Category Archives: History

Thirty Years On

This is the thirty first year my birthday has been marred by the event. Leroy Chiao thinks that we shouldn’t have retired the Shuttle, but he assumes we did it for safety reasons. As I note in the book, Shuttle was retired because it cost too much, and the fleet had gotten too small to sustain it properly.

[Update a while later]

My thoughts on the anniversary, and lessons not learned, over at USA Today.

[Update a few minutes later]

Clark Lindsey has a link roundup on the anniversaries.

[Update a while later\

Doug Messier has some thoughts, and a warning to the space upstarts.

Heckling Hillary

Katherine Prudhomme explains why she did it:

The next thing I heard about Hillary Clinton and sexual assault was in December, when a questioner asked Hillary if Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones should be believed. Hillary responded that, “everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence.” What evidence is now out there that would cause us to disbelieve them? Why didn’t the media ask her about it afterwards? I’ve watched this story more closely than most since 1999 and I didn’t know what evidence Hillary was talking about.

On New Year’s Day, I found out the Clinton campaign was going to be in my town that Sunday. I signed up using my real name, got a confirmation number, and thought all day about whether yelling out these questions at Hillary Clinton, which I’d asked so many times and heard so many dismissive answers to, was the right thing to do.

The only other option I faced was accepting that the people of this country and our leaders don’t care about rape and sexual assault victims when a powerful man is accused of them. That man is then above the law. When the woman closest to him enables his behavior and protects him from discovery by threatening his victims to remain silent, and then is presented to me as a champion of women, the disconnect is more than I can take. I felt like the little boy who yells out that the emperor has no clothes on. I decided that I had to go there and ask my question in any way that I could and would do so at the moment the question portion of her event began.

I went into the venue early, got a seat up at the front and waited. I even told the talkative, friendly man sitting next to me exactly what I was going to do. He thought it was a bad idea and tried to talk me out of it. I was expecting to be thrown out of the event or arrested, but I believed so much in my cause that I did it anyway.

Hillary told me last July in Gorham that she has no idea who Broaddrick is. Now she claims there is evidence to prove that Broaddrick is lying. That makes no sense. Why didn’t Lisa Myers find anything to discredit Broaddrick? Why didn’t NBC’s army of lawyers find anything? They would have welcomed any reason not to show that interview, but they did not find it.

People should be doing this to the rape enabler everywhere Her Highness goes, and force the media to cover it. There is no law that the Clintons don’t consider themselves above, including violent rape.

Apollo, I Love You


So maybe Apollo went too far too soon and set an impossible target against which everything since has been measured. It wasn’t about primarily about exploration, although that did happen, and it certainly wasn’t about sustainability, but it has cast a long shadow over what has come since.

Am I committing some sort of heresy by saying these things? Well, all I can say is that the people who made Apollo happen are still my heroes. I still get a lump in my throat when I think what they did, the risks they took and the certainty they had in their belief that it was worth it. Armstrong himself has now left us, his surviving fellow moonwalkers are now old men – still active, still advocating the next big step, but a vivid reminder of the time that has passed since Apollo.

I guess my conclusion is that the further we get from those days, the more anomalous Apollo appears – an amazing adventure that will stand out as future generations look back on the twentieth century, but not something that can be repeated. We live in a different world now.

Yes. We need to stop trying to do Apollo to Mars. It isn’t going to happen, and moreover, it shouldn’t.

President, Or King?

SCOTUS is going to review the “take care” clause. This is huge, and a potential opportunity to finally rein in a tyrannical executive.

[Update a couple minutes later]

More at the WaPo from Fred Barbash:

In the view of Texas and others, Obama admitted both that he had no power under the law and that he thus, in his words, “changed the law” while pretending that he wasn’t. Bad faith.

“There generally wouldn’t be any evidence of bad faith,” Georgetown University Law Professor Randy Barnett, who formulated the winning Commerce Clause argument in the Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act, said in an interview. “But here we have public declarations [from Obama] that ‘I don’t have the authority, I don’t have the authority, I don’t have the authority’ and that ‘Congress won’t act, Congress won’t act, Congress won’t act’ and then you also have the enactment of what looks like legal rules, not just discretion, but whole classes of people who are exempt from the law, the very same law the president was urging Congress to pass….it suggests that he’s not acting in good faith.”

You don’t say.

History, And Consensus

Judith Curry has found an interesting paper:

The participation of historians in the climate debate is critical. This is a topic that I am extremely interested in, and we have all been highly appreciative of the original posts by Tony Brown, at CE and also at WUWT.

Apart from the eloquent comment sense in this Jenkins’ essay, he raises the issue of the Goldilocks Principle – what climate do we want? Does anyone want the cold miserable climate of the 17th and 18th centuries? I’m not even sure we want the climate of the 1930’s or 1950’s. Historians have a huge role to play in articulating what constitutes a desirable climate, both regionally and globally.

Yes, the easiest way to stump a warm monger is to ask them what the ideal climate is, what is the magic year we want to return to?

The Administrative State

Time to blow it up:

A smaller government would mean fewer phony-baloney jobs for college graduates with few marketable skills but demonstrated political loyalty. It would mean fewer opportunities for tax dollars to be directed to people and entities with close ties to people in power. It would mean less ability to engage in social engineering and “nudges” aimed at what are all-too-often seen as those dumb rubes in flyover country. The smaller the government, the fewer the opportunities for graft and self-aggrandizement — and graft and self-aggrandizement are what our political class is all about.

A more accountable government would be, in some ways, an even greater nightmare. Right now, when the federal government screws up, people often don’t find out — look at how the IRS and the State Department have stonewalled efforts to find out what happened with the Tea Party audits or the Benghazi debacle — and even when word gets out, it’s rare that anybody loses their job. (The EPA knew that Flint, Michigan’s water was toxic for months and didn’t tell anyone. Will there be consequences? Doubtful.)

Most of the time, the bureaucracy acts without any real oversight from Congress, or from the public. It’s able to enact political agendas that, if put to an open vote, would never pass. And to the bureaucracy’s supporters, that’s not a bug, but a feature.

It is indeed.