Thoughts from Megan McArdle, on philosophical straw men.
Moe Lane apologizes to the KGB and the Mafia:
Recently, I compared Alan Grayson to an ex-KGB agent who was now engaged in a second career as a Mafia pimp. I don’t know what I was thinking: the KGB tried not to hire babbling fools, and neither does the Mafia.
Yes, it really was uncalled for. On the other hand, no apology necessary for this question: is Alan Grayson the most loathesome member of Congress? Could be, though the competition is pretty stiff. Hopefully not for long, though.
Wow. How bad is Grayson? So bad that even MSNBC says that he’s gone too far.
As I’ve been pointing out for months, space policy is one of the few areas in which the Obama administration isn’t socialist by inclination.
But not me, and today is the hottest day of the year in Redondo Beach. It’s eighty degrees on the lower floor of the house, and much warmer upstairs (it’s apparently 109 downtown LA). I know that eighty doesn’t seem that bad, but one of the reasons we like living here is that this kind of heat is rare, which also means that we have no air conditioning here. It may be hot sleeping tonight (last night it never went below seventy outside). There’s supposed to be one more day of this, then a cool down on Wednesday, when things go back to normal. It’s ironic that the hottest days of the year in LA didn’t come until fall. I blame George Bush.
[Update later afternoon]
Wow. According to Accuweather, it is currently 95 in Redondo (not clear where they take that reading) with a day high of 105, then cooling down to 63 (a forty-point plunge) overnight. That’s how dry it is here, with an off-shore wind. This is the first time I can ever recall triple digits at the beach. The record is 106 (back in 1964) and the normal for this time of year is 76.
…all violent crime rates dropped in 2009, murder rates by 7.4 percent, robbery rates by 9 percent: His election caused gun sales to skyrocket, and crime rates to plummet.
Not to mention that poverty is up as well, and we all know that it’s a prime cause of crime (not to mention terrorism). Errrr…wait. Gee, that’s two “progressive” myths about crime shattered.
Just for the record, I think that the UN is about the last entity that I’d like to have that job.
And yes, per comments, it is pointless to ask someone how long it would take the Shuttle to get to the nearest star. I would have no idea how to go about answering that question with anything but a “forever.” As other commenters said, it’s like asking how long it would take to get to the moon with a bicycle, or a submarine.
[Via Alan K. Henderson]
[Update a few minutes later]
More thoughts from Kevin Williamson:
I do not propose to test the hypothesis that it would take 5,000 times the recreational dosage to overdose on marijuana, but I would like to know how much bazooka one has to smoke before deciding to appoint a UN representative to alien civilizations. Is there data on that?
I’m not sure I want to know the answer.
[Update mid afternoon]
Even more thoughts from Claudia Rossett:
…if the Malaysian head of OOSA ends up doubling as a UN envoy tasked with crafting a program for representing the “sensitivities” of all mankind to aliens, it would be nothing more than normal UN procedure should she end up huddling with Talebzadeh, head of the Iranian space agency, to draft a plan for the planet. That might be less worrisome were Malaysia and Iran a tad less cozy these days — but as it is, Malaysia was one of the three countries which last November at the UNs International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna voted against rebuking Iran over its sanctions-busting nuclear program.
Just a coinkydinky, I’m sure.
Extend the current tax rates. Actually, they should go further and eliminate the corporate income tax and reduce capital gains rates (plus index them to inflation).
I noticed that on Fox News Sunday yesterday, John Boehner repeatedly said tax rates, not tax cuts. I wish that more people would do this.
Most of the recent action alerts on space policy have been vociferous opposition to the House bill, but today the Commercial Spaceflight Federation has come out with one strongly in support of the (already passed) Senate version, urging the House to vote for it, while not mentioning their own odious work. This seems like a good strategy, since it sounds more positive. Of course, the action message has always, for the most part, been to call your congressperson and have them support the Senate version, but now it’s the focus of the alert itself, rather than just instructions what to do.
[Update a few minutes later]
It looks like Gordon is waving the white flag:
House Science and Technology Committee chairman Bart Gordon issued a statement Monday afternoon saying that he anticipated the full House to take up the Senate bill on Wednesday. “It has become clear that there is not time remaining to pass a Compromise bill through the House and the Senate,” he says in the statement. “For the sake of providing certainty, stability, and clarity to the NASA workforce and larger space community, I felt it was better to consider a flawed bill than no bill at all as the new fiscal year begins.”
This is the first halfway-good policy news I’ve heard since the new budget was released in February. An undirected CR would have wasted billions and months more.
James Bennett, on the resistance of American political culture to “progressivism:”
For decades — at a minimum, since the beginning of the Progressive Era, and arguably earlier — America had been on a course toward a more centralized society, one in which individualism as it had been understood since before the Founding — a society built on independent families living on their own properties, most of them farms — was being replaced by a different vision. The progressive vision was one of citizens as employees whose existence was mediated by negotiations among large corporations, unions, and government agencies. For such subjects, “rights” were to be a designated set of entitlements granted by those organizations.
America had gone some distance down this road by 1980, although not as far as Canada or Britain, and nowhere near as far as Germany or France, which had never been all that laissez-faire in the first place. But 1980 marked the point at which the nation reversed course. Thenceforth it would be headed in the opposite direction, toward a new vision of individualism and decentralism, driven by the computer rather than the plow.
It’s long, but worth a read.
This is pretty funny, but it has some bad words, so I won’t embed.