Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Trip to the Circus

Back from wherever he keeps himself, the Venerable Bede has been writing a string of posts all of which deserve a read, but the one on the Occupy Wall Street crowd, or whatever they call it over in London, was just too fun to pass by:

But there is a far from negligible selection of normal people too, all displaying a bizarre sense of entitlement that would have simply baffled their grandparents.

There's "Lili Wallace, 23, a business student at Greenwich College", who asks us to share her sense of outrage over the fact that “I’ve applied for a million and one jobs, and I can’t get access to funding for the business I want to set up.”

A full 23 years old, and she can't get funding to start her own business? What is happening to the world! Take to the streets!

Then there is "Floella, 35, who has friends in work who can’t even pay their gas bill", a tellingly silly and impossible claim, and "a security officer from Somerset who has three children to feed and “has to count the beans out one by one”."

Whatever you think of these stories, and I have to say they shock me personally in a rather different sense to the one intended, you still have to ponder both the automatic assumption that, as if by algebraic inevitability, one man's misfortune must be another man's fault, and the certainty with which they have chosen their childishly symbolic villains. The deeply arguable assumption that the existence of very rich people hinders, rather than has no effect upon, or perhaps even promotes, the improvement of conditions for those less fortunate is, it seems, an argument long-settled, resentment always being more comforting to the ego than reason.

“I’m no ideologue,” says "Mina Naguib, a 25-year-old medical student at Nottingham". “I have friends in the City. But just because Marx’s solutions were wrong doesn’t necessarily mean that his analysis was also wrong.”

No, it just makes it incredibly likely.
I'm sorry, but I can't read that without cracking up and feeling good all over. Nicely done.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where Would We Be?

"People before Profits"

Sounds nice enough. Who wouldn't want to put the idea of people before the idea of profits? Avarice is never in vogue. But do those that cry for such inhabit a false reality? With the president himself sympathetic both to this idea and to the "people" who've planted themselves in the middle of our centers of commerce, it is easy to be discouraged. Most of us would give anything to hear a few words of clarity in this din of nonsense. With that I say where would we be, where would we be, if it wasn't for folks like Walter E. Williams?

After pointing out the false choice in the aforementioned slogan, he comments on the inadequate grasp of economics in the mind of the common Wall Street Occupier:
When's the last time we've heard widespread complaints about our clothing stores, supermarkets, computer stores or appliance stores? We are far likelier to hear people complaining about services they receive from the post office, motor vehicle and police departments, boards of education and other government agencies. The fundamental difference between the areas of general satisfaction and dissatisfaction is the pursuit of profits is present in one and not the other.

The pursuit of profits forces producers to be attentive to the will of their customers, simply because the customer of, say, a supermarket can fire it on the spot by taking his business elsewhere. If a state motor vehicle department or post office provides unsatisfactory services, it's not so easy for dissatisfied customers to take action against it. If a private business had as many dissatisfied customers as our government schools have, it would have long ago been out of business.

Free market capitalism is unforgiving. Producers please customers, in a cost-minimizing fashion, and make a profit, or they face losses or go bankrupt. It's this market discipline that some businesses seek to avoid. That's why they descend upon Washington calling for crony capitalism -- government bailouts, subsidies and special privileges. They wish to reduce the power of consumers and stockholders, who hold little sympathy for blunders and will give them the ax on a moment's notice.
Consumers and stockholders - that would be you and me - the common people. The profit motive in the mind of the business person ends up empowering the very people the president and his 'friends' camped out in the middle of our cities claim they are for. And who then would be empowered if those profits are taken away? Why, the government that does the taking.

He's a no nonsense kind of guy. Read the whole thing here, and thank you professor Williams.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It Ain't Cool When Joe's In School

Neither one knows the answer, but how you play it counts.
Vice President Joe Biden is back in the classroom, sadly not receiving education, but instead dishing it out, offering his own little diddy on affairs in the country today:
"Here in this school, your school, you've had a lot of teachers who used to work here, but because there's no money for them in the city, they're not working. And so what happens is, when that occurs, each of the teachers that stays have more kids to teach. And they don't get to spend as much time with you as they did when your classes were smaller. We think the federal government in Washington, D.C., should say to the cities and states, look, we're going to give you some money so that you can hire back all those people. And the way we're going to do it, we're going to ask people who have a lot of money to pay just a little bit more in taxes."
To which Mark Steyn points to the the obvious inconsistency:
Who knew it was that easy? So let's see if I follow the vice president's thinking: The school laid off these teachers because "there's no money for them in the city." That's true. York City School District is broke. It has a $14 million budget deficit.
So instead Washington, D.C., is going to "give you some money" to hire these teachers back.

So, unlike York, Pennsylvania, presumably Washington, D.C., has "money for them"? No, not technically. Washington, D.C., is also broke – way broker than York City School District. In fact, the government of the United States is broker than any entity has ever been in the history of the planet. Officially, Washington has to return 15,000,000,000,000 dollars just to get back to having nothing at all. And that 15,000,000,000,000 dollars is a very lowball figure that conveniently ignores another $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities that the government, unlike private businesses, is able to keep off the books.

So how come the Brokest Jurisdiction in History is able to "give you some money" to hire back those teachers that had to be laid off? No problem, says the vice president. We're going to "ask" people who have "a lot of money" to "pay just a little bit more" in taxes.
The government doesn't ask you to pay a little more, it tells you. But no matter how much we make and how much we pay in, we can't keep up with the rate these guys can spend it. 4.2 trillion dollars in a little over two years? And what's to show for it? The job market has contracted, losing 2.4 million jobs in that same period of time.

We don't have a taxing problem, we have a spending problem, and only people like Obama and Biden would come up with a solution that proposes to spend even more money that we don't have. How much longer can we abide these clowns?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Did That

The president is out once again fishing for praise, bestowing upon himself a larger share of the credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, this time claiming it was due, no, not to jobs he 'saved or created' with that bogus trillion dollar jobs bill/payoff in 2009, but to his pull down of troops deployed to Iraq.
In statements delivered Friday and Saturday, President Barack Obama said it was his drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq that allowed the U.S. to "refocus" on al Qaeda and get Osama bin Laden.

"The drawdown in Iraq allowed us to refocus our fight against al Qaeda and achieve major victories against its leadership--including Osama bin Laden," Obama said in a speech at the White House on Friday announcing that all U.S. troops would leave Iraq by the end of the year. In his weekly address released Saturday, Obama repeated the assertion.
This guy. What a national embarrassment.
However, according to a report published by the New York Times on May 3, crucial intelligence that allowed the U.S. to locate Bin Laden came from an al Qaeda operative who had been captured by U.S. forces in 2004 in Iraq.
A SEAL team killed Osama bin Laden, Mr. President, and though the national media was fawning all over you for the "gutsy" call you made, none of them were in the chopper when the engine failed, none of them stormed the building when shots were flying around, and none of them had to high tail it out of there, so their perspective on what's gutsy and what isn't is a tad skewed.

Meanwhile, the Times is out of sorts, as its earlier article on May 3rd had gone to great pains to downplay the value of the information gained waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and attributing the valuable information as having come from Hassan Ghul, an al Qaeda operative captured in Iraq.

On May 3, the New York Times published a story headlined, "Bin Laden Raid Revives Debate on Value of Torture." The story downplayed the significance of the intelligence gained from 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in helping the U.S. figure out who al-Kuwaiti was.

"In 2004, however, a Qaeda operative named Hassan Ghul, captured in Iraq, gave a different account of Mr. Kuwaiti, according to the American official," the Times reported. "Mr. Ghul told interrogators that Mr. Kuwaiti was a trusted courier who was close to Bin Laden as well as to Mr. Mohammed and to Abu Faraj al-Libi, who had become the operational chief of Al Qaeda.
Well, well, well. Tell you what, Mr. President, why don't you focus your efforts on lowering the sea level. When you get that one done, come on back and tell us what brave feats you've performed.
In his speech announcing that he would remove all U.S. troops from Iraq before the end of this year, President Obama did not mention President George W. Bush.

Figures. What else would you expect from Fearless Leader.

Of course, when it comes to the Fast and Furious Mexican gun running program, he gives us an entirely different t.v. personality.

Good grief.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I have been away working on the Wikipedia article on the Battle of Tarawa, and hopefully have improved it some. Tarawa is a story of uncommon courage, perseverance and commitment in the face of unbelievable danger, hardship and loss.

Among the many men that were involved there was naval officer Lt.(j.g.) Edward Heimberger. Today he is more commonly known as Eddie Albert, the actor you may remember from Roman Holiday, Green Acres, or my personal Eddie Albert favorite, You Gotta Stay Happy.

In this report he submitted, he speaks of himself in the third person, as 'the Salvage Officer', 'this officer' or simply 'the writer'. Here are some excerpts from his after action report written nine days after the first landings at Tarawa:

29 November 1943.
Activity of Salvage Boat No. 13.

Boat No. 13, Salvage, went into the water at dawn on D-Day, and worked as assistant control boat to the Boat Group Commander (Lieutenant FLETCHER), until mid-afternoon at which time orders were received to report to the U.S.S. PURSUIT in company with the rest of the boats from the U.S.S. SHERIDAN. She continued assistant control boat work under Lieutenant FLETCHER in the vicinity of the PURSUIT until dawn the following morning (D plus 1 day) at which time orders were received to land the waves on Beach Red 2. Two disabled LCVPs claimed her attention and she arrived at the Line of Departure reporting to Lieutenant FLETCHER as the LCVPs were returning.

The troops had suffered many casualties on landing and the beach was covered with dead and wounded. About 150 Marines, 100 of which were wounded, remained waist deep in the water, suffering rapidly mounting casualties from strafing by several machine gun nests on the end of the pier, in the sunken ship, and by numerous snipers in abandoned AmTracs and LCVPs. There were few boats about so Lieutenant FLETCHER and the writer took it upon themselves to aid the men. Boat No. 14, under lieutenant FLETCHER, and Salvage Boat No. 13, made three or four trips each picking up wounded men and carrying them out to LCMs from which they were transferred to ships.

On the third or fourth trip, Boat No. 13 suffered a damaged propeller and the Salvage Officer ordered her to return to the SHERIDAN with her wounded. Boat No. 14 had already left the scene carrying a heavy load of badly wounded men directly to the SHERIDAN, so it was necessary for the Salvage Officer to take over another LCVP for the next trip. For the first time the boat was strafed while picking up the wounded. There were no casualties. By this time the incoming tide was giving the wounded men a bad time of it and increased strafing was adding rapidly to the list of casualties.

Stepped up measures were considered necessary. The Salvage Officer therefore decided to take in several LCVPs in an attempt to pick up all the remaining men in the water at once. Accordingly, on that return trip, he directed the coxswain to drop him at the nearest LCVP and continue on with his wounded to the nearest ship. The writer boarded LCVP PA3-9 (uncertain about boat number) and took over four LCVPs nearby, ordering them to transfer their extra passengers to LCMs, retaining only the boat crews and to follow him to the beach.

Halfway to the beach (2,000 yards out), bullets were dropping around the boats with increasing force. This development suggested that the enemy might have added to their fire-power so some approached the area more slowly in an effort to locate the enemy's gun positions and the extent of the added fire-power. It was found to be coming from the sunken hull (thought to have been knocked out by dive-bombers an hour or two earlier) and also from a machine-gun nest at the end of the pier. Miscellaneous snipers and island-based guns were also present. All LCVPs were ordered to fire on these positions and this seemed to silence the enemy temporarily.

Because of the lay of the coral, the position of the men in the water, the tide, and the hazards of a concentration of boats, this officer decided that taking off the men with one boat at a time would be the best plan. The other boats were to lay to a few hundred yards off and attempt to keep the machine-gun nests quiet with their thirty calibers. The lead boat, LCVP PA3-9 (question), went in first and began taking on the wounded. A sniper in a wrecked LCVP about 40 feet away became a problem and work was halted a moment while the boats two 30 caliber guns worked him over. He was killed and work was resumed.

The skill and coolness of the coxswain of this boat must be noted here. He kept perfect control of his boat against a strong current, holding her off of the wounded men and yet close enough to make possible the lifting of the men from the water and yet not ground the boat on the coral. An additional mental hazard was the fact that the boat contained about eight large drums of gasoline that were in danger of being set off by incendiaries that were penetrating the hull and ricocheting around the interior of the boat. 60 caliber, armor-piercing bullets were also found in the boat afterward. Against these difficulties the coxswain and his crew responded to orders quickly and efficiently without regard for their personal safety, and in all ways conducted themselves in a manner befitting men of the United States Navy.

Finally the last of the wounded men, thirteen in all, were lifted into the boat, leaving about thirty-five men in the water, unharmed as yet, but without rifles. They refused to come into the boat and asked this officer to bring them back something to fight with. They wanted to make another try at getting ashore. At this point the strafing became quite intense, and, there being nothing left to do, the coxswain was ordered to back off, which he did with his usual business-like precision, in spite of bullets singing around his head and crashing through the boat.

The men, meanwhile, were stamping out the incendiaries before they could do any damage. The wounded were fairly safe lying in the bottom of the boat their weight and the weight of the gasoline drums brought the deck a foot or two below the waterline. The other boats were ordered to lay to out of danger and await further orders. On the return trip, the free boat containing Colonel HALL and other officers, was observed speeding toward the beach in company with several boats. It was thought advisable to inform Colonel HALL of this added fire-power and their positions. Colonel HALL noted this information, transferred a medical officer from his boat to LCVP PA3-9 to administer to the wounded men, and ordered the writer to report to Commodore McGovern on the U.S.S. PURSUIT. This was done and Commodore McGovern ordered this officer to take the wounded to the nearest ship and report back to him.

By this time the Marines had secured the pier so the writer reported to the Chief Beach-master for orders, and then relieved Lieutenant FLETCHER in the control boat, but only for a few moments, as Lieutenant FLETCHER, although he had been going without relief or rest for three days, refused to leave his job. The writer then worked on the pier for the balance of the day for Colonel SALAZAR, and Captain FARKAS, expediting the movement of supplies wherever he was able. Snipers slowed movement of material along pier and CBM FABIAN directed the writer to report to Major COOPER and Captain WALTERS in an effort to expedite movement of certain much needed ammunition by following the order up personally from requisition to delivery. This was done, utilizing men, hand trucks, and motor trucks wherever necessary. Another sniper was killed by the writer during these movements. The following day the writer was directed to do reconnaissance on Beach Green with Major SHARPENBURG, and Lieutenant DORRANCE. Survey was made, but damaged propeller caused the boat to be hoisted aboard the U.S.S. MONROVIA for repairs. Major SHARPENBURG reported to Major ATKINSON, then to Commodore KNOWLES who directed party to report to Admiral HILL on the U.S.S. MARYLAND. This was done. Returned to pier, made report to Colonel SALAZAR. At this point orders came for the writer to return to the U.S.S. SHERIDAN. He obtained a boat and complied with the orders.

Lieutenant (junior grade), USNR.
Salvage Boat Commander.

No one wanted to drive those boats in. The Japanese were tying their best to kill them as fast as they could, and if they failed to hit them with the big guns they riddled them with 13 mm (heavy caliber) machine gun fire, the power of which the sides of the boats could not stop. Eddie Albert went back time and time again, risking his life each time.

I loved the care free characters Eddie Albert would play in his films after the war, all the more so for knowing the things he did, and did without question, for the Marines he fought alongside during the war.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Liberals Send Cain to Back of the Bus

Early this week Lawrence O'Donnell thought nothing of taking GOP Presidential candidate and black man Herman Cain to task for allegedly not showing proper commitment as a pre-teen during the Montgomery Alabama bus boycott of 1955, and for his lack of participation in the Birmingham campaign in the spring of 1963 when Cain was a high school senior. I have no idea where Lawrence O'Donnell was in the late fifties and early sixties, and I don't care. It irritates me to no end that this man thinks it is his place to challenge Cain on these grounds, as if he isn't black enough for Mr. O'Donnell's approval.

Though O'Donnell later claimed he was just trying to understand Cain as a candidate, it is clear to anyone watching the interview that he meant to demean Mr. Cain. As William Jacobsen points out at Legal Insurrection, such partisan actions on the part of a journalist are disgustingly inappropriate.

Now other prominent tools of the left such as singer-actor Harry Belafonte have joined in on the beat down.

It amazes me that people like these cannot understand that being equal in society means he is free to have his own opinions. It is people like O'Donnell and Belafonte that are the face of a the strange new racism that marks the liberals of today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

'Breakfast at Tiffany's' Open Thread

What did you think?

See more photos from the show over at Movie Club.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What's up with that?

A recent donnybrook that managed to get all the way over onto a post at The Other McCain had Roxeanna de Luca pointing out how other people's poor choices end up having negative repercussions upon her life. And while the discussion itself was good, I found her answer to commentor Matt to be golden:
"While I still cringe (a lot…) at some of those memories, there is also a deep sense of contentment and joy in having lived my life a certain way. That joy is there, even though I’m over 30 and single. (No, the TV shows, movies, books, and chastity speakers who tell you that you will be rewarded for your patience with a super-awesome husband are not telling the truth; you may get that “reward”, you may not, but there is a different type of reward that you simply can’t imagine at age 16 or 20 or even 25.)

Bringing this back to whence the conversation came: what irks me to no end is that we, as a culture, don’t even begin to show young people how to live that life."
Very true. Wouldn't you want someone with that kind of grounding to be a person of influence for your own girls? For me, no question about it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fighter Pilot

Robin Olds was a fighter pilot whose career spanned three wars, from flying P-38s and P-51s over France, Holland and Germany, to F-4 Phantoms over Vietnam. The biography written by his daughter and fellow fighter pilot Ed Rasimus was largely taken from extensive notes that Robin had kept.

The story that unfolds gives an insight into the act now, get permission later kind of aggressive attitude so common in fighter pilots, and to the qualities it takes to lead such men into combat.

It's a story well worth the read.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Left's Bullying of Producers Impressive Only To Themselves

David Warren has led a life of service. Thus the recent protests of the unemployed and overpaid (city college grads and union types) has left him to wonder at what he has been hearing:
The rewards for doing something, where it counts, are different in kind; and they do not come easily.

I look at all the faces of the young, made up as zombies, clutching that fake dollar-store money, and strutting down Wall Street. Most, obviously, college-educated: the final products of an educational system that imparts little knowledge but a lot of self-esteem. I look at the sheer smugness in those faces, of people who have never experienced real hardship. All demanding that someone else do something.

For that is the nature of street demonstrations: a form of coercion, of public bullying. Getting yourself arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge, by gratuitously blocking the traffic of the working stiffs, does not help anyone. It is a form of personal display, an act of whining self-righteousness that is intrinsic to the psychology of the bully.

The attraction, to the copy-cat demonstrators across the continent, is "me too." This is the Left's answer to the Tea Party in the U.S. - a point made repeatedly through the liberal media, which themselves take pleasure in the analogy.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Give It A Rest

The Hyacinth Girl is sideways with the Wall Street protesters and that big bag of wind Michael Moore:
More than anything else, I think this “Occupy Wall Street” circus sideshow is having the opposite effect of what its organizers intended. People, normal people with jobs and lives, look at this dog and pony show and see a bunch of overeducated, spoiled, intentionally unemployed perpetual adolescents so divorced from reality that they genuinely think someone other than Barack Obama and his policies are responsible for this pathetic economy.
Loved the post title, by the way.

To add to our reading pleasure, The Venerable Bede, our friend from across the sea, has hit upon the same subject, commenting on the questionable value our society places upon the youth culture:

"Of course, to the political classes the greatest thing about the young's uncorrupted integrity is how easy it is to corrupt. No voice sounds more ringingly the tones of fierce independence than the one that has been told exactly what to say by someone else. The manipulation of youth movements is one of the most instant giveaway signifiers of Fascism, that is to say of political systems that seek to divide and conquer through the hypnosis of sloganeering, hatemongering and the rigid control of public expression.

The extreme malleability of youth, coupled with its outward show of brash individualism, makes for a uniquely useful tool in the hands of the disreputable, which when allied to the popular trends within the youth culture itself is rendered almost unstoppable."
They are both well worth the full read.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Holder Caught Holding Out

It was all just a misunderstanding, Holder Claims

President Obama's chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric Holder, misrepresented his knowledge of operation 'Fast and Furious' when he testified before a senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Holder had testified that he had first heard about Fast and Furious in April of 2011.
On May 3, 2011, Holder told a Judiciary Committee hearing, "I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks."
Probably not.
New documents obtained by CBS News show Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial Fast and Furious operation as far back as July 2010.
In Fast and Furious, thousands of guns were purchased from US gun shops and then allowed to cross the border and fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. The gun shops had notified the ATF of the suspicious large purchases of weapons, but the ATF was under orders to let the purchases and transport proceed. Those guns were used in numerous crimes, including the killing of hundreds of Mexican citizens, and at least two US Federal employees.
It's called letting guns "walk," and it remained secret to the public until Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered last December. Two guns from Fast and Furious were found at the scene, and ATF agent John Dodson blew the whistle on the operation.
This is so incredibly callous, so calculating and so utterly devoid of concern for the many Mexican lives placed in jeopardy, and for what?!
The Justice Department told CBS News that the officials in those emails were talking about a different case started before Eric Holder became Attorney General. And tonight they tell CBS News, Holder misunderstood that question from the committee - he did know about Fast and Furious - just not the details.
Oh, he did know, just not the details. I'm glad we got that cleared up.