Heidegger

Since we were discussing philosophy the other day, Lileks has some thoughts:

The article concerns the anti-Semitism of Heidegger, and how the publication of recent texts the philosopher intended to be the capstone of his output reveals that he didn’t have the easy, lazy cultural anti-Semitism of the era, but really, really thought hard on how the Jews were putting the stick to the decent noble Volk. Not just any kind of Jews, though: worldwide jewry! It’s the richest kind.

..Anything that starts out with “Russia and America are the same” is the product of a mind so high in the clouds it cannot tell the different between red and black ants. But while Russia did indeed have “unrestricted organization of the average man,” an inevitable consequence of the state’s politicization of the entire society, you could say Germany under Hitler had a smattering as well. Or a gerschmatturung, to use Heidegger’s word. Just kidding; he doesn’t. But the article is full of German words intended to set off a Concept, as though expressing a concept in a train-wreck of consonants makes it important. I suppose the point is to be accurate, use the terms the author uses so there can be no misunderstanding. But for my part that would require anything close to comprehension, and I cannot grasp a lot of what Heidegger is talking about, perhaps because there seems to be no point in understanding what he’s saying.

Philosophy isn’t useless, but some philosophers are. Or worse than.

Trivializing Sexual Assault

First the left went after George Will, and now they’ve chosen a really bad target: a smart law professor:

But really, all that vitriol because Dean is “not sure” that an imprecise reading of what I wrote is correct? Even if she had recounted what I wrote precisely correctly, all that vitriol because she’s “not sure” I’m right?

Nor, for that matter, does Dean ever address my point about a proposed California law providing for judging sexual assault complaints by an “affirmative consent” consent standard, but only for college students in college-run hearings; if this is a good idea, why only for this limited category of people in limited circumstances? Why not make it the legal standard for sexual assault in California? A particular scenario can’t logically change from sexual assault to non-sexual assault because it happens the day after graduation instead of the day before.

As for my broader point, that the extremely broad explicit consent standard incorrectly provided on DOJ’s website means that the vast majority of men and women in the U.S. are guilty of sexual assault, Dean doesn’t bother to disagree. Instead, the best she can muster is “I do not think we are looking at any real danger of people being marched off to death camps for kissing each other.”

That’s obviously not really the question. The question is whether you want to create a sexual assault standard that is so broad that a prosecutor (or other authority, if for example it’s a university matter) can basically punish anyone they want to, so long as someone is willing to file a complaint. And so broad, as well, that it trivializes sexual assault, in that it conflates sexual assault with things like reaching out to hold your date’s hand under the dinner table.

We need to push back against these little fascists, hard.

[Update a few minutes later[

More thoughts from Ann Althouse on “chilling” debate.

Congressional Hobbling Of Spaceflight

Michael Lopez-Alegria weighs in at the Huffpo:

Flying our astronauts should be a national strategic priority, and NASA should be free to continue expanding its use of public-private partnerships and building on its successes. NASA will always lead our nation’s exploration of space, but it must empower all the members of the team that makes that happen, including commercial companies. If Congress can ensure that NASA is cutting bureaucracy and getting the most value for its money, our nation will have a bright future of space exploration ahead of it. If not, our human spaceflight program may be a disappointment for years to come.

Instead, “safety is the highest priority.”

I may have missed it, but I’ve seen no support in the media for the Shelby shenanigans.

The IRS

didn’t follow the law after it “lost” Lerner’s emails.

Laws are for the serfs, not the enforcers:

Here’s the bottom line. The IRS has been accused of targeting the political opponents of the Obama administration. The response, in rough order of emission, has been:

  1. No they didn’t. It was all (quoth the president of the United States) a “phony scandal.”
  2. They targeted liberal groups too (except the IRS inspector general disagrees).
  3. It was all the fault of two “rogue agents” in Cincinnati (that was Jay Carney’s little piece of drollery)
  4. Then we had Barack Obama’s personal assurance that there was not even a “smidgeon of corruption” at the IRS. “Smidgeon, noun. Informal: a small amount of something.” There wasn’t even a small amount of corruption at the IRS—which is why, of course, a senior agency employee like Lois Lerner decided to take the Fith Amendment to avoid self-incrimination.

Mr. Koskinen’s testimony over the last several days has been greeted with what might politely be called skepticism, not to to say naked disbelief and contempt, by Congress. “You promised to produce documents,” Darrell Issa reminded Mr. Koskinen. “You did not. . . .

You worked to cover up the fact they were missing and only came forward to fess up on a Friday afternoon after you had been caught red-handed.”

Some might say that John Koskinen was guilty of obstruction of justice. Currently, the Wikipedia entry for “Obstruction of Justice” lists four “notable examples” of the crime. Leading the list is Richard Nixon’s efforts to silence people involved in the Watergate scandal. I wonder whether there will soon be a fifth notable example. If so, it is likely to include the names of John Koskinen, Lois Lerner, and who knows how many people at the White House.

Not if the media has anything to say about it.

[Update a few minutes later]

Speaking of the media, now Woodward and Bernstein are wondering where they are?

Apparently, being a Democrat operative with a byline trumps the chance for a Pulitzer.

[Mid-afternoon update]

Mark Levin goes ballistic after last night’s hearing:

Levin also pointed out that Democrats wouldn’t be obstructing so hard if it weren’t for White House involvement, which tells him that this IRS targeting scandal goes all the way to the top.

That would be the way to bet, yes.

The IRS Coverup

How are they getting away with it?

…mull over what might happen if regulators found significant evidence to implicate Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein in an insider trading scheme.

Let’s say Blankfein asserted his Fifth Amendment right not to answer any questions. Say Goldman was subpoenaed to provide all of Blankfein’s emails. Goldman replied that, instead of complying with the subpoena, it was itself reviewing the emails in question and was considering which ones to release.

Now imagine that, nearly a year later, Goldman admitted that it had not, in fact, reviewed the emails in question, because they had been lost in a computer crash two months before it claimed to be reviewing them. Imagine Goldman also said copies of the emails were lost, because while under subpoena, it had destroyed the “backup tapes” (whatever those are) that held them and that it had also thrown away Blankfein’s actual hard drive.

The thing about dogs eating homework is, it could actually happen. This can’t.

Laws are for the little people, like Goldman Sachs, not the IRS.

…Obama’s assertion that there was “not even a smidgeon of corruption” in the IRS’ attacks on right-wing groups does not reassure. Obama cannot have known there was no corruption given the mountain of evidence that has yet to be produced and now appears to have been destroyed. He could believe there was no corruption because he has faith in everyone who works under him, or he could know there was corruption and be lying about it, but he can’t know there was no corruption. It’s impossible.

For all he knows, there’s a Lois Lerner email that says, “I want you to go after these Tea Party bastards with everything you got. Use every trick you can to keep them on the sidelines for this election cycle. Nuke those fascists.”

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is sworn in during a congressional hearing on the missing emails from the hard drive of former director Lois Lerner.Photo: Getty Images

Lerner wouldn’t have pleaded the Fifth unless she had reason to believe that there was potential illegality and it could be tied to her.

I wonder if Kyle Smith was influenced by my tweet the other day?

And the picture is certainly apt.

Lerner's Bird

[Early afternoon update]

“The emails that came out were bad enough. The ones that were destroyed must have been really, really incriminating.”

SpaceShipOne

It’s been ten years since its first flight into space. Jeff Foust reflects, and he has a new book out to commemorate it:

People have written a lot about this long gap in suborbital spaceflight, and a thorough examination of the causes is beyond the scope of a single post. Virgin Galactic has gone through an extended technical development, including a recent switch in hybrid rocket motors; it now plans to begin flights late this year, about seven years later than its original plans announced in September 2004. XCOR Aerospace’s progress has been hindered at times by limited funding, as Forbes recently reported, although the company announced last month it raised more than $14 million in a Series B funding round that should allow it to bring the Lynx to market. Blue Origin, meanwhile, keeps its plans under tight wraps; it would seem that founder Jeff Bezos, who is also funding the 10,000-Year Clock, is not in a particular rush.

And John Carmack always treated Armadillo as more of a hobby. No, it’s not any single reason (“space is hard”). As I tweeted yesterday, the problem with commercial space, until recently, is that the people with good ideas couldn’t get money to execute them, and the people with the money picked bad ideas. In the case of Virgin, it started when (the late) Jim Benson sold Burt Rutan a bill of goods on hybrids, and people who didn’t understand the technology thought that it would scale easily (though it was never a good idea). It all cascaded from there.

[Update a while later]

The top five posts on this page are my reporting that morning from Mojave.

[Sunday-afternoon update]

Dale Amon remembers that day as well.

[Bumped]

SpaceX Launch Attempt

They had to scrub the Orbcomm delivery mission yesterday due to a pressurization issue in the second stage (unclear if it was a vehicle or GSE umbilical problem). They’re making another attempt today, and fueling, but they’re not webcasting. No explanation why, but the disappointment on Twitter is palpable.

[Update a while later]

Another scrub, with no details.

[Update a few minutes later]

Hearing now they got weathered out by lightning 18 minutes before T-0.