Stock up on the popcorn, he maybe running for president. Troy Senik has taken a start at helping him craft a platform.
The 9th Circuit seems to be taking Heller seriously. We really do have the gun grabbers on the run, constitutionally.
…with seven energy policies.
They’d have the additional benefit of sparking economic growth.
“These people shouldn’t be allowed around children. In fact, they shouldn’t be permitted to breed.”
The biggest implication is that the models are worse than useless as a guide to policy on climate. And places like California are taking a wrecking ball to their economy for nothing.
I say it’s time to end it, over at PJMedia.
Did Obama blow up the Mideast peace “process”?
Kerry’s a dolt, but he probably has some smart people working for him. Obama’s just got Valerie Jarrett.
A live blog of the Senate hearing, with Elon Musk and Michael Gass. ULA is running scared, and Shelby is running interference for them, spouting economic lunacy.
A brief review of the stupid movie by Lileks:
I made two attempts this weekend to watch “Elysium,” but was hampered by the fact that it was stupid.
There’s actually a little more, but that’s the bottom line.
…and is totally owned on Twitter, largely by @iowahawkblog.
It’s frightening to think how close that fool came to being president.
…is a myth. Eric Raymond on the history of open source, and the ahistorical knowledge of young programmers.
How they so badly misjudged it:
Russia and the West do indeed have competing interests in the post-Soviet space. The problem with the realists is that they fail to see the moral, tactical and legal disparities that exist between the aims and methods of East and West. When Brussels and Washington propose EU and NATO membership, they are offering association in alliances of liberal, democratic states, achieved through a democratic, consensual process. Russia, meanwhile, cajoles, blackmails and threatens its former vassals into “joining” its newfangled “Eurasian Union,” whose similarity to the Soviet Union of yore Putin barely conceals. The right of sovereign countries to choose the alliances they wish is one Russia respects only if they choose to ally themselves with Russia. Should these countries try to join Western institutions then there will be hell to pay.
Despite all this, Cohen complains of a “Cold War double standard” in the ways we describe Western and Russian approaches to the former Soviet space. The West’s “trade leverage” to persuade Ukraine is treated benignly, Cohen writes, while Putin’s use of “similar carrots” is portrayed as nefarious. A crucial difference, however, is that when a country turns down a Western diplomatic package, as Ukraine did at the November Vilnius Summit (thus sparking the massive protests in Kiev that ultimately overthrew Yanukovych), the EU does not invade.
It should not come as a surprise why countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and other former Warsaw Pact nations that lived under the heel of Russian domination for so long might want to join the NATO alliance, which, according to its charter, is purely defensive. NATO has no designs on Russian territory and never has. But in the fervid and paranoid minds of the men running the Kremlin (and, apparently, in that of Stephen Cohen and other opponents of NATO expansion), the alliance’s defensive nature is irrelevant. If Russia were a healthy, liberal, pluralistic society at peace with itself and its neighbors, it would have nothing to fear from America, the EU, or NATO. Indeed, as crazy as it may sound today, in the 1990s, some Russian and Western leaders spoke optimistically of Moscow joining the latter two institutions. But these hopes of a European Russia were dashed when Putin came to power.
If it hadn’t been Putin, it might have been someone else. There may be something in the Russian character that wants a czar.
Commentary on the latest pathetic attempt to justify SLS.
A long-time reader relates a sad anecdote:
I went down to the Louisville, KY Militaria Show of Shows, and on Saturday I also went to the National Gun Day Show in the same complex(I collect antique firearms). After purchasing two old rifles, near the far side of the hall, was a table asking people to sign a petition calling for Obama’s impeachment. What was striking was that in addition to impeaching Obama, the table had a sign asking people to reject cuts to the NASA budget, specifically the SLS. Reading the form, I saw that agreeing that Obama should be impeached went along with increasing the funding for the SLS. (It also included the usual pro-gun rhetoric, needed for a gun show). I asked the people about that, and got into a discussion about the SLS aspect. From what I made of the table renter’s comments, he wants an end to SpaceX and other private sector space businesses, giving all the money to NASA. I was civil, with some effort, since he didn’t have much in the line of facts to back up his arguments on the SLS side, and started getting into personal insults. The “high” point was when he said that if I wasn’t pro SLS, I was anti-gun. This despite my carrying two rifles, a pass from the SOS, and showing him my NRA card.
He wanted me to stay and
be insultedargue some more, but I was exhausted from two days of the shows, so I just walked away.
I’ve gone to over 50 shows in the last year and a half, since I got back into the firearms community after my father died and left his firearms to me. Large and small, I’ve never seen someone pushing the SLS. I’ve talked to a few people that support the new space companies, but incidental to the firearms being offered for sale. This guy was more passionate about the NASA cuts than the impeachment or the 2nd Amendment.
Sigh. Fortunately, he probably is a bizarre outlier.
The magical thinking behind it:
This mission requires more magical thinking than a leprechaun trying to predict the track of a flock of flying unicorns on their annual migration.
MPCV employs a heat shield designed for lunar return and its CM is ~20% (thousands of pounds) overweight for its parachutes. But we’re going to equip MPCV with an even heavier heat shield for Mars return and magically it will be capable of a safe Earth landing?
There’s practically no element of the ISS ECLSS that lasts more than a year. But magically every component will remain operating for 17 months in a new vehicle when applied to a Mars flyby mission?
ASAP is warning about the lack of an ECLSS shakedown on MPCV before sending astronauts around the Moon for a few days. But magically we’re going to decide that the ASAP membership are all wimps of the highest order and decide to risk astronaut lives for 17 months on the first shakedown of the MPCV ECLSS?
At best, SLS is scheduled to have an upper stage capable of launching this mission a half decade after the mission’s 2021 window closes. And magically that half decade of development is going to be accelerated by more than a decade?
Congress can’t find funding to perform testing like AA-2 or to finish development like MPCV ECLSS in a timely fashion, and the White House is wrapped around the axle of ARM. But magically billions of dollars of federal funding are going to appear in a timely manner to develop a new ECLSS, a new hab module, a new heat shield, and a new upper stage for this mission?
If Tito really wants to see this happen, he has to give up on getting NASA to pay for it, and for it to happen with NASA hardware. He needs to sit down with SpaceX and Bigelow.
…was easy to predict.
And in fact, Sarah Palin did predict it in the first campaign.
The only people who didn’t see it coming are the people we foolishly reelected last year.
[Update a while later]
From terrible to even worse:
The sequence of the past week, then, has a grim logic. Ukraine unrest builds and its pro-Russian leader gets toppled. The Sochi Olympics come to an end. The United States announces military force reductions. Putin moves to secure Russia’s sole warm-water navy base and bring Ukraine to heel. Russia knows that the United States has a security treaty with Ukraine, so the next move is very much Washington’s. Obama delivers a terse statement in which he does not characterize Russia’s move as an “invasion,” takes no press questions, and then heads off for “happy hour” and delivers a sharply partisan speech to the Democratic Party. Obama has made no effort to unify Americans ahead of what may be the most dangerous foreign policy situation since the end of the Cold War.
Putin knows that the United States is debt-ridden and war-weary. He knows that Europe is in no mood for a war and is not capable of sustaining one without the United States, and that Britain is incapable of stopping him on its own (UK is a signatory to that Ukraine security treaty). He also knows that if the U.S. abrogates its security treaty with Ukraine, then the world stops spinning around Washington and may start spinning around Moscow. He also knows that the team atop the U.S. government consists of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry and Chuck Hagel. Those four hardly constitute a national security dream team. None of them have a record of consistently pursuing America’s national interests above other considerations.
I'm sure glad Obama, Biden, Kerry and Hagel are in charge of foreign policy. #ThingsNoSanePersonIsSayingToday
— Rand Simberg (@Rand_Simberg) March 1, 2014
[Update a few minutes later]
Party like it’s 1914:
everyone who understood how to confront the threat of the Soviet Union can say, “I told you so, and we knew how to handle them.” Reagan, Ed Meese, John Paul II, Caspar Weinberger, Strom Thurmond, and thousands of others who shared their moral clarity. Don’t forget, Ted Kennedy was feeding information to Soviet leaders about how to confront Ronald Reagan. Some were on the wrong side of history, some were on the right.
During this era, Obama was on the wrong side.
Again, back to the tape. Now in this digital age we have a president that is not only illiterate in the history of European confrontation, but his tendencies skew toward America’s enemies. Here’s the even scarier part: Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons to Russia in exchange for an American guarantee of security.
It’s starting to feel like 1914, and unfortunately Putin seems to be holding the best hand. America is weak and has a leader who is incompetent at best, and at worst has a history of siding with America’s enemies. Just this week, as Putin was massing force on the Ukrainian border, Jay Carney was warning Putin not to take steps that might be “misinterpreted.” Putin listened. The only place his moves were being misinterpreted was in the Obama White House. Only there, in the bubble of new-age foreign policy nonsense, was there a misinterpretation. Everyone else knew what Putin was up to, except the people we pay to know.
What a disaster the last election was, on multiple fronts.
I ran across this old piece I wrote a few months after the loss of Columbia. It has some of the underlying themes of what later became the book, and holds up pretty well, I think.
It’s not as crazy as The Economist thinks:
No doubt water, pension liabilities and Democrats (who would let this happen over their dead bodies) pose seemingly insurmountable obstacles to partition. But this is a reform movement we hope gains steam over time. The competing interests and priorities of California’s unmanageable, schismatic population are bad for democracy and bad for Californians.
It’s a mess.
It hasn’t ended. It’s gotten worse.
It’s like there’s absolutely no accountability or something.
Some of them aren’t all that impressed with Professor Mann.
It’s right there, for anyone who is willing to see it:
The mainstream press has justified its lack of coverage over the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups because there’s been no “smoking gun” tying President Obama to the scandal. This betrays a remarkable, if not willful, failure to understand abuse of power. The political pressure on the IRS to delay or deny tax-exempt status for conservative groups has been obvious to anyone who cares to open his eyes. It did not come from a direct order from the White House, but it didn’t have to.
Yup. As I wrote when the story first broke:
After the Supreme Court ruled against the administration in Citizens United (the case that some defending the IRS are claiming was the cause of the new scrutiny, despite the fact that it started before the caseloads began to increase), President Civility lectured them, a captive audience at the State of the Union speech, lying about the ruling to their faces (well, all right, to be fair, he may not have been lying — President Constitutional Scholar may have just been ignorant on the nature of the ruling). This undoubtedly made many in his government think that it gave them license to fight the ruling in the trenches against the sudden growth in enemies of the state it had spurred, since their president had said it was wrong.
Let me (as the president would say) be clear. I will be in no way shocked if emails are discovered showing that the White House actively ordered IRS officials to go after Tea Party groups, while green lighting his political allies. My only point is that, sadly, it wouldn’t have been necessary for them to do so.
When the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170, it wasn’t done at the direct order of King Henry II. It didn’t have to be. All it required was for the monarch to muse, aloud, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”
But sadly, while we have badly needed a better president for over four years, the real problem isn’t the men and women running the system, and it wasn’t a failure of the system — it is the system itself.
And nothing is happening to fix it, at least so far. There has been no accountability. Congress needs to call Lerner back, and if she refuses to testify, let her do some time for contempt.
[Update a while later]
What happens when Lerner returns to testify next week?
There is no doubt that crimes were committed by IRS officials. Cincinnati unit manager for tax-exempt organizations Cindy Thomas, released the tax applications of nine conservative organizations to left-wing Pro Publica. The IRS systematically delayed conservative groups’ tax-exempt applications across the 2010 to 2012 pre-election timespan, while at the same time, Malik Obama’s Barack H. Obama Foundation’s application was fast-tracked and back-dated. Most left-wing groups saw their applications for tax-exempt status sail through the IRS process. Someone set up a regime to scrutinize conservative groups’ applications more closely than liberal groups. The FBI has slow-dragged its investigation, and still has not even interviewed many of those who believe the IRS abused them. Someone also needs to explain how some conservative leaders have been subjected to IRS audits and long-term assault by an alphabet soup of executive branch agencies during the period in which the IRS abused conservative tax-exempt groups. As the person who first leaked the IRS abuse, and as someone who has a history of using government power against conservatives, Lerner is in a position to know quite a bit how the abuse began and who was directing it, if she was not directing it herself.
Congress lacks the power to prosecute Lerner, but it can grant her immunity from prosecution if she provides credible and compelling evidence that points to others with knowledge of the scandal. It’s unlikely that Lois Lerner is the kingpin of the IRS abuse scandal. She probably lacked the power on her own within the IRS to launch the scrutiny of the abused groups, and she certainly lacked the power to move other executive branch agencies against conservatives. But as the IRS official who first disclosed it, and excused it as actions by “rogue” officers in Cincinnati, Lerner obviously knew a great deal about it — enough to know that it should be downplayed to minimize its political fallout. She lacked any power over the FBI’s failure to fully investigate, and she could not have appointed Obama campaign donor Barbara Bosserman to investigate the case. The Tatler has been told by a very reliable source that evidence exists pointing to White House involvement in the scandal. Issa’s committee surely has the same information. Lerner’s appearance next week presents an excellent opportunity to pursue it.
Yes, that is the way we talk in America, you stupid fascists:
Bittman likes Freudenberg’s debunking of notions of “rights and choice,” because he agrees that “we need… more than a few policies nudging people toward better health.” As Freudenberg told Bittman: “What we need… is to return to the public sector the right to set health policy and to limit corporations’ freedom to profit at the expense of public health.” Oh! Did you see that? Freudenberg said “right.” He said “right” in the context of government, and he spoke of returning this “right” — a right to control people — to government. He’s saying “right” where the legal term is actually “power.” He wants government power at the expense of rights. And the fact that he speaks of the “return” of power to the government is either deceptive or unAmerican. We are free and have a right to do what we want until we give power to government. If the laws that restrict us are repealed, it makes sense to speak of returning rights to the people, but it’s wrong and really offensive to characterize new restrictions in terms of returning a right to the government.
I know it sounds like crazy talk to you, but we really do have rights to do things of which you disapprove.
People like this should be “nudged” out of town on a rail, bedecked with petroleum bi-products and bird coverings.
As a side note, I’d bet this guy would also tell me I don’t have a right to risk my life in a spaceship.
In which a (probably serial) rapist sues Amy Alkon for being called a rapist. I’m pretty sure that shoving your hand into a unwilling woman’s vajajay is rape by almost anyone’s definition.
“Democrats should be embarrassed to appear with Bill Clinton.”
I think they proved pretty conclusively fifteen years ago that they’re shameless.
Keith Cowing points out the political chicanery and fiscal absurdity of a 2021 attempt with SLS/Orion.
Also, note the technical issue. Orion was designed to come back from the moon, not from Mars. It can barely manage escape velocity on earth entry. Note page 17 of the Plymouth Rock paper:
Reentry velocities are 11.05 to 11.25 km/s for asteroid missions, vs 11.0 km/s for lunar return
TPS enhancement may be required depending on the ultimate capability of Orion lunar TPS
They’ll be coming in a lot hotter than that for Mars. And what will they use for habitat? There’s no way Orion itself is large enough for a mission of that duration.
Note: I do think that the mission is physically and fiscally possible, in that time frame. Just not with SLS/Orion.
[Update a while later]
If Congress was serious about a Venus/Mars flyby in 2021, it would divert all funding from SLS/Orion to hardware actually needed to do it.
— Rand Simberg (@Simberg_Space) February 26, 2014