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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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Template Issues

In my browser at least this blog's template is busted. Which is a great excuse to redesign, freshen and generally garden. Which may mean this place looks a bit strange for a day or two...



SpaceShipOne, with astronaut Michael Melvill at the controls, climbed to an unofficial altitude of more than 330,000 feet, about 2,000 feet above its target altitude of 62 miles.

Dick Rutan, whose brother Burt Rutan helped design the ship, said radar indicated that the plane reached its target. "They made the altitude," he said.
This is the real news. Leave aside just how big a loser Kerry is, just how distorted the New York Times coverage of the insurgency in Iraq is, how silly the Liberal party is looking at the AdScam inquiry. We are one launch away from fully private, manned, spaceflight. There is even a customer,
Even before Wednesday's flight, Richard Branson, the airline mogul and adventurer, announced in London on Monday that his Virgin Group plans to offer passenger flight into space aboard rockets based on SpaceShipOne by 2007.
sf gate
And Branson is going to be his own first customer. Of course the busybodies at the FAA are handwringing,
"It's easy to say you're going to do it. The hard part is doing it," said Donn Walker, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, which must certify any potential space venture. He noted that even a conventional airline, such as Branson's forthcoming Virgin USA, can take several years to certify. The designer of Branson's spacecraft told the Wall Street Journal in June that he thought it would cost more than $200 million for it to win FAA certification to carry passengers.
sf gate
I'd hope that Branson will launch from Jamaica and tell the FAA to piss up a rope.

The point about space travel is that it is not safe. It's an adventure. You sign your waiver and you go.

Go where?

Well there is talk of offering a 50 million dollar prize for a space craft capable of reaching a space station up 100 miles. Private space travel is reaching escape velocity and with it will come a scientific and economic boom the likes of which the world has never seen.


Do no evil

I am usually pretty impressed with Google but this is ridiculous:
IPO darling Google wants into the Chinese market,
“Google Inc.'s recently launched news service in China doesn't display results from websites blocked by that country's authorities, raising prickly questions for an on-line search engine that has famously promised to "do no evil."”

"Google has decided that in order to create the best possible search experience for our mainland China users we will not include sites whose content is not accessible," company spokeswoman Debbie Frost told the Associated Press.

The effect of blocking at the search engine level is, of course, that individuals in the censoring nation are denied the knowledge that there is any alternative to the official government version.

What people don't know they cannot work towards. The Chinese censorship, while pervasive, can be worked around by using proxy servers, mirror sites and techniques. But, if Google won't let a person know there is another side to a story then the job is that much harder.

Shame on Google.

Frum takes apart lefty bloggers

By now, it’s pretty clear that all this energy and enthusiasm has done Kerry nothing but harm. Consider the case of Josh Marshall of Marshall is intelligent, learned, politically committed but also imbued with a deep sense of historical perspective. He could have been the Arthur Schlesinger Jr. of his generation. Maybe someday he will be. Right now though he has gone completely off his nut. Here’s his post from Friday:

"A generous way to put it -- the lede of Dana Milbank's piece in tomorrow's Post: 'President Bush and leading Republicans are increasingly charging that Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry and others in his party are giving comfort to terrorists and undermining the war in Iraq -- a line of attack that tests the conventional bounds of political rhetoric.'

"Can we re-check the sprinkler system in the Reichstag?"

....Leave aside for a moment the historical illiteracy and moral outrageousness of the analogy. Concentrate only on its self-destructive political lunacy.

In politics as in retailing, you never argue with the customer. If the polls are accurate, the American people perceive George W. Bush as a upright and honorable man. On the other hand, they don't much like his economic policies, and they worry that he may be too much of a risk-taker in foreign affairs.

A smart political operation would work on those pre-existing weaknesses. It wouldn’t waste time trying to convince an incredulous public that the genial likeable man they see on television is in reality the reincarnation of Hitler.

But the Democratic political operation of 2004 has not been smart. It has in fact been astonishingly, gaspingly, Guiness Book of Records stupid. It has been simultaneously hysterical and harmless, irate and irrelevant, paranoid and purblind.

The left-wing blogs have to take a considerable share of the blame for this disaster. They were a crucial part of the in-group conversation by which the most partisan Democrats convinced each other that the country feared and hated George W. Bush as much as they did. This delusion – combined with the decision to nominate a man to whom haughty disdain came all too naturally – pushed the Democrats to mistake after mistake and blinded them to opportunity after opportunity.
Frum goes on about the sheer political harm which the Bush haters are doing to their own party.

For really convinced Bush haters the entire Iraq war was about lining the pockets of Dick Chenny. The war on terror is an excuse to let John Ashcroft loose on your library borrowing records. Michael Moore is telling the truth and is being silenced.

The preferred way of referring to President Bush on the loonier lefty sites is as "the chimp".

Now, as more Americans become aware of the Democratic Underground/ex-Dean/Moore Democrats more are going to ask if they want to vote for a party which tolerated this sort of juvenile partisanship. Which is the question Karl Rove wants them to ask and which Daily Kos et. al. are puting in play.


It's about the Oiiiil

Linda McQuaig has a new book out. War, Big Oil and the Fight for the Planetposits the long running line of the left on Iraq - the invasion is about securing oil supplies. Unfortunately the Globe and Mail found a reviewer who bought the line,
The best chapter is near the end, where McQuaig uses direct quotes from high-ranking U.S. government officials, Wall Street oil analysts and even General Anthony C. Zinni, former commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command, which clearly point to oil security as the key driver for a U.S. presence in Iraq and the Middle East. But the Bush administration deftly kept the focus on the search for weapons of mass destruction, deflecting attention away from its lust for oil.

Another piece of evidence provided in the book is a frightening map that was used by U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney's task force on energy. The map depicted Iraq prior to the 2003 attack, showing not towns, cities, bridges or roads, but major oil fields, refineries, tanker terminals and pipelines. Anyone still thinking that the freedom of the Iraqi people was the main concern?
globe and mail
Even a mildly sceptical reviewer would have noticed that Cheney's task force was on, well, energy. So it would be a tad surprising, and more than a little worrying, if their map of Iraq showed the location of schools, hospitals and public parks.

A more diligent reviewer would have spent a moment or two on Google to determine just how dependent the US is on Middle Eastern oil. He would have found that on a six month average ending June 2004, the US got 2,472 thousand barrels of oil per day out of total average imports of 9,927 per day from the Arab Middle East. Most of that from Saudi. Crudely, 25% of imports came from the Middle East. Now, would it make the slightest sense to think that America would risk blood and treasure to secure 25% of its oil imports which, realistically, could be replaced with purchases on the world oil market?

(By comparision,
As of January 2004, France's proven crude oil reserves totaled only 148 million barrels, making the country highly dependent on oil imports. In 2003, France consumed an estimated 2.06 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil, of which 97%, or 1.99 million (bbl/d), was imported. The country's total oil production (including condensate, natural gas liquids and refinery gain) for the year was an estimated 73,100 bbl/d, of which 24,100 bbl/d was crude oil. France imports crude oil primarily from Saudi Arabia and Norway, and to a lesser extent, from United Kingdom, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, and Russia.

Muslim Remorse

Having been taken to task for suggesting that I would have rather more sympathy for the Muslims complaining bout the National Post using the word terrorist to describe terrorists if I saw more Muslims denouncing terror, I see this.
Karim Badr responded by saying all Iraq was disgraced by the beheadings.

"We have to prove our humanity. I am addressing my brethren in Iraq: These are masked creatures that resemble humans, who I am certain are uglier than their deeds," he said.

"Is the killing of people and exploding cars in the streets an act of resistance? Is the kidnapping and murder of people in this manner an act of resistance? I am certain they do not represent the Iraqi conscience in any way at all."

Viewers were unmoved. In a phone poll 93% supported the kidnappings.

More Steyn on Kerry

I am beginning to get the feeling Mark is not voting Democrat this time out,
What a small, graceless man Kerry is. The nature of adversarial politics in a democratic society makes George W. Bush his opponent. But it was entirely Kerry's choice to expand the field, to put himself on the other side of Allawi and the Iraqi people. Given his frequent boasts that he knows how to reach out to America's allies, it's remarkable how often he feels the need to insult them: Britain, Australia, and now free Iraq. But, because this pampered cipher has floundered for 18 months to find any rationale for his candidacy other than his indestructible belief in his own indispensability, Kerry finds himself a month before the election with no platform to run on other than American defeat. He has decided to co-opt the jihadist death-cult, the Baathist dead-enders, the suicide bombers and other misfits and run as the candidate of American failure. This would be shameful if he weren't so laughably inept at it.
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