I caught this article this morning, and felt it was worth the post. In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor and the loss of most of our US bases in the Pacific to the Japanese, the US was struggling to find heartening news of any kind in the second world war. Then came news of a surprise bombing attack on Japan itself, which greatly energized the nation. Nobody at the time realized the planning, engineering, cross-force cooperation, and sheer bravery that unfolded to create that tactical win.
Today is the 71st anniversary, and three of the four remaining Dolittle Raiders gather to celebrate the small victory that turned around US fortunes.
The three of the four surviving crew members from the history-making World War II Doolittle Raid, all of them in their 90s, have traveled to a Florida Air Force base for a final public reunion.
Retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole, 97, David Thatcher, 91, and Retired Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, 93, are at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle for a final public reunion of the Doolittle Raiders.
They decided to meet at Eglin because it is where they trained for their top-secret mission in the winter of 1942, just weeks after the Japanese devastated the American fleet at Pearl Harbor.
The fourth surviving raider, 93-year-old Robert Hite, could not make the event.
As a kid (and frankly, still now as an adult), I devoured books on aviation history. This raid was a wonder in many ways. The B-25 Mitchell bombers used in the raid had to take off from an aircraft carrier in less than a third of their normal space, even while overloaded with fuel and bombs. Through a quirky accident, the task force was discovered, and the planes ended up leaving over 400 miles from their planned take-off, which essentially turned the plan into a suicide mission… and yet very few raiders were lost due to the bravery of the Chinese allies and ingenuity of the raiders themselves.
Today, thank men (and women) like this for your freedom.
I could find a reason to be snarky today, but I’m not in the mood. I’m mad.
An act of terror on US soil is never a good time for speculation. I pray for all involved and their families, and I want to show solidarity with them, even if the act seems hollow. I do happen to be wearing my “Pacific Crest Olympic Duathlon” race shirt, it looks rockin’ under my sweater. It seems insufficient for what we all should be saying.
Working at the company I do, I know many people in our Israeli offices, and I’ve had the occasion to talk to some of them about the bombings and terrorist strikes over there. I get the sense that you go on with life, but you never really get over things. I wish all success to the police and federal forces searching for the perpetrator(s).
So today, in my little effort at solidarity, I hope everyone find a race to run in life, and that you don’t let fear stop you from running it.
I saw three pieces this morning, and I thought it would be interesting to look at the strategic intent on the various sides… that is, looking at the tactics to see where the strategy is headed.
Citing the declining number of foreign students coming to the United States, secretary of state John Kerry argued that guns in America are frightening them away. In an interview with CNN’s foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty in Tokyo, Kerry said that Japanese students in particular “think they’re not safe in the United States and so they don’t come.”
Um, okay… way to frighten them more if you’re saying that in Japan. Hey, don’t come to America, we shoot people! Pay no attention to the fact that shootings are declining, we just shoot people! But in this case, we’re into the strategy of, “Blame guns for everything,” so expect that we’ll hear more and more on the Left that guns are the source of all evil. I suppose they need something else now that President Bush has been out of office for nearly five years.
Also at NRO, Robert VerBruggen notes that the Supreme Court has declined to hear a right to carry case that would have implications on different (and dissenting) decisions in lower courts.
As SCOTUSBlog notes, there is a split among lower courts on this issue, so the decision is something of a surprise. Kachalsky is a New York case in which a court upheld restrictions on gun-carrying; in Illinois, Judge Richard Posner found that Supreme Court precedents imply a right to carry.
I’m not all that surprised on this. The court has ruled that there’s a national right to own a gun under the 2nd Amendment, but I don’t think it wants to be in the business of determining how states handle the greater details. I’ve said for a while that I believe the feds will create definitions for firearms and the states will have permission to regulate as they see fit. After that, it’ll be for the people in the states to decide if they’re happy. Judging from the initial reactions, quite a few people aren’t happy in restrictive states, and it’ll start showing in the population transitions as well as in crime rates.
And speaking of how states will regulate, here’s a fine example from Hot Air of NY possibly starting to go after gun owners on paperwork.
Jazz wrote on Saturday about the case of David Lewis, who was ordered to relinquish his firearms because he supposedly once took an anti-depressant, which actually wasn’t the case at all. State police insist that the entire episode was a clerical error, but Lewis’ attorney says this wasn’t just a case of mistaken identity. James Tresmond told NBC affiliate WGRZ that the state of New York is now scouring medical records to find guns to confiscate. When asked for proof, Tresmond says it’s forthcoming, but he’s been hearing this from doctors and law-enforcement officials over the last several days in which he has represented Lewis…
Well, I’ll want to see the proof, but I’m not surprised. The love-of-my-life and I were talking last night about this, and I would expect that many states will start to look for mental health issues and use those as a block to gun ownership. It’s an easy way to respond to all the people (like me) who are calling for more oversight on mental health and claim that they’re doing something about potential violent offenders. This one will be particularly interesting to watch, especially to see how far law enforcement will go to search for reasons to confiscate firearms.
In all, we’re seeing a strong move to the states having the opportunity to build on an anti-gun agenda and use the system to get its way, even as the courts go more hands-off in their approach to the law. It’ll be interesting to watch, though I think in some cases those in the front seats are going to feel pretty uncomfortable about things.
Happy Friday, everyone. I was off for most of this week at a Three-Gun camp, which is my kind of vacation. It was interesting to me that most of the people who attended appeared to be happy suburbanites, especially in light of this comment that I saw from Stanley Kurtz today at NRO:
A few days ago, John Hinderaker asked why President Obama was putting so much effort into a seemingly futile political push on gun control. An article in today’s Washington Post, provides a possible answer. The piece suggests that the growth of suburbs in key states is changing the political calculus on guns in Congress. As population in many large states shifts from rural areas to suburbs, attitudes toward gun control shift accordingly.
I’d encourage you to go read both pieces embedded above as well. The lovely bride has been positing for a while that the liberal tendency is to want to push country people to the suburbs, and suburban people into the cities. Of course, when a model liberal city is Detroit… maybe they still have to work the plan a bit. But I do believe that there’s a push to drive a more solid concentration of people in large urban and suburban areas so that the rest of the land can be used for… well, I have no clue what they want to use it for. Probably let it lay fallow until they figure out how to use tax money to build another city.
But back to my first point. The suburban vote is in no way homogeneous, and I wonder if a push to concentrate there might not end up creating a backlash against homogeneous policies. I’m not surprised that the view is that a greater concentration of people would engender more civility, but from some of the stories I could tell you about my neighborhood (and you yours, I’m sure), well, we all know it’s not that monolithic yet.
Pay attention to the suburban/urban movement, though, folks. This one will be a trend-setter that will change quite a lot of political calculus… we just can’t predict the vector yet.
There used to be a set of people who called themselves, “The 1%’ers,” since there was a (misleading) statistic that 1% of homes did not have a TV. People were proud to avoid watching network TV, let alone cable or such. I grew up with TV, but the first time I got cable was pretty late in college, and I didn’t have anything other than two scratchy channels for the first few years of my adult life. Only after “free” cable in one apartment did I finally succumb. So I wonder if I’d be closer to this if I was just hitting the real world these days…?
Some people have had it with TV. They’ve had enough of the 100-plus channel universe. They don’t like timing their lives around network show schedules. They’re tired of $100-plus monthly bills.
A growing number of them have stopped paying for cable and satellite TV service, and don’t even use an antenna to get free signals over the air.
These people are watching shows and movies on the Internet, sometimes via cellphone connections.
Last month, the Nielsen Co started labeling people in this group ‘Zero TV’ households, because they fall outside the traditional definition of a TV home.
I like the Zero TV definition, though most of those people probably still have a TV. I thought the statistic lower in the article was interesting:
Last year, the cable, satellite and telecoms providers added just 46,000 video customers collectively, according to research firm SNL Kagan.
That is tiny when compared to the 974,000 new households created last year. While it’s still 100.4 million homes, or 84.7 per cent of all households, it’s down from the peak of 87.3 per cent in early 2010.
So the rise of the Internet is starting to claim yet another old technology. It’s truly interesting to me that the growth of online is drawing traditional television viewers. When we first started seeing the Internet affect TV in the late ’90′s, it was because people surfed while watching video, and the trend was to drive more traffic to the content via the Internet. Now, it’s that the Internet is leading the content, though it constitutes a dumbing-down of the model… it’s back to one screen, with even less content capable on the smaller screen. So we’ve driven the world to high-def, and then driven it to less size… where do we go now?
I would expect that we’ll see content change again to start to reflect this trend, with less focus on video quality and more on additional in-show content that can be shared with a “smart TV” appliance. Me, I’ll probably still be watching the big screen while I otherwise surf, but you never know…
Seventies gaming classic ‘Pong’ will reach a hitherto undreamed of scale later in April, when a version of the game is launched for play on lights adorning a skyscraper.
The building in question is Philadelphia’s Cira Center, a 29-storey edifice opened in 2006. The building features a programmable array of 1500 light emitting diodes that attracted the attention of Frank Lee, co-founder and co-director of the Drexel Game Design Program, an outfit teaching degrees in game design.
When I was learning programming languages, I would often make my first real program a game, usually something like Breakout. I could learn how to move things around the screen, react to environmental inputs (hitting something), add control, and then do conditional adders to speed up the game or put in other objects. I taught myself two or three languages that way, all of which I believe are officially in the dustbin of history at this point.
But there’s always something exciting about seeing someone’s ability to brute-force a solution into a small programming space and get results, and the idea of a tournament is really neat.
Solving problems these days is usually not a finesse thing, though people view elegant code that grabs gigabytes of memory as fashionable. Being able work with the programming equivalent of stone knives and bearskins is cool, and I hope to see more ideas like this.
In the air over what looks like a pile of clouds, but it’s sunny where I sit. Time for some random thoughts…
…if Obamacare teaches us anything, it’s that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are ear-bleedingly bad when it comes to constructing legislation. There could be a clause in there that mandates that every child in America gets a pretty, pretty pony to sacrifice to Cthulhu in 2017 and we’d never know until a bureaucrat happens across the relevant clause.
If you can find a pony, I’m posting it. Frankly, if you can make a decent Cthulhu joke, I’m posting it…
This very early morning, the nice lady sitting next to me on the plane commented how much I observed about airplanes. Short story was that I was doing a running commentary on the work they were quietly doing to fix the airplane, even though the pilot hadn’t even announced that it was broken. She took it as proof that I’m a guy who “notices things.” I took it as proof that, even after 20-some years of travel, I still don’t like to travel…
I was in an all-day meeting yesterday while the cream of the liberal world espoused to a large group of us on how the world was changing. I learned that me violently disagreeing with someone still at least makes me wonder why I disagree with them so much, so I’m still thinking. Their opinions might be dumb, but I’ll think about them. The most interesting thing of the day was the (very knowledgeable and somewhat famous) guy who was wailing about how we were reducing vast tracts of land to wasteland to produce energy on one slide, and then proudly showed a picture of acres of solar panels two slides later…
That said, he had a good point. Buildings in cities could easily take better advantage of solar and water collection, and there are good reasons to design new buildings to retrofit later. You don’t need a bunch of panels on the roof today, but angling the roof to possibly catch them later can’t really hurt, and there’s no reason to not put simple collection/storage for water underground if you’re already digging. I can see where it wouldn’t be optimal everywhere, but it does make some sense…
Oh, so I see (thanks, Hot Air) that we’re now back to advocating risky loans. Does history repeat itself? Or is it really: stupid is and stupid does? Or both, I suppose…
I realize I’m in the minority when I say that we bailed on the whole, “home loans until your ears bleed because then you have cash at a low interest rate,” rage. I recognize that I’m blessed that we were frugal and paid off our loans. But really, I don’t care about having available cash that I could be using for something else. I have a house. I don’t care what it’s worth, because I own it. That’s incredibly freeing, and I encourage all of you to really look hard at living with less to live with more later…
Back to work, have a nice day.