Category Archives: History

Hoover, Or Reagan?

Which president will Barack Obama want to emulate? He has said that he admires Reagan, but only for his transformational qualities, not for his political beliefs. But if he persists in his apparent desire to implement some combination of Hoover and FDR policies (raising taxes on the productive, protectionism, enforcing high wages), he’ll end up making a bad situation much worse, and end up being a one-termer for sure.

An Extinct Species?

Would that it had been so. In honor of Veterans’ Day, here’s an interesting story of a recording captured to preserve the memory of the war that was to end all wars. Unfortunately, that part didn’t work out.

[Update mid morning]

On the ninetieth anniversary of the Armistice, three British veterans are still alive. The oldest is 112, the oldest man in the country. Did he ever imagine, in the midst of the war, that he would survive another nine tenths of a century beyond its end?

Back To The Classics

The stick has been inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame. It’s got to be one of the world’s oldest toys. There are very few things that encourage and nourish the imagination to the same degree.

I don’t know if I’ve told this story before (now that this blog is seven years old last month, I’m bound to start repeating), but when I was a kid, my grandfather had a couple toys that he made. They consisted of a length of quarter-inch steel barstock, with one end bent into a handle, and the other bent sideways into a short axle, on which he put a kid’s wagon wheel. We had a blast pushing them around, and me and my cousins used to fight over who got to play with them.

[Evening update]

I should note that, while sticks make great toys, we shouldn’t allow NASA to play with them, if it’s going to cost billions of dollars and set the program back for years.

More SpaceX Perspective

Clark has a round up of links.

It was a little strange, and sad, descending into the LA basin yesterday. I had a left window seat, and I looked down at the old Rockwell/North American (and back during the war, Vultee) plant in Downey, which had been abandoned back in the nineties, and saw that Building 6 appeared to be no longer there. A lot of history in manned spaceflight took place there, but now there’s almost no manned space activities left in southern California at all. Not in Downey, not in Huntington Beach, not in Seal Beach. It’s all been moved to Houston, and Huntsville.

Except, except. A minute or two later, on final descent into LAX, I saw Hawthorne Airport just off the left wing, and quite prominent was the new SpaceX facility, which had previously been used to build jumbo jet wings.

So perhaps, despite the indifference of local and state politicians, the era of manned spaceflight in LA isn’t quite yet over. And of course, Mojave remains ascendant.

Baseball History In The Making?

Assuming that this is correct, the biggest shut out in history is 22-0. Detroit is currently leading the Royals 18-0 in the top of the eighth, with men on second and third, and two out.

[Update a couple minutes later]

They got one more run to end the inning. Going into the bottom of the eighth, it’s 19-0. They scored ten runs in that inning. Three more in the ninth ties the record, and four breaks it. It could happen. Their bats seem pretty hot tonight, and Kansas City is deep into its bullpen. The Tigers just brought in Dolsi to preserve the shut out.

[Update a couple minutes later]

They blew it by relieving Miner. Dolsi let in a run on a wild pitch.


[One more update]

Wow, they really blew it. The Royals got four runs in the bottom of the eighth off Dolsi and Lopez. Of course, once they lost the shut out, it didn’t really matter. But people are going to be asking for a long time why Leland relieved out a pitcher who was pitching a three-hit shut out, with one who had an equivalent ERA.

[Update on Tuesday morning]

I guess I’d misread the box score. Miner had been replaced the inning before, before it looked like there was a history-making shut out to preserve.

Ich Bin Ein Dummkopf

Obama’s three hundred foreign policy advisors apparently weren’t enough. His new choice of location for his German sermon from the mount, to win over valuable electoral votes of the German people, seems to have backfired as badly as the attempt to emulate Kennedy and Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate:

Andreas Schockenhoff, deputy leader of the conservative bloc in Parliament, said Sunday that the choice of the Victory Column, also known as the Golden Angel, was an “unhappy symbol” since it represented so much of Germany’s militaristic past.

Rainer Brüderle, deputy leader of the opposition Free Democrats, said Obama’s advisers had little idea of the historical significance of the Victory Column. “It was the symbol of German superiority over Denmark, Austria and France,” Brüderle told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

The monument was built in 1864 to commemorate Prussia’s victory over Denmark. When it was inaugurated, Prussia had defeated Austria during the Austro-Prussian war in 1866 and the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71.

The column has been originally located near the Reichstag, now the Bundestag, or German Parliament, which is close to the Brandenburg Gate. But Adolf Hitler relocated it about two kilometers, or one mile, toward the western part of the city to the Grosser Stern, or Great Star.

Too bad Leni Riefenstahl isn’t around any more to film the event for him. Then later, he could reenact his grandfather’s liberation of Auschwitz.

Maybe if he gets a couple hundred more advisors, he can find one with a clue. I’ve never seen anyone have so much trouble getting good help. It must be tough being a messiah.

I do have to say, though, that watching this kind of thing for four years would be entertaining. I just wish that he wouldn’t be in charge of anything important during the show.