November 29, 2009

Was WW2 Worth the Effort?

Seeing today's UK, British WW2 vets wonder if their struggle was worth it. (HT: Instapundit.)

The only Brit politician they have a good word for is the late anti-immigration Enoch Powell.

What does the Queen think? Not that she would say...but, as Elizabeth Windsor, she was a volunteer too.

(IMO today's decadence does not compare with Nazi rule, but the vets' bitterness is understandable. Decadence is decadence, and it must be heartbreaking to witness it after experiencing the crucible of WW2.)

Update 20100604. Surely those Brits didn't regret fighting Hitler. Their disillusionment came because they were fighting for something good, not just against something evil.

Cf. Let It Burn.

November 27, 2009

Kimball on Retribalization

I posted the following regarding Obama's Inaugural Address:
IMO a major, essential part of American exceptionalism is the USA's unique opportunity to become a template for a modern post-tribal society.
My opinion of Obama is not nearly as favorable as it was at the time. However, my interpretation of American exceptionalism predated the speech, and I continue to maintain it.

Roger Kimball
worries that things are going in the wrong direction. I submitted this as a comment:
IMO the USA has a unique opportunity–American exceptionalism, if you will–to become a template for a modern post-tribal society. As we continue to debase our Founding ideals, the risk of failure is rising. I suspect that history would not assess our looming postmodern tribal society as a success.
Newman, Aristotle, Horace and Homer, all in the opening paragraph…

Sir, it is your prerogative to define your intended audience. Nevertheless, while your sometime displays of erudition may appeal to a limited group of Pajamas readers, they also might disconnect you from a larger group that would benefit from your insights.
In case the comment doesn't appear, I'd like to record the comparison of a modern post-tribal society and a postmodern tribal society. Glib but not infelicitous, if I may say so myself.

Addendum 20071129. Kimball accepted the comment and it is here.

This Contrast Was Worth Drawing

The Navy SEALS who captured the mastermind of the Fallujah atrocity are facing courtmartial for apparently punching him in the mouth.

Meanwhile, the military's powers that be managed to ignore Islamist mass murderer Nidal Malik Hasan's increasingly flagrant dysfunction. (From a NY Post editorial via Instapundit.)

We are right back to being Carter's pitiful giant--and I see no Reagan on the horizon.

November 25, 2009

But Don't Call Him a Socialist!

Wow (HT: Instapundit). There is virtually no private sector experience in the economically oriented part of Obama's cabinet. The contrast with other Presidents is especially stark. (I'd still like to see the J.P. Morgan report on which the assertion is based.)

November 19, 2009

Comments: November 2009

On persecuting Chinese-American aeronautics genius Qian Xuesen, who returned to China and its led missile research. Quian (aka Tsien) died about the same time as Nien Cheng, author of Life and Death in Shanghai.

On General George Casey, the diversity-loving Army Chief of Staff. Positioning yourself for a cushy civilian job, General? (Addendum 20091129. Cf. Roger Kimball.)

On David Cameron.

On a possible return to relevance of the stoic virtues.

On "Sarah Palin and the Decline of Conservatism"

On "Corruption, Panic and Incompetence Fueled Geithner's Backstairs Intrigue". (Follow-up here.)

On "Fear and loathing of the plutocracy 2". Follow-up here.

Palin was booed in Indiana. Has the Right produced its own Joanie Phoanie?

On the British surveillance state. (Got something hide, do you? -> Got something to hide, do you?)

On retribalization. (Instead of evolving into a modern post-tribal society, we may be devolving into a postmodern tribal society.)

On a silly right-wing politicization of Thanksgiving--but take a look at the other comments.

On Intel, AMD and DEC.

November 18, 2009

Complaints about the Bailout

They're coming from both ends of the political spectrum.

While we're still coughing up water after being saved from drowning, are we blaming the lifeguards for getting us wet?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better."

November 16, 2009

Belichick's Gamble

Initially I was aghast, like many fans and commentators, when I learned that the Patriots went for it on 4th and 2 for their 23 and a 6 point lead--and lost the game.

Then again, as this article notes, the Patriot defense is no longer the legendary Belichick defense that let the Giants defeat the Bills in the SuperBowl. In fact, as this article notes, they've done their best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory--and succeeded all to often. Belichick may have recognized that.

This blogger loathes Belichick but defends him for that very reason.
At the end of the day, it was an unconventional call that's easy to question, given how things turned out. Belichick, though, has made a hall-of-fame career and built his own legend around making decisions just like that one. That way of thinking is what makes him great. If he wasn't willing to take those risks or do the unconventional thing, he wouldn't be Bill Belichick, future hall of famer and NFL coaching legend. He'd be Bill Belichick, that doofus that the Browns hired once a long time ago.
I have to agree.

I'd like to see another Lombardi Trophy or two from the Brady Patriots before that done, but it's looking like the Fates are frowning on that.

(Recall that years ago near the end of a close game in Denver, Belichick took a safety rather than risk punting from his own end zone. After Denver's resulting field position, the Patriots won the game.)

November 15, 2009

November 14, 2009


Obama bowed to Emperor Akihito.

And he bowed to King Fahd.

But not, iirc, to Queen Elizabeth. Curious, no?

Those bows, all by themselves, demonstrate his clueless unfitness for office. I can't put it any better than the Powerline link does:
Ashamed of his country but arrogant about himself--what a disgusting combination.
(However, I don't think that Powerline's analogy to Macarthur and Hirohito holds water: Macarthur was the commander of an occupying army. sigh Why is the Right so fond of bridges too far?)

Addendum 20091115. Instapundit has a reader who begs to differ--and additional links that criticize the bowing.

The Anchoress links to the most definitive takedowns, here and here, that I have seen to date.

November 13, 2009

Water on the Moon!

NASA has announced it. Google has posted a news report.

This news is good, and important.

Not important for the outcome of the next election or two: important for the outcome of the next century or two.

Note this from the NASA press release:
"The full understanding of the LCROSS data may take some time. The data is that rich," said Colaprete. "Along with the water in Cabeus, there are hints of other intriguing substances. The permanently shadowed regions of the moon are truly cold traps, collecting and preserving material over billions of years."
I can't resist speculating: if those substances are intriguing enough to make a human lunar presence financially profitable, history has just been changed--not on the scale of centuries, but on the scale of decades.

November 8, 2009

Who Would Jesus Tax?

Up to a point, I'm favorably disposed toward sin taxes, but this gives me pause:
4It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink,
5For they will drink and forget what is decreed,
And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
6Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to him whose life is bitter.
7Let him drink and forget his poverty
And remember his trouble no more.
8Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.
9Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
Jesus was a Jew. I'm thinking he'd have menschlichkeit.

The Right Follows "The Narrative" Too

I oppose the Obama/Pelosi agenda, but facts are facts--

According to Jennifer Rubin:
…If Pelosi gets her 218 votes, it will be unprecedented. It is fair to say that never will a piece of legislation this sweeping (and damaging) have been passed over the opposition of so much of the electorate and on the votes of such a narrow ideological slice of the governing class.
The draft began in October 1940. By the early summer of 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt asked the U.S. Congress to extend the term of duty for the draftees beyond twelve months. On August 12, the United States House of Representatives approved the extension by a single vote.[5] As Karl R. Bendetson said, "Mr. Rayburn banged the gavel at a critical moment and declared the Bill had passed."[6]
Note that this happened four months before Pearl Harbor.

Since Pajamas Media was started in response to the MSM’s inadequacies, I am surprised that PJM’s Washington editor would make a gross error like this.

November 7, 2009

Who is Deborah Gyapong?

Whoever she is, she makes sense (boldface mine):
Our culture is suicidal, folks. Somehow the part of us that is still awake has to rouse the lethargic body and grab the phone and call 911.

As I said, this is NOT about Muslims. It is about the decay of western civilization and its embrace of some strange death wish. We're the ones who love death---our own.
How would an Islamist interpret multiculturalism and the post-atrocity handwringing? He might well conclude that the infidels acknowledge they are wrong and Allah is clouding their minds on behalf of the Faithful.


How vigorously should Nidal Malik Hasan be interrogated if there is plausible suspicion that others were involved in the Fort Hood atrocity (especially if there is danger that similar events could follow)? For example, under what circumstances, if any, should he be waterboarded?

Addendum 20091109. Plausible suspicion might be taking shape: see here and here.

Going Muslim
: the unspeakable is beginning to be spoken.

November 3, 2009

The Kind of News We Need

Berkshire Hathaway is acquiring Burlington Northern Santa Fe:
...the transaction is valued at approximately $44 billion, including $10 billion
of outstanding BNSF debt, making it the largest acquisition in Berkshire Hathaway history.

“Our country’s future prosperity depends on its having an efficient and well-maintained rail system,” said Warren E. Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway chairman and chief executive officer. “Conversely, America must grow and prosper for railroads to do well. Berkshire’s $34 billion investment in BNSF is a huge bet on that company, CEO Matt Rose and his team, and the railroad industry.

“Most important of all, however, it’s an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States,” said Mr. Buffett. “I love these bets.”
More from Buffett here:
...Fortunately, our two big businesses, insurance and our utility business, aren't really affected that much by the recession. But most of our businesses are still feeling severe effects from the recession. They are not going down. It's stabilized. There's not this fear that was prevalent eight or ten months ago, but business has not bounced very much. It will. I don't know when, but it will. We wouldn't be putting out the equivalent of $34 billion unless I felt there's a lot of good years for America. America's best years lie ahead. There's no question about that.
...But this country will solve its problems. We're not so good necessarily at avoiding problems, but we're pretty good at solving problems. And I remember back in the early '80s, we thought that Germany and Japan were going to eat our lunch and we'd all just be working at McDonald's and cutting each other's hair or something to keep busy. But we added tens of millions of jobs since then. So, we do come up with things. You can't predict that we'll have a software industry or you can't predict that we'll have a great aircraft industry, but those things come along. And the world right now, 12 percent of our GDP is going to exports and 35 years ago only 5 percent was. So we are making some things the world wants. But I agree with you, Governor, you've really got -- you've got to count on the potential of people that you and I don't even know coming up with new things to do that the world wants. Historically we've been very good at that and I think we'll be good at it in the future.
Like Buffett's interviewer said, I want to stand up when I hear talk like that.

(Btw, I too have wondered what the Next Big Thing might be. For Bill Clinton, it was the Internet.)

Addendum 20091118. More from Warren Buffett and Bill Gates (full unofficial transcript here.):
BECKY: All right. Welcome back, everybody. Gentlemen, last question today. If America was a stock, would you buy it? Bill.

GATES: You bet.

BECKY: Warren.

BUFFETT: On margin.
Isn't there a saying to the effect that no cynics get rich?

Addendum 20091212. While Buffett has a reputation for integrity, note that his Burlington acquisition presumably needs government approval.