Monday, December 31, 2012

So true

The day that baseball died: Happiness was Roberto Clemente, and then he was gone

If you were a kid growing up in Pittsburgh 40 years ago, you probably feel a little different when New Year's Eve rolls around from the rest of the revelers out there. It was on Dec. 31, 1972, that Pirates Hall of Fame right fielder Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash while delivering relief supplies to earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua.

Crazy Tea Partier?

No. The incomparable Dr. Thomas Sowell:

The more I study the history of intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew, dismantling civilization bit by bit — replacing what works with what sounds good.

A great day in history

December 31, 1942: USS Essex Commissioned

With the coming of World War II, design studies of probable Essex successors were curtailed and the construction of additional ships of the class greatly expanded. Ultimately, two civilian shipyards and three Navy yards built the 24 ships actually completed. Following an accelerated construction period, the Essex herself was commissioned 31 December 1942, and 16 more were commissioned by the end of the war. Arriving in the Pacific, starting in August 1943, these new ships created and perfected-in conjunction with the CVLs and new mobile logistic support forces-one of the most impressive weapon systems of all time, the fast carrier task force.

Starting with the 31 August 1943 strike by the Essex and Yorktown (CV-10) against Marcus Island, 14 of the class participated in the war against Japan. Ten were damaged, eight by kamikaze attacks. Only one, the Franklin (CV-13), was nearly lost. She made it back to the United States on her own power but never saw active duty again.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A sobering report from Egypt

Obama Gives Cold Shoulder to Egyptian Secular Democrats

What the Brotherhood is doing in Egypt is holding a gun to the head of its opposition trying to pass a constitution that so far failed to garner a greater support among Egyptians.

Once that becomes the law of the land, the race is on to turn Egypt into another theocracy headed by an Islamist fascist regime that soon after will threaten the security of the free world. At the heart of it is the Obama administration and its failed foreign policy, and what I see as the desire to destroy moderate Egypt and turn it over to the fanatic elements of the society, creating a monster that will turn on its creator.

David Gregory must go to jail or go to Cleveland

It is the only way he and NBC News can maintain their journalistic independence.

If he is not prosecuted, then he is the recipient of a big favor from the Powers That Be.

How can he viewers trust him to be a vigilant watchdog in D. C. when he owes them such a debt?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:8-14

Thursday, December 20, 2012

John Ziegler: Defender of Lost Causes

The man who defended Sarah Palin in Media Malpractice is dismantling the media narrative about Joe Paterno.
The Framing of Joe Paterno

UPDATE (12/22/12) : He has an op-ed from today's Harrisburg paper:

NCAA president Mark Emmert completely misses the mark on Penn State

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Remembering the lies and a hero

A couple of interesting reviews of the new play about the Times's man in Moscow during the worst of Stalin's horrors.
Stalin’s Sock Puppet

Book Review — ‘The Party Line’

We need to remember the cynical lies of Walter Duranty and the part The New York Times played by giving him a microphone. To dismiss it as old news is to help perpetuate Duranty's and Stalin's successful propaganda efforts.

Even after 80 years, the truth is still lagging behind the lies. Haynes and Klehr amply document that in their book In Denial the historical profession spent decades minimizing the Stalin's crimes including the genocide in the Ukraine. A couple of years ago Howard Kurtz beclowned himself because he did not remember (know?) this episode in journalistic history.

We should also remember the heros of this time. Gareth Jones did what journalists are supposed to do. He dug up the facts and then informed his readers. Of course, this made him a marked man in Stalin's workers paradise. This site is dedicated to his memory and his work.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rescued from the memory hole

At Last, Honor for Albert Wedemeyer, a Great American Soldier

If the United States had listened to Wedemeyer, World War II might have ended in 1943, with Soviet Russia’s armies still within her own borders, sparing the nations of Eastern Europe their forty year nightmare in the grip of Soviet communism. Even more relevant to our own times, China would not be the stew of communist -- or pseudo-communist -- wealth and power it is today. In 1945, Wedemeyer urged President Franklin Roosevelt to give Nationalist China the military and financial aid it deserved. Alas, Roosevelt’s declining health left him too addled to make a decision of that magnitude. Wedemeyer’s advice was as ignored as it had been when he declared that a massive invasion of Europe could end World War II in 1943.

How did Wedemeyer become World War II’s forgotten prophet? The answer to that question is a tale of the perils of coalition warfare combined with ideological bias, treachery, and treason. McLaughlin tells the story in calm matter-of fact prose, which makes it even more astonishing.

Friday, December 14, 2012

“We lost the battle but we won the war for Polish freedom,”

Polish president makes Reagan tribute on martial law anniversary

President Bronislaw Komorowski laid a wreath beneath the statue of late US president Ronald Reagan in Warsaw on Thursday evening, marking the 31st anniversary of martial law in Poland.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

things that make you wonder


Sen. Menendez Had an Illegal Alien Sex Offender Working as an Unpaid Intern; Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security Instructed ICE to Delay Arresting Him Until After Menendez's Reelection

A real CIA sex scandal

When I read this article I was left both angry and puzzled.
Spy's Case Offers Rare Glimpse Inside CIA

A highly decorated former CIA deep cover operative’s long quest to nail the spy agency for obliterating his career in retaliation for exposing the security violations of a senior agency official and her State Department husband gets a rare public hearing Friday.

“Peter B,” whose full name and former duties remain classified, contends that he lost his CIA job because he had learned about an affair that the husband of his supervisor, Margaret “Peggy” Lyons, was carrying on with a Taiwanese spy.

What is wrong with CIA? Does no one there care about security?

How does someone with Ms. Lyons’s record get hired at “a government security contractor”? And how does a security company with employees like Ms. Lyons remain a government contractor?

Why is this not a bigger story? It has everything-- sex, spies, whistle-blowers.

Garry Wills-- philistine hipster

When Brubeck Wasn’t Cool

It is worth mentioning, as well, that the Brubeck who is a hapless punchline here for Garry Wills is the same Brubeck who, four decades later, was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, and of whom Barack Obama said at the time, “You can’t understand America without understanding jazz, and you can’t understand jazz without understanding Dave Brubeck.”

If only it were true

An interesting piece on "managerialism" past and present:
HBR Celebrates Its Graveyard Of Obsolete Management Ideas
Denning is spot on about the many failures of managerialism. I fear that he is too optimistic, however, about the future.

The new way of running organizations is not just a different set of management practices. It’s really a change in an ecosystem—from an ecosystem of hierarchical bureaucracy, internally focused and grinding along with the production of outputs, to an ecosystem that is agile and very externally focused on client-perceived outcomes.

It’s a paradigm shift from a mindset of “you take what we make” to “we want to understand your problems and will do whatever it takes to solve them”, as Ranjay Gulati has pointed out in his marvelous book, Reorganizing For Resilience (2010)

The paradigm shift entails a change from a world in which workers and customers are manipulated as things to a world in which workers and customers are interacted with as human beings.

If that really is the future, then sign me up. There are counter-currents at work, however, that make me wonder if the immediate future really belongs to the new paradigmers.

1. Whole industries have discovered that they can make billions in profit by manipulating their customers. Credit cards, cell phones,and cable TV companies have become masters at nickel-and-diming their customers through hidden charges, stealth price increases, and quality fade.

2. We are in the midst of a Christmas shopping season in which retailers took away Thanksgiving for millions of their employees. Does anyone really think that this happened after respectful interaction with said employees?