One Small Step for Crew, One Giant Leap for Crewkind

 

I should write a technical post on the emerging post-Shuttle age of manned space flight, but I’ll leave that for Rand Simberg, James Gawron(?), John Walker, and the others who are more knowledgeable. Instead, I’m going to bring up a NASA language peeve: The tendency to misrepresent the meaning of “man” and “manned.”

NASA, depending as it does on public relations, has probably always been a PC kind of place, at least in the public face it puts on. There is a great Bloom County cartoon satirizing the tendency to promote “firsts” in space by race, sex, and ethnicity. Those of you old enough to remember the Apollo days or earlier will no doubt recall discussions of “manned spaceflight.” But since at least the 1990s, and I suspect the 1980s, the term “manned” has been suppressed in NASA use in favor of the clunkier “human spaceflight.” Today, that inelegant phrase is increasingly replaced by the unfortunate-sounding “crewed.”

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Nikki Haley Is trying to change the conversation in the UN

 

While we were all caught up in the big story of the day, Milo, Nikki Haley was at the UN. The UN Security Council held a meeting on the Middle East. Unsurprisingly the focus of the conversation is how Israel is bad.

Ms. Haley condemned the meeting and the bias of the Council. This should be a bigger deal. We have a UN Ambassador that is willing to represent the interests of the US and its allies. Ms. Haley is a strong improvement over Samantha Powers.

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A Two-State Solution for the West Bank?

 

In December, the United States under President Barack Obama abstained on UN Resolution 2234, which “reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

This past week, American policy under President Donald Trump took a sharp turn away from that Resolution with two key announcements. The first was that the two-state solution is not the only one the United States will support. The Trump administration signaled that it will consider other alternatives as well, without specifying exactly what those will be. The second was a cautionary note to the Israelis not to expand the territorial reach of their settlements to areas outside of those they have already occupied, mostly near Jerusalem. This statement echoes the understandings of former U.S. diplomat Elliott Abrams under George W. Bush (whom Trump unwisely rejected for a position as Rex Tillerson’s deputy at the State Department). The Abrams solution allowed the Israelis to place additional people in their existing settlements, but they could not expand the territorial boundaries—as a way to preserve the integrity of territories that would remain in Palestinian hands under any two–state solution.

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The Truck Driver

 

The trucker who lives next door is seldom home.

He’s a long-haul trucker, he’s over-the-road. He earns good money and does not spend. There’s something ascetic about him. He’s forty-five. His hair is long. He wears jeans and combat boots. Sallow and haggard, his face is handsome nevertheless. His willowy wife does not ride with him but stays at home. They have no children. The wife is solitary, long-legged and tan. She has a ponytail of sandy-brown. She smokes Marlboros. They do not rent but own. The wife spends hours in her garden, or she reads in her backyard. Her eyes are pensive. She waves to us but rarely speaks.

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Liberal Media Summed Up in One Sentence

 

An article in today’s Washington Post about President Trump’s Florida rally quotes a supporter on one of the administration’s early moves to preserve jobs in the mining sector:

Several people said they would have liked to see more coverage of a measure that Trump signed Thursday that rolled back a last-minute Obama regulation that would have restricted coal mines from dumping debris in nearby streams. At the signing, Trump was joined by coal miners in hard hats.

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Deep Stasis: The Rubber Room

 

I assume that everyone here has heard about the Rubber Room policy in the New York City schools. This policy, is designed to deal with teachers who, frequently for reasons of criminal behavior, cannot be put in a classroom. Union regulations prevent the schools from doing the obviously sensible thing and firing them, so they warehouse them, having them come to a room every day and just sit there, in exchange for their salary and benefits, and if they stay around long enough, their pension. The last time I heard, there are 3,000 of them.

It occurred to me that the same type of strategy might be very effective in helping the Trump administration deal with the problem of politically motivated leaks, and other resistance to the implementation of his policies, the issue that is being called the Deep State. I propose that Trump set up a Rubber Room for each department and agency within the federal government.

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#NotMyFirstLady

 

It is well known that dictatorial regimes employ religious symbolism to appropriate God to their secular causes. The National Socialists in Germany in the ’30s (i.e., the Nazis) were an outstanding example of this, endorsing “positive Christianity” and asserting that “God is with us” on propaganda posters. The Trump regime has now taken the next step on their road to ultimate power by sending the First Lady of the United States, whom many until now regarded as an innocent, simpleton concubine of the great leader, to lead a mass rally of sheep in the Lord’s Prayer as a preliminary to a Trump rally.

So it begins.

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The Left, in a Nutshell

 

I had to comment on this before I exploded. From a Washington Post article:

The regulation actually would have cost relatively few mining jobs and would have created nearly as many new jobs on the regulatory side, according to a government report — an example of the frequent distance between Trump’s rhetoric, which many of his supporters wholeheartedly believe, and verifiable facts.

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Bring Back the Cherry Tree

 

Today is President’s Day. In the wake of November’s election, the nation’s capital is busting apart at the seams as both parties strive for dominance and relevance. Each party wants to show that it has heard the will of the people.

If Congress wants to do something really important, it could do worse than bring back Washington’s and Lincoln’s Birthdays as national holidays.

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You Probably Would’ve Been a Nazi

 
Prof. Jordan Peterson.

Professor Jordan Peterson teaches a class at the University of Toronto called maps of meaning on the history of atrocity. It focuses on Soviet and Nazi atrocity mostly. The course as described by Peterson does that necessary job of humanizing the behavior. Humanizing is obviously by no means justifying but this is so lost on today’s understanding of people and the history of the world. “I teach my students that had they been in Nazi Germany during the 1930s they would have been Nazis.”

We throw the term “Nazi” around so loosely these days with absolutely zero relevance for the historical meaning. How a man that is so vocally pro-Israel as Trump could be a Nazi is absolutely beyond me. This penchant for hyperbole is quite dangerous.

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The Sudsbuster

 

He was one of the mellow, the soft-spoken, the tawny-haired — one who preferred to be alone. His name was Mark, a dishwasher at age 45. He was a drifter, a loner. He valued his freedom above all; dishwashing jobs he could always find.

Our paths crossed and re-crossed at the Café Claire, where I was tending bar. The Café Claire stood on the outskirts of an industrial town, near the railroad tracks, beside his temporary home. Sometimes he’d sit at the end of the bar, before his shift or after, and drink black coffee. Sometimes he’d speak to me, and sometimes he would not.

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Killer Apps

 

I’ve had it up to here with you people out there making harassing calls to my technical staff to rush our new smartphone apps to the market. My number one technology guy, R.N.D. Funding, is threatening to quit. If he does, I’m coming after each of you fat [expletives]. Like many Americans, I have access to the NSA tapes and transcripts of your abusive calls to R.N.D. If you think Gen. Flynn got a raw deal, just wait until I get a hold of you.

However, my public relations consultant and part-time rodeo clown, Robin “Hood” Wink, has urged me to placate you knuckleheads. I told her, as I’m always ‘splaining to my Nobel Prize winning shrink, Sarah Bellum, I try to like people, but they are all so [expletive] stupid.

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