Bush Versus Clinton

Are we really doomed to that in 2016?

More thoughts from Mark Steyn:

Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton now and forever, at least until George P Bush marries Chelsea Clinton and the two ruling houses are consolidated into one House of Bush-Clinton-Rodham-Coburg-Gotha. I’ve nothing against Jeb Bush. I happen to disagree with him on “immigration reform”, but he was a competent executive of Florida and he’s a thoughtful and (on his game) gifted speaker. But there are over 300 million people in this country, and, granted that 57 per cent or whatever it’s up to by now are fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community, what is it about the Bush family that makes them so indispensable to the Republic as to supply three presidential candidates within a quarter-century? Say what you like about actual monarchy but at least you get a non-heriditary political class: this may seem incredible to Americans but neither Canada’s Stephen Harper, Australia’s Tony Abbott, New Zealand’s John Key nor Britain’s David Cameron is the previous Prime Minister’s brother or wife.

So who are these “influential Republicans” working to draft Jeb?

Many if not most of 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s major donors are reaching out to Bush and his confidants with phone calls, e-mails and invitations to meet, according to interviews with 30 senior Republicans. One bundler estimated that the “vast majority” of Romney’s top 100 donors would back Bush in a competitive nomination fight.

“He’s the most desired candidate out there,” said another bundler, Brian Ballard, who sat on the national finance committees for Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008. “Everybody that I know is excited about it.”

The guys who picked last season’s loser are already excited about next season’s loser. How exciting is that?

Sigh.

Cosmos

Chad Orzell has some problems with the reboot. So do I and while it’s not his main concern, he puts his finger on it:

The bit where he called out young-Earth creationism for the impoverished scale of its vision was cute, too, though I’m not sure it was all that necessary or useful (in that the people who believe that won’t be watching, and wouldn’t be convinced), but then the show has clearly established a pattern of throwing red meat to the anti-religious from time to time.

Yes, if by “from time to time” he means every episode so far. I’m not traditionally religious, but I find it gratuitous and off putting. The writers and Tyson seem to get some sort of righteous satisfaction from putting a rhetorical thumb in the eyes of believers. It does not advance science, or their own secular religious cause.

Harry Reid

The grandfather:

We all know the motives of liberal Democrats are pure, their hearts true, their lives guiltless of the favoritism and nepotism and self-interest and ideological blindness of Republicans and conservatives. Harry Reid is willing to go the extra step. He did nothing wrong in handing $31,000 of his donors’ money to his granddaughter, he told reporters, but he plans to reimburse his campaign anyway. What a saint.

“I must study politics and war,” John Adams said, “that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.” In Harry Reid’s America a man must win political office so that his sons may have the liberty to practice law and register as lobbyists, engage in rent-seeking and government relations and crisis management and communications, in order to give their children a right to live in Brooklyn, to enroll in the New School, to visit the Vermont Studio Center, to have cronies finance their off-off-off-Broadway shows, to enjoy their allowance from grandpa. This is the arrangement put before the voters this coming Election Day; this is the “system” rigged to benefit the family Reid; this is the configuration of power that Charles and David Koch want to disrupt. How awful of them. How “un-American.”

Indeed.

Crowdfunding Is Not A Scam

It’s market research. She makes a good point, that it’s a quick, inexpensive way to identify products with no market, relative to actually putting them in the market. On the other hand, sometimes products that don’t do well in the market as their primary function find some other killer app that no one anticipated. If it dies in crowdfunding, no one would get the chance to discover that sort of thing.

The Democrats’ Scandals

They’re all rooted in the evil of unlimited government:

Adam Smith’s formula for prosperity — “peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice” — is the very modest ambition that conservatives aim for. Limited government is the tool by which government can be made to do good without necessarily being good, or being composed of good men.

The progressive state, on the other hand, is a state infused with moral purpose. If politics is to be a jihad, then the state must be invested with extraordinary power to achieve its moral mission. There is no way to invest the state with extraordinary power without also investing those powers in the men who hold its offices and staff its bureaucracies, which hold ever more nearly absolute power over our property and our lives. (And given that the Obama administration has made a policy of assassinating U.S. citizens without legal process, we might as well call that power “absolute.”) But if those elective offices and regulatory fortresses are to be staffed with men who are corrupt and corruptible, then the progressive vision of the morality-infused state must falter.

And they — we — are all corruptible.

Lord Acton was right, once again, about the power of power to corrupt.

This Morning’s Space Hearing

Here’s a story by Dan Leone, in which Mo Brooks makes an historical ass of himself:

One SLS supporter, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), said he was “astonished” that Bolden would claim the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama had nothing to do with the current gap in U.S. human spaceflight capability. Brooks’ district includes NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, which is leading the SLS effort.

“When the space shuttle was mothballed [in 2011], President Obama was president of the United States,” Brooks said. “He could have made the decision to continue to use the space shuttle, or to continue to keep it available in the event of an emergency. He chose not to.”

He had no practical choice, Congressman. The point of no return on the program was reached before Obama took office. The parts needed to keep it flying were already out of production, and the cost of restarting it would have been astronomical, if it could be done at all. It makes me weep to see such monumental ignorance from the people who are running space policy on the Hill.

But Dan misses what is, to me, the big story from the hearing. Interestingly, Brooks office released a transcript late in the day:

Congressman Brooks:… What would be the consequences to the operational capabilities of the Space Station if within the next year, Russia chooses to deny us access by no longer allowing us to hitch a ride on their rockets?

Administrator Bolden:…The partners would probably have to shut the Space Station down…

Congressman Brooks: If the Space Station is shut down for an extended period of time, say a few years more or less?

Administrator Bolden: I will go to the President and recommend that we terminate SLS and Orion…

Congressman Brooks: Let me make sure I understand the sequence of events from your testimony. You correct me if I err. If the Russians deny us access to the International Space Station, it’s your testimony that because of what services we provide to the International Space Station, you would have to shut it down. And if the International Space Station is shut down, you in turn would then see no reason to have the Space Launch System or Orion, so is it fair for me to infer that you would then recommend that those programs be shut down too?

They should be, regardless of what the Russians do. But this is stupid. We have invested over a hundred billion dollars in the ISS. It is only now starting to do any significant research. What Bolden is saying that he would abandon it, rather than risk flying without an abort system, even though we flew Shuttle without an abort system for thirty years. I’d like to think that he wouldn’t actually do that — that he’d decide to just ask SpaceX how soon they could start flying people to keep the program going. I hope that he was just bluffing to try to get Congress to properly fund Commercial Crew, because if he isn’t, it’s maddening. If he’s serious, it indicates that he’s completely unserious about spaceflight. And of course, someone should write a book about that.

[Friday-morning update]

Jeff Foust has the story now over at Space Politics.

[Mid-morning update]

Here’s another report, from Marcia Smith.

Saturated Fat

The science is (finally) settled:

Since the 1970s almost everyone in this country has been subjected to a barrage of propaganda about saturated fat. It was bad for you; it would kill you. Never mind that much of the nonsaturated fat was in the form of trans fats, now demonstrated to be harmful. Never mind that many polyunsaturated fats are chemically extracted oils that may also, in the long run, be shown to be problematic.

Never mind, too, that the industry’s idea of “low fat” became the emblematic SnackWell’s and other highly processed “low-fat” carbs (a substitution that is probably the single most important factor in our overweight/obesity problem), as well as reduced fat and even fat-free dairy, on which it made billions of dollars. (How you could produce fat-free “sour cream” is something worth contemplating.)

But let’s not cry over the chicharrones or even nicely buttered toast we passed up. And let’s not think about the literally millions of people who are repelled by fat, not because it doesn’t taste good (any chef will tell you that “fat is flavor”) but because they have been brainwashed.

And this junk-science nutritional advice almost certainly contributed to my father’s death thirty-five years ago. I hope, at some point, that they stop putting all the “fat free” labels in the candy section.

A Chinese-Russian Alliance?

Sanctions may make it happen:

…we may undo the work of the Cold War era and stand godfather to a new Sino-Russian alliance. This without doubt would be the stupidest move in the history of American foreign policy. Russia’s economy is weak, but Russia has considerable latent resources in military technology. Russia has a limitless market for natural resources in China and a prospective partner in military technology. If we continue to dismantle our defense capacity while Russia and China nourish theirs, we will be in deep trouble.

The best response to Putin’s challenge would be a massive increase in defense R&D, with a view to neutralizing Russia’s perceived areas of strength in missile and air defense technology (remember how SDI cowed Gorbachev in the 1980s?). That would command China’s respect and reduce Russia’s attractiveness as a prospective partner. The Crimea was, is, and will be Russian, and it’s pointless to cry over milk that was spilled in 1783. We need to think several moves ahead on the chessboard. Otherwise, Chancellor Merkel is quite right: sanctions are pointless.

That would include innovations in Milspace, something that apparently only DARPA is capable of.

If A Politician’s For Gun Control

“…it doesn’t prove he’s a crook. But that’s the way to bet.”

[Update a couple minutes later]

Democrats are a criminal organization masquerading as a political party.

This would be pretty big news if it were Republicans. And as usual, in most of the stories, you have to play “Guess That Party!”

[Update a few minutes later]

Gee, the mayor of Charlotte was arrested for corruption? What party could he possibly be? You’d never be able to figure it out from the story, though you can guess. Because he’s a crook.

[Update late morning]

Time to break out the RICO statute and break up the Democrats.

If Ken Starr hadn’t been such a blithering incompetent, he’d have used RICO against the Clinton machine in the nineties.

[Update a few minutes later]

Was Yee a full-blown gun runner for the Russians and Islamist terrorist groups? Looks like it.