Archive for July, 2008
I’ve had a number of discussions with those who are convinced that the Apollo moon landings were hoaxes over the past few years, and I’ve got to say that I’m unimpressed. And, after looking into the claims of the “experts” who are selling this story, I’m even less impressed.
To be honest, the 9/11 conspiracy theorists seem to be a lot more credible and have a lot more genuine supporting evidence than the moon landing hoax backers.
All that said, I am also not overly impressed with Mythbusters. It’s certainly entertaining, and it’s not devoid of science and investigation. But it’s basically a bunch of guys trying stuff. Cool, but I don’t usually put a whole lot of stock into their conclusions.
Still, I will check out this episode if I get a chance. It airs on August 27th.
Boosted by stimulus checks from Uncle Sam and a big drop in imports, real growth in the U.S. economy accelerated in the second quarter to a 1.9% annual rate, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
The U.S. economy contracted in the fourth quarter of 2007, the first quarter of negative growth since the 2001 recession, the Commerce Department said Thursday in its annual revision to gross domestic product.
Real GDP fell 0.2% in the quarter; a 0.6% increase had previously been reported. Many economists who think the economy is in recession believe it began in the fourth quarter.
Growth in the first quarter of 2008 was revised down a tenth of a percentage point to 0.9%. The economy grew 1.9% in the second quarter, the department said.
So we’ve actually had a quarter of contraction. The story goes on:
It’s a common (but mistaken) belief that a recession is defined by two consecutive quarters of negative GDP.
The actual working definition is “a significant decline in economic activity lasting more than a few months,” usually seen in GDP as well as monthly data on job growth, income growth, industrial output and business sales. All four of the monthly indicators are flashing recession signs.
I guess I’d like to see a better definition than something based on “significant” and “a few months.” Maybe the technical definition is more specific.
It will be interesting to see if everyone who said that the reported 0.6% growth was so small that it didn’t matter will also say that the 0.2% contraction doesn’t really matter.
Obviously, the economy isn’t in very good shape right now.
Mackenzie Eaglen of the Heritage Foundation:
In an age of guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency operations, many U.S. officials appear content to overlook the importance of conventional weapons such as the aircraft carrier. That’s a serious mistake.
There’s no doubt that an additional aircraft carrier today wouldn’t help the efforts in Iraq or Afghanistan as much as, say, a couple additional brigades of infantry or a few more battalions of Special Forces. But while it takes time to stand up more troops, particularly SF types, getting a retired carrier back into duty or building a new one is far more lengthy and expensive. And the problems that require an additional carrier are not they kind of problems that are likely to wait until we can get a new ship up to speed.
To maintain 11 carriers, the Navy will have to procure seven CVN-78 Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carriers between 2009 and 2038. Under current plans, however, a shortfall to 10 carriers is projected to occur between November 2012, when the Navy decommissions the Enterprise, and September 2015, when the Gerald R. Ford is expected to be commissioned.
In reality, this projected three-year gap will be longer, perhaps much longer. Not only will it take an additional 30 months for the Ford to become operationally ready to deploy after commissioning, but in all likelihood construction delays will push back the planned commissioning date even further. The result could be a five- or six-year period where the Navy has only 10 carriers.
Murdoc is worried that 11 is not enough. 10 is asking for trouble.
Freedom (LCS 1), put to sea for the first time, marking the beginning of Builder’s Sea Trials for the first-in-class coastal surface combatant.
The agile 378-foot Freedom, designed and built by a Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]-led industry team, is conducting Builder’s Sea Trials in Lake Michigan. The trials – which are a coordinated effort between the U.S. Navy and the Lockheed Martin team – will include operational testing of the vessel’s propulsion, communications, navigation and mission systems, as well as all related support systems.
In the impoverished neighborhood of South Los Angeles, fast food is the easiest cuisine to find — and that’s a problem for elected officials who see it as an unhealthy source of calories and cholesterol.
The City Council was poised to vote Tuesday on a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a swath of the city where a proliferation of such eateries goes hand-in-hand with obesity.
“Our communities have an extreme shortage of quality foods,” City Councilman Bernard Parks said.
Apparently the shortage is due to…um…well, they don’t say why there’s a shortage.
A report by the Community Health Councils found 73 percent of South L.A. restaurants were fast food, compared to 42 percent in West Los Angeles.
If the moratorium is passed, Perry wants to lure restaurateurs and grocery retailers to area.
Lure them how? No word on that.
Here is the plan:
1. Ban Fast Food Restaraunts
3. Everyone eats healthy!
The California Restaurant Association says
“Sit-down restaurants don’t want to go in. If they did, they’d be there.”
But Californiastan knows better.
At least someone is pointing it out:
There have been six U.S. combat deaths so far in July, according to a USA TODAY database. The lowest monthly number was eight in May 2003, slightly more than a month after the invasion. Iraqi civilian deaths also have dropped.
iCasualites has five so far, not six, as I pointed out last Wednesday.
The USA Today story points out that low levels of violence are “considered a key condition for allowing a further drawdown in American forces”
This is absolutely correct, and it is what war supporters have been saying since day one. The fact that anti-war types have suddenly adopted it is fairly amusing.
Two years ago it was high casualties and the lack of political progress that underscored the need to withdraw. Today it’s low casualties and lots of political progress that underscore the need to withdraw.
The Navy’s decision to build at least nine more DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and end the new DDG 1000 Zumwalt class at two ships has drawn hearty applause from some corners. But supporters at the Pentagon and in Congress are insisting the issue is far from over.
The Navy’s leadership signed off on the plan July 22, when Navy Secretary Donald Winter and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead met with Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and Pentagon acquisition chief John Young. England approved the Navy’s desire to “truncate” the seven-ship Zumwalt class to two ships and build more Burkes, a line that was to end at 62 ships.
While sources say Defense Secretary Robert Gates has approved the plan, Young did not seem ready to concede the issue. He was the Navy’s acquisition chief earlier in the Bush administration — a time when England was Navy secretary — and fought hard for the Zumwalts. Young issued a statement July 25 indicating the DDG 1000 question remains under consideration.
Iraq banned from Beijing Olympics
For “unacceptable government interference” with Iraq’s panel.
Militants blow up girls school in Pakistan
In Swat, which saw the government reach a treaty with the militants earlier this year. How’s that working out?
Fact-checking Barack Obama on climate change
Barack Obama is just wrong. Sea levels have been declining, not rising, for the last two years.
Iran Starts Production of Stealth Fighter Jets
They’re also building “Quick reaction” tanks to repel invaders. It’s true. Just ask them.
Why the Press Is Ignoring the Edwards “Love Child” Story
Well, we know it isn’t because of any sort of bias or anything.
LAT Gags Blogs: Editors ban discussion of Edwards love-child charges
The LA Times has “decided not to cover the rumors or salacious speculations.”
Old Reliable Keeps Flying
India upgrading 68 of its Jaguars.
Gun owners show their metal: About 40 stroll for 2nd Amendment
If I had known about this I might have joined. The article points out that they were “mostly white men.”
NASA engineers design maverick moon rocket
Dissenting scientists say rocket would be safer, cheaper and easier to build.
Fob Guns in the UK
Small flare guns modified to fire .25 caliber bullets.
Beetlemania: How a tiny bug is ravaging Colorado’s forests
We saw the damage last year in Rocky Mountain National Park. When that fire starts, it’s going to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
Spooky Dumps 30mm
Apparently, the switch to 30mm from 25mm and 40mm in the gunships is off.
North Korea’s “Hotel of Doom”
Ryugyong Hotel is under construction again.
Again with the damn Sage Grouse
Trying to expand limitations by 800%.
Rough June for newspapers portends bleak future
Accelerating decline in ad revenue leaves newspaper publishers predicting still more bad news
First look at new Russian/European spacecraft
Making Constellation look good?
Qatar’s 2 C-17s Continues Trickle of Orders
Boeing trying to get its foot in the Middle East lift market.
Review of The Andromeda Strain (1971)
Murdoc hasn’t seen the recent remake, but he sure likes the original.
A Six-Legged Deer Discovered After Attack
Danica Patrick vs. Milka Duno Catfight Video
“It’s Not My Fault You’re Slow!”
More links at Gun Pundit
Charlie Rangel has been carrying on and on for years about how the draft would be back. It hasn’t quite happened how he predicted, but now forces are in motion which might make his predictions a reality: The National Service Act:
Title: To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the favorable treatment afforded combat pay under the earned income tax credit, and for other purposes.
Note that this bill applies to “all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42.” No deferments for no one, it seems. That includes the ladies.
The bill calls draftees who select civilian service instead of military service “volunteers.”
I do not think that word means what you think it means.
Who introduced this dastardly draft bill to Congress? Why, just like the two previous draft bills, it was Charlie Rangel (D-NY). Yes, the same Charlie Rangel. Up to his old tricks.
A Democrat is trying (for the third time) to bring back the draft. His constituents must be so proud.
If you ask some random person on the street which political party the politician who introduced a “bring back the draft” bill three times belonged to, I’ll bet 90% of respondents would get it wrong.
According to icasualties.org, the US has lost 12 troops in Iraq so far this month.
Five of those 12 are listed as “non-hostile,” one of which was the result of an accident which occurred in 2005 aboard the USS Roosevelt.
Two of the remaining 11 are Sgt. Alex R. Jimenez and Pfc. Byron J. Fouty, the two soldiers listed as “missing-captured” since May of last year.
This means that in 23 days the US has lost 9 troops this month, three of them to non-hostile causes.
By comparison, it looks like we’ve lost 19 so far this month in Afghanistan. No doubt the media will only use the Iraq numbers to paint Afghanistan as bleak, just as they did last month.
For what it’s worth, I’m in favor of “surging” some additional troops into Afghanistan, but for it to be a meaningful move the “surge” would have to be accompanied by the two other often-unconsidered aspects of the “surge” in Iraq last year: revised, more aggressive tactics and much larger political and practical effort by the host government. Additionally, as long as the Pakistan border is open and off-limits, “surging” more troops won’t have nearly so much effect because it will be tough to take the fight to the enemy.
UPDATE: Ann Malowe, writing in the WSJ, disagrees: Afghanistan Doesn’t Need a ‘Surge’.