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The Folly Continues

Andy McCarthy:

…no thanks to the government, the plane was not destroyed, and we won’t get to the bottom of the larger conspiracy (enabling the likes of Napolitano to say there’s no indication of a larger plot — much less one launched by an international jihadist enterprise) because the guy got to lawyer up rather than be treated like a combatant and subjected to lengthy interrogation. But the terrorist will be convicted at trial (this “case” tees up like a slam-dunk), so the administration will put it in the books as a success … just like the Clinton folks did after the ’93 WTC bombers and the embassy bombers were convicted. In their minds, litigation success equals national security success.

Stooge Gibbs said today that the administration takes the war seriously, but you wouldn’t know it by their behavior. Attempting to blow up a civilian airliner while being Muslim is not a civilian crime — it is an act of war, by an illegal combatant.

[Update a few minutes later]

More thoughts from Victor Davis Hanson:

I think the year-long mantra of “Bush destroyed the Constitution” is now almost over, and we will begin again worrying about our collective safety rather than scoring partisan points by citing supposed excesses in our anti-terrorism efforts. With the delay in closing Guantanamo (from the promised shuttering on Jan. 20, 2010 to . . . sometime in 2011?), Obama’s quiet copy-catting of Bush security protocols (such as wiretaps, intercepts, tribunals, and renditions), and the popular outcry against the upcoming show trial of KSM in New York, a public consensus is growing that radical Muslims like Hasan and Mutallab will continue to attempt to kill Americans. Citizens increasingly understand that the last eight years of relative safety following 9/11 were due only to heightened security at home and proactive use of force abroad, that we should cease trying to appease radical Islam by dreaming up new euphemisms (“overseas contingency operations,” “man made disasters,” etc.), and that it is time to stop the apologetics and kowtowing, and grudgingly accept that thousands of radical Islamic fundamentalists worldwide want to kill Americans — and dozens of governments, at least on the sly, hope that they do. Such venom has nothing to do with past American behavior or George Bush’s strut, nor can it be ameliorated on the cheap by Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize, middle name, or reset-button diplomacy.

Even if he starts now, though, people will remember the naivety of the first year of office, and the left will remain angry at him that he’s acting just like the BusHitler. He’s in a no-win situation, politically. And I have no sympathy. He asked for the job, and lied his way into it.

On The Road Again

Heading out of Vegas north to Arizona, Utah, and eventually Colorado. I may check in from the road, since I bought myself a Verizon Aircard for Christmas. Hope Santa was good to everyone…

[Late evening update]

The plan had been to make it all the way to Denver tonight, but we got a late start from Vegas, and we would have gotten in very late, so we stopped in Grand Junction. Looking at the weather in the room, it looks like it was a good move, because there’s a lot of snow on the road up ahead at the Divide. I hope it will be better in the morning.

[Saturday morning update]

Well, it’s better this morning, but still looks like a slow drive. The snow isn’t blowing any more, but there are icy patches and packed snow ahead. I’m guessing five hours, but maybe we’ll be able to do better.

[Evening update]

We made a lot better time than I hoped — about three and a half hours. The only places where the roads were a little iffy were in Vail Pass and climbing up the the RooseveltEisenhower tunnel, but it generally moved at better than sixty and eighty for much of the trip. The nice thing was that there was little traffic, and virtually no trucks, doubtless due to the holiday.

Are there any Denver-area blogger parties for New Years?

News From The Augustine Panel

I have it on fairly good authority that one of the subpanels will have an interesting announcement this morning, that some readers may find encouraging. Don’t know much more than that, and I’ll be incommunicado until this afternoon, when we get back to Boca.

[Mid-afternoon update]

I see from comments that there was a strong endorsement of propellant depots for exploration beyond LEO (which, as Jeff noted, should have been so obvious that historians will look back dumbfounded in retrospect that we remained hung up on megalaunchers for so long). I haven’t seen the presentation yet, but Clark Lindsey has a summary.

[Update a few minutes later]

Jon Goff: “The most amazing twenty-five minutes in NASA history.”

Well, that’s probably a slight exaggeration — I think an event that happened a little over forty years ago probably tops it, but I know what he means. The question is whether or not the policy establishment will pay attention. I have an email from someone in the know who notes that everyone on that subpanel gets the Frontier Enabling Test.

I’m sorry I missed the presentation live, but I assume that it will be replayable, or Youtubed. It certainly should be — I think that it probably will prove to be quite historic.

[Update about 4 PM EDT]

What is Norm Augustine thinking
about ISS?

If he was not playing devil’s advocate, then Augustine’s first question indicates a belief that the American public might not be so excited about funding a lengthy and costly mission to Mars that isn’t clearly an American mission. His second question suggests he believes that when you get right down to it, there isn’t much to the space station beyond the great international coalition it has wrought.

There are many strong arguments to keep the space station — most notably that it seems ridiculous to abandon it just five years after it’s completed — but if Augustine believes deep down that it serves no real scientific or exploration purpose, that will carry a lot of weight with Obama.

I think that for current planned uses, and in its current location, it’s not worth the money of keeping it going. If “international cooperation” is so important to Sally Ride and the other politically correct astronauts, let them scrounge up the couple billion a year to do so from ESA, Japan, and others. But I’d like to see some serious proposals to move it to a more affordable location at 28 degrees (it wouldn’t take long to save the money that it would take to move it in reduced launch costs) and use it as a base facility for depot operations and research, as well as a primary base for extended-duration crew research for deep-space missions, perhaps using coorbiting Bigelow modules. With a short-distance cargo-crew tug, this would eliminate the need for a back-to-earth lifeboat, for everything short of a coronal mass ejection or alien attack.

[Evening update]

Jon Goff has posted his white paper on propellant depots, which I would assume played at least some role in today’s results.

“The Great Vetting Disaster”

Well, this certainly inspires confidennce:

2009 is the anti-2008 for Team Obama. Whereas, last year, the Obama campaign was able to demonstrate its supreme competence at running a campaign, raising money, and using technology to further Barack Obama’s political goals and personal ambitions, once Team Obama moved into the White House, it seemed that its hold on managerial competence disappeared. Thus, we have a Treasury Secretary whose tax delinquencies were not discovered by the Obama vetting system, and who is Home Alone at the Treasury Department because the White House can’t get its nominees confirmed quickly enough to provide the Treasury Secretary the personnel support he needs to deal with the greatest economic crisis since the recession of the early 1980s. The White House’s initial choice for HHS Secretary, Tom Daschle, was himself eliminated because of tax delinquencies. Because of the multiple problems with nominees running into tax problems, the responsibility for vetting over tax issues became concentrated in the White House Counsel’s Office . . . only to discover that White House Counsel Greg Craig has his own tax problems. Two Commerce Secretaries have been forced to withdraw their nominations. Only now is the Senate turning its attention to confirming the nomination of Ron Kirk as U.S. Trade Representative. And in the latest personnel snafu, the selection of Charles Freeman as the Chairman of the National Intelligence Counsel has been withdrawn.

Well, as that astute Chicago politician, Jesse Jackson, said, “Barack ain’t ever run anything but his mouth.”

[Update a few minutes later]

No one wants to be Obama’s Brownie.”

It’s not surprise that he can’t get good help. I sure wouldn’t want to be part of the team that will be blamed for the disaster that is inevitable from these policies.

[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s another explanation, from the same comments section (read the post, too) — ethics bends:

He’s a Chicago machine politician, used to associating with the likes of Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers, and nobody complaining about it. And he got catapulted into the highest office of the land in an unnaturally short time, with a media so in the tank that he wasn’t vetted himself.

Give the guy a break, he’s suffering from the “ethics bends”, all that corruption is coming out in great painful bubbles, instead of gradually seeping out over the course of a long political career.

Seriously, had he reached the White House after a normal political trajectory, as the capstone of a long, long career, he’d have had time to adjust himself to the differing expectations at the federal level, and to shed a lot of baggage. He must be very disoriented right now.

It’s not just a lack of experience. It’s an overabundance of bad experience.

It also means that it may be very tough to find a good NASA administrator (not that it’s ever easy).

[Update a few minutes later]

A crisis of competence. Well, some of us aren’t surprised.

[Update a couple minutes later, from comments at the link.]

His statement about “profit-to-earnings ratios” comes from that same well of ignorance.

Actually, it was even worse than that. The moron said “profits AND earnings ratio”. Not only didn’t the idiot know what a P/E ratio is, he doesn’t know how to translate mathematical operations to English. I’m betting that the idiot messiah was pretty darned awful at mathematical word problems. Frankly, I’d be surprised if the fool understood any math beyond some basic arithmetic.

I’d be willing to bet that’s right. Actually, with all the trillions being tossed around, I wonder even about the basic arithmetic. Of course, it’s hard to know, because he refuses to release his transcripts. There’s certainly no available evidence that he understands anything about business, or math.

But he wants us to take stock advice from him. Because he talks pretty.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Even ObamaweekNewsweek’s Howard Fineman is taking a break from his usual Obama tongue bath, except this part is nuts:

The center usually is the safest, most productive place in politics, but perhaps not now, not in a once-in-a-century economic crisis.

Swimming in the middle, he’s denounced as a socialist by conservatives, criticized as a polite accommodationist by government-is-the-answer liberals, and increasingly, dismissed as being in over his head by technocrats.

“Swimming in the middle”? “Swimming in the freakin’ middle?!

Only on planet Leftist.

[Update a few minutes later]

And why does Fineman feel a need to declare that The One isn’t a socialist? Methinks the sycophant doth protest too much.

Sure About That?

Kaus says that there are only four GM cars that he would consider buying, and one of them is a Chevy Malibu. Well, I rented one from National at LAX on Wednesday night. The thing has the turning radius of a supertanker (which is particularly problematic given the postage-stamp-sized parking spaces in LA). It also scrapes the undercarriage (or at least the bottom of the front license plate) coming in and out of the driveway, a problem that I didn’t have with the Versa I was renting last week.

I wonder if he’s test driven one?