When Did The Left Turn Against Free Speech?

The answer is that the left has never been in favor of free speech, except for themselves.

[Update a few minutes later]

I should add that I used to be a great fan of Robert Wright. I thought that The Moral Animal and Non-Zero were truly great books. So I am quite disappointed to see that he seems to suffer from Beck derangement.

[Update a few minutes later]

As someone notes in comments over at Ann’s site, this is a perfect example of why leftists aren’t entitled to the label “liberal.”

Space Stasis

Thoughts from Neil Stephenson on how we got stuck with our current space transportation schemes. It’s unclear, though, what he means when he says “rockets,” or what different directions wold be fruitful. If he means “expendable launchers,” then yes, we need to break out, and start building space transports. But those are still “rockets.”

[Update a while later]

on the development of reusable vehicles from Clark Lindsey.

A Possible Explanation For Wall Street Screwups

They rely too much on credentialism in hiring:

It is odd that the soft firms, which market themselves to clients as being super-smart repositories of brainpower (of course this is largely a fiction; see point 3 above), would rely so heavily on university admissions committees. They effectively outsource a big chunk of due diligence on their most important investment (human capital) to a group of people whose judgement they somehow trust, but perhaps without detailed understanding. When I was on the faculty at Yale I knew people in admissions and it’s not clear to me that they were the best able to spot potential in 18 year olds. In studies of expert performance admissions people are less good at predicting UG GPA than a simple algorithm. (The “algorithm” is simply a weighted sum of SAT and HS GPA!)

I’m a lot less impressed by Ivy degrees than I’m supposed to be. And I think that the current occupant of the White House is a great example of why.

Obama’s Antique Technological Vision

Thoughts from Michael Barone:

If you put together Obama’s resistance to just about any serious changes in entitlement spending with his antique vision of technological progress, what you see is an America where the public sector permanently consumes a larger part of the economy than in the past and squanders the proceeds on white elephants like faux high-speed rail lines and political payoffs to the teacher and other public-sector unions. Private-sector innovation gets squeezed out by regulations like the Obama FCC’s net neutrality rules. It’s a plan for a static rather than dynamic economy.

Leftists only like change when they are in control of it.

[Update a few minutes later]

Sorry, link is fixed now.

[Update a while later]

This seems related somehow: Network news anchors struggle to understand the Internet in 1994.

I had been using email for over ten years prior to this.

The Deer Hunter

I saw the movie for the first time last night. I know, I know.

My impressions, which will probably not be found in any other review.

1) Wow, what a young Meryl Streep. What’s amazing is that she’s actually improved with age in many ways. A truly beautiful woman.

2) Wow, what a young Christopher Walken.

3) A young DeNiro is no big deal — I saw Taxi Driver.

4) There’s no way those mountain scenes were filmed in Pennsylvania — many of them were above the tree line. So I went and looked it up, and found out that they filmed in the Olympics. I would have guessed the Sierras, because they would have been closer to Hollywood. But why not just show what the Appalachians looked like? They were already there to film a lot of other scenes in town. To get points for cinematography? To me it detracted from the movie.

That is all.

Eight Years Ago Today

Columbia was torn apart in a plasma hurricane over an early-morning Texas sky, with seven crew aboard.

My immediate thoughts were recorded here for posterity. Some thought them heartless, but I disagreed.

That event precipitated the recent chaos in space policy, because the Bush administration made a commitment to end the Shuttle program last year (though it has been extended into this one) without a realistic plan for replacing it. The Obama administration came up with one last year, but the porkers in Congress insist on continuing to waste money on dedicated NASA solutions that will almost certainly never fly. But this will all have to come to a head, in months if not weeks, when the fiscal reality finally hits NASA along with the rest of the federal government.

I had more thoughts a little later on the flight director’s dilemma.

Here’s a haiku contest I hosted shortly afterward on the subject.

Meanwhile, on a lighter note, here’s a golden oldie from that era about the hypersensitive left:

Leftist Groups Decry NASA Demonization

February 5, 2003


A number of progressive, liberal, and socialist organizations have banded together to protest the latest slanderous attack on them, and their noble unquestionable principles, this time by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Some of the more prominent groups include Postmodernists for Peace, the World People’s Liberation Front, the Liberation Front Of The People of the World, Socialists International, the American Communist Party, International ANSWER, Stalinists for Trotsky, Trotskyites for Chomsky, the NAALPOC (National Association for the Advancement of Liberal People Of Color), the ACLU, and the Green and Democratic parties.

In a press conference in Clear Lake City, outside the front gates of the NASA Johnson Space Center, Emilio Litella, the spokesman for the newly formed “Coalition For Social Justice And Leftist Anti-Defamation” complained that even before the investigation into the Columbia disaster was completed, they were being blamed for it.

“NASA has already started to leak rumors that it was caused by the left wing,” he said. “Once again, we’re being unfairly libeled by reactionary conservatives with an anti-human, anti-peace agenda. It’s obvious that this is part of an ongoing effort by right-wing baby-killing pencil-necked geeks to demonize all progressive forces, just as our pro-peace, no-war-for-oil message is starting to resonate with the American people, on the eve of a brutal and unjust war on the people of Iraq and Palestine.”

In Washington, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, a noted expert on demonization of progressive forces by the conservative media, was asked if the Democrats agreed with this complaint.

In a soft, pained, reasonable-sounding-yet-whiny voice, he replied, “Well, I have to say that I’m very disappointed at this rush to judgement on the part of the space agency. They claim to be objective, and that they aren’t going to say anything definitive until the investigation is complete, but anyone who reads the papers knows the direction that the investigation has been going.”

“Then shrill voices on talk radio and the internet pick it up, and make it sound as though those of us who are for truly compassionate policies, and are against tax cuts for the rich, are responsible for the destruction of the space shuttle. It’s just a continuation of the politics of personal destruction.”

“I and my family have received several death threats about this in the past hour alone, and that’s not even considering the normal daily ones from Bob Torricelli and Jim Jeffords. That was most disappointing.”

Senator Hillary Clinton, who happened to be in Mr. Daschle’s office measuring the draperies, added, “It’s just part of the ongoing vast, right-wing conspiracy against me and my husband, that I still wish that some enterprising reporter would go and dig up the real story on, instead of tarring voices for fairness with innuendo about blowing up space shuttles.”

When asked if she had ever had any involvement with the nation’s space program, she replied, “Well, I did want to be an astronaut, before I went through the period when I wanted to be a Marine, but the reactionary neanderthal rat-bastards at the space agency told me that girls need not apply. But other than that, I’m afraid I don’t recall.”

Back in Clear Lake, following the press conference, in response to queries, Kent Lovebreed, a crewcut spokesman from NASA’s Public Affairs Office, responded, “We regret that anyone feels that they’re under personal attack by our critical investigation into the cause of Saturday’s tragedy. We wouldn’t want to imply that there is anything sinister here. We are simply objective scientists and engineers, gathering the evidence, and following the trail wherever it leads. Right now, unfortunately, the left wing has to be considered the leading cause of that catastrophe.”

Asked if, as a result of the preliminary results of the investigation, NASA was considering laying down a design requirement that all future space vehicles have only right wings, he said, “It’s premature to make any kind of recommendation like that, but in light of our experience now, it certainly has to be one of the options on the table.”

[Copyright 2003 by Rand Simberg]

Some things never change.

[Update late afternoon]

Clark Lindsey has collected some more links.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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