Sunday, November 30, 2008

Guess he told you.

This post goes out to all those reporters and "well-meaning" liberals who think that our military men being wounded is an unspeakable tragedy: Wounded U.S. Navy Seal Uses Appropriate Commo....

Via Ace.

The Navy is Teh Coolness, part I

Once again, SCIENCE! proves cooler than we ever imagined: 'Titanic' discovery was byproduct of military quest:

Robert Ballard became famous as the explorer who found the wreckage of the Titanic. But what most people don't know about that expedition is that Ballard also secretly worked with the U.S. Navy to learn more about two lost nuclear submarines. [...] "Yes, the Titanic was a cover for a series of military operations. The Titanic was here, and over here was the Scorpion and over here was the Thresher (as he says this, he arranges three objects on a tabletop, roughly in a line, the center one depicting the Titanic).

And had that not occurred, I probably would not have found the Titanic because they wouldn't have funded me. I mean, if the Titanic was in the Indian Ocean, it'd probably still be in the Indian Ocean. But … it was straddled by two very interesting subs that we had lost — and the Scorpion was lost on war patrol … and it was carrying nuclear weapons. So it was a very hot sub to the Navy … [...] [They said] We'll fund you to build all this stuff and we'll fund you to find the Titanic, although we don't expect you to find it because we're going to have you work most of the time on these subs and give you very little time to actually find the Titanic. I said, I'll take whatever I can get."
Yayyyyyyyy science! I just wish this had been declassified before James Cameron's little project. Would've been a vast improvement, IMHO.

Woo:

Unlike those excitable countries where the peasants overrun the presidential palace, settled democratic societies rarely vote to "go left." Yet oddly enough that's where they've all gone. In its assumptions about the size of the state and the role of government, almost every advanced nation is more left than it was, and getting lefter.

Even in America, federal spending (in inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars) has gone from $600 billion in 1965 to $3 trillion today. The Heritage Foundation put it in a convenient graph: It's pretty much a straight line across four decades, up, up, up. Doesn't make any difference who controls Congress, who's in the White House. The government just grows and grows, remorselessly. Every two years, the voters walk out of their town halls and school gyms and tell the exit pollsters that three-quarters of them are "moderates" or "conservatives" (i.e, the center and the right) and barely 20 percent are "liberals." And then, regardless of how the vote went, big government just resumes its inexorable growth.

"The greatest dangers to liberty," wrote Justice Brandeis, "lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."

[...]

If you went back to the end of the 19th century and suggested to, say, William McKinley that one day Americans would find themselves choosing between a candidate promising to guarantee your mortgage and a candidate promising to give "tax cuts" to millions of people who pay no taxes he would scoff at you for concocting some patently absurd H.G. Wells dystopian fantasy. Yet it happened. Slowly, remorselessly, government metastasized to the point where it now seems entirely normal for Peggy Joseph of Sarasota, Fla., to vote for Obama because "I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage."

While few electorates consciously choose to leap left, a couple more steps every election, and eventually societies reach a tipping point. In much of the West, it's government health care. It changes the relationship between state and citizen into something closer to pusher and junkie. Henceforth, elections are fought over which party is proposing the shiniest government bauble: If you think President-elect Obama's promise of federally subsidized day care was a relatively peripheral part of his platform, in Canada in the election before last it was the dominant issue. Yet America may be approaching its tipping point even more directly. In political terms, the message of the gazillion-dollar bipartisan bailout was a simple one: "Individual responsibility" and "self-reliance" are for chumps. If Goldman Sachs and AIG and Bear Stearns are getting government checks to "stay in their homes" (and boardrooms, and luxury corporate retreats), why shouldn't Peggy Joseph?

[...]

By 2012, it will be more than half on the dole [Due to tax cuts for people who don't pay taxes. - ed], and this will be an electorate where the majority of the electorate will be able to vote itself more lollipops from the minority of their compatriots still dumb enough to prioritize self-reliance, dynamism and innovation over the sedating cocoon of the Nanny State. That is the death of the American idea – which, after all, began as an economic argument: "No taxation without representation" is a great rallying cry. "No representation without taxation" has less mass appeal. For how do you tell an electorate living high off the entitlement hog that it's unsustainable, and you've got to give some of it back?

Read the whole thing, if you can; Mark Steyn is his usual inimitable self.

I was only 5 years old when Reagan finished his second term, so I don't really remember anything he said from when he said it. But something I remember hearing, years later, his assertion that we don't want to have to tell our children and grandchildren about the America we remembered, the one that no longer existed. The difference is that he was talking about the external threat of the Soviet Union. The threat now, unfortunately, is from the inside, from the Cloward-Piven types and the people so entrenched in the system that they see no dichotomy in dissolving that which gave them its blessings. *cough* Bill Ayers *cough*

I'd write more, but my cat is chewing on my Christmas tree. I'll definitely write more on this topic at another time. Laters.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Step One: Create a product. Step Two: Don't tick off your customers. Step Three: Profit.

This is why I like Fox News (and don't like CNN ... or NBC ... or CBS ... or the New York Times ... or ... ): Rupert Murdock: "It takes no special genius to point out that if you are contemptuous of your customers, you are going to have a hard time getting them to buy your product. Newspapers are no exception."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ah, life ...

... where you have a super-real dream about winning the lottery, and then you wake up and you just can't stand it.

Your Weapons-Grade Dose of Cool for the day

One of the problems with destroying WMDs with conventional explosives is that conventional explosives have a conventional scatter pattern -- in other words, they take a large object and make it smaller, but the smaller bits go everywhere. This is a problem when dealing with chemical, biological or radioactive weapons. The Pentagon's new solution? Rocket balls:

One solution is replacing the standard explosive or incendiary with a load of kinetic fireballs, described in this proposal. Each fireball is a hollow spherical shell with a hole in it; when the inside is ignited, the hole acts as a rocket nozzle. The kinetic fireballs eject an extremely high temperature exhaust which will heat up the surrounding volume to over 1,000 f within seconds. Their random ricocheting around ensures that they will fill any space they occupy, and they are capable of diffusing throughout a multi-room structure.
Basically, you take your standard bunker-buster bomb and replace the usual fun stuff with what amounts to a bunch of pinched-off balloons. The difference is that while a pinched-off balloon will chase you around the room when released, it doesn't do so like the Wrathful Right Hand of Almighty God.

Also, they're called "rocket balls." That's just cool.

Via Ace.

Ihre Papiere, bitte.

A question for the Lamb of Chicago that's been bugging me for a while now: What exactly would the proposed Civilian Security Force be providing security for? How would that work, exactly? Would they supplement the military? Would they take over domestic duties from the National Guard (sandbagging floods, for instance)? Would they handle riot control? What about border patrols? Will we send them overseas? Isn't that expensive? For that matter, why not just double the size of the military and call it a day?

I'd like an answer to these questions, but I doubt that one is forthcoming. I'm not likely to catch the Messiah off-guard in my driveway any time soon -- and if I did, it wouldn't get much airplay. I've got nothing in my past to dig up except this blog and some student loans I'm trying to pay off.

The thing that bugs me the most about the idea of a "Civilian Security Force" is that it's an unnecessary redundancy. We already have a military, so why would we need to duplicate it? Why not just take the money and build up what's already in place? The scary part, for me, is this: You build an army of soldiers to fight other soldiers. Like fights like. So if you have an "army" of civilians ...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A taste of things to come?

The biggest headline on Yahoo! News right now? "Obama 'fed up' with BCS." That's right. It's a story about his views on college football. Not his views on the economy; not his views on national defense. College. Football.

I have a bad feeling about this.

UPDATE: On the other hand, there's this. I don't think it's a joke. It looks like the sort of thing my college friend from Kazakhstan used to talk about, and if we go that route, then where are the people in Kazakhstan going to go? Via The Pub.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Tomorrow

I've got a post I'm working on, but it's not very coherent right now and I don't want to put it up too soon. It'll also depend heavily on how things go down tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm going to hunker down and go to bed as early as possible tonight so I can get up and vote in the morning.

As you were.