March 10th, 2014
Were the Italian and Austrian stolen passports of MH370 used by Asians? There’s more to learn here: Wretchard has some good links to twitter feeds and pilots that are interesting.
AA587, TWA800, ValuJet 592, Alaska 261, Swissair 111, Egyptair 990, that Air France flight from a couple of years ago: the list is so short that we know the flight numbers of many incidents. And a forgotten incident from nine years ago, when an Egyptian was arrested in Memphis with a uniform and a DVD telling airline pilots how they should act in public.
Fatal air incidents have become so rare in recent years due to technological improvements that suspicions are warranted when aircraft just disappear. We’d be very surprised if the B777-200 in the Malaysia case turns out to be anything other than foul play.
March 9th, 2014
In his first department-wide policy guidance statement since taking office a year ago, he told his 70,000 staff: “The environment has been one of the central causes of my life.” “Protecting our environment and meeting the challenge of global climate change is a critical mission for me as our country’s top diplomat,” Kerry said in the letter issued on Friday to all 275 US embassies and across the State Department. “It’s also a critical mission for all of you: our brave men and women on the frontlines of direct diplomacy,” he added in the document seen by AFP. He urged all “chiefs of mission to make climate change a priority for all relevant personnel and to promote concerted action at posts and in host countries to address this problem….We’re talking about the future of our earth and of humanity. We need to elevate the environment in everything we do,” he said. It was, he said “our call to conscience as citizens of this fragile planet we inhabit.”
WRM also notes the tragic and morally inverted worldview of the self-styled intelligentsia.
March 8th, 2014
As we were just saying, China is predicting lower growth and (at last!) slower secular fixed asset investment. Now it turns out that China has had its first domestic corporate bond default in recent memory — yes it was on one or another of Solyndra’s Asian relatives.
Mostly to date credit problems have been masked by the country’s mind-boggling shadow banking system that has tried to insulate the economy from post-2008 world economic problems. None of that taxes the brain, and we’ve covered related topics for years. But here’s a doozy: if you can figure out this infinite-loop-copper-trading-L/C scheme that apparently doesn’t require physical copper — well, more power to you. We’ll try to figure it out on our next long flight; if we do, we’ll report back.
March 7th, 2014
In an annual parliament meeting that began on Wednesday, premier Li Keqiang said China aimed to expand its economy by 7.5% this year, the highest among the world’s major powers…China’s economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, told parliament the government will target 17.5% growth in fixed-asset investment this year, the slowest in 12 years. Investment is the largest driver of China’s economy and accounted for over half of last year’s 7.7% growth by rising 19.6%
And check out slides 3 and 4 of the presentation linked here. Slower is still fast.
March 6th, 2014
Wretchard can really bring you down. On the other hand, there’s always Crimea River and other such tunes. A long, long way from the songs of yore. Ah, well. HT: PL
March 5th, 2014
No not the Honeymooners routine. NBC: “NASA astronauts cannot get to and from the station without Russian help, due to the retirement of the space shuttle fleet.” What’s Plan B?
Bonus question: what is China planning?
March 4th, 2014
What passes for wisdom today: “in the old Westerns or gangster movies, right, everyone puts their gun down just for a second. You sit down, you have a conversation; if the conversation doesn’t go well, you leave the room…if you look at Iranian behavior, they are strategic, and they’re not impulsive. They have a worldview, and they see their interests, and they respond to costs and benefits.” Fellow sure likes the sound of his own voice, and he’s far from alone in his naïveté. It’s what they really believe inside the beltway, the media, the media, and the academy. There’s a war on, but only one side is fighting.
March 3rd, 2014
Wow. Watch the first few minutes of this interview of the Secretary of State. It features this:
It’s really 19th century behavior in the twenty-first century…You just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests
Why not? And what’s with this 19th century business? Have human nature, national interests, and the will to power all disappeared recently? WRM comments on the strange views of the academy, media and policy elites.
March 2nd, 2014
We see that the Russian troops in the Ukraine and related developments have caused the words Anschluss and Sudetenland to reappear all of a sudden. And on our team we have the Stanley Baldwin of this era. Russia, Iran, Syria and everyone else on the planet have old Stanley figured out. (Well, maybe not the WaPo editorial board.) It’s likely to get much worse in the next couple of years, as all of America’s adversaries know they can now act without any fear of reprisal.
How’s this for a US response: “Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would negatively impact Russia’s standing in the international community.” Can’t get much more pathetic than that.
Oh yes you can: check out the photo at the bottom of this piece. Question: why go out of your way to make yourself look like a fool?
March 1st, 2014
A study via MJ:
Global warming isn’t just going to melt the Arctic and flood our cities—it’s also going to make Americans more likely to kill each other…hotter weather leads to more murders, more rapes, more robberies, more assaults, and more property crimes…Just how much more crime can we expect? Using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s warming projections, Ranson calculated that from 2010 to 2099, climate change will “cause” an additional “22,000 murders, 180,000 cases of rape, 1.2 million aggravated assaults, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny, and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft” in the United States.
This is not the only venue where common sense and logic have gone MIA.
February 28th, 2014
It has been said that humans are not a rational animal, but a rationalizing one. So when we see a comment like this — “there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All are untrue” — we wonder why the stridency? Of course, these are politicians, not the brain trust, but we also see such stridency in certain parts of the academy. Why the rigidity and over-reaction on the part of some? Just a case of nasty personalities? Or maybe that, as true believers in the religious doctrines, they are more than a little discombobulated when reality veers from their desired, indeed predicted, outcomes. Time will tell.
February 27th, 2014
So said the Christophers many years ago, or something like that. Now Krauthammer is getting his own version of the Steyn treatment. We think there should be a rumble to settle all scores. Lets the 9800 oxygen and nitrogen guys join with the 900 argon guys and beat the tar out of those 4 carbon oxygen creeps. That’ll show ‘em. (The shouting to ban heresy from the public discourse shows you can start a religion out of just about anything.)
February 26th, 2014
The army is going down to pre-WWII levels and the navy to pre-WWI levels. The FCC was about to monitor both TV and newspapers (page 7) to ensure their political correctness (here’s the group that designed the study). The utopians (see VDH) from the faculty lounge and the media are firmly in charge of the narrative and the current cultural rot. This can’t end well, but as Wretchard said the other day, end it will.
February 25th, 2014
The administration’s proposal would remove the protected status from three classes of drugs that has been in place since the program’s inception in 2006: immunosuppressant drugs used in transplant patients, antidepressants and antipsychotic medicines. They include many well-known drugs, such as Wellbutrin, Paxil and Prozac to treat depression, and Abilify and Seroquel to treat schizophrenia.
Here’s what’s behind these antics. And here’s an ideologically diverse list of 200 organizations, charities, companies and others opposed to this squirrelly program. Normally compliant media sources are even noticing. Hmmmmm.
February 24th, 2014
Fairy tale economics. Fairy tale legislation with an unhappy ending. On the other hand, there’s a potential happy ending far away, but it’s way too early to tell. And a wish or maybe just a dream from Roger Simon. That’s it for the day as the culture slips away quickly.
February 23rd, 2014
Ladies and Gentleman, I bring you Professor Arithmetic and Engineer Murphy. Screw up and stuff happens. America has been screwing up and therefore Q.E.D. Of course none of these turnabouts should surprise us. The Soviet Union (remember them?) were going to take over the world all the way up to the moment it collapsed. How could they have collapsed when they had the KGB, the Red Army and half the papers in their pocket? Well they were overmatched. Dr. Evil, however powerful he imagines himself to be, always loses to God, Reality, Professor Arithmetic, Engineer Murphy — whatever you want to call them, because that’s the way things work. But before anyone breaks out the champagne, remember this doesn’t mean that “we” will always win. We are not always on the side of reality. The disaster visited on Chavez might just as soon overtake anyone who thinks he can print and inflate his way out of economic destruction. We will share their fate should we imitate their corruption, because reality doesn’t understand “too big to fail”. The world is partial to competence; as mathematics is partial to correctness; as natural selection favors the survival of the fittest. People knew that once.
At some time in the fairly recent past, truth stopped being a virtue. It was replaced by daft utopianism. The US can go further away from reality than most countries, courtesy of the reserve status of the dollar. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a day of reckoning.
February 22nd, 2014
Recent quote: “climate change can now be considered the world’s largest weapon of mass destruction, perhaps even, the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” Meanwhile, there are Iran and Syria. Oh yes, there’s Venezuela too. Did we mention Ukraine? Wazzup with these things? Isn’t the planet supposed to be healing by now? (Final point: there are “indispensable men” and indispensable men.)
February 21st, 2014
We agree that if the chart above is accurate (a very big IF indeed), some anomalous warming has been taking place on earth recently. Certainly the hockey stick is alarming. But perhaps what should have been more alarming is the disappearance of the Medieval Warm Period from roughly 900-1300, when temperatures were several degrees warmer than they are today. For example, it was warm enough and the seas were sufficiently ice-free in about 1000 AD that Leif Eriksson was able to sail to Newfoundland, which later became impossible again.
We certainly hope that the Michael Mann versus Mark Steyn lawsuit goes to trial. We’d very much like an explanation for the mysterious disappearance of the MWP. We’d also like to hear all about hiding the decline as well.
Update: Steyn has lots more of course.
February 20th, 2014
The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00…An increase in the minimum wage…would restore the purchasing power of bottom-tier wages. It would also permit a minimum-wage breadwinner to earn almost enough to keep a family of three above the official poverty line. There are catches, however. It would increase employers’ incentives to evade the law, expanding the underground economy. More important, it would increase unemployment: Raise the legal minimum price of labor above the productivity of the least skilled workers and fewer will be hired. If a higher minimum means fewer jobs, why does it remain on the agenda of some liberals?
The minimum wage is specifically intended to take aim at the inherent imbalance in power between employers and low-wage workers that can push wages down to poverty levels. An appropriate wage floor set by Congress effectively substitutes for the bargaining power that low-wage workers lack. When low-end wages rise, poverty and inequality are reduced. But that doesn’t mean the minimum wage is a government program to provide welfare, as critics sometimes imply in an attempt to link it to unpopular policies. An hourly minimum of $10.10, for example, as Democrats have proposed, would reduce the number of people living in poverty by 4.6 million, according to widely accepted research, without requiring the government to tax, borrow or spend. IS THERE AN ALTERNATIVE? No.
We observe that over the last 30 years, the government-university-media complex has become virtually disconnected from many of the facts that harsh human history teaches. Our guess is that there’s all manners of reckoning coming pretty soon. HT: PL
February 18th, 2014
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the man who has the final say on all matters of state in the Islamic Republic, declared again on Monday that talks between Tehran and six world powers “will not lead anywhere. Hours later a senior U.S. administration official also played down expectations, telling reporters in the Austrian capital that it will be a “complicated, difficult and lengthy process” and “probably as likely that we won’t get an agreement as it is that we will.
Meanwhile, in Syria “all of the most dangerous chemicals should have been shipped out of the country by December 31 last year. In fact, barely 11 per cent” have been. No surprise. HT: PL