Saturday, April 19, 2003

Instapundit Drinks Pureed Puppies

It's true. What an evil, evil man.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Go at Throttle-Up

Now here is some great news. Dick Rutan has unveiled his entry into the X-Prize competition.

I suspect, and indeed I hope, that Rutan (or another X-Prize competitor) is going to make a suborbital hop before the Shuttle is back in operation. The symbolism of a private initative, rather than government program, putting America back into space -- even as a suborbital hop -- will do more for stirring public interest in the prospects of space flight -- and space flight for the public -- than any shuttle flight.

I hope Scott Peterson has jelly in his pockets

Because that boy is toast.
The RTB is TCB!

When the Rocky Top Brigade got together a few months ago, I took my role as Master Distiller and Whiskey Advisor to the RTB seriously and sent along the sampler pack of small bottles of the Classic Malts (Oban, Lagavulin, Talisker, Dalwhinnie, Craggenmore and Glenkinchie). Now South Knox Bubba has gone way above and beyond and sent me not only a five-bottle sampler pack of Tennessee bourbon (including one of my all time favorites, the W.L. Weller -- and four I've never had) but the new Dolly Parton CD to boot, which is completely excellent.

Thanks Bubba. You've proved, yet again, that the RTB is TCB!
What about North Korea?

Yeah, isn't President Bush ignoring the North Korean business? Apparently not.

A swath of North Korea's military and scientific elite, among them key nuclear specialists, has defected to the US and its allies through a highly secret smuggling operation involving the tiny Pacific island of Nauru. The defections have taken place since last October and have been made possible through the help of 11 countries that agreed to provide consular protection to smuggle the targets from neighbouring China, according to sources close to the operation, which has now been wound up.

Noted via Tim Blair.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

I am not available as a talking, 12" Action Figure. This is an American Lie!

The Iraqi Information Minister, now available from
The Coming Sandstorm

Victor Davis Hanson, of course, has brilliant things to say about the war. I'm just starting his work, Carnage and Culture, and I think I've learned more from his preface than I have from most whole books, but I digress. Today, VDH had this to say:

"The United States military is now evolving geometrically as it gains experience from near-constant fighting and grafts new technology daily. Indeed, it seems to be doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling its lethality every few years. And the result is that we are outdistancing not merely the capabilities of our enemies but our allies as well — many of whom who have not fought in decades — at such a dizzying pace that our sheer destructive power makes it hard to work with others in joint operations."

Russia is worried and I can't imagine that this whole affair makes North Korea feel any more safe --- or Taiwan any less.

But, I'm guessing that the Defense Ministries of the People's Republic of China are asking themselves three questions:

a) How can we destroy American satellites and how quickly?
b) How will America replace destroyed satellites and how quickly can it do so?
c) What do we need to learn how to do to exploit the time between (a) and (b) in the event of a future Taiwan Crisis?

The answer to the first question is: Yes, and with a few billion dollars behind the program, very quickly indeed. Knocking down satellites isn't hard. The USAF began development of an anti-satellite missile (ASAT) in the late 1970s.

It worked. So, naturally, Congress put a stop to it.

China certainly has the technical expertise to do it. And they aren't developing their own ASAT weapon to clear the skies of our satellites at the start of a shooting war -- the one place they can really weaken our near-total strategic advantage -- they are fools, or worse.

The answer to the second question is: Not very quickly. Even a very reliable system like a Delta launch vehicle takes at least several weeks to prepare, even assuming (as I hope, but doubt) we have replacement satellites in clean rooms in Huntsville and Lompoc to be trucked to the launch sites at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg AFB on six hours notice. Without cheap, reliable access to space, our troops can be left blind, our weapons -- now inhumanely accurate -- can be rendered nearly ineffective.

I hope our fellows in the Pentagon are thinking about this because the answer to the third question is: They're working on it.

The loss of our strategic space advantage -- even for a few weeks -- is not just inconvienent and frustrating like a sandstorm which can be ridden out.

It is the sandstorm.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

I Am Not Dead. This is an American Lie. Do Not Believe It.

Baghdad Bob apparently hanged himself just before the fall of Baghdad.

How sad. I was hoping NBC could hire him to spend Election Night 2004 denying Texas' 32 electoral votes had gone to Bush.

I'll take Twisted Priorities for $600, Alex

PETA is happy to exploit the Holocaust to suggest chickens were being treated like human beings, but when it turned out that Uday Hussein treated human beings like chickens by tossing them into a plastic shredder, PETA was silent.

But now, apparently, since chickens in the normal course of business, being treated like, well, chickens in the normal course of business, I'm supposed to care.

A Blog of Her Own

If any of my regular readers have a blog of their own that doesn't have a link -- and you want one -- let me know. I've got a stack of post-its I need to enter into my links and I've been very slow to update links and for that, I apologize. But I'm know I'm a link-whore, so don't be shy about asking me to turn a trick for you.

N.B.: You'll get a link --- but I'll catagorize you into the appropriate Ministry.

An excellent profile in the Telegraph of President Bush. I liked this especially:

"But if I may make a suggestion to my friends on the Left, do yourselves a favour and chuck the moron gags. It's insufficient to your needs. In case you still haven't noticed, Bush always winds up getting at least 90 per cent of everything he wants, and it can't all be dumb luck. A year ago the President told Trevor McDonald, "I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go". Well, Saddam has gone. In between came a lot of entertaining diplomatic dances in national costume, but, like the third act of The Nutcracker, they didn't impact on the plot: in the end, the nut got cracked."

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

John Howard Gets His Day In the Sun

Mrs Earthling notes that Australian PM John Howard has finally gotten his invite to Crawford, Texas.

I find this paragraph from the Sydney Morning Herald a bit distasteful:

Mr Howard's visit to Crawford puts him in the company of prominent leaders. Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz went there to discuss the Middle East last year, while China's former president, Jiang Zemin, discussed the North Korea crisis there with Mr Bush.

He's not in the company of the likes of them. He's a world apart (and a damned sight more likely to help the President clear scrub brush and risk rattlesnakes). And this is long overdue recognition.

Me? I favour honorary citizenship for both John Howard and Tony Blair, but this is a good start to recognizing Australia's key role in the cause of freedom.
Seven Days In May

Gray Davis' favorable ratings are now down to an astonishing 27% and his job approval ratings to 24%. I think these were the poll numbers President Jordan Lyman was confronted with in John Frankenheimer's Seven Days in May. But since the Governor hasn't signed a lopsided nuclear disarmament treaty with Nevada, it is too much to hope for that we might have a coup attempt by Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown.


For reasons I'll get into another day, let me just say this: I am unalterably opposed to this Gray Davis recall nonsense. I'll put my GOP bona fides against anyone's, but if the recall comes to a vote, I'm voting against it. And, what's more, I'll vote for the Democrat contingent candidate. Not that I have any great love for the Governor, but the idea of putting a Republican in there -- even a great guy like Christopher Cox -- to clean up this mess would be doing the Democrats a huge favour. Gray Davis soiled the diaper of state and I don't feel like breaking out the wet-naps.

Monday, April 14, 2003

The Incredible Visible Legislator

As always, Adam Bonin at Throwing Things is on top of the most important developments in Japanese politics.

Antipodeal Blogging

On this coming Sunday, Mrs. Earthling and I are off to Australia for three weeks.

Apart from the sights and sounds of Australia (Sydney, then the Blue Mountains, then Alice and Uluru (nee Ayers Rock), then Queensland to sit on the beach for a week) and a plan, schedules permitting, to share a pint with an Australian blogger of some reknown, I will find and review Tasmania's Cradle Mountain Malt Whiskey as well as their Antipodean Double Malt -- part Cradle Mountain, part Campbelltown, Scotland's Springbank. With a little luck, I'll find a couple of bottles of New Zealand's Lammerlaw and Pakistan's Murree Single Malt.

I hope to be able to blog at least once in a while while we're down there, although I'll be depending on the kindness of strangers and pay terminals so it will be more travelouge than political commentary. In any event, I hope not to lose too much traffic while I'm gone. I've been getting a healthy 150/day or so and I appreciate all of your stopping by to read my occasional rants.

If anyone has any travel tips -- restaurants to try, bars to try, dive shops in Cairns to use or avoid, wineries within a reasonable distance of Sydney worth a visit -- feel free to email them or, better still, leave them in the comments.