Monday, August 31, 2009

Inflation's Moral Hazard

Theodore Dalrymple in City Journal.

If you don't read it now, bookmark it for later.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Friendly Skies

SnarkyBytes reminds us that flying used to be fun.

Of course, that was before the Federal Aviation Agency.

Deinococcus Radiodurans

Scientists are designing bacteria for other planets.
In an Earth lab, Deinococcus radiodurans (D. rad) survive extreme levels of radiation, extreme temperatures, dehydration, and exposure to genotoxic chemicals. Amazingly, they even have the ability to repair their own DNA, usually with 48 hours. Known as an extremophile, bacteria such as D. rad are of interest to NASA partly because they might be adaptable to help human astronauts survive on other worlds. A recent map of D. rad's DNA might allow biologists to augment their survival skills with the ability to produce medicine, clean water, and oxygen.
Just wait 'till the viros hear about this.

Today's APOD.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chi Chi Cheetah

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Week That Began on Aug 29

On a Friday morning 365 days ago my wife woke me up.
"It's Palin," she said.
"Palin. McCain just announced it."
"You're kidding!"
Thus began a dizzying week culminating in The Speech at the Republican National Convention on September 3rd.

I've captured the whole week here. It was the high point of my year. Blogging just hasn't been the same since. Sorry about that.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Regardless of Rumors

It is definitely not true that Teddy Kennedy will be buried in a 1967 Oldsmobile filled with Chivas Regal and "any spare blondes" the funeral home might have lying around.

The Senator of Sleaze

Another wonderful obituary in the Daily Mail.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

So Lucianne cautions. Good advice but damn hard to stick by on a day like today. Speak no ill of the dead, no matter how much you loathed them.

Still, Senator Kennedy was very much alive twenty years ago when Michael Kelly wrote this.


Hat tip to Instapundit.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Morning Glory Clouds

What causes these long, strange clouds? No one is sure. APOD.

Placebos Getting More Effective

Drugmakers, the article says, are "desperate to know why."

Or, more likely, desperate to know how they can corner the market in sugar pills.

Giant Rat-Eating Plant

Really. Really gross.

One In Six Under-Employed

The unemployment rate was officially at 9.7 percent in June.
But when those who work part-time involuntarily and those who may hope for work but have not actively sought work are factored in, that month's jobless rate rises to 16.8 percent.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Your Stimulus Dollars At Work

Spankin' new sidewalks in front of boarded up buildings in Bly, Oregon, population 486 and declining.

Yeah, that'll work!

Thanks to Greg for the snapshot.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Palin For Prez

Ted Nugent for Vice!

Yeah, sure, Rick Perry would balance the ticket better. But what's wrong with an unbalanced ticket? I can hope, can't I?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Death Panels

Friday James Taranto said that with those two words Palin won the debate.
One can hardly deny that Palin's reference to "death panels" was inflammatory. But another way of putting that is that it was vivid and attention-getting. Level-headed liberal commentators... [acknowledged] ...that Palin had a point.
Yesterday Mark Steyn cautioned the moderates.
I don't think this is any time for NR to be joining the Frumsters and deploring the halfwit vulgarity of déclassé immoderates like Palin. This is a big-stakes battle: If we cross this bridge, there's no going back.
And today Robert W. Painter says too late, the death panels exist already.
Texas law only requires the hospital to provide the patient and family with 48 hours' notice before a hospital "ethics" committee meets and makes a decision on terminating life support.
What the government gives, the government can take away.

Robert Novak 1931-2009

Fred Barnes knew him well.
He wasn't always a conservative. In the 1960s and into the 1970s, he was a moderate Republican legendary for punching out a Goldwater delegate who was harassing him at the 1964 Republican convention in San Francisco. And even when he became a conservative, he wasn't a conventional one.

Novak became a champion of supply-side economics before Ronald Reagan had even heard of the newest version of free market economics. And in column after column, he wrote about the new apostle of the supply-side message, Jack Kemp. Along with Bob Bartley of the Wall Street Journal, Novak was responsible for popularizing supply-side and making it the economic policy of the Reagan administration.
There will be hundreds of obituaries today. If you only read one, make it this one.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Life Is Not Fair

Robert D. Novak is dead.

Ted Kennedy is still alive.

I guess Hell isn't hot enough yet.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Worst in 100 Years

The Washington Times.
Despite his many flaws, former President Bill Clinton established the model for successful Democratic administrations. Mr. Clinton governed as a liberal centrist. He realized that veering too far to the left early in his presidency was detrimental: His support of Hillarycare and gays in the military resulted in the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress. Mr. Clinton changed course by embracing free trade, welfare reform and balanced budgets -- combining fiscal responsibility and social liberalism. This formula prevented the Republican Party from recapturing the White House in 1996.

Mr. Obama is the anti-Clinton. He is a leftist ideologue who has surrounded himself with radical and inept advisers. Mr. Clinton had political counselor Dick Morris and Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin. Mr. Obama has David Axelrod and Timothy F. Geithner.

As a result, Mr. Obama's presidency is starting to look like the worst in 100 years....
Worse than Hoover? It's too early to tell. But worse than Carter? Is that even possible?

“President Pantywaist”

Gerald Warner in the Telegraph.
Politicians returning to Washington after scrubbing off the tar and feathers acquired at town-hall meetings are bringing with them a blast of reality that has been absent from Obama's dreamland regime since his inauguration....
Too bad the best of the opposition press is in England and Canada. We could use some of that right here in the U.S.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Old People Got No Reason


I believe it was Alinsky who recommended ridicule as the most effective tactic. For a more sober argument, there's this editorial in The Wall Street Journal.
Elderly Americans are turning out in droves to fight ObamaCare, and President Obama is arguing back that they have nothing to worry about. Allow us to referee. While claims about euthanasia and "death panels" are over the top, senior fears have exposed a fundamental truth about what Mr. Obama is proposing: Namely, once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, rationing care is inevitable, and those who have lived the longest will find their care the most restricted.
For years the Democrats have used seniors to deep-six every attempt to reform Social Security. Now they have a new campaign. That's nice. That's good for all of us.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Somewhere In S.W.P. 1943

We just came into possession of a few dozen snapshots from the Southwest Pacific 1942-1944. All in a jumble, most of them with no indication of where and when they were taken or who might be in the picture. This one for instance. I have a hunch it's either a training exercise near Rockhampton, Australia or the real thing on Nassau Bay, New Guinea. It's probably I Company, 162nd Infantry, 41st Division. No guarantee even of that.

As I sort them by size and paper type, censor stamps, and other marks, and piece together the story from the few that have notes on the back, I may get more clues. Ultimately, though, I may just have to post them online together with what little we know, and let it go at that.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Air Pork One

Ramirez, once again. Genius. Remind me to buy his book.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Little Miss Sunscreen

Mary Katharine Ham in The Weekly Standard.
I felt twinges of jealousy each summer as my friends got sun-kissed and freckled while I got sun-smacked and fried. My best friend was half-Mexican and half-Italian, a combination that can best be described as . . . impossibly exotic golden-bronze goddess. Lucky her. Her watch would leave a light mark on her increasingly golden wrist within minutes of the pool's opening weekend. I countered with the perfect crimson outline of three errant fingertips on my shoulder, incurred during an imperfect reapplication. I could not compete.

Obama's Tone-Deaf Health Campaign

Consider former ABC reporter Linda Douglass—now the president's communications director for health reform—who set about unmasking all the forces out there "always trying to scare people when you try to bring them health insurance reform." People, she charged, are taking sentences out of context and otherwise working to present a misleading picture of the president's proposals. One of her key solutions to this problem—her justly famed message encouraging citizens to contact the office at if they got an email or other information about health reform "that seems fishy—set off a riotous flow of online responses. (The word "fishy," with its police detective tone, would have done the trick all by itself.)
Dorothy Rabinowitz in The Wall Street Journal. (Trying to grab the money quote is like trying to find the best two measures of a Beethoven sonata. You'd best just read it all.)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

G.I. Hair Cut

Sgt. Stanley Langeberg, Rockhampton, Australia, 1942.
I am sending you a snap-shot of the way we get a hair cut. An old box and old pair of fatigue pants (around neck) and a pair of clippers. In case you don't recognize the barber — he is Jr. Rippee. He has never cut anyones hair before but a little coaching from 'yours truly' makes a get-by job. The patches on my knee & finger are infection.
Sgt. Langeberg survived the siege of Salamaua in 1943 and returned to the States in 1944. He married Carolyn Boylan and they went on to raise six children. I married his youngest.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

Many a mother in Australia
when the busy day is done
Sends a prayer to the Almighty
for the keeping of her son
Asking that an angel guide him
and bring him safely back
Now we see those prayers are answered
on the Owen Stanley Track

For they haven't any halos
only holes slashed in their ears
And their faces worked by tattoos
with scratch pins in their hair
Bringing back the badly wounded
just as steady as a horse
Using leaves to keep the rain off
and as gentle as a nurse

Slow and careful in the bad places
on the awful mountain track
The look upon their faces
would make you think Christ was black
Not a move to hurt the wounded
as they treat him like a saint
It's a picture worth recording
that an artist's yet to paint

Many a lad will see his mother
and husbands see their wives
Just because the fuzzy wuzzy
carried them to save their lives
From mortar bombs and machine gun fire
or chance surprise attacks
To the safety and the care of doctors
at the bottom of the track

May the mothers of Australia
when they offer up a prayer
Mention those impromptu angels
with their fuzzy wuzzy hair.

Bert Beros, 1943

Thursday, August 06, 2009

August 6, 1945

Statement issued by U.S. President Harry S. Truman.
We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications.

Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan's power to make war.

It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.
Happy Hiroshima Day!

It's something I celebrate, one way or another, every year: Nagasaki Day (2008), 6 August 1945 (2007). And in August 2006 my daughter was in Japan as a foreign exchange student.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Blogs Are Stubborn Things

Arthur B. Laffer proposes an alternative to Obamacare.
... individual ownership of insurance policies ... Health Savings Accounts ... low-premium, high-deductible ... insurance ... tax-advantaged ... purchase insurance policies across state lines ... reduces ... mandated benefits ... simple voucher for low-income ... purchase their own insurance ... reforming tort liability ...
All very good ideas, I'm sure, and complex enough to warm the heart of any policy wonk. Actually, I like Greg Scandlen's Two-Point Plan better.
  1. Give the money back to the people.
  2. Get the hell out of the way.
If either of these ideas makes sense to you, or even if they don't, please report this blog to the White House Office of Disinformation, or email them with as much personal and incriminating information as you can dig up on me at

It's your patriotic duty.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


William Tucker in The American Spectator.
I've finally figured out what politics is all about. You know that guy you sometimes end up sitting next to in a bar or get stuck with at a party? He knows everything about everything. He'll tell you how the big guys control everything, it's all one big racket, you can't believe anything you read in the newspapers, it's all going to come out some day, you mark my word. You roll your eyes and try to jab him with a little irony here and there, but it's no use. You're the naïve one. He's got all the inside dope.

Well take enough of those people, put them all together until they vote themselves into a majority, and that's what we call "politics."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Signaller Johnston

Peter Pinney fought in the New Guinea jungle in 1943 and kept an illegal diary. was all in tiny, cramped writing. You can hardly read it; I had good eyes then. And now it's starting to fade and discolour, and the binding has rotted; and I know it doesn't dovetail with a lot of glorifying bull written by patriotic war historians, but to my knowledge no one else kept any personal notes of those times, so I've had some rooster edit out the rubbish and knock the remainder into shape, and here it is.
It's back in print and I got my copy from Amazon yesterday. Knocked off half of it last night; I hope to finish it tonight.

It's another one of those books that's Worth Every Penny.