Category Archives: History

The Old Space Age Began

Today is the 60th anniversary of Sputnik. I have some thoughts over at The Weekly Standard. I’ll have more later today at PJMedia.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Henry Spencer reminds me that upon the successful launch, Korolev supposedly said “The road to the stars is now open.” A little premature, I think…

[Update a while later]

For a detailed history of the program, go read Asif Siddiqi over at The Space Review (it’s part one, the second part will appear next Monday).

[Update a couple minutes later, after going through the Siddiqi piece]

This is excellent. It is likely now the best available history of its development.

[Update a few minutes later]

Anatoly Zak reminds us that Sputnik wasn’t about the satellite; it was about the rocket.

[Update a while later]

More from Siddiqi on recent translations. Kind of amazing how much we still don’t know about space history six decades later.

[Update a while later]

How dreams of space-faring zombies resulted in Sputnik. Well, sort of.

[Update late morning]

Here‘s Chris Gebhart’s take.

[Afternoon update]

My (other) take is now up over at PJMedia. As usual, most comments are ignorant and/or idiotic.

[Update a week later]

Part 2 of Siddiqi’s new history is up now.

[Bumped]

The Left

…is sitting on the biggest crime ever committed by a sitting president.

As many have pointed out, this is the Democrats’ Watergate, where the president actually committed the crimes of surveillance and siccing the IRS on his political enemies (unlike Nixon, who simply attempted to). Beyond that, one of the reasons why Lynch refused to let Clinton be prosecuted is that it would have almost certainly implicated Obama as well.

[Late-morning update]

Unmasking, yet another abuse of power. It may not have been illegal per se, but it was certainly that.

Maxine Waters

Impeachment is whatever Congress says it is.

Well, pretty much, yeah. This isn’t right, though:

“Bill Clinton got impeached because he lied,” Waters declared. “Here you have a president who I can tell you and guarantee you is in collusion with the Russians, to undermine our democracy. Here you have a president who has obstructed justice, and here you have a president that lies every day.”

…Unless Trump can be accused of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” he cannot be impeached.

While Waters claimed Clinton was impeached for “lying,” he was actually impeached for perjury — lying under oath.

Actually, he was impeached for multiple counts of obstruction of justice, including not just perjury, but suborning perjury from others via bribes and physical threats to a woman’s family, for the purpose of preventing someone he’d sexually harassed from getting a fair trial.

Trump’s Art Of The Deal

Thoughts from Jonah Goldberg, with which I completely agree:

I am coming around to the position that the vast bulk of punditry in defense of Donald Trump is little different from hepatoscopy, chiromancy, tasseography, and other “sciences” that imbue essentially random phenomena with deep and prophetic significance (this is not to say that orbistry, the practice of explaining everything weird in this crazy world, is not 100 percent correct).

Let’s just look at the past week. On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to “immediately terminate” the DACA program if elected. In June, he flipped and said it would stay in place. Going into this week, the White House signaled that it would get rid of the program. On Tuesday, Trump’s attorney general came out and declared that the program was unconstitutional. And, in a move I praised, Trump said that he would give the task of dealing with the issue to Congress. But, after watching negative TV coverage and bristling at Barack Obama’s criticism, Trump flopped. In a tweet, Trump suggested he wants Congress to legalize the program, not get rid of it. And if Congress failed, he might have to “revisit” the issue, implying that Trump might use the same unconstitutional measures Obama used.

Now, in fairness to Trump, he’s always been torn on the issue, and rightly so. Deporting the “Dreamers” is a terrible idea. But the position of most immigration hawks has always been that we should trade some form of amnesty in exchange for serious border-security measures and/or implementation of E-verify or similar steps.

So, let’s consider instead the other big news this week. President Trump threw Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the House Freedom Caucus under the bus to cut a deal with “Chuck and Nancy” on a short-term extension of the debt ceiling. Wait, scratch that. He didn’t “cut a deal” with the Democrats, he simply took their first offer in exchange for . . . nothing. He took a “deal” to get Harvey relief passed despite the fact that Harvey relief would have passed anyway. This was not The Art of the Deal. It was — to borrow a phrase from Seth Mandel — The Art of the Kneel.

Trump kicked the can to December, when his leverage will be weaker, apparently in a glandular act of spite against McConnell and Ryan. John Boehner was hounded out of office by tea-party types for even considering cutting far better debt-ceiling deals with Barack Obama. In both of these cases, the response from legions of Trumpers was rapturous approval of his genius and/or his willingness to punish McConnell and Ryan.

It’s almost as though his vaunted ability to do deals is highly overrated.

Also, read on for a devastating critique of Rachel Maddow’s misleading history of the Wilson administration.