The Gulf Economy Is Saved

At least temporarily. A federal judge has struck down the idiotic and mendacious drilling moratorium.

My prediction: the lamestream media and the administration will attempt to make hay out of the fact that Judge Feldman is a Reagan appointee. I expect them to appeal, unfortunately. But at least the ban is lifted for now, or will be in thirty days.

[Update a few minutes later]

They’ve already said they’re going to appeal. But I don’t think they can get it reinstated until they win the appeal, if they do (and I suspect they won’t). I wonder if they’ll try to get the appellate court to take it as an emergency case? No, I don’t really. You know they will.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

“But if it’s not, I’ll kill you.” A brother and sister get in a knife fight over butter versus margarine:

The sister told Knouf she was making macaroni and cheese when her brother asked if she was using butter.

“They began to argue over the difference of real butter to margarine,” wrote Knouf in the report.

The verbal argument escalated into a shoving match, and then the sister is accused of trying to cut her brother, Knouf wrote.

Well, it’s not Ginger versus Mary Ann, but I can see how people can get pretty emotional about it. Good thing lard wasn’t an option.

Best Point I’ve Heard Yet

…about the McChrystal fooforaw:

…surely officers in Afghanistan should know that the purpose of Rolling Stone magazine is not to emphasize either their competency or their insight. And as a general rule, anytime a liberal journalist wishes to empathize with a frustrated officer, it is usually to exaggerate the officer’s unhappiness and use it for his own political purposes, which rarely if ever are those of the military.

If an officer cannot figure out Rolling Stone, how can he understand the Taliban?

Somebody needs to lose their job over this. I’d sure like to see Holbrooke and Eikenberry go, but we probably won’t be so lucky.

Afghanistan seems to be becoming Obama’s Vietnam.

[Update a while later]

Don’t blame McChrystal — blame Obama:

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal should not lose his job because of the article about him in Rolling Stone magazine. If anyone deserves blame for the latest airing of the administration’s internal feuds over Afghanistan, it is President Obama.

For months Obama has tolerated deep divisions between his military and civilian aides over how to implement the counterinsurgency strategy he announced last December. The divide has made it practically impossible to fashion a coherent politico-military plan, led to frequent disputes over tactics and contributed to a sharp deterioration in the administration’s relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The virtue of the Rolling Stone article is that Obama may finally have to confront the trouble. But the dismissal of McChrystal would be the wrong outcome. It could spell disaster for the military campaign he is now overseeing in southern Afghanistan, and it would reward those in the administration who have been trying to undermine him, including through media leaks of their own.

It’s the wrong thing to do, so it’s the likeliest outcome.

[Update a couple minutes later]

McChrystal’s real offense:

One soldier shows me the list of new regulations the platoon was given. “Patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourselves with lethal force,” the laminated card reads. For a soldier who has traveled halfway around the world to fight, that’s like telling a cop he should only patrol in areas where he knows he won’t have to make arrests. “Does that make any f–king sense?” Pfc. Jared Pautsch. “We should just drop a f–king bomb on this place. You sit and ask yourself: What are we doing here?”

Well, those rules of engagement are what the administration wants.

[Late morning update]

Why Obama can’t fire the general.

[Update a few minutes later]

The Rolling Stone article isn’t about a general’s insubordination — it’s about the administration’s mistakes. Well, this is what the country voted for.

[Update early afternoon]

John McCain: “Fire Eikenberry

[Update a while later]

McChrystal has reportedly submitted his resignation. The best result might be for the president to not accept it. An even better result would be for him not accept it, but to fire Eikenberry and Holbrooke instead. But that won’t happen, unfortunately.

Zero Tolerance Insanity

Thoughts on the rampant hoplophobia in today’s society.

The way he talks about how “the event” “exposed” how “a policy” can present “an image counter to the work” of the schools, you certainly wouldn’t think he decided on his own to ban the hat. But regardless of whether he can unilaterally change school policy, let’s suppose he accomplishes the revision he seeks so that students may depict “tools of a profession or service such as the military or police.”

Doesn’t that amount to indoctrinating children to believe that guns are only OK (and should only be allowed) when they are in the hands of the police and the military? Is that not contrary to the purpose of the Second Amendment and the founding of this country? If, as Di Pietro says, it is “the work of our schools to promote patriotism and democracy,” such a bias would do just the opposite.

These people are ignorant fools, and they’re responsible for educating our children.

The Administration Declares War

on Arizona:

“There certainly seems to be an underlying disrespect for the state of Arizona,” says Kris Kobach, the law professor and former Bush administration Justice Department official who helped draft the Arizona law. Kobach points out that during the Bush years, several states openly flouted federal immigration law on issues like sanctuary cities and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Respecting the doctrines of comity and federalism, the Bush administration didn’t sue. Now, when Arizona passes a measure that is fully consistent with federal law, the Obama administration, says Kobach, “goes sprinting to the courthouse door.”

Too bad they can’t be as tough on, say, Iran.

The Rabbi Speaks

about Helen Thomas:

I merely asked a question with a video camera to a columnist. She answered me with an opinion that was unacceptable not just to me but to former and current press secretaries, politicians, the president, her agent and a great many other people. Her freedom of speech was not stifled; on the contrary, it was respected.

She didn’t say that the blockade was unjust, or that aid was not getting to Gaza, or that there was a massacre on the high seas, or that East Jerusalem is occupied, or that the settlements are immoral . . . and get out and go back to West Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Eilat. No. This was not the two-state solution. This was get the hell out and go back to the places of the final solution, Poland and Germany. The Jew has no connection with the land of Israel.

And why? Because, as Thomas went on to explain to me, “I’m from Arab descent.” That’s it? That’s all you got? Do we all travel with only our parents’ stereotypes to guide us, never going beyond them to get to a peaceful destination?

In the past weeks I have relived this moment over and over, on television and radio, in newspapers and blogs. I’ve listened to a constant stream of commentary. And my sharpest impression is this: Where before I saw a foggy anti-Israel, anti-Jewish link, it’s now clear. This feeling is not about statehood. It’s about an ingrown, organic hate. It’s a sentiment that bears no connection to history, dates, passages or verses. Erase the facts, the dates and the lore. Erase the Jew. Incredibly, even the Nazis said to the Jews, “Go home to Palestine.” But Thomas and a babbling stream in our world and country dictate to Jewish people to “go home to Poland and Germany.” Yeah, I said “oooh.”

I think that it’s theoretically possible to express the kind of hatred of Israel that many do and not be anti-semitic. But I don’t think it happens much in real life.

The other day Jim Davis asked me in comments why I (and the Tea Partiers) object to being called “racist” because we oppose President Obama’s policies (or “liberal” or “progressive” policies in general), when I’m willing to call people anti-semitic for their views about Israel.

Here’s the difference. I would be (and have been) criticizing those policies regardless of who was advocating them, or what color their skin is. I’m pretty sure that’s true of most of the Tea Partiers as well. The fact that a black man has ascended to the presidency doesn’t somehow magically and suddenly make such criticism racist.

Israel’s attackers, on the other hand, have a double standard. They attack it for things (e.g., abusing Arabs) that they completely ignore when other countries (notably Arab countries) do them on a much grander scale. They accuse it of war crimes when it takes greater pains, and greater risks to its own troops, than any nation in history, with the possible exception of the US, to minimize collateral civilian casualties. But these same hypocrites ignore or defend the real war crimes of the “Palestinians” — hiding weapons in hospitals and churches and mosques, sneaking through borders in ambulances, deliberately targeting children, fighting out of uniform, using their own women and children as human shields — while castigating Israel.

So yeah, sorry, I think there’s something else going on there. And Helen Thomas just made a massive Kinsleyan gaffe, and revealed what she (and many others) really think. Oooh, indeed.

[Update a couple minutes later]

I’ve observed this before, but leftists seem (unaccountably to me) to get their panties much more in a twist about human rights abuses when they’re cross race. Israel making Arabs second-class citizens? The horror! Saddam murdering thousands of his own people? Hey, it’s his business. Mao wiping out tens of millions of Chinese? No biggie, they’re his people. Gotta break some eggs to make the omelette, you know.

Another example was apartheid in South Africa. Not to defend it, but was it really that much worse than what Idi Amin or Mengistu were up to? Really?

[Update a few minutes later]

Well, Israel is going to partially lift the Gaza blockade. That won’t satisfy the critics, though. They won’t be happy until the weapons are flowing freely in. And probably not even then.

[Late evening update]

But there’s no anti-semitism involved:

Radicals, Islamists and Longshoremen blockade Israeli ship in Oakland.

And when someone compares the Israelis to Nazis, it can only be either anti-semitism or profound stupidity and ignorance, even when (or especially when) it’s a Nobel Prize winner. It’s been said before, but the Nobel Prize (in fields other than science) ain’t what it used to be. If it ever was…

[Tuesday morning update]

More useful thoughts
from (Christian) Mike Potemra:

…the support for Israel that is offered by me and like-minded people is based not on headline-devouring apocalypticism but on something perduring and eternal: a sense that the fate of the Jews implicates humanity, that a world that refuses to find a place for the Jews is engaged in a rejection of even more fundamental truths. This State of Israel is, yes, a state like all other states; that should go without saying. But how strange that, of all the 200 or so states-just-like-other-states in the world today, this one alone is treated increasingly as a pariah that’s on a deserved path to being wiped out.

I am not ashamed to say that some of my own support for Israel is based in religious motives, even if these motives are not those presented in caricature form by the cultured despisers. And I resent the caricature less than I otherwise would, because I view it as rooted in a deeper obtuseness, the one these despisers show in regard even to their own self-interest and to their own intellectual consistency. The only country in the region with liberal values — that lets, e.g., its religious minorities vote; that has, e.g., gay-pride parades — is the one they view as an embarrassment. This, again, is a level of obtuseness that cannot be explained on a purely rational basis.

It’s the oldest hatred in the world. Of course it’s not rational.



…and incompetence. Thoughts on the socialist program from Jerry Pournelle:

So the question becomes, is liberal socialist democracy evil or incompetent, or just plain wrong?

I think that this is a good example of (J. Porter) Clark’s Law. He came up with it for spammers, I think, but it applies here as well: “Any sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice.”

Oh, and I found this quite interesting. Jonah Goldberg, call your office:

If Liberal Democracy is a conspiracy, it hasn’t done much of a job of hiding its objectives. They’ve been clear since the days of Beatrice and Sydney Webb. So have their tactics: there is no enemy to the left. Solidarity forever. The union makes us strong. George Bernard Shaw was aware of Stalin’s starvation tactics and the Ukraine famine, but chose not to say anything about it because Solidarity was a guiding principle. So were many others, for the same reasons. Being a communist fellow traveler was quite fashionable among intellectuals. It took the Hitler Stalin Pact to break the subservience of American intellectuals to the Popular Front, and even then many stayed with the communists. Recall Fred Pohl: An intellectual friend, well known in science fiction circles of 1940, brought the news of the Fall of Paris to the Germans to Fred and other editors.

“He bought us wine, held up his glass, and proposed a toast: “To the liberation of the bourgeois capital by the people’s forces of socialism.” I drank his lousy wine. But it lay sour in my stomach while I brooded in my office all that day.”

Was that incompetence or malice? Was it incompetence or malice to drink the lousy wine and brood?

Well, they were national socialists. It said so right in their name. As noted, the Left and academia has rewritten history to pretend that they weren’t.

Space History Bleg

Does anyone have a reference that describes the decision to reduce the size of the Shuttle fleet from seven to five during the Carter administration, and Mondale’s role?

[Update late evening]

Thanks for all the inputs from all the commenters. I’m a little surprised, because my recollection (from the time — see, I’m such a fogie that I actually claim to remember such things) was that Mondale had reduced the fleet size by two in the late seventies. I apparently have some reading to do to get it right.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!