Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quick hits 4/28

Some notables from my recent reading:

Mark Steyn on the fatuousness of our current nuclear weapons policy:

By the way, that’s another example of the self-indulgent irrelevance of Obama. The mound of corpses being piled up around the world today is not from high-tech nuclear states but from low-tech psycho states. It’s not that Britain has nukes and poor old Sudan has to make do with machetes. It’s that the machete crowd is willing to kill on an industrial scale and the high-tech guys can’t figure out a way to stop them. Perhaps for his next pointless yakfest the president might consider a machete nonproliferation initiative.

Nuclear technology cannot be un-invented. All you can do, as President Reagan understood when few others did, is invent something that will render it, if not yet obsolete, at least less lethal. Until that moment, what makes the difference is not the technology but the regime.

Indeed it is. You would think, with the fall of the Soviet Union, the knee jerk anti-nuke movement would have faded away, but now they’ve moved into positions of actual policy influence…scary.

A little more:

[T]here’s no correlation between peace and the number of weapons — except insofar as states with only a few nukes are more likely to use them than states with gazillions: If you’ve only got a dozen, you’re under more pressure to let ’em fly before they’re taken out by incoming. So the principle underpinning Obama’s Seventies-retro nuke summit — that the size of a civilized state’s stockpile adds to the global threat — is not just false but dangerously delusional. Likewise, the urge to forswear nuclear innovation. It would be greatly to the advantage of civilization if responsible powers were to develop new forms of limited, highly targeted, bunker-busting nukes.

Spot on.


Jeff Jacoby on the outcry over Spirit Airlines lowering ticket prices while making excess carry-on luggage an a la carte charge:

[I]f Schumer grieves so deeply about travelers being "nickeled and dimed" when they fly, why has he never gone after the US ticket tax, which adds 7.5 percent to the price of every domestic flight? Or the $16.50 the federal government charges for each international departure and arrival? Or the $17 in customs and inspection fees paid by passengers flying into US airports from abroad? Or the "passenger facilities charges" (up to $18 per round-trip)? Or the "US Security Service Fee" ($2.50 per departure)? Or the "domestic segment fee" ($3.70 per flight segment)? The government's unremitting "nickeling and diming"of airline passengers doesn't trouble the sleep of New York's senior senator. Only when a private firm acts does he toss and turn in anguish.


Jack Kelly on President Bush (43)’s missed opportunity to clean up the CIA:

[I]n the gravest mistake of his presidency, George W. Bush didn't clean house. He just threw money at the existing structure, which made a bad situation worse.

"In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Congress gave the CIA more than $3 billion to increase its deep cover capabilities overseas," Ishmael said. "The CIA was not able to field a single additional effective deep cover case officer overseas. The money was swallowed up into higher pay packages, expensive boondoggles, the enrichment of contracting companies run by former CIA employees, and the expansion of CIA offices within the United States."

As usually happens with government spending…


It’s sad when the people who show up to protest a Nazi rally end up being worse people than the actual Nazis:

A bare-chested middle-aged man with Nazi insignias tattooed on his chest and back walked into a crowd of hundreds of counter-protesters gathered near 1st and Spring streets.

Surrounded, the man mockingly bobbed his head to the rhythm of demonstrators chanting "Nazi scum." About a dozen protesters suddenly began pelting the man with punches and kicks. He fell and was struck on the back with the wooden handle of a protester's sign, which snapped in two. Police eventually reached the man and pulled him from the melee, as blood poured from the back of his neck.

Another man was rushed by a mob on Spring Street. He was punched in the face and kicked for about 20 seconds before police made it to the scene. After that beating was broken up, the man began running south on Spring Street, only to be chased down by a protester and slugged in the face. He collapsed and his face slammed to the curb as protesters began pummeling him again.

The bloodied man was then escorted away by police. Both victims were treated and released, police said.

His sign, unclear in its intended meaning, read "Christianity=Paganism=Heathen$" with an arrow pointing at a swastika.

"Gosh, I think he just didn't have a clear message. I don't even think he was a Nazi," said one man, looking at the broken pieces of the sign left behind.

It turns out that some protests are violent (see also the anti-Arizona immigration law protests), it’s just that Tea Parties are not among them.


James Taranto notes a delicious story of a government assault on freedom gone awry:

Southern California has suffered a "sudden increase of water main breaks that damaged numerous homes, businesses and streets." KCBS-TV reports that the problem was caused by the "conservation"--i.e., rationing--efforts of Los Angeles' Department of Water and Power:

DWP customers were restricted to watering their lawns on Mondays and Thursdays only, which caused everybody to water their lawns basically at the same time. As a result, water pressure dropped, and the pipes were submitted to more cycles of water pressure.

In other words, the maximum water pressure did not change, but the minimum did, and this cyclic pressure created fatigue on corroded pipes.

We got a kick out of the headlines on the KCBS Web site, though. The main headline reads, "DWP's Water Rationing Blamed for Water Main Breaks." But here's the subheadline: "Report: Water Main Breaks Were Mainly Fault of Public."

Stupid public. They should have known better than to follow the DWP's idiotic rules.


More Taranto, catching a global warmist being honest:

[From an article in Der Spiegel]:

German climatologist Hans von Storch now wants to see an independent institution recalculate the temperature curve, and he even suggests that the skeptics be involved in the project. He points out, however, that processing the data will take several years.

"There is no other way to regain the trust that has been lost," he says, "even if I'm certain that the new curve will not look significantly different from the old one."

And if it does? "That would definitely be the worst-case scenario for climatology. We would have to start all over again."

That's a revealing quote, isn't it? These climate guys have been insisting we're all doomed, and if it turns out they're wrong, that's the worst-case scenario for them.

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