Sunday, May 29, 2011

Totally in the tank

Time's Joe Klein: Obama Has Better Relationship With Military Than Bush Did

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Going on sale this fall, the roadster includes all the things you loved about the coupe: aluminum spaceframe body, AMG 6.3-liter V-8 front-mid engine producing 563 horsepower, a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and a sports suspension with aluminum double wishbones.

Key phrase: “no clue”

DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz

DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz Has No Clue That ‘Undocumented’ Immigrants Being In Our Country Is Currently a Crime and Attacks GOP for Trying to Act Like It Is


Xiaolu Guo

China sees US as 'enemy'

Acclaimed Chinese author Xiaolu Guo told the Hay Festival that China sees America as its enemy.

Mrs. O

READ BETWEEN THE LINES: “Less than three years into the job, first lady Michelle Obama is on her third chief of staff and third social secretary.”


Michael Barone elaborates on Glenn Reynolds' theme: why is it that after two years, bad economic news is still "unexpected?"

As megablogger Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, has noted with amusement, the word "unexpectedly" or variants thereon keep cropping up in mainstream media stories about the economy.

"New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed," reported May 25.

"Personal consumption fell," Business Insider reported the same day, "when it was expected to rise."

"Durable goods declined 3.6 percent last month," Reuters reported May 25, "worse than economists' expectations."

"Previously owned home sales unexpectedly fall," headlined Bloomberg News May 19.

"U.S. home construction fell unexpectedly in April," wrote the Wall Street Journal May 18.

Those examples are all from the last two weeks. Reynolds has been linking to similar items since October 2009.

Barone lays part of the blame, at least, on the fact that legacy media are cheerleading for the Obama administration:

It's obviously going to be hard to achieve the unacknowledged goal of many mainstream journalists -- the president's re-election -- if the economic slump continues. So they characterize economic setbacks as unexpected, with the implication that there's still every reason to believe that, in Herbert Hoover's phrase, prosperity is just around the corner.

Not your typical candidate


Tale of two charts

Does O hate all Jews or just their leader?

Body Language Expert: ‘Obama has contempt in his eyes’ for Bibi

Bill O’Reilly’s body language expert, Tanya Reiman explains how President Obama had “contempt in his eyes” for Benjamin Netanyahu.

Intellectual Stammer? The Left’s cognitive dissonance.

(Obama stammers and bumbles his way through impromptu public speaking because he's so brilliant his mind is working faster than his mouth. This is what liberals actually believe (

Meghan Daum: Obama's fast brain vs. slow mouth

It's not that the president can't speak clearly; he employs the intellectual stammer.

  • President Obama speaks on U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa at the State Department Thursday.

President Obama speaks on U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa at the State Department Thursday. (Jason Reed, Reuters)

By Meghan Daum

Apparently, a lot of people consider President Obama to be bumblingly inarticulate.,0,462327.column

Number 6?

"Where's the Birth Certificate?" debuts on the New York Times best-seller list at No. 6 on the nonfiction list.

Wait, nonfiction?

Read more: Birth certificate book a New York Times best-seller!

The richest woman in England. No, life is not fair.

Kirsty Bertarelli, pictured here performing onstage during the 44th Montreux Jazz Festival in 2010, tops the women's list with an estimated wealth of £6.8 billion

The Oldest Cocktail (This one is worth ordering in New Orleans. Hard to get it right.)

The Sazarec, which predates the Civil War. It's a drink that starts off with an absinthe rinse of your glass, then ice is added with 2 parts rye whiskey, some bitters, and sugar or simple syrup. Sometimes garnished with lemon or orange zest, it's an excellent drink when mixed right. Historically the drink is credited to two Louisiana residents: Sewell Taylor and Antoine Peychaud. The drink shares a common ancestry with the Old Fashioned, as they're the first two drinks associated with the word cocktail.

The future

Alaska Airlines Moving To iPads For Flight Manuals

Alaska Airlines has become the first US airline to move away from paper to the iPad for their flight manuals. The measure will save money on paper and fuel while allowing pilots to play with Leafsnap during long trips.


…the reason for this holiday.

Above is the American cemetery at Normandy, what follows is the text of President Lincoln’s letter to to a bereaved mother of five sons who were thought to have died while fighting for the Union in the Civil War. The brief, consoling message was written in November 1864 to Lydia Bixby, a widow living in Boston.

The text was read in the movie, Saving Private Ryan.

Its power is in its simplicity and sincerity and its relevance is as clear today as it was in 1864. You can almost hear Lincoln’s heart breaking as he wrote it.

Executive Mansion,

Washington, Nov. 21, 1864

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

chip bok

Top Al Qaeda commanders with close links to Bin Laden captured in SAS dawn raid

A crack SAS team has captured two top Taliban commanders without a shot being fired in a secret dawn raid in Afghanistan.

The 12 elite troops seized Maulawi Rahman and Maulawi Mohammed at a high-walled compound north of the remote town of Babaji in Helmand province.

Read more:

Three of the ten of the ugliest cars ever made

Ten of the ugliest cars ever built

1. Toyota Yaris Verso

Is it a supermini? Is it a van? Who cares? Exceptionally practical it might have been, but the Yaris Verso had some 'challenging' proportions

Ten of the ugliest cars ever built

2. Ford Scorpio

The MkII version of Ford's Scorpio was not one of the Blue Oval's finest efforts. Indeed, it was described by Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson as looking like 'a wide-mouthed frog'

Ten of the ugliest cars ever built

3. Rolls-Royce Camargue

Designed, amazingly, by Pininfarina the Camargue was the most expensive production car in the world when in first went on sale in 1975

Mansions of the Lord

To fallen soldiers let us sing,
Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing,
Our broken brothers let us bring
To the Mansions of the Lord

No more weeping,
No more fight,
No friends bleeding through the night,
Just Devine embrace,
Eternal light,
In the Mansions of the Lord

Where no mothers cry
And no children weep,
We shall stand and guard
Though the angels sleep,
Oh, through the ages let us keep
The Mansions of the Lord

Happy Birthday Golden Gate Bridge

May 27, 1937: A Bridge Over the Gate? Are You Crazy?

1937: After nearly four-and-a-half years of construction, the Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrians. Approximately 18,000 people are waiting to walk across the span when it officially opens at 6 a.m.

The bridge opened to automobile traffic the following day, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt — at the White House 3,000 miles away — pressed a telegraph key that simultaneously announced the fact to the world.

That was the easy part.

The idea to span the Golden Gate, the mile-wide strait connecting San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean, was originally proposed by a madman. Joshua Norton — a San Francisco merchant who went bankrupt and lost his marbles, declaring himself Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico — decreed the building of the bridge in 1869.

A few years after Norton’s decree, railroad magnate Charles Crocker, a lot less endearing but a lot more influential than the good emperor, presented the first specific plan, with cost estimates, for spanning the Golden Gate. Despite his clout, Crocker got about as far with his plans as his dotty predecessor had.

It wasn’t until 1916, when a proposed design for a bridge published by the San Francisco Call caught the eye of the city’s chief engineer, Michael O’Shaughnessy, that serious planning began. The original cost estimate came in at a staggering $100 million ($2 billion in today’s money). That might have deep-sixed things again if not for the appearance of Joseph B. Strauss, a structural engineer with 400 bridges under his belt, who said he could complete the project for around $30 million.

Things simmered on the back burner while United States ran off to the World War, but in 1921 Strauss came back again with a formal $27 million bid and won the contract. The 1920s were spent lining up political ducks, fiddling with design proposals and dealing with the War and Navy departments, which had final say on the construction of anything that might affect ship traffic or military logistics.

By late 1929, the Golden Gate Bridge District was formed, and Strauss’ original prosaic (if not clunky) cantilever-suspension hybrid design had been replaced by an all-suspension bridge. Irving Morrow, a local architect, is the man responsible for the Golden Gate Bridge’s graceful art deco design, as well as choosing its distinctive color: international orange (which contrasts with the surrounding sea, sky and land regardless of weather or season). The structural calculations provided by consulting engineers Charles Ellis and Leon Moisseiff persuaded Strauss to abandon his own design in favor of Morrow’s, for which the world can give eternal thanks.

One other factor: all have had over 50 years of Democrat rule.

These are America's 10 Most Dangerous Cities:

1. Flint, Mich.

Population: 109,245
Violent Crime Per 1,000: 22
2010 Murders: 53
Median Income: $27,049 (46.1% below national average)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (2.8% above national average)

The number of violent crimes committed in Flint increased for all categories considered for this list between 2009 and 2010. Perhaps most notably, the number of murders in the city increased from 36 to 53. This moves the city from having the seventh highest rate of homicide to the second highest. The number of aggravated assaults increased from 1,529 to 1,579, a rate of 14.6 assaults per 1,000 residents, placing the city in the No. 1 rank for rate of assaults. Flint police chief Alvern Lock stated late last year that he believed the city's violence stemmed from drugs and gangs. Flint has a relatively small median income of about $27,000 per household. The city also has a poverty rate of 36.2%.

2. Detroit

Population: 899,447
Violent Crime Per 1,000: 18.9
2010 Murders: 310
Median Income: $26,098 (48% below national average)
Unemployment Rate: 12.7% (3.7% above national average)

The city crippled the most in America's post-industrial era is almost certainly Detroit. The Motor City has suffered from high rates of unemployment, homelessness, and crime. The city has one of the ten highest rates for three of the four types of violent crime identified by the FBI. Detroit has the sixth highest murder rate, the fifth highest robbery rate, and the second highest rate of aggravated assault. In 2005, a major reorganization of the city's police department took place after a federal investigation identified inefficiencies within the system. According to an article in The United Press, opponents of Detroit Mayor David Bing called for further intervention by the Justice Department in several shootings that occurred last year.

3. St. Louis

Population: 355,151
Violent Crime Per 1,000: 17.5
2010 Murders: 144
Median Income: $34,801 (30.7% below national average)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (0.3% above national average)

Violent crime in St. Louis fell dramatically between 2009 and 2010, and has decreased since 2007. Despite this, crime rates remain extremely high compared with other cities. In 2010, the city's murder rate and rate of aggravated assault were each the third worst in the country. With regards to both violent and nonviolent crime, St. Louis was rated the most dangerous city based on FBI data released six months ago. As of December 2010, the murder rate in St. Louis was 6.3 times that of the state of Missouri. The city's gunshot murder rate for residents between 10 to 19 years old is also the second highest in the country, behind only New Orleans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

4. New Haven, Conn.

Population: 124,856
Violent Crime Per 1,000: 15.8
2010 Murders: 22
Median Income: $38,279 (23.8% below national average)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (0.6% above national average)

New Haven has historically had the highest rate of violent crime on the east coast. The impoverished, crime-ridden parts of the city stand in stark contrast to affluent Fairfield county to the West, and elite Yale University, which is located within the city itself. The number of murders in the city doubled last year. New Haven has the eighth highest rate of robbery and the fourth highest rate of assault in the U.S. The New Haven Police Department is considering adding cameras at every intersection in one of the neighborhoods where shootings are the most common.

5. Memphis, Tenn.

Population: 673,650
Violent Crime Per 1,000: 15.4
2010 Murders: 89
Median Income: $34,203 (31.8% below national average)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (0.9% above national average)

Memphis has high rates for all the violent crimes considered for 24/7 Wall St.'s rankings. It has the sixth highest rate in the country. Incidents of violent crime in the city dropped slightly less than 15% between 2009 and 2010 though. Memphis Mayor AC Wharton attributes this decrease to Operation Safe Community, a citywide plan developed in 2005. The plan consists of a number of strategies meant to increase crime prevention, through toughening punishments for criminals, and the effectiveness of the city's legal system, through changes such as expanding court programs so that they operate consistently and at full capacity.

Former Astronaut and Senator Wants to Dismantle NASA

Harrison Schmitt during his time as a NASA astronaut (AP photo)

Harrison Schmitt, a former U.S. Senator from New Mexico and Apollo Astronaut, says although "NASA's had a good 50-year run," it's now time for a change.

Schmitt is proposing to start from scratch, by taking NASA's deep space exploration efforts and putting them in a new agency. That agency, which Schmitt has dubbed the National Space Exploration Agency, or NSEA, would focus on missions to the moon and beyond.

Schmitt was a lunar module pilot for Apollo 17, the last Apollo mission to land men on the moon. During a Saturday interview with Fox News, Schmitt said he'd like to see more of the "youth and vigor" that NASA had during the Apollo missions.

Read more:

Von Panzertruppen zu Friedenstruppen

May 28, 2011: The German armed forces are going to be quite different in a few years. It will be an all volunteer force, because conscription ends on July 1st. That will cause the armed forces to shrink from 220,000 to about 170,000 troops, and end up a more capable force. Currently, about 22 percent of the troops are conscripts, in service for only six months (although many can, and do, volunteer to stay in for up to 23 months.) The number of civilians working for the armed forces will also shrink (from 75,000 to 55,000). The number staff at the Defense ministry will shrink from 3,500 to 2,000. This will all be a big change from what's been going on for half a century.

China: 5 facts

This is what O and the Dems said they were going to do.

Gas Tanks Are Draining Family Budgets:

“Households spent an average of $369 on gas last month. In April 2009, they spent just $201. Families now spend more filling up than they spend on cars, clothes or recreation. Last year, they spent less on gasoline than each of those things. . . . Only twice before have Americans spent this much of their income on gas. In 1981, after the last oil crisis, Americans spent 8.8 percent of household income on gas. In July 2008, when oil price spiked, they spent 10.2 percent. Average hourly earnings, meanwhile, have risen just 1.9 percent in the past year. That’s only just enough to keep up with inflation.” And only if the measure of “inflation” doesn’t include gas prices.

We are running out of ways to explain how bad it is.

CONRAD BLACK: A World Of Financial Ruin. “Unless the United States has the most spectacular cognitive awakening since Brunhilda, if not Lazarus, the laws of arithmetic are going to assert themselves in Zeus-like terms. Meanwhile, the European Union is a water-logged vessel in a tempest, frantically bailing.” Since we have the worst political class ever, I’m a bit pessimistic about how this is likely to turn out.

One thing going right in California

Record snow melt sends 'a gas tanker' of water every two seconds over Yosemite's breathtaking waterfalls

Yosemite Falls

Thousands of tourists are flocking to the nation's tallest falls, Yosemite Falls, to see the spectacular cascade of water, left, which is due to get even better next month as the snowmelt peaks. In years of little snowmelt the falls can actually dry up altogether, right, making this year an extra special treat

Can the U.K. and Canada Save the West?

I wrote in praise of Canada yesterday; today Conrad Black surveyed the dismal international scene and concluded that the United Kingdom, along with Canada, offer hope for western-style democracies to survive:

When Barack Obama took office, the official normal money supply of the United States was about $1.1-trillion. The $3-trillion in federal budget deficits that have been run up since then have largely, technically, escaped the money supply, though accretions have almost doubled the official total, an unheard of rate of growth (about 40% annualized) in a hard-currency country. About 70% of this debt has been paid by the issuance of bonds to the central bank of the United States, the Federal Reserve, a subsidiary of the United States government. ...

The EU is in hot contention with the United States as the Sick Man of the Great World Economic Powers, because less than 40% of Eurozone citizens work and over 60% are on benefits of some sort. But not to be discounted in this gripping Olympic contest for total fiscal immolation is geriatric, debt-ridden, stagnating Japan, a great but terribly beleaguered and demoralized country.

If there are signs of hope, the place we might look is Britain. Unlike the United States, the European Union and Japan, the United Kingdom is making a respectable effort to reduce unsustainable debt rather than simply devaluing the currency in which the debt is denominated. Britain's fiscal deficit is more than 10% of GDP, approximately twice Canada's rate and slightly higher than that of the United States, but its government does have a somewhat believable plan for reducing it. ...

The adaptability, durability and astuteness of the British should not be underestimated. Canada has inherited, refined and demonstrated some of those qualities, and has a North American work ethic and immense resources to boot.

Both countries, as they shore themselves up and brace themselves for the disarray that the Americans and peripheral Europeans and Japanese seem determined to generate, should keep their nerve, stay in close touch, be prepared to embrace Germany and a few others when they tire of being Europe's baggage animals, and get ready for great opportunities to lead and renovate.


Attributes of the Gentleman

First, the gentleman has a firm sense of propriety. Propriety is a word that has fallen out of fashion, but that is unfortunate. A person possessing a sense of propriety knows what is appropriate for every situation. This requires wide-ranging experience in various social settings. It furthermore requires the ability to distinguish between timeless principle and cultural practices that can vary from place to place. A sense of propriety, when properly formed and not merely a sense of personal dignity, requires an awareness of other people. A person with a well-developed sense of propriety makes other people feel at ease. This may at times even require the violation of a cultural norm in the service of a fundamental principle.

The second attribute is amiability, which is closely related to propriety. To be amiable is to be friendly. An amiable man is a good conversationalist who is interested in the people with whom he speaks. He is not self-absorbed nor is he so self-conscious that he refrains from engaging with others.

The third attribute is constancy. Constancy is, simply put, consistency. A man possesses constancy when he actually is what he appears to be.  A man who is committed to treating others with respect, to helping those in need, and to behaving with dignity is a man whose constancy is well directed and laudable.

Fourth, the gentleman is willing to sacrifice for others, and though he does good deeds, he does not insist on publicity. He is secure enough not to blow his own horn. He surely does not use his social position or material circumstances to leverage his way into a woman’s heart.

Fifth, a gentleman can admit he’s wrong. This is not easy, for a gentleman who assiduously seeks to cultivate the attributes of propriety, amiability, and constancy will, in one sense, be loath to admit that he has failed to live up to the very principles he espouses.

Ultimately, the attributes of a gentleman are the attributes of a decent person.

The war on fun

Happy Meals, smoking, fried food, etc. Maybe they will try banning booze next. President Obama's War on Fun.

C.S. Lewis once wrote that "of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." Rulers who just want to exploit us may relax once their greed's sated.

But "those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience," Lewis said.


From Mead on Clausewitz:

War is in some ways the most human of activities: it is about defining and achieving objectives in cooperation with some people, all-out opposition from others, in a contest that draws on every talent and tests every virtue that we have. Even those of us whose life plans do not involve storming up a hillside under enemy fire can learn from the way Clausewitz analyzes leadership and war. More, to ignore war in an education is to leave students ignorant about one of the central features of civilization and human life.