Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Rebellion Begins

will_not_obey.pngSo Roberts and the three weird sisters (four if you count Breyer) disagree with me on the meaning of the plain text of the Constitution. So be it. They have made their decision, now let them try to enforce it.

Update: Four out of nine agree with me. "In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety." Not to mention repugnant.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Celebration of Powerlessness

Neil Davenport explains Why tattoos make my flesh crawl.
Yet there's more going on here than questionable aesthetic tastes. With tattoos, the emphasis is all on the self, and the centrality of the self, rather than anything outside of the body. You may not be in a position to make a mark on the outside world, or even on your local community, but at least you can leave a mark on your own body. In a deeply narcissistic age, self-aggrandising tattoos have become the body badge of choice for thousands. But by enlarging ourselves with tattoos, we're belittling ourselves in the process. It's a sign of our low expectations that having control over flesh decorations is considered to be the limit of our capacities as an individual. So while shaping the outside world seems near impossible, you can at least shape barbed-wire patterns on your arm.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

LOST Sinkhole

George Will:
If the Navy supports LOST because the civilian leadership does, fine. But if the Navy thinks it cannot operate well without LOST, we need better admirals not better treaties. Here is an alternative proposal for enhancing the lawfulness of the seas: Keep the money LOST would transfer to ISA and use it to enlarge the Navy.
But read the whole thing.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Says It All


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing

Act III, Scene 4

(Only much more complicated.)

We have only a week left to prepare for the wedding of my daughter Elizabeth, and my rotator cuff is giving out. It looks like I'll be walking her down the aisle with my arm in a sling — she'll be propping me up, not the other way 'round.

Lizzy! Why'd you have to wait so long to be born?

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Dave and Cody Show

dual_survival_season_two.jpgAs a slightly belated Father's Day gift my kids pooled their resources and bought me the Dual Survival Season 2 DVD.

I can't wait 'till it gets here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

What Is Everyone So Worried About?

Frank J. Flemming looks at the worst case scenarios.
For instance, what's the worst that could happen to us if we never get a handle on our finances — if we just keep spending and spending while the economy crumbles further? I guess in the absolute worst-case scenario, we'd have a complete economic meltdown, our money would become worthless, our government would collapse, and our infrastructure would fall apart. Basically, all of civilization would be destroyed.

Again, that is the absolute worst case — it is somewhat possible that things not as bad as that could happen. But even if the worst does happen — and modern civilization does end — what does that mean for us? Well, America still has plenty of forests where we can collect branches to build crude shelters and hunt animals to skin for clothing and eat for food. So even if things are as bad as we can possibly imagine, we have this nice fallback option of becoming hunter-gatherers again. People might even enjoy their new, simpler living conditions. People do like camping. And the movie The Hunger Games was pretty popular. Plus, this would pretty much end childhood obesity.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sick At Heart

Today the headlines announced the conviction of Rajat Gupta on charges of "insider trading", a category of crime which many, including myself, find incomprehensible. If Raj is guilty of anything, it is of being successful. His rags-to-riches story is the sort to which we all used to aspire — before the show trials began.

Gupta's persecution was a bipartisan crusade. It began under Bush; Obams merely completed it, although the liquidation of the kulaks as a class has always been his goal.

Personally, I like rich people. I wish I knew more of them. I wish I was rich. In fact, I wish you were rich too. . . . Don't you?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Holy Smokes!

The Wall Street Journal Swimsuit Issue!

If it's behind the pay wall, don't fret. You're not missing much.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nixon and History

Conrad Black on Woodstein:
In evaluating such a volcanic farrago of pent-up charges, the facts must be arrayed in three tiers: the facts of Woodstein's activities and revelations; the facts of the Watergate case and related controversies; and the importance of Watergate in an appreciation of the Nixon record.
When Nixon entered office in 1969, the country was torn by assassinations and race and anti-war riots, and President Johnson could scarcely visit any part of the country without being beset by demonstrations. Johnson had 550,000 draftees in Vietnam on a flimsy legal pretext, and 200 to 400 were returning in body bags every week....

Nixon won that war. Nixon had extracted American forces, and the South Vietnamese defeated the North and Viet Cong in the great battle of April and May 1972 with no American ground support, but with heavy air assistance. Nixon sent the peace agreement to the Senate for ratification, though he did not have to constitutionally, to ensure Democratic support for a return to bombing the North Vietnamese when they violated the peace agreement.

Watergate enabled the Democrats to cut off all aid to South Vietnam and ensure American defeat in a war their party entered and had effectively lost, before Nixon salvaged a non-Communist South Vietnam while effecting a complete American withdrawal. They are complicit in the murder of millions of Indochinese, from the Killing Fields of Cambodia to the Boat People of the South China Sea.
Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Save Da Mouse!

An Oregon man is in critical condition with the Black Death.
The unidentified man, who is in his 50s, fell ill several days after being bitten while trying to get a mouse away from a stray cat.
What? While trying to do what?

I'm sorry. I really hope he survives, but if he doesn't, this man is a shoo-in for the Darwin Awards.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Liberalism really is a cargo cult. The Spanish know — in a dim, inchoate way — that roads are important to a thriving modern economy, so they built little road-shaped shrines out in the ass-end of nowhere, hoping prosperity would follow.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mister We Could Use A Man Like Warren Harding Again

James Grant on why nobody remembers the not-great depression of 1920-21.
Between January 1920 and August 1921, the unemployment rate in the United States jumped to 14% or so from about 2% (as it was then inexactly measured); wholesale prices plunged by more than 40%; and industrial production fell by 23%. The farm economy reeled, and there were waves of business failures...

The administration of Warren G. Harding responded to this macroeconomic disaster by running a budgetary surplus. The Fed didn't lower interest rates but raised them. In response to this bitter medicine, or perhaps despite it, the economy staged the kind of bounce-back that the Obama administration can only pine for. In 1922, the first full year of recovery, industrial production leapt by 27.3%. By 1923, joblessness was back to 3%.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Concert

It was another all Beethoven evening.

First I listened to the Hammerklavier while doing the dishes, and through the first couple of brandies. Then, to cleanse the palate more or less, to Missa Solemnis; just the Gloria. Whenever I hear the high mass I want just for a moment to be back in the pews, as miserable and stifled and oppressed as in my childhood. But it passes. Then on to the Third, which I seem to hear new every time. I could spend a lifetime listening to old Ludwig Van — two hours a night is barely enough.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Compare and Contrast

Phil Gramm and Glenn Hubbard ponder what a Romney recovery might look like.
The superior job creation and income growth following the 1981-82 recession are all the more striking as they occurred against the backdrop of restrictive monetary policy. The Federal Reserve tried to beat back double-digit inflation in the early 1980s with tight money. Prime interest rates averaged 11.9%, and the three-year Treasury note rate averaged 11.2% during the recovery. By contrast, today's Fed has an expansive monetary policy with record low interest rates, a 3.2% prime rate and a 0.3% three-year Treasury note rate.

The recessions of 1981-82 and 2007-09 presented the greatest economic-policy challenges in postwar America. So what accounts for the explosion of growth after the former and not the latter? Policy plays a role.
Read the whole thing.

(If it's behind the pay wall, email me and I'll send you a link.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mine Alone

failure-message.pngEisenhower drafted a message on June 5, 1944, and put it in his pocket, hoping desperately never to have to send it.
Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.
He found it a few weeks later.

Free Republic has the whole story.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Transit Cam

transit_of_venus_cam_thumb.jpgIf you're stuck under cloudy skies this afternoon, you can still observe the transit of Venus — from the comfort of your kitchen table! Astronomy Picture of the Day has a live transit cam.

Friday, June 1, 2012


The dead tree version of the WSJ arrives about noon in my (real, metal, rural) mailbox. The articles in it were written, at the latest, twelve hours before. And so, on page C1, Spencer Jakob had optimistically written about
...the release of May nonfarm payrolls, seen rising by 158,000 after last month's disapponiting gain of just 115,000.
By the time I read those words he'd already eaten them — the number was in fact 69,000, the worst in a year. The official unemployment rate ticked up a tenth, to 8.2 percent.

And so here we are, six months away from the general election, and the unemployment rate is rising.

As much as I hate wishing on bad luck, if it takes bad luck to drive out worse, then I wish Mr. Obama the very worst luck in the world. So far, it seems, he's getting it.

"Will Romney be better?" my wife asks.

He can't be worse.