Nice catch by Aram Bakshian, Jr.:

We are reminded by Mr. Young that one of Mr. Edwards’s early boosters was the late Ted Kennedy, who “saw almost unlimited potential in this young, energetic, well-spoken, good-looking Southerner.” In a conversation with Mr. Young, Mr. Kennedy waxed sentimental about Washington in the early 1960s: “It used to be civilized. The media was on our side. We’d get our work done by one o’clock and by two we were at the White House chasing women. We got the job done, and the reporters focused on the issues. . . . It was civilized.” We now know that Mr. Edwards’s idea of civilization was much the same as Kennedy’s.

No other comment necessary, I think. Ah, for the good old days when the “media was on their side.”

Oh, wait! Maybe he meant the good old days in 2008.

Why Go Out To Eat?

Some thoughts.

Looking back, I used to go out primarily for entertainment value. I enjoyed being in a fancy space, developing a rapport with the wait staff, people watching, and dressing up for the occasion.


I hate that. It has a very low entertainment/annoyance ratio to me (I hate getting dressed up, for one thing).

I don’t go out to eat, generally, unless there is some compelling reason, because I don’t intrinsically enjoy it. I think that restaurants are intrinsically overpriced (not relative to their costs of doing business, but relative to their value to me compared to cooking at home), I don’t know for sure what’s in the food, and can’t get it exactly the way I like it, the portions are too large, particularly on the carbs (again, for economic reasons), and I really don’t enjoy other people serving or waiting on me, particularly when a tip is expected. I really prefer to do it myself (I have the same annoyance with luggage in hotels).

To me the only reasons to go out to eat are a) to eat something that I couldn’t make myself due to lack of time or ingredients (which is why I almost never go to a steak house), b) as a social occasion with others or c) I’m travelling away from home and have no other choice. But it’s not something about which I ever think, “Boy, I’d sure like to go out to eat in some fancy restaurant.”

[Update a few minutes later]

The very first commenter over at Al Dente has another big reason I don’t like going out:

Too many restaurant owners think that noise = fun, and they actively try to keep the noise level over 90 db. I hate big chain restaurants with concrete walls and floors that have conversations bouncing and echoing off them until they turn into a cacophonous din. I have gotten up with my wife and left restaurants before ordering because the noise was too oppressive. And just for the record, some music enhances the meal (Frank & Dino at an Italian place, etc.), and some music ruins it (I don’t want to have to shout to my dining companions to be heard over the latest blaring hip hop hit). The nadir had to be when I took my wife to a little bar/restaurant in Dallas for an after theater drink, and we were seated beneath a speaker that was blaring some rap song that sounded like a Tourette’s patient giving X-rated how-to instructions to an apprentice rapist.

Particularly when I’m out with friends, trying to have a conversation, I like to be able to hear them and talk to them without shouting. Planet Hollywood? Please. There is absolutely nothing about a place like that to appeal to me, and if I’m with other people who want to go, I do my best to dissuade.

I guess this gets into a broader issue. I am not a “party” person. Which is not to say that I’m not social, or that I don’t enjoy the company of others. I enjoy nothing better than getting together with a bunch of interesting people, but the point of getting together is to discuss interesting things, not to be pummelled with mindless noise shoulder-to-shoulder with a throng. This was true for me even in college. I’ve always hated that. But I have enough problems with going out to eat without having to be assaulted with noise. I don’t understand the attitude that “more volume” equals “more fun.” But apparently for many people, it is, or the places wouldn’t inflict on them what is to me a punishment.

Dramatic Changes Ahead

I have more thoughts on anniversaries, and the new space policy, over at PJM.

[Update a few minutes later]

I would make one other point. If we’ve lost the moon, it happened five years ago when Mike Griffin came out with the ESAS results. Constellation was never going to get us back to the moon, in any affordable or sustainable way. As I noted in the previous post, the new policy is much more in keeping with the recommendations of the Aldridge Commission than Mike Griffin’s plans ever were.

[Update a few minutes later]

Jeff Foust says that it’s silly season in space policy.

As he says, we could wait until Monday to see what the policy actually is before fulminating about it, but where’s the fun in that?

Obama’s Conservative Space Policy

[Note: KLo offered me some space at The Corner to rebut Jeffrey Anderson’s post, but it hasn’t gone up yet and I’m not sure when it will. But since it’s just a blog post, and not a paid NRO article, I assume there’s no problem with cross posting here.]

While I’m not a conservative, some of my best friends are, and I am sympathetic to that philosophy, so it pains me to see such an inadvertently unconservative post on space policy appear in The Corner from Jeffrey Anderson. I responded briefly at my blog, but I’m grateful to Kathryn to allow me some space there for a more proper rebuttal.

Short version, human spaceflight policy is one of the few things that Obama seems to be getting right, at least from a conservative standpoint.

Longer version: Continue reading Obama’s Conservative Space Policy

We Haven’t Lost The Moon

Over at National Review, Jeffrey Anderson (of whom I’d never before heard) is bewailing the new space policy, saying that Barack Obama is “no JFK.”

It’s been ten more years of going nowhere since Krauthammer wrote these words. Obama now proposes another ten to come.

As Krauthammer has rightly noted elsewhere, the most dangerous part of space exploration is leaving and entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The most interesting and exciting part is getting as far away as possible. So, what does President Obama propose? That we stay close to home.

That is simply untrue, at least if we are to believe rumors about Monday’s announcement. Saying that we don’t have a specific policy to go back to the moon on a specific date is not equivalent to “staying close to home.”

Sadly, many people continue to equate whatever NASA’s plans are with progress in space, and if they’re changed, or not fully funded, the assumption is that we are abandoning human spaceflight. But in fact, we’ve made little progress over the past few decades with NASA’s plans, and were going nowhere fast with the Program of Record that is mercifully, for both taxpayers and space (as opposed to NASA center) enthusiasts, about to be euthanized. Space policy is one of the few areas in which the administration seems to be getting it right, and it’s both ironic and sad that people who fancy themselves defenders of small government are also defenders of a bloated, expensive, and ineffective government program, for no other reasons than nostalgia for a Cold-War victory and a dead Democrat president.

[Update a few minutes later]

Another myth:

Furthermore, at a time when the president claims his focus is on jobs, scrapping these programs — on which we’ve already spent nearly $10 billion — would cut public spending in one area that actually creates jobs.

Of course it creates “jobs” when the government pours money into a make-work project. The question is, does it create or destroy wealth? Again, he’s making an argument that I’ll bet he’d deride as economically bogus if it were about hiking trails, or high-speed rail. And how many jobs are destroyed because the money being spent on NASA isn’t being applied to something more productive and desirable (particularly on productive and desirable things in space)?

[Late afternoon update]

For Instapundit readers, I have a follow-up post on this subject, which I hope will be cross posted at NRO soon, or at least this weekend.

[Monday morning update]

For those who came over here from NRO, I’ve extended and expanded on that Corner post here.

The Rebels Strike Back

According to this piece at Popular Mechanics, the new regime at NASA seems to be well disposed to DIRECT.

I remain an indifferent agnostic, because I think that any money spent on a heavy lifter is money wasted that would be better directed toward orbital infrastructure. And the big question that I have is how such a vehicle would be “commercial,” since there are few non-government customers for it.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!