Saturday, June 12, 2004

Why Steve Sailer is always worth reading

You find out interesting things like this. Unfortunately he does not use permalinks so keep scrolling.

"Bedtime for Bonzo" -- The problem with that much chortled over but seldom seen 1951 film is not that it's silly, as Richard Corliss assumes in Time, but that it's too serious. It's actually a meditation on the role of nature vs. nurture in criminality. Ronald Reagan plays a liberal scientist who wants to marry the daughter of the dean of his college. But the dean, an old-fashioned eugenicist/hereditarian, resists because Reagan's father is a career criminal. The reactionary old fogy wrongly believes that Reagan could have inherited a flawed character. So, to prove that environment matters more than inheritance, Reagan resolves to raise a chimpanzee to know right from wrong. So, this movie constantly denounced by liberals actually is actually a liberal attack on conservative ideas!
New Find

Dawn Eden

Check this out:

There is nothing in between love and lust.

Try to substitute those nouns with comparable ones and you'll see what I mean. "Hatred, head colds, and everything in between." "Optimism, diverticulitis, and everything in between." It's ludicrous.

Admittedly, it is possible to confuse lust with love—just as it's possible to think that the world is against you when you really just forgot to have your first cup of coffee.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Intangible Assets

Synergy Fest raises some good questions about intangible assets, including how to define them and, if you can't define them, how can you hope to value them? This is an important subject since intangiable assets (brand equity, patents, intellectual capital) are often the most valuable assets of the firm.

One tough problem is the lack of market prices for many intangibles. Weyerhauser can value their tracts of timberland because similar tracts change hands regularly. Brands are a completely different story. What can Coke look to as a market reference point? Ditto many forms of intellectual capital. Mickey Mouse is especially valuable because he is a unique icon but his very uniqueness means that there are few market transactions to use as a reference point in valuation.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Connecting the dots on Abu Ghraib

The possible legal defense that Frederick was following orders was mitigated by the fact that the time-coded digital photographs showed that the abuses had been photographed only between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m– a time period when no commissioned officers were present – and a time period when Frederick was in charge of the Military Police in the cellblock. Even with a lawyer as savvy and resourceful as Myers, the “following orders” defense would be difficult to mount in a court-martial.

With the (perhaps unwitting) assistance of CBS and the New Yorker, Myers effectively moved the issue of prison abuse to a larger, global universe– a universe dazzled and infuriated by the release of these lurid photographs

RTWT here.
Must Read


Throughout the 1980s, most of these pundits derisively condemned Reagan's policies. Strobe Talbott of Time magazine faulted the Reagan administration for espousing "the early '50s goal of rolling back Soviet domination of Eastern Europe," an objective he considered misguided and unrealistic.

"Reagan is counting on American technological and economic predominance to prevail in the end," Talbott scoffed, adding that if the Soviet economy was in a crisis of any kind, "it is a permanent, institutionalized crisis with which the USSR has learned to live."

Monday, June 07, 2004

Speak no ill of the dead?

I'm sure most people, liberal or conservative, agree with Rosemary Esmay:

Bitter partisanship has no place at the moment. Now is the time for grace and maturity - if those can't be managed then silence yourself until the President is buried.

Not every one feels that way. Bill Hobbs and A Small Victory have found plenty of hateful commentary from the hard Left.

But as this post over at The New Criterion points out, much of the posthumous praise distorts Reagan's achievements:

But as the Left has softened to Reagan in the past decade, so disingenuously, so slickly considering the biting rhetoric of the 1980s, the faint praise, the hazy encomia, and the agreement-after-the-fact we see now are all the more insulting to his legacy. This cold warrior rid the twentieth-century of its second totalitarian regime by surmounting the complete resistance of the establishment that eulogizes him today.

We need to remember that victory in the Cold War and the rejuvenation of the economy came in the face of fierce opposition. Reagan was mocked, maligned, and slandered. (The Corner has some choice examples.)

Reagan was great because he was steadfast and he persevered.

It is not just the Left that is overlooking this point. OTB points to this column by Charles Krauthamer:

Reagan’s luck was to find a nation in trouble — in post-Vietnam retreat and disorientation. His political genius was to restore its spirit. And his legacy was winning the longest war in American history, the long twilight struggle of the cold war.

Krauthammer goes on to say, "he achieved all that with two qualities: courage and conviction." Which is mostly true but it still leaves out one important quality.

The situation facing Jimmy Carter was not all that different than it was when Reagan took office. Carter thought we should put the Cold War behind us, Reagan thought we could and should win it. In 1981 he was one of the few who thought it was possible. More than luck, Reagan had vision to go along with his conviction and his courage. We are in danger of forgetting that in the fog of "hazy encomia".
Carnival of the Capitalists

The latest edition is here.
Don't Miss Beebvision

Invasion plan botched, thousands face "certain death", say experts

London - 1600 June 6th 1944

The unfolding catastrophe in France was doomed from the start, according to military experts consulted by the media today.

Brigadier Luician Startling-Grope, formerly of General Percival's planning staff in Singapore, and a senior advisor to Lord Halifax, now retired and living in Cheltenham, insists that it is obvious to any professional military man that the logistical requirements of such a force have not been taken into consideration.

Read all the posts.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Remarks at a Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion

It seems appropriate to link to the speech Reagan gave twenty years ago at Pointe du Hoc.

Rev. Donald Sensing has a moving tribute to the flyers of Midway: "They saved the world. Not all by themselves, but they did save it, and you should know that". Bill Hobbs wrote on the battle here. This site is an excellent resource for the history of a battle which should always, forever be remembered.

It has become commonplace to frame the American victory in WWII as a triumph of industrial production. We speak of "wearing down" Japan through the "weight of out planes and ships." While this is somewhat true of 1944 and 1945, it ignores the fact that the U.S. Navy fought the Japanese to a standstill in 1942 from a position of numerical inferiority. The loss of four carriers at Midway ended the expansion of the Japanese empire. Yet, by October 1942, the Americans had also lost four carriers. Despite this, we continued our advance through the Solomons and New Guinea. That advance was fueled by little more than skill and courage.

I found this remark interesting. It is from Samuel E. Morison's volume on Coral Sea and Midway:

Vice Admiral William S. Pye's battleship task force, after several weeks shuttling between West Coast ports, Hawaii, and the Line Islands, anchored in San Francisco Bay. Owing, in part, to the insulting attitude of San Franciscans toward battleship sailors on liberty, all hands from the Admiral down were eager to get into the fight.

Is it something in the air off the bay that makes the people there inhospitable to the men who protect them?

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Ronald Reagan, RIP

He was the greatest president of my lifetime.
D-Day Footnote: Did the ACLU Know?

From C-Span's 1994 interview with Stephen Ambrose:

LAMB: The New York Daily News threw out its lead articles and printed in their place the Lord's prayer?


LAMB: Would that happen today?

AMBROSE: You'd have to have a D-Day to find out, and we're never going to have a D-Day again. It was a unique moment in world history. A couple of scenes from those homefronts that are very dear to me, one in Canada. The French-speaking delegate, the leader of the French, got up and asked permission on this day to sing the "Marseillaise," and it was granted. For the first time in the French Parliament the "Marseillaise" was sung, followed by "God Save the King."

Franklin Roosevelt put together a prayer that morning. They got it to all the radio networks who broadcast it through the day, very slowly so people could write it down. Remember, in those days we had afternoon editions of the newspapers, and the afternoon newspapers printed that prayer. At 10:30 Eastern War Time, Roosevelt went on the radio and led this nation in prayer, and from what I can tell from my interviews -- and I remember this myself. I can remember being on my knees with my mother when this prayer was read by Roosevelt on the radio, and we all joined in. It was the most wonderful moment of national unity.

LAMB: And you remember.

AMBROSE: I remember doing the prayer. I remember being on my knees with my brothers and my mother, and we had the radio on. I remember it was CBS.

A criminal waste of wood pulp

That's the only thing i can call a superficial, tendentious biography of an uninteresting person of little historical importance written by an author who possesses neither insight nor stylistic flair.

That's pretty much sums up Nina Burleigh's A Very Private Woman. Not many books make me regret the time spent on them. This was one of them.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

"Chalabi, the Iranians, and Wheels Within Wheels"

Clayton Cramer enters the wilderness of mirrors.

According to the NY Times story, "the Iranian spy service [is] one of the most sophisticated in the Middle East." Why, then, would their Baghdad station chief use a code that might be compromised to tell his superiors that the Americans may have broken the code? That is hardly smart or sophisticated.

One possibility is that the Iranians found out from a different source and decided to incriminate Chalabi.

Update: I see Richard Perle has made the same point about the Iranian "bungle". As does Michael Williams and Bryan Preston.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Kerry and Vietnam

Instapundit notes the anti-Kerry sentiments on display among Vietnam veterans and writes:

And this suggests -- as I've mentioned before -- that Kerry has been mistaken to play up the Vietnam angle so much.

I disagree. Kerry's use of his war record has been masterful and it continues to help him with critical swing voters and the press. His focus on his biography was never intended to win the veteran vote. Rather, it works to reassure moderate voters about his stance on national defense. He also used it to neutralize questions about his record in Congress and to frame stories for the press.

Did Kerry vote against key weapon programs? How dare you question the patriotism of a man with three Purple Hearts. Is he too willing to defer to France and the United Nations? How dare you doubt the loyalty of a man with a Silver Star. Faced with this, does the press write about the voting record or about the "hard ball tactics" of the GOP?