Saturday, August 31, 2013

Presidential Pusillanimity

President Obama decides, upon further reflection, he should get the approval of the Congress before engaging in punitive strikes against the Assad regime in Syria. This puts off any strike until at least mid-September, if Congress can be persuaded to go along in the face of public disapproval.

Could it be POTUS hopes Congress will refuse? He can then say if it had been up to him he would have done the strike, but the legislative arm refused to go along.

The Gender Wage Gap

A commonly quoted statistic is that women make 77 cents for every dollar made by men, an accurate-if-you-overlook-different-work-patterns statistic. An article in Slate points out the true difference is more like 91 cents vs. one dollar, a much less glaring disparity.

Much of the initial disparity which disappears upon closer examination comes from men and women choosing different occupational paths. Men also put in more hours-per-week, travel more, and take less time off.

Is some small part of the balance due to discrimination? Probably, but that part is dramatically less than the 77 cents vs. one dollar figure implies.

What is particularly unusual is this article showing up in Slate, which is normally liberal or even "progressive." The article reads like something written for Forbes or The Wall Street Journal.

Remembering ...

Much talk about what we can do to get Syria's attention without getting involved in a bogged-down war on the ground. Probably most of you don't remember that we got involved in a similar way when the government of Serbia in Belgrade was backing the genocidal Serbs in Kosovo.

The other DrC and I had an amazing experience as part of a river cruise down the Danube, which contrary to the waltz is not, in any way, blue. We spent a day in Belgrade and as a part of our city tour were shown a large, tallish building in the heart of the city that had been bombed to smithereens.

This building had been the headquarters of the Serbian military, their version of the Pentagon. The buildings all around it were intact, although I expect many broken windows had been replaced. The U.S. Air Force had picked that one building out of an entire city and destroyed it, leaving the buildings all around it essentially untouched.

If we can do something like that to Assad, blow his military headquarters all to heck without leveling the city, I believe we could get his attention and convince him to stop using poison gas.

The bombing in Belgrade was done by piloted F-15 or F-16s. I don't know if the Tomahawk cruise missiles Obama proposes to use in Syria have that degree of accuracy, I'd like to think they do.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Cool Summer in North America

The website Real Science shares with us the following fun factoid. Hat tip to Steven Hayward at Power Line for the link.
This summer, the US has experienced the fewest number of 100 degree readings in a century. The five hottest summers (1936, 1934, 1954, 1980 and 1930) all occurred with CO2 below 350 PPM.

CO2 went over 400 PPM this year, indicating that heatwaves and CO2 have nothing to do with each other. Scientists who claim otherwise are either incompetent, criminal, or both.
The fewest in a century! Al Gore has the worst luck. I have noted that the location of my winter home has had substantially fewer 100 degree days than is normal. Anybody for "global cooling?"

The U.K. Is Not OK

British Prime Minister took his plans to participate in military strikes against the Assad government in Syria to the House of Commons for approval. They said no, many members of his own coalition crossing over to vote with Labor.

Therefore, America's most reliable ally won't be with us if we strike Syria. It's karma, or maybe the Golden Rule. President Obama has not been nice to the Brits and they are paying him back with interest.

Quote of the Day

Irish author and dramatist Brendan Behan (1923 - 1964), as found here at The Quotations Page.
There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.
I don't know if you or I believe it. Miley Cyrus sure as blazes believes it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Peters on Syria

Military pundit Ralph Peters writes columns for the New York Post. His latest is entitled "Obama's Third War, The Folly of Striking Syria." Peters makes some trenchant points, for instance:
  • Before launching a single cruise missile toward Syria, Team Obama needs to be sure it has a good answer to the question, “What comes next?”
  • Exactly which American vital security interests are at stake in Syria, Mr. President? Your credibility? Put a number on it. How many American lives is your blather about red lines worth?
  • Mr. President, do you really think it’s wise to send our missiles and aircraft to provide fire support for al Qaeda? That is exactly what you’ll be doing, if you hit Assad.
  • When you propose a war, don’t ever expect a cheap date.
  • The one thing every member of that bomb-Syria-now coalition has in common? Not one will have to fight.
There is more good content in the column.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

COTTonLINE's favorite demographer, Joel Kotkin, has written a world overview for New Geography. He concludes that North America - Canada, the United States, and Mexico - are the clear winners. See his conclusion:
If things are so good, why do they seem so bad? Sixteen years of lackluster leadership has not helped – a succession of two spendthrift presidents. (snip) Yet I prefer to see it in a more positive light: If we can do better than our major competitors under such leadership, how great a country is this?
You need to read his column to see why Kotkin believes the U.S. is ahead of the game, the place to be in the coming decades.

The other DrC and I have traveled much of the world, over 100 countries at last count. As much as we've enjoyed those other countries, there really is no place like the good, old U.S. of A. We remark on that fact every time we return from abroad.

POTUS Interview No Draw

The Wrap at Yahoo News reports another discouraging outcome for White House media types to explain away:
An interview with President Obama on Friday failed to lift the ratings of CNN's new morning news program, according to preliminary numbers.

Friday's "New Day," which featured the interview with the nation's chief executive, received no ratings bump -- and in fact posted numbers below the show's average since it launched in June.
What do we call the opposite of attraction? I think Peggy Noonan had a Wall Street Journal column some weeks ago claiming Americans no longer want to listen to the President.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

As the careful reader has no doubt gathered already, I am not in favor of U.S. involvement in Syria. There is another side to the argument that I need to recognize.

Poison gas as a weapon of war, a so-called weapon of mass destruction or WMD, is very ugly stuff. I do understand, and have sympathy for, the viewpoint that whoever uses weaponized gas should be punished.

It is no accident that after experiencing the horrors of gas warfare during World War I, nations everywhere banned its use. As ugly as things got during World War II, no nation used poison gas on the battlefield. Decades later Iraq's Saddam Hussein used poison gas on some of his own rebellious people, still inexcusable.

Chemical, biological, and radiological weapons are considered heinous precisely because their aim is directed at civilian populations. Their purpose is causing as much misery and death as possible. Their goal is to accomplish, within enemy territory, localized genocide.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Syria Update

I just listened to Secretary of State John Kerry's speech about Syria and the use there of WMD, in this case poison gas. I thought he did a good job, he made the case as well as Colin Powell made the case to the U.N. for the Iraq invasion.

A majority of Americans are opposed to U.S. involvement in Syria. Who is in favor? Our President, naturally. Why? Because he said he'd get involved if WMD were used, and it appears they have been.

Once again Uncle Sam will put on his uniform and go to war, to some degree putting people and treasure at risk. And the polling is very clear, Americans don't want it done.

It is unlikely that we will end up with anyone on either side appreciating what we do. The aided side, the Sunni rebels, will view what we do as too little, done too late. The other (Shia) side will hate us even more, if that is possible.

I heard someone on a TV panel say a clever thing. "Instead of the usual enemy of my enemy is my friend; in Syria the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy." Another pundit described Syria as being like the World War II battle of Stalingrad, where you'd like both the Nazis and the Communists to lose.

The only way to make intervention work for us is if we can modulate our help to keep the two sides roughly equal in strength so they keep fighting, keep killing each other. It is hard to feel good about ourselves acting out that strategy.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Reader Heard From

Cousin Bill was on the cell phone earlier today to suggest thinking about government only subsidizing college degrees in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields and related technological areas. If a student graduates in one of these fields and works in that or a related field for, say, 5 years, perhaps 50% of their loan could be forgiven. His model being the NDEA loans of the 1960s.

Bill was reacting to our post on Friday, containing the Richard Vedder quote. It's not that either of us opposes a person getting a degree in whatever field they choose - be it practical or otherwise. But we're wondering whether government should subsidize impractical degrees - degrees that, however life-enriching, rarely lead to career employment. Thanks for calling, Bill.

Quote of the Day

The New York Times' Tom Friedman, writing about the difficulties of gaining compromise in the Middle East:
Rival factions take the view either that “I am weak, how can I compromise?” or “I am strong, why should I compromise?”
That sounds exactly right. The rest of the column is good, too. On other topics, Friedman is often a loss, but for the Middle East he has a good ear.

Bad Reasoning

Let me show you what happens when a pundit is under deadline pressure. Daniel Hannan, writes for The Telegraph (U.K.) on the failure of the Arab Spring; he argues that the problem is the absence of true nation states.

Nation states are absent through much of the region, but certainly not in Egypt. Egypt is the oldest or second oldest nation state on the planet.

Nevertheless, Egypt's recent attempts at governmental improvement have been no more successful than those in Syria and Iraq, two synthetic states created a hundred years ago out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire by the British and French.

It is probably correct that Iraqis don't feel a national bond, no more do Jordanians or Syrians. And to be sure, this lack of identification with a nation can be part of the problem.

But wake an Egyptian out of a sound sleep and ask him or her what country they're from, they'll know. They'd been Egyptians for thousands of years before the arrival of Rome, two thousand years ago.

All that national identification and yet Egyptians can't pull off representative government either. There are other major factors at work. Sorry, Mr. Hannan, absence of nation state identification is not the whole story.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Egypt From Another Perspective

It isn't uncommon for Canadian analysts to have a different, useful "take" on one or another global development. One such is this National Post column by George Jonas. Hat tip to RealClearWorld for the link.

Mulling over what has happened in Egypt over the last several years, Jonas puts particular emphasis on the role of its military. He believes the Egyptian military has been instrumental in fall of both Mubarak and Morsi.

Both Mubarak and Morsi were working to set up dictatorships that did not include the military in the inner circle of power. Jonas believes Mubarak was trying to hand the government to his son dynastically whereas Morsi tried to set up a theocracy like that in Iran. Neither future suited the Egyptian military.

The Egyptian military certainly has been involved, but did they persuade hundreds of thousands of ordinary Egyptians to take to the streets in protest? I think not; it feels like the generals reacted, more than acted.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Quote of the Day

Economist Richard Vedder, being interviewed by Allysia Finley for The Wall Street Journal, on the topic of college cost containment. One problem Vedder sees:
Thirty-percent of the adult population has college degrees. The (U.S.) Department of Labor tells us that only 20% or so of jobs require college degrees. We have 115,520 janitors in the United States with bachelor's degrees or more. Why are we encouraging more kids to go to college?
We've too many English majors, Communications majors, and Women's Studies majors. Or for that matter, History majors and Philosophy majors. A few of these can become high school teachers, a thankless task.

As we have noted in earlier blogs, the baccalaureate was a mark of distinction when it was rare, it is no longer rare. Now it behooves a young person to pick a major for which there are employers recruiting. Accounting, finance, or computer science, teaching, or perhaps nursing have been examples within recent memory.


I've been wondering why the media were quick to announce that the Trayvon Martin case was sort-of white on black violence whereas they've been slow to reveal that the Chris Lane murder was black on white violence? Does that seem fair?

My estimate is that there is lots more black on white violence than the reverse. The MSM doesn't want to report that data, it doesn't fit their "narrative."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sailing Arctic Seas

Whether or not the globe is warming, there is less Arctic sea ice in summer than formerly. Ships are beginning to sail across the northern side of Russia to make the transit, for example, from Hamburg to Shanghai - it is fewer miles.

This route north of Russia and Siberia will be more important for Europe than for the Americas. See an article in Spiegel Online International (in English) about the new Northeast Passage.

So far, the Northwest Passage hasn't been opening with any regularity, although Canada obviously has hopes, and Alaska too. I wouldn't mind making either passage in a cruise ship someday, a real adventure. The DrsC sailed in Antarctic seas ... an adventure we'll never forget, nor regret.

Mubarak - Maybe Not So Bad

I've been wondering when I'd see this, an article that says maybe Mubarak wasn't such a bad leader for Egypt after all. According to this Washington Post article, that is the way public opinion in Egypt is trending.

I visited Egypt during the Mubarak years. It worked. Tourists were plentiful, hotels were full, the hotel ships on the Nile were busy, as were the fellucas.

Thousands of special "Tourism Police" protected the various sites, and many thousand more Egyptians staffed the hotels, the shops in the bazaar, the restaurants, the tour buses, and served as guides in a dozen languages to the tombs and temples of the ancient pharaohs.

The streets of Cairo were literally jammed with cars, buses, trucks, motorbikes. Sometimes seven lanes of cars would jam into four lanes of pavement. In short, Egypt was busy, and being busy it made a living, and was happy.

Except that much of Egypt was probably only Islamic in the same way Italy is Roman Catholic: culturally rather than religiously. This didn't suit the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks an Islamic "revival."

The Muslim Brotherhood did a poor job of running the country, being more involved with doctrinal and personal purity and trying to gain a permanent lock on power. Now the military gets another chance.


In former British colonies and protectorates, it is often the military that commands the greatest public respect and approval. The military is the institution in society viewed as less corrupt. This is true in India, Pakistan, Egypt, and perhaps others as well. It argues that the British Army did a great job of leaving behind good values.

An Egyptian Looks Homeward

We get a lot of "what's going on in Egypt" articles by Tom Friedman and others like him. Certainly, some are useful, many are not.

Get a different view by reading a column by Maged Zaher, an Egyptian Copt residing in Seattle. He watches what is happening in Egypt much more closely than you or I.

Zaher calls his thoughts "Turmoil in Egypt Through My Facebook Window." Hat tip to RealClearWorld for the link to this article in The Stranger.

Kaplan: Geography Rules

Stratfor's Robert Kaplan writes for RealClearWorld that geography is much more important to the understanding of global affairs than are concepts like human rights and democracy. Spheres of influence are the key.

See what he says about U.S. interests in the Middle East:
As long as the sea lines of communication remain secure and transnational terrorists are containable and kept away from America's or Israel's borders, for example, whether places like Egypt or Libya or Yemen struggle for years on end with enfeebled governments matters only modestly to Washington and is, in any case, something Washington cannot do that much about.
Kaplan's conclusion is worth repeating here:
Eurasia from Europe to the Pacific is engaged in various king-of-the-hill turf battles, in which geography is paramount and ideas relatively insignificant.
Actually there is an important idea: dominate my greater neighborhood, by means fair or foul. This is a good article.

No Dog

According to a Reuters article at Yahoo News, President Obama is pressured to "do something" about Syria inasmuch as someone, probably the government, may have used chemical weapons. I hope he can resist the pressure, we don't have a dog in that fight.

Assad is an ugly thug, an ally of Hezbollah, Iran and Russia. The opposition is heavily infiltrated by al Qaeda and Sunni jihadists generally. Both sides really hate the U.S.

If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, we should help both sides. Better yet, help neither.

Mr. President, please stay out of Syria; we are not the world's policeman. This is an issue for the United Nations Security Council to ponder, preferably at great length and with the usual result.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Quote of the Day

Alex Berezow, blogging for RealClearWorld, about Europe being more racist than the U.S.:
Perhaps those who continue to obsess over American race relations should try reading global news every once in a while.
No kidding.

Yet More on Climate

See a National Journal article for an impressively complex discussion of what pushes climate temperatures in one direction or another. Solar cycles, volcanic activity, human actions, deforestation, and increasing access to autos in the third world - all of these may play parts in the never-completely-understood climate model.

All we know for certain is that climate will change, has done so for millennia. That's the story on the global level, on a more local, personal level, see below.

For years, my standard trope for describing the climate in our part of northern CA has been that we have 30 days over 100 F and 30 days below 32 F (freezing). However, the place where the DrsC have their winter home has been dramatically less hot this summer, plenty of days in the 90s but not so many 100s. I may have to change my standard description if summers continue to be cool.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Making Sense of It All

Trying to make sense of all the minor forces out there screaming "death to America," trying to organize it all into one clearcut opponent is a fool's business, as Michael Ledeen writes in this PJ Media column entitled "Faster Please, Its War You Idiots."

Ledeen puts together a number of disparate factors and demonstrates just how confused and complicated the various forces are, all the while urging the U.S. to take our opponents seriously. Reading his column won't necessarily clarify your thinking, but it will remind you forcefully of the complexity of our opponents.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

An Hypothesis

I write to set before you a Machiavellian hypothesis, which I hope is original here. Just suppose what is happening in Egypt, the arrests and bloodshed, is exactly what we want to have happen there. Suppose further that our private agreement with the Egyptian military is that for public relations reasons we have to deplore the violence while recognizing its necessity.

That set of suppositions certainly explains our current posture: asking both sides to play nice while not cutting off military aid to Egypt. I'd like to think it was the result of careful calculation, not us being helplessly frozen in the headlights like a deer.

Clearly the Muslim Brotherhood is no friend of the U.S. Having the Egyptian military cut them up for ostensibly local reasons while we keep our hands clean looks like win-win from where I sit. Or am I giving our State Department too much credit?

Dateline Oregon

Portland, OR, is geographically a west coast city but it looks like an eastern city, like Pittsburgh, PA, where we were in November. Gross! Rivers, hills, old, dirty buildings, narrow streets too. Plus really weird roads and antique freeways. The art and science of highway design has definitely made progress since these were laid out.

Imagine a twenty first century teaching hospital complex (OHSU) occupying the top of a hill like a Crusader castle in Palestine. All this being serviced by roads too narrow to qualify as decent driveways, too narrow to receive centerlines.

It appears they gave up on roads and built an aerial tramway that would do a Swiss ski lodge proud. This after spending tens of millions on underground parking garages, with valet parking that doesn't start functioning until well after the first patient appointments of the day.

The medical complex in Pittsburgh works much more smoothly, as though everybody is on the same side and all pulling together. At OHSU, not so much.

Salem, on the other hand, has wide, wide streets that give it a sense of spaciousness. True, the buildings are old but it feels like a west coast town ... town, not city. It doesn't feel like a capital in the way Sacramento or Albany does.

I spent three years in OR some decades ago ... I was rained on enough to last me a lifetime. Two weeks at a stretch without seeing the sun were commonplace. For a native Californian used to sunshine, it was just too depressing.

The dreary OR winters were written up in the diaries of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The trees love all the rain, people find it sad, or even S.A.D. Native Oregonians brag about the number of fatal one-car crashes Oregon has, many believed to be suicides. While I was there the acting president of the U. of O. killed himself by driving his VW head on into a loaded logging truck. Sad days indeed.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Snark File

Mark Levin describes Hillary Clinton as "Barack Obama in a dress." I think that may be just a bit extreme.
Barack in a dress would look better than Hillary does, much of the time. He has a stronger sense of style.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Keep the Warthog

We already own the A-10 Warthogs, they're paid for and on-board. Why decommission them? Can it be that Air Force pilots don't like flying the ugly, unsexy beasts? See this Medium article for more on the A-10.

They are a perfect platform for use in an area where air superiority is a given. We can cannibalize existing planes for replacement parts and keep them flying for decades, if necessary, like the B-52s.

Quote of the Day

Demographer Joel Kotkin, writing for New Geography about the push for more density:
Dense places tend to be regarded as poor places for raising families. In simple terms, a dense future is likely to be a largely childless one.
Kotkin writes that "greens, planners, architects, developers, land speculators" are pushing for more urban density. It doesn't seem to be what most buyers want.

A childless future won't keep humans going, as a species. Perhaps high urban density helps explain the very low birth rates in Europe, Singapore and Japan.

Movin' ... Movin' ... Movin'

Though they're disapprovin' ... keep them dogies movin' ... Rawhide. This Wall Street Journal article - about getting adult children to leave home - reminds me of the classic TV theme song.

Author Joe Queenan takes as his subject matter helping the parents of millennials to get adult children to move out of the family home. His methodology: play music from your youth that your children cannot tolerate.

Queenan remembers his parents driving him out of the house by listening to Lawrence Welk and his Champagne Music Makers, plus Perry Como and Patty Page. He reasons that the same technique would work for parents of millennials - playing 1960s music: Beatles, Beach Boys, Dylan, and Supremes should do the trick.

The point is to create an environment that the parents find comfortable while their children do not. One problem: since millennials have iPod buds in their ears much of the time, they may not hear the "old" music.

Friday, August 9, 2013

More on Climate "Science"

At COTTonLINE we have maintained that climate changes, and that nobody really knows for sure in which direction or for what reasons. The "received wisdom" is that CO2 is a major factor, and that because CO2 is increasing, climate will warm.

Go see this post at No Tricks Zone concerning an article in a Danish paper - Jyllands Posten - concerning the views of a solar scientist that CO2 is over-emphasized, while level of solar activity is under-emphasized. His understanding is that we've had a dip in solar activity which could presage a cooling period, a "little ice age" or even a full-blown ice age.

Climate data for the past decade give him support for this view. CO2 has risen, the sun has cooled, and the earth has not gotten hotter.

We don't know if he is correct just like we don't know if the CO2-fearing "global warmists" are correct. The bottom line is that, because there is no way to do experiments to test climate outcomes, whatever science says it "knows" about climate is just reasoning from very limited data.

In this way, climate science is like economics: in both cases we live "inside the experiment," we watch what happens and try to reason about why. We cannot do experiments with either situation.

Solar science is the same, we watch and make educated guesses while the sun does what it's going to do and we live with the consequences. Wish us well.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Don't Know Much Geography

Mary Katherine Ham, blogging on the well-known Hot Air site, concerning President Obama's comments to Jay Leno about improving U.S. ports to take advantage of the widening of the Panama Canal. Obama told Leno:
If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf — places like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia, or Jacksonville, Florida — if we don’t do that, those ships are going to go someplace else. And we’ll lose jobs. Businesses won’t locate here.
Of course, none of those three ports is located on the Gulf; all are on the Atlantic Ocean. Two of the three mentioned states have no Gulf coast whatsoever. A sampling of Gulf ports, Mr. President, would include Tampa, Mobile, Biloxi, New Orleans, Galveston/Houston, and Corpus Christi.

Obama is rumored to be a college graduate; I guess he left the teleprompter at home. If you go to the Hot Air site linked above you can watch him say those very (wrong) words for yourself.

Elegy for the WaPo

Mostly reporters and opinion writers write flat let-me-tell-you-what's-going-on prose ... mostly. Every now and then one writes from the heart and may even leave you with a tear in your eye.

One of the latter is David Ignatius' column about the sale of the paper he works for, the Washington Post. He conveys a real love for the place he works, and the people he's worked with and for.

I hope he can continue to feel this way about the new WaPo. I'm certain it is his wish, too.

Quote of the Day

Victor Davis Hanson, writing for PJ Media about our sad President's oratorical style:
“Really,” “I’m not kidding,” “I’m serious,” “in point of fact,” and “I’m not making this up” often prove rhetorical hints that the opposite is true. 
Like any politician, if Obama's lips are moving, he's lying. It must be part of the job description.

Political Humor Alert

Slogan seen on a "gimme" cap at the Lincoln County fair:

People Eating Tasty Animals

To see a photo of the actual cap, go to which is the other DrC's blog.

There are dang few vegans in Wyoming. Local wisdom: don't make pets of critters you plan to eat.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Embassy Shutdown Trigger

Many have wondered what piece of intel could cause the closure of so many U.S. embassies. Writing for The Daily Beast, Eli Lake and Josh Rogin have an excellent column about the signals intelligence cause of the closure of our and U.K. embassies across North Africa and the Middle East.

Quite simply, it is thought to have been a conference call among some twenty or more al Qaeda leaders from across the region. A major agenda item was AQ supreme leader Zawahiri identifying Yemen's Wuhayshi as his second in command and what the column calls al Qaeda's "general manager." There was also talk about teams being in place to do major mischief.

It is likely al Qaeda won't use conference calls to hold virtual meetings in the future, now that they know we can eavesdrop.

Rules for Conservative Candidates

Dan McLaughlin, writing in his blog Baseball Crank, lists 73 rules for running for President on the GOP side - they are really good. He has done some serious thinking about what causes Republican candidates to lose, and has written rules to avoid the worst potholes.

When the RNC holds training for candidates, I hope they use these rules as a major part of the structure. They are written for presidential candidates, but mostly would apply to a House or Senate candidate as well.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Douthat on Race and Politics

Ross Douthat writes political columns for The New York Times that, at least sometimes, are not hostile to the GOP. In this column he writes about the extent to which the two major parties are coming to represent voters of different races.

Douthat is uncomfortable writing about this trend, as am I. And yet he makes a good point that Democrats have made a definite pitch to non-white voters; he writes:
Democrats haven’t just been passive players in the recent racial polarization of the parties: Rather, they’ve embraced and furthered the trend, as a necessary part of making their new presidential-level coalition of the ascendant. 
Republicans can hardly be blamed for making a pitch to working-class white voters. These are people left behind by the Democratic party which once claimed their loyalty.

Can you foresee American political parties becoming aligned with our various "tribes," as is so often the case in developing nations?

Japan's Stealth Carrier

Go see what the Japanese Navy has just put to sea, it's a "destroyer" with a flight deck 820 feet long! Eight hundred and twenty feet of flight deck? Right, that's a destroyer like I'm a wee bairn.

The Izumo is a baby flattop from which the Japanese plan to operate copters and, who knows, maybe some F-35 jump jets when those become available. Actually, war copters like the Cobra and Viper are considerable weapon platforms.

See an Associated Press article for details. See also an article in The Diplomat for additional insights.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Japan's "Invisible" Army

See what CNN Money says about the current state of Japan's military forces. Japan has been re-arming without making much fuss about it. Japan needs to do this quietly to keep its neighbors from getting upset.

I imagine the neighbor governments are aware but feel no need to complain as long as their publics remain un-aware. Meanwhile the neighbors' publics seem to be more sensitized to Japan's public posturing than to its actual military strength.

Quote of the Day

Jeannie DeAngelis, writing in American Thinker, about l'affaire de powell, General Colin Powell, that is:
Only in Obama-supporter circles could you have a Huma and an Alma being cheated on by a Weiner and a Colin. 
You may need to say that aloud to yourself, quietly, to get the full implications thereof.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

McCain Perhaps No Improvement Over Obama

In 2008, I remember thinking and writing that John McCain would be a much better president than Barack Obama. With the advantage of hindsight, I'm not certain I was right.

We know Obama has been a poor president, but many of McCain's recent public pronouncements suggest he would also have been poor in office. Obama mostly does nothing, whereas McCain leaves the impression that he could have been a loose deck gun, a random actor.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Shoulder-fired "Cannon"

Would you like a sore shoulder? SSK Industries has just the weapon for you, a rifle firing a .905 caliber bullet. The bullets alone cost $40 each. See the article in the Daily Mail (U.K.). The thing looks like a mini-cannon. Hat tip to for the link.

The Brits once made large-caliber rifles for elephant hunting, Holland & Holland was a leading constructor I believe. I also remember the term "nitro express" was associated with big game super rifles.

Come to think of it, someone is now making a rifle which fires the .50 caliber M2 Browning machine gun cartridge. That one punches holes in trucks and buildings, from far away.

Whose War on Women?

This U.S. News & World Report article suggests Democrats are at least as ugly towards women as the GOP. Certainly that would appear to be the recent story line, with Weiner, Spitzer, and Filner all in sexual difficulty, not to mention Obama-endorsing Colin Powell's extramarital relationship with a Romanian lady diplomat.

Perhaps we ought to conclude that neither party has a monopoly on sexual misadventures. Likewise, we ought similarly to conclude that determining the point at which a fetus becomes a small, unborn person is something upon which we humans can never agree.

The Benghazi Story Isn't Dead

If you've believed, as I have, there was more going on in Benghazi than was ever reported, I have three further columns you may want to read. The first is in The Atlantic by Conor Friedersdorf and the second is in CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper, and is written by Drew Griffin. The third is in a U.K. paper's website, The Telegraph.

These three articles reveal Benghazi may not have been truly a consulate or branch State Department operation. It was instead a CIA operation of some size, possibly dealing with weapons left over from the downfall of Libya's Gaddafi regime; shipping said weapons to rebels in Syria.

Background whispers suggest a number of CIA personnel were wounded at the time the ambassador was killed. I wonder what the heck an ambassador was doing at a black ops site?

Charlie Cook on the 2014 Senate Races

Political analyst Charlie Cook, writing for National Journal, concludes the following about the 2014 Senate races:
While Republicans have a narrow path to the majority, the seats they must win are in friendly states, and turnout will work in their favor because this is a midterm election.
The title of his article is: "Here's How Republicans Can Take Over the Senate." If you're a politics wonk, you'll like reading the analytic steps Cook takes to reach his conclusion. Enjoy.

McManus on Cruz

The Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus is no conservative in his frequent appearances on the PBS Washington Week show. Political analyst McManus nevertheless writes a positive evaluation of the career trajectory of freshman Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

McManus says Ted Cruz has made very few missteps in his thinly concealed drive toward the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. If you find Cruz interesting, as I do, see what McManus opines.