Saturday, February 01, 2003

Paul Georgia critiques Bush's support for fuel cell development:
Bush obviously feels significant pressure to appear that he's doing something about the environment. At some point it might dawn on him that there's nothing he can say or do that will satisfy the radical environmental lobby and their media lapdogs. Bringing up such issues in high-profile speeches, such as the State of the Union, only provides fodder to his political enemies. Predictably the eco-radicals attacked Bush's plan for not requiring automakers to put affordable hydrogen cars on the market by a certain model year. They also claim that the plan is just a way to avoid forcing the automobile companies to lower fuel-economy standards.

His impression of the evironmental lobby matches my own experience. They are dishonest with themselves and the rest of us If we really want to clean up air pollution we'd be building nuclear power plants and hydroelectric dams, but they would oppose them all with lobbying, lawsuits and p.r. If we really took them up on "renewable" energy, they'd oppose wind farms and solar power as well, because they'd take up too much space and they'd require huge new infrastructure construction projects. They always have a mythical alternative to whatever one proposes. And like Muslim terrorists, they justify themselves with sanctimonious pseudo-religious dogmas.

Declan McCullagh reports that people are already trying to auction shuttle debris on eBay. I feel my gorge rising.

eBay is stopping it.

Compare this from Dan Hanson:
I was watching coverage of the accident with my daughter, who at 5 years old is already a big space fan. I was thinking about how to talk to her about it, when we had this exchange:

"Dad, did those astronauts all die?"

"Yes, honey. They did. But they were doing something very important."

I was preparing myself for her to get upset, when she said,

"Don't worry, Dad. They're going to build another shuttle. And it will be much safer. They'll put locks on the doors so the people won't fall out. It will be better than ever!"

Having just written the article I did (which she never saw), I was shocked to hear that same sentiment coming from a little five-year-old girl.

with this from Rod Dreher:
My own son Matthew, who is three, told his grandmother on the phone this morning, almost cheerfully, "The space shuttle Columbia blew up, but that's okay, because they're going to build another one." He's on the floor now playing with some kind of foam lawn dart he's turned into a rocket. "Five, four, three, two, one...blast off!" he keeps saying. Even this morning, he's still going on, as he has been for the past couple of months (when he first became obsessed with Neil Armstrong) about how he wants to be an astronaut.

Kids and their deathless dreams. God bless them.

Steven Den Beste calls the response from those who take satisfaction from the destruction of Columbia "despicable odiousness." I can't think of a word that expresses the disgust I feel for these people, but surely this shows how vacant and sterile their lives must be. We could expect the stories coming from Iraq and other Musllim quarters, but Canada? I'm sure that Noam Chomsky is celebrating as well. I guess it just proves that he's no rocket scientist. Neither are the other morons who are so entralled by leftist politics that they no longer have any common sense about peace, science or humanity. Arrogance describes the attitudes of such people, whose hatred of the United States is so controlling of their lives, that they can believe, for instance, that Sadam Hussein is not a threat, that we havent' "made the case," that appeasement will solve anything or that France is still a great world power.

All I can say is take a minute and compare Ron Dittemore, the head of NASA's space shuttle program, with people like the Canadian journalist who made the American arrogance crack, or this paragon of vacuity and tell me who has the better mind. There seems to be something so shriveling and implosive about Bush's critics that they can't even feel human emotions any longer, only schadenfreude. May they drown in their own venom.

You knew, didn't you, that Pravda means "Truth"? And that our F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter, seen at the right angle, look just like a flying saucer?

Friday, January 31, 2003

Robert Kagan explains how truly extraordinary and courageous it was for the leaders of 8 Eurpopean states to speak out in support of Bush's efforts to disarm Iraq. I'm sure that the conniving of the Germans and French to dominate the EU may have given them some impetus as well, but it's an encouraging development. Just as Bernard Lewis advised in the week following 9/11, if we show resolve and determination, we don't have to do "coalition building." The coalitions build themselves because, for all their kvetching, this nations respect the U.S. and want to be on the winning side. It shames France to compare its history of colonialism with the conquests of the U.S. because we don't behave like the Old European colonial powers.

Watched a special on PBS last night about the history of Palestine. It was a chronicle of mismanagement and backstabbing by colonial powers, chiefly Britain in this case, but France also added to the mix. I couldn't help but be reminded of this when I read about how France has made a mess of things in the Ivory Coast. The U.S. has the might to build an empire, but to do so would violate our most fundamental beliefs about democracy and self-determination. But the French just can't seem to rid themselves of the compulsion to play games with other peoples' lives. Maybe there's just too much of the old aristocracy there.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Now here's a good way to kick up your hits. Publish something in extremely bad taste and then invite discussion as to whether it was in bad taste or not. "We're not anti-semites; we just wanted to promote free discussion."

Glenn Reynolds rightly notes, " Publish that cartoon with an obviously Arab figure and you'd be charged with 'hate speech.' " And a crowd of Muslims will burn down your offices.

Here's a nice elaboration of what makes idiotarians, well, idiots.

Uh-oh! I've been supporting the TIA (TTIC?) program, in opposition to most other bloggers, it seems. But this makes me wonder.

Admiral Quixote's comments on the SOTU address pretty much echo mine, so I won't reinvent the wheel.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Lileks on the State of the Union speech. Is there anything finer?

So did the President make the case for war against Iraq?

I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country � your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.

Yes, he has.

Memo to the UN Security Council:

The course of this nation does not depend on the decision of others.

The Commander in Chief

cc: Chirac, Schroeder

Why the left is losing to George Bush.

First, they're wrong on Iraq.

Second, they are so intent on preening for their fellow pseudointellectuals, that they forget that the audience aren't from Ivy League and West Coast faculties, nor are they all left-leaning journalists and news anchors.

Third, they parrot each other so often that they don't understand that to win an argument, you have to have logic on your side. Making fun of grammar and usage and niggling trivia is not argument.

Fourth, consistency counts. When you vote to give the president the authority to go to war in Iraq, and then keep harping that he hasn't made the case for war, you can't be taken seriously, no matter how much free media you get.

Last, compassion, sensitivity and marches on Washington won't disarm Saddam.

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling,

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,

And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.

- Wilfred Owens

There should be no mercy or shelter for the man who uses gas warfare against U. S. Troops. I would hope that there will be no exile for Saddam if he does this. Any nation that harbors him should be our enemy.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Steven Den Beste has a long thoughtful post, about the difference between stable, robust systems and unstable, fragile ones. I thought at first that he was heading toward an explanation of why global warming makes no sense, but he ended up pointing out the folly of centrally planned societies.

He's right about that, because they are all based on trusting in the wisdom and humanity of the people who do the planning and directing of the system. This is also what's wrong with trying to achieve charitable goals by means of government programs. There is no controlling mechanism to counteract the growth of programs and bureaucracy, except the good sense of the voters, and we know how reliable that is. As it says in the Book of Mormon:
Now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just.

Therefore, if it were possible that you could have just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments, yea, if ye could have men for your kings who would do [good], if this could always be the case then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you.. . .

Therefore, choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord.

Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law�to do your business by the voice of the people.

And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.

I'm sure that Steven wouldn't endorse the Book of Mormon, but the point is still valid, rulers, whether they be monarchs or central planners can't be relied upon to do what is best for the people. Some people in Utah call it a theocracy and complain that the Mormon Church has too much influence. From my point of view, things in the world would be a lot better if we had a theocracy, but not a hierocracy, rule by the "holy." That's what is wrong with Islam--it assumes that religious scholars speak for God, when, in fact, few if any prophets came from the intelligentsia, with the possible exception of Moses. Prophets have to be humble, and when was the last time you met a truly humble and openminded theologian? They are the last ones I'd trust to run a country. Look at what they've done for the Catholic Church.

From a religious perspective, the highest form of society is one in which all are equal and share all things. "Mormons" call it Zion, and it superficially resembles socialism, but as Den Beste says, "The devil is always in the details." The big difference between Zion and Communism is that Zion is built on principles of free choice, which is why Zion has only been able to sustain itself a few times for relatively short periods, and why the general history of the world has been about kings, wars, empires and blood. The problem with utopian schemes is that they always seem to require the concentration of power in the hands of an elite. And power corrupts, etc.

Like the NASA experimental plane, the X-29 with forward swept wings, which Den Beste describes, it requires a " fiendishly complicated flight control system." Or very stong,.very lightweight materials which don't bend and break under stress, which we haven't invented yet. Until human beings can be trusted, government needs to be limited, like it was, say in 1812 in this country.

Den Beste's analysis also gives us a very good explanation of why the government should quit trying to manage the economy. It operates much like the voles and predators in Finland, in cycles. We don't seem to understand that when Congress and the President "stimulate" the economy it takes at least 6 months to 2 years to see any change. It's like trying to steer a supertanker with a canoe paddle. It seems to me that the economy right now is suffering a hangover from the binge it went on during the 1990's when it went to bed with a lot of gorgeous dotcoms and woke up with a bunch of dogs. Something like that takes a while to get over. Bush is trying to get more money circulating fast, which is why he's recommending dropping the tax on dividends. I wish him well, but I suspect that it will not make much of a difference in what the economy is going to do by itself. All the president really needs to do is avoid appearing like he doesn't care about the unemployed.

There is a deep truth in the equilibria of dynamic systems, and in the concept of strange attractors. Nature is full of these patterns. That is why I think we'd do better to learn to roll with the punches than to try to correct things before we know what's going on.

James Taranto provides an excellent summary of our "rush to war" with Iraq. Some of us are sick of waiting. Saddam may already have nukes. We have to make sure that he never gets to use them or his chemical/bio weapons.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Everything I need to know about foreign policy I learned in Kindergarten.

And who will help me rid the earth of this evil sonuvabitch?

"Not I!" said the French.

"Not I!" said the Germans.

"Not I!" said the U.N. Security Council.

Then, President Bush, we're just going to have to do it ourselves.

Check out today's Best of the Web for a tough comparison of Hans Blix to the Milwaukee cops who ignored the pleas of an hysterical Asian kid and left him in the hands of Jeffrey Dahmer. It's tough, but it's also all too true.

Now here's a man bites dog story. Who knew there were any ex-gays?!

It's a new party game, guaranteed to break the ice at parties! Especially if your guests believe that Iraq poses no threat to anyone.

Do you know Altria? It's the new name of Philip Morris, which apparently felt that the old name gave it an "image problem." Altria, ING, Agilent . . . That's what we like, truth in advertising!

And the new logo! It looks like the little window you get when you want to change desktop colors in Windows. Microsoft should sue.

I just heard Daniel Schorr pontificating over the failure of the administration to follow the lead of France and Gernany on the Security Council. He seemed genuinely shocked by Don Rumsfeld's reference to these former powers as "the old Europe." He's one of those old-style commentators--you know the ones who never offer any comments?--who just recites the latest news with a tut-tut tone and leaves it to his listeners to supply the outrage that he presumably feels. He's particularly well suited to be on NPR.

Why hasn't the U.N. (You know, the Nobel Peace Prize winner?) been charged in the International Court with conspiracy in Milosevic's crimes against humanity? Or with conspiracy with Saddam Hussein in his atrocities? Why do we even let it into this country? Maybe after we liberate Iraq, it can build a new headquarters in Baghdad, and pay its bills with the lavish donations from Saudi Arabia. Then all that money pouring into Arafat's Swiss Bank accounts wouldn't have to travel so far, and we wouldn't be paying it.