to run it themselves.

Fortunately, they were.