More Hope & Change from the TSA

Your government at work...keeping you safe from dessert.  Perhaps this is part of the First Lady's healthy eating agenda....

TSA confiscates cupcake, calls frosting a "gel"
At Las Vegas International Airport, TSA supervisor [REDACTED] is keeping travelers safe from the terror of delicious cupcakes-in-a-jar. I learned this firsthand earlier today, when I put myself and my fellow travelers at risk by attempting to travel with one.  
I offered to scoop my dangerously conformist cupcake out of its jar and place it in a zip-lock bag, where it could mush about to its heart's content; but Agent [REDACTED] wisely refused. After all, the jar in all its tasty glory "clearly contains more than 3 ounces of total contents," he said.


Then What The Hell Are We Paying You For?!?

#hhrs #tcot #sgp   
Gov. Christie on President Obama's failure of leadership:

"...a President who is a bystander in the Oval Office....listening to the spin coming out of the administration....'the President knew it [the Super Committee] was doomed for failure so he didn't get involved'.  Well then what the hell are we paying you for...what have you been doing exactly?"


Clean-up on Aisle 5!

Last weekend, President Obama spoke at a Congressional Black Caucus banquet, where he said the following:
"If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a Jew, uh, as a janitor makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that with a badge of honor. I have no problem with that."
Today he also released a video greeting for the Jewish New Year, where he said: "Happy Rosh Hashana. There is clean-up on aisle 5...Jew, uh, janitor to aisle 5 please."

Ok, he didn't say that. But if a Republican had said made the first statement at a conservative banquet, this whole week would have been filled with media undertones of "Is the Right anti-semetic?". Instead, we have lavish media tongue-baths that declare Obama to be "The first Jewish President".

No bias there.... I am sure there is no conflict of interest...


The 'New Tone' at its Finest

Remember earlier in the year when the Left insisted that the Right needed to speak with a "New Tone" and avoid use of "violent" language? Hard to remember isn't it??

Of course, since then, as the Left's prospects have cratered, there have been numerous ironic examples of speech from the Left tinged with violent imagery. Mostly silly words or phrases that was really not violent at all, but did manage to get the Left's undies in a bunch when the Right used them.

But this example, no surprise from a Union thug [and leader], takes the cake:
Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa had some profane, combative words for Republicans while warming up the crowd for President Obama in Detroit, Michigan on Monday.
"We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They've got a war, they got a war with us and there's only going to be one winner. It's going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We're going to win that war," Jimmy Hoffa Jr. said to a heavily union crowd.

"President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let's take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong," Hoffa added.
New tone, my ass....

And since this was a warm-up speech for President Obama, he must agree with it, no? I haven't heard a denunciation yet... I am sure he will present one after his next vacation.


Welcome to the Whine-mar Republic

Worried about default? Well, don't be! National Treasure Alan Greenspan says we can avoid default by simply printing as much money as we need!

For those who might think this is a grand idea, I refer you back to a previous attempt at this folly.

If we are truly entering into a time when the President would rather be petulant and deflect all blame to his opponents, while having his Treasury run the presses night and day, then perhaps we should start calling this era....the Whine-mar Republic.

[h/t: Instapundit]


Obama Retreats to 1967 Borders

President Obama has suggested that Israel retreat to it's 1967 borders in order to promote peace...

In a speech to the Arab world--even though he's not president of the United Arab States, President Obama called for Israel to retreat to its pre-1967 borders. From a security standpoint, it's analogous to the United States surrendering California to Japan in 1941. Does anyone think a West Bank Palestine is destined to be a peaceful state like Denmark?

And in response, in order to promote peace, Israel requested that Obama retreat to his 1967 borders.....Indonesia....


Corruption Masquerading as Compassion

Since the President is keen on reducing the budget deficit by rooting out fraud and waste, then the once place he needs to start cutting is one of his party's sacred cows....Housing & Urban Development.

Washington Post: Million Dollar Wasteland: A trail of stalled or abandoned HUD projects.

“The federal government’s largest housing construction program for the poor has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on stalled or abandoned projects and routinely failed to crack down on derelict developers or the local housing agencies that funded them.”

To quote Glenn Reynolds, "It’s like it’s just a bunch of corruption masquerading as an effort to help the poor."

But if we were to clean up HUD, think of all the Democratic Party donors bureaucrats that would be out of work...and the last thing we need to do is help raise the unemployment rate, right?


The Racist Fence

Last week the President went down to El Paso to talk about Immigration Reform...the Democrat form of Immigration Reform. Pushing the DREAM Act (i.e. amnesty) and whatnot. But he also bragged on a bunch of accomplishments, one of which being the allegedly formidable border fence.

According to the official, placed on the internet, transcript, the President said: "The fence is now basically complete."

Despite the fact that this is patently untrue, the most interesting item is the audience reaction. Lets take a wider look at the transcript....
"Then they wanted a fence. Well, the fence is --


THE PRESIDENT: The fence is now basically complete.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Tear it down!

THE PRESIDENT: Then we’ve gone further...."
Interesting....the President wants to brag on the fence, but the crowd at his campaign rally speech wants to get rid of it... It makes you wonder if the White House doesn't know its audience, or the comments were intended for other ears, particularly though a stand-alone sound bite on the news.

It also makes you wonder why the White House would leave the audience comments in the transcript. Might they reflect what the White House really feels?

And while we are on the subject of curious transcript inclusions, check out this exchange...
So, here’s the point. I want everybody to listen carefully to this. We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done. But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I’ve got to say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: They’re racist!

THE PRESIDENT: You know, they said we needed to triple the Border Patrol. Or now they’re going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol. Or they’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. (Laughter.) Maybe they want alligators in the moat. (Laughter.) They’ll never be satisfied. And I understand that. That’s politics.
The first salient point (outside of the alligator demagoguery) is the fact that the President didn't object to the characterization that Republicans are racist. I mean, if it was clear enough and important enough to make the official transcript, I am sure the President must have heard it. But he didn't object... And if it was clear enough and important enough to make the official transcript, that tells me that it was an intentional inclusion by the White House communications staff.

Second, this was a speech where the President said "And that’s where you come in. I’m going to do my part to lead a constructive and civil debate on these issues...So I’m asking you to add your voices to this debate...."

Well, his Democratic audience did add their voice to the debate....but it was anything but constructive and civil...


Oil Drops - I Blame the Speculators!

As seen earlier on Drudge, "OIL PLUNGES BELOW $100...":

I blame the speculators!

I mean, that is how markets [free ones that is] work, right? If speculators can be responsible for the rise in the price of oil, they should at least get the credit when it goes down....


Fiscal Crisis: Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Over at Ricochet Claire Berlinski introduces us to the 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' approach to the looming fiscal crisis:
Why Anarchist Anthropologists Shouldn't Make Economic Policy

Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber explains why we needn't worry about deficit spending in the New York Daily News. It's all wrong to imagine that governments, like households, must be concerned by debt, he argues. Why? Five reasons:

1. Households can't levy taxes.
2. When households owe money, they owe it to other people. The U.S. debt is owed mainly to ourselves.
3. When households owe money to other people, they can't just print it. The government can.
4. When someone in your household writes a check, the recipient tends to cash it. Not so when the U.S. sells Treasury bonds to banks in Brazil or China.
5. If a household doesn't pay its debts, creditors can take them to court or call the cops. Internationally, we are the cops.

Feel reassured now?
I know I do!

So....Graeber's main argument is that we have nothing to worry about because Government budgets are nothing like family budgets? If you think that is looney, don't read his OpEd any further, or you will run into amazing logic such as this:
"A major reason the U.S. has a deficit to begin with is that we spend more on our military than all other nations in the world combined."
and this:
"Most probably know that if we ever really did balance the budget, it would likely throw our economy into a tailspin."
OK...military spending bad...deficits good!

I hate to break it to you Daaaave, but even if President Obama zeroed-out the Defense budget in his 2012 budget proposal, he would only cut his deficit in half. You see the real-reason we have a deficit and climbing debt are not the discretionary spending, but the mandatory spending (SS, Medicare, Medicaid, Interest on the debt) which keep expanding and are of course "mandatory".

And I for one did not know that a balanced budget would throw our economy into a tailspin. I can't wait to read your sources and evidence.....oh wait, you didn't cite any. Shocking....


Democrat's Cottage Retirement Industry

Today Instapundit asked the question:
"How safe is your Roth IRA?"
He was quoting from a Megan McArdle article on the fact that some (many?) on the left would like love to get their hands on all that cash which is never going to produce any more taxes for their schemes. (except of course when it is spent...)

So McArdle also dispenses with some unorthodox investment advice on how to avoid any lefty machinations, like perhaps buying a vacation home with the cash. Professor Reynolds adds:
"Or maybe buying a vacation home overseas, the way inhabitants of third-world kleptocracies have done for years to avoid desperate grabs by debt-ridden regimes."
Of course this is an especially apt observation, if by "third-world kleptocracies" he meant Congress, and by "inhabitants" he meant Chris Dodd, or Charlie Rangel.

Here is Congress putting the McArdle plan in action...



Or inaction if you prefer:

Take heed America!


Milwaukee Bob

"Don't talk about fraud! Fraud?! There is no fraud! Everybody knows there is no fraud,
and anybody who mentions it is, by that mere mention, an agent of discord and deceit."

[h/t - Instapundit]


Obama's Libya Speech - Word Cloud

Here is the official, "as prepared for delivery" word cloud of Bush's Obama's speech on Libya tonight:

Apparently it had something to do about people (mentioned 39 times)... And here I thought he was going to talk about the current war we are engaged in over Libya, but he only mentioned that word once..


Resetting the Reset Button

There is a particularly revealing Op-Ed over at The Daily, describing Hillary Clinton's current frustrations. "Fed up with a president “who can’t make his mind up” as Libyan rebels are on the brink of defeat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is looking to the exits."

One sort of has to feel sorry for the woman. Forced to work for an amateur essentially elected by the media, and forced to be first line of defense against his international dithering.

“Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up,” a Clinton insider told The Daily. “She’s exhausted, tired.”

I am thinking that Hill might want to have her own 'Reset Button', no? But as the link shows, she is not entirely innocent in all of this either.

“If you take a look at what’s on her plate as compared with what’s on the plates of previous Secretary of States — there’s more going on now at this particular moment, and it’s like playing sports with a bunch of amateurs. And she doesn’t have any power. She’s trying to do what she can to keep things from imploding.”

I think the lady may protest too much. One reason she and her Department have so much on their plate, is the way they have conducted business. She has been the one who has been the leader of "smart diplomacy", the concept where if we are just nice and listen to everybody (as opposed to alleged 'Cowboy Diplomacy') then they will be nice to us and everyone can get along and sing kumbayah...

So, since she felt the best course of action was to project a 'Weak Horse' strategy in the Middle East the last two years, she cannot grouse now when she suddenly wants to ride the 'Strong Horse' and can't get her boss away from the Pony Rides.... This is why foreign diplomats describe American diplomacy as "amateur night".

And in reference to Libya “We are wondering if this is a priority for the United States.”

Of course not...this is the priority right now...


Vast Devastation

As the tragedy in Japan continues to unfold, incredible...almost inconceivable...pictures emerge. The always terrific "Big Picture" site at the Boston Globe shows us the carnage and despair in 'Japan - Vast Devastation'.

Two incredible images:

And forgive me for drawing a parallel, but the following photos reminded me some others:


1945 (Hiroshima):


1945 (Nagasaki):

(I am not making a statement on moral equivalence here, just simply that devastation is devastation...)

[h/t - Jammie Wearing Fool]


Tyrants, Tyrants...Everywhere

No this is not about Mubarak or Qaddafi...its about a tin pot tyrant an his umbrella....
Charlie Rangel's deputy chief of staff, Geoffrey Eaton, threw such a fit over a missing umbrella during Thursday night's downpour at Harlem's popular Chez Lucienne restaurant that management had to call police to escort him out.

According to witnesses, Eaton, 52 -- who's also president of the NAACP's Midtown branch -- flew into a rage after a meal alone at the bar of the Lenox Avenue bistro when the staff couldn't find the umbrella he insisted he'd left by the door on his way in.

"He yelled at everyone, even the customers," said the manager on duty, who asked not to be named. "We said, 'We'll give you another umbrella.' Other people offered . . . we said, 'If that's not enough, we'll pay for your cab home.'
Of course the obvious take away is...what an ass! But the key graph was the following:
BET.com contributor Bevy Smith, who was dining separately at the bistro, told us, "He cursed out the entire waitstaff, and everyone was trying to appease him. He was like, 'Bleep that, I want a bleeping umbrella, why the bleep can't you find it?' " "I said, 'Shhhh.' He yells at me, 'Bleep you, and mind your own bleeping business . . . you're a disgrace to our race.' "
The real lesson to be learned here is not that the world is filled with jack-asses, because it is. But rather, that even on the local or micro-scale, you never get anywhere trying to appease dictators and megalomaniacs.

[h/t - JammieWearingFool via Instapundit]


NYT: Conservatives Are Right, But They're Still Mean!

Who said this:
"Although taxpayers are on the hook for the recession’s costs, most state employees pay only 3 percent of their salaries to their pensions, half the level of most state employees elsewhere. Their health insurance payments are about half those in the private sector.

In all, the salaries and benefits of state employees add up to $18.5 billion, or a fifth of [the State]’s operating budget. Unless those costs are reined in, [the State] will find itself unable to provide even essential services.

To point out these alarming facts is not to be anti- union, or anti-worker."
Rush Limbaugh? Anne Coulter? Hosni Mubarek? Scott Walker? Nope..none other than the New York Times about NY state's current fiscal woes.

Now over at the NYT, they still can't bring themselves to fully admit that conservatives are right. Saying so leaves such a bitter taste in their mouths, that they must immediately follow up any kudos with a big BUT!

Immediately after printing the words above, they got right back to the business of what passes for civility in Liberal Fantasy Land:
"In recent weeks, Republican politicians in the Midwest have distorted what should be a serious discussion about state employees’ benefits, cynically using it as a pretext to crush unions.

New York does not need that sort of destructive game playing. What it needs is a sober examination of the high costs of wages and benefits, and some serious proposals to rein them in while remaining fair to hard-working government employees."

Really? The Republicans have distorted the discussion? The Republicans have cynically used the situation to their own ends? Really??

Last I checked, the only ones willing to have a serious discussions *were* the Republicans. The only serious discussions that Wisconsin or Indiana Democrats were having were with the waitresses working at the undisclosed hiding locations.

Last I checked, the ones who were cynically using the situation were the Union members who left school children and their parents in a lurch, shouted down debate, held a state capital building hostage [see Presidential lexicon], shoved their opponents around, and essentially told taxpayers "Suck it up whiners, and gimme my due!". This is the type of sober, serious discussion that the NYT wants Republicans to be party to?

The bottom line is that the only folks who have performed "a sober examination of the high costs of wages and benefits" has been those "cynical" Republicans. Democrats prefer to still live in fantasy land where the government gravy-train can go on forever. The only folks who have offered "some serious proposals" to rein in costs have been those same Republicans. Democrats have either abdicated their responsibility, or again believe that their don't need to be serious proposals to change the path of government spending. Of course it is no mystery as to why this is....

It is great that the editorial board at the NYT may be finally catching onto reality, but they need a little more rehab to able to kick the "Blame Republicans" addiction.

Although I fully expect this addict to relapse....

Free The Teachers From Politicians!! (Except The Ones That Will Give Them What They Want)

Bill Hobbs has some interesting pictures from a Tennessee teachers protest. One in particular caught my eye.

[Photo: Bill Hobbs, 2011]

Now I am confused.... Is this a call for every child to be home schooled?

Or perhaps she is just a big proponent of having bake sales to fund her school. Because that's what it will take once we get "politicians out of education", and all local, state, and federal dollars disappear.

And if there are no politicians involved in education, who is her union going to collectively bargain with? I just hope she isn't teaching a class in critical thinking....

Of course what she really means is "Don't let *conservative* politicians derail the 'union dues-liberal politician campaign warchests-collusive collective bargaining-gold plated pay & benefits for me' gravy train."


Collective Bargaining 101

Not really sure what 'Collective Bargaining' is? Then head over to the Foundry blog at the Heritage Foundation. The first thing you will learn is that Collective Bargaining is not a Right...it's a privilege.

Second, they have a nice video illuminating the racket that Collective Bargaining really is. Collusion between Public Sector Unions and politicians of a certain persuasion to keep overnment big, tax dollars flowing, and those politicians in power...

...Government Unions have a direct stake in keeping government big, no matter what the voters may want..."

As Instapundit likes to say...our country is in the very best of hands...


Big Stink By The Bay

I must admit a certain amount of schadenfreude when two liberal causes do battle, when the consequences of one impact upon the other. It is even more fun when both are environmental causes...

The most recent example happens in San Francisco (of course!):

"San Francisco's big push for low-flow toilets has turned into a multimillion-dollar plumbing stink.

Skimping on toilet water has resulted in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes, said Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the city Public Utilities Commission. That has created a rotten-egg stench near AT&T Park and elsewhere, especially during the dry summer months.

The city has already spent $100 million over the past five years to upgrade its sewer system and sewage plants, in part to combat the odor problem."

Ahhhh, unintended consequences...the best part of environmental schadenfreude! Low flow and no-water toilets were supposed to save money (water bills) and save the environment. Well, $100 million later we know they don't save money. How about the environment? Not so much....

"Now officials are stocking up on a $14 million, three-year supply of highly concentrated sodium hypochlorite - better known as bleach - to act as an odor eater and to disinfect the city's treated water before it's dumped into the bay. It will also be used to sanitize drinking water.

That translates into 8.5 million pounds of bleach either being poured down city drains or into the drinking water supply every year.

Not everybody thinks it's a good idea.

A Don't Bleach Our Bay alert has just gone out from eco-blogger Adam Lowry who argues the city would be much better off using a disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide - or better yet, a solution that would naturally break down the bacteria.

As for whether the supposedly environmentally friendly, low-flow toilets are worth the trouble? Well, according to Jue, they have helped trim San Francisco's annual water consumption by about 20 million gallons."

So SF uses less water, but pays millions more for infrastructure, and will end up pouring poisonous bleach into the sewers. I guess the best you can say was that some enviros had a good feeling in their soul for at least a little while.

But in hindsight perhaps it would have cost less and been better for the environment if the city had just kept it's regular toilets....


Democracy...Democrat Style!

Since earlier this month when Unions began their temper tantrum in Wisconsin, one of the mantras repeated with regularity was that "This Is What Democracy Looks Like!" I guess the protesters think they have cornered the market on "Democracy".

Never mind that Union protests only represent a portion of "Democracy". Never mind that "Democracy" usually requires a *second* (sometimes more) side to an issue. Never mind that "Democracy" spoke in Wisconsin last November via an obscure procedure known as an "election", when the the current Governor was elected by a majority of Wisconsin voters on the very issues he is pushing, and the Unions are protesting. But don't try to tell that to the Unions....

But somebody had better tell that to Eleanor Clift..."Since When Does Scott Walker Represent 'The People'?"

[h/t - @mattsheffield]


Dan Quayle Strikes Again!

Instapundit asks:
"Why isn’t Obama talking about Libya?"
Well, he (e.g. his administration) started talking, and immediately proceeded to spell Libya incorrectly....

Well...at least they didn't replace the 'y' with an 'a'....

[h/t - Erick Erickson]

UPDATE - Welcome Instapundit readers! Lets just hope @whitehouse doesn't have to determine how to spell Gaddafi/Kadafi/Qaddafi/Gadhafi....


Same Old Song and Dance

For many years, at least since the heady days of the Clinton Machine, I have been sure of one thing when it comes to watching national politics...if the Democrats/liberals accuse their opponents of doing something outrageous, it is almost certainly an attempt at mis-direction, as the Democrats/liberals are usually the ones committing those outrageous acts themselves.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto makes the same observation about what is being done on behalf of leftist ideology in modern-day Wisconsin (and soon a state government near you!):
"It's quite striking the way almost every lie the left ever told about the Tea Party has turned out to be true of the government unionists in Wisconsin and their supporters..."
Shocked! Shocked, I am...

Taranto also says: "To make sense of what's going on in Wisconsin, it helps to understand that the left in America lives in an ideological fantasy world...."

While at first I would tend to agree with his point, but the more I think about it, I think they know exactly what they are doing....taking pages directly out of the Saul Alinsky playbook. Primarily, "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

But Democrats/liberals should heed a warning from their radical guru, for he also said "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time...."

The public's tolerance for whining on the part of public sector unions that translates to "Gimme gimme gimme!" is already wearing thin in its first instance. If other state's public sector union decide to follow Wisconsin's lead, they may well be in for a heap public opinion trouble....

[h/t - Instapundit]


Wisconsin Public Education Fail

Public School education you say? I don't believe it....


Obviously he didn't get the union memo, otherwise he would know it isn't spelled 'partyers', it is spelled 'baggers'...


Ignored or Ignorant?

I love this picture* by Anne Althouse from the Wisconsin union protests.

"Never have so few ignored so many"

Given that Wisconsin teachers have abandoned thousands of schoolchildren, I am thinking that the Wisconsin Education Association Council is test marketing a new slogan.

I believe they have a winner!

*Aside from the thrice defiled (1-written on, 2-adorned with a fish, 3-intentionally placed on the ground) American flag... Good way to prove your patriotic chops Union members!


Democracy Sucks!

To quote Bill Hobbs, "Democrats believe in democracy - except when they lose". This is evidenced most blatantly by Wisconsin's run-away Senators.

But I particularly like this pair of Democrats who apparently are disaffected with the form democracy they live under:

Lets follow the logic here...a Governor who won a legitimate, regularly scheduled election by 6 points and has been in office just over one month, is somehow comparable to a military strongman who ran his country virtually unopposed for the last 30 years by putting most political opposition in jail or worse? Sure...

To take it one step further, these geniuses are suggesting that a recent legitimate election be invalidated because they are unhappy with the result, and....what...have the Wisconsin National Guard take over the state government??

And I wonder how the protesters in Egypt feel about folks with pretty well paying jobs (or any jobs for that matter) appropriating the Egyptian cause for their own selfish ends?


The President's Growing Credibility Debt

"It is dismaying to realize that we have a President who cannot talk either intelligently or honestly about his own budget." - Powerline


Disaster Preparedness - Egyptian Style

Facing the possibility of a police truncheon to the head? Afraid of having your skull cracked by a well aimed rock thrown by opposing political thugs? If so, then it pays dividends to be prepared with some protective equipment.

Unfortunately, I don't think these guys have been reading Instapundit and Bill Quick....

Nothing says you value your safety better than a helmet of baguette and flatbread.....

[h/t for most images: Sad & Useless]


The Mob Has Spoken?

So who really wants over-priced and under-performing "high-speed rail"? Apparently we all do, since the Federal Government is going to give it to us...

I can only imagine that this is the reaction that Democrats think that these boondoggle projects will create in the public...

Count me as on board! I am nearing my military retirement, and need one of those cushy jobs!

2011 SOTU Word Cloud

A quick look before tonight's speech, here is a word cloud of its most common words....

I suppose it is not a surprise that 3 of the most used words are "new", "American", and "jobs".

I am sure there has to be a message hidden in there somewhere.....

[h/t to the ever-handy Wordle]


Under New Management

When I saw this AP photo....

All I could think of was "This Establishment Under New Management".

I believe that it is the flag that sells it....


Bring Back the Buggy Whip!

One reason I think that electric cars are not quite ready for primetime....

London to Edinburgh by electric car: it was quicker by stagecoach

The BBC's stunt of taking an electric Mini to Edinburgh reveals just how impractical rechargeable cars are, writes Christopher Booker

In its obsessive desire to promote the virtues of electric cars, the BBC proudly showed us last week how its reporter Brian Milligan was able to drive an electric Mini from London to Edinburgh in a mere four days – with nine stops of up to 10 hours to recharge the batteries (with electricity from fossil fuels).

What the BBC omitted to tell us was that in the 1830s, a stagecoach was able to make the same journey in half the time, with two days and nights of continuous driving. This did require 50 stops to change horses, but each of these took only two minutes, giving a total stopping time of just over an hour and a half.

Considering that horse power was carbon-free, emitting only organic fertiliser along the way, isn’t it time the eco-conscious BBC became more technologically savvy?

So, until batteries catch up with what we desire from our vehicles (long endurance and range), perhaps electric cars might perform better if we applied a buggy whip during the drive....

[h/t: EJHill]


Gulf War - Air Campaign: 20 Years On...

While it may get lost it the official holiday, Monday is the 20th anniversary of the start of Operation Desert Storm.

The Air Campaign was kicked off by Task Force Normandy, as 2 USAF MH-53 Pave Low helicopters led 8 Army AH-64 attack helicopters across the Iraqi border...

At 2:38 a.m. on Jan. 17, 1991, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Tom Drew launched Operation Desert Storm by speaking into his radio microphone: “Party in ten.” The pilot of an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, Drew was part of a joint Army-Air Force strike team making a secret, nocturnal attack on Iraqi radar stations. Drew’s radio call told others in the force that AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles unleashed by Apaches would detonate on their targets in ten seconds.

It was called Task Force Normandy. The strike team consisted of a dozen helicopters – eight missile-firing Apaches with a ninth as a backup, a UH-60A Black Hawk for combat rescue if needed, and two Air Force MH-53J Enhanced Pave Low IIIs. The Pave Lows were equipped with a terrain-following and global positioning navigation system to bring the attackers to their destination.

The target was a pair of Iraqi air defense radar installations. On the first night of a conflict, destroying these stations would open a path to Baghdad for warplanes of the coalition arrayed against Saddam Hussein. The timing of Task Force Normandy’s attack was determined by the projected time when Iraqi radar would detect Air Force EF-111A Raven aircraft preceding F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighters in attacks on downtown Baghdad. Destroying the radars would open a pathway for the bombers to proceed.

Army Lt. Col. (later, Gen.) Richard A. “Dick” Cody – a future vice chief of staff – led the strike. Lt. Col. (later, Col.) Richard L. “Rich” Comer led the Air Force contingent.

The attack was devised after U. S. Central Command, under Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, decided against inserting Special Forces troops to destroy the sites. Apaches could bring firepower to bear on the targets and confirm that they had been destroyed.

After months of training, on Jan. 14, 1991, Cody’s force positioned itself under radio silence at Al Jouf, near Saudi Arabia’s border with Iraq. Cody divided the force into two teams. After an ultimatum to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein went unheeded and the order for war came, Cody led the White team out of Al Jouf. The Red team, led by Capt. Newman Shufflebarger, followed 12 minutes later.

The radar installations were close to the border but were separated by 70 miles. About 30 miles south of the target, the MH-53Js delivered their last position update and then peeled off to loiter nearby. The two Apache teams approached their respective radar sites. Each team split into two two-ship groups positioned half a mile apart.

The Hellfire warheads must have created a horrendous mess of concrete and metal churning inside the orange fireball associated with the missile. But the American helicopter crews never witnessed this. They turned home seconds before blowing up the radar sites and opening a 20-mile wide strip for coalition warplanes to travel into Iraq with impunity. Cody transmitted a radio signal indicating the strike had succeeded and led his helicopters back to safety. Minutes later, above a command center in Baghdad, an F-117A dropped the first bomb of the war. Thereafter, air operations faced little danger from what had been Saddam Hussein’s vaunted air defense network. Operation Desert Storm achieved its goal of liberating occupied Kuwait from Iraq six weeks later.

It is hard to imagine that it has been 20 years, and how far we have come as a military since then....


Bloodshed & Liberal Invective: A Bizarro World NYT Editorial

Sunday's editorial in the NYT was everything you would expect it would be. Half-thought-out reasoning, and heavy-handed conclusions lifted straight from Media Matters for America, blaming political rhetoric for the attack on Congresswoman Giffords.

I am of the mind (based on what I have seen) that Jared Loughner was a loon in need of serious help, whose acts were inspired by the battle (ooops...violent metaphor) in his head rather than any political bloviations from either side.

But given the the Times' intentional focus on the right as the lone purveyor of violent political imagery, I thought it would be interesting to redo their editorial and shift the alleged blame 180 degrees.

Thus I present...
Bloodshed & Liberal Invective: A Bizarro World NYT Editorial

She read the First Amendment on the House floor — including the guarantee of “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” — and then flew home to Arizona to put those words into practice. But when Gabrielle Giffords tried to meet with her constituents in a Tucson parking lot on Saturday, she came face to face with an environment wholly at odds with that constitutional ideal, and she nearly paid for it with her life.

Jared Loughner, the man accused of shooting Ms. Giffords, killing a federal judge and five other people, and wounding 13 others, appears to be mentally ill. His paranoid Internet ravings about government mind control place him well beyond usual ideological categories.

As a devotee of the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf, he is very much a part of a widespread squall of fear, anger and intolerance that has produced violent threats against scores of Americans and infected the political mainstream with violent imagery. With legal access to weapons like the one used in the parking lot, those already teetering on the edge of sanity can turn a threat into a nightmare.

Over the past few years, violent political rhetoric has been on the rise. President George W. Bush was continually the subject of violent imagery from the left during his term in office, most of it targeted on his assassination. President Obama has seemed to relish extreme language and metaphors, among other things stating “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”, and promising “hand-to-hand combat” with the new Republican House majority. He has also compared bankers to suicide bombers, and encouraged his followers to “Hit Back Twice As Hard” against Americans who oppose his agenda. An effigy of Sarah Palin, former Republican Governor of Alaska, was hung from a gallows outside a house in the liberal stronghold of West Hollywood, along with a depiction of Arizona Senator John McCain engulfed in flames. Ms. Giffords herself was declared “now dead to me!” on the leftist Daily Kos website.

It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Democrats, MSNBC watchers, or KosKids. But it is legitimate to hold Liberals and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the left have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing ordinary Americans, or small business owners, or the military. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the American people not just misguided, but the enemy of the state.
Instapundit, Ed Driscoll, Patterico, Prof Jacobsen, Michelle Malkin]