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  • Archive for June, 2010

    Are Things Looking Up?

    Posted by Jonathan on 30th June 2010 (All posts by )

    Krugman is a contrary indicator. The combination of this column and the fact that Intrade now shows Republicans as having >50% odds to take over the House in 2010, gives hope. Political gridlock would be great for the economy.

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Predictions | 12 Comments »

    Mini-Book Review — Ridley — The Rational Optimist

    Posted by James McCormick on 30th June 2010 (All posts by )

    Ridley, Matt, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, Harper Collins, New York, 2010. 438 pp.

    Matt Ridley is a well-known British science writer who, in recent years, has specialized in writing books for the general public on new research in biology … evolutionary biology, genomics, plus a biography of Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA.

    For well over a decade I’ve enjoyed his books and been very impressed with the quality of his writing, so “on spec” I put a library hold on Ridley’s latest without paying much attention to what it was about. That decision turned out to be a wonderful piece of serendipity. I’ve been reading about European “trading republics” (ancient and modern) for a few years, and trying to assemble an amateur theory about how economic dynamism and technological innovation follow, or are reinforced by, republican values. Whether Athens, Rome, Venice, Genoa, Antwerp, Amsterdam, London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Boston, or New York and Montreal, trade under republican regimes creates massive relative wealth and huge leaps in human knowledge and standards of living.

    Now Matt Ridley looks at the innate human capacity for “exchange” … and how that unique capacity affected the course of prehistory, the introduction of agriculture and “civilization,” and more latterly, the shape of the industrial revolution and the modern world. Underlying the politics of republicanism, and individual freedom, we can see the human appetite for exchange creates persistent economic advantage. Trade flows from comparative advantage, in the words of David Ricardo, and comparative advantage relentlessly rewards more specialized use of the natural environment … from the labor of humans carrying sea shells inland for trade 80,000 years ago, to the labor of domesticated horse and sheep and dogs largely for human benefit, to the use of vast quantities of ancient vegetable matter (in the form of petrochemicals), to extend the efforts of humans out of all proportion. Our species is most prosperous when most specialized, when most dependent on the differentiated talents of thousands of others. We now can live lives like the Sun King, without a retinue of thousands.

    In this book I have tried to build on both Adam Smith and Charles Darwin: to interpret human society as the product of a long history of what the philosopher Dan Dennett calls ‘bubble-up’ evolution through natural selection among cultural rather than genetic variations, and as an emergent order generated by an invisible hand of individual transactions, not the product of a top-down determinism. I have tried to show that, just as sex made biological evolution cumulative, so exchange made cultural evolution cumulative and intelligence collective, and that there is therefore an inexorable tide in the affairs of men and women discernible beneath the chaos of their actions. A flood tide, not an ebb tide. p. 350

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Business, Economics & Finance, Environment, Health Care, History, Human Behavior, Markets and Trading, Media, Politics, The Press | 3 Comments »

    Battleships and the Past

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 29th June 2010 (All posts by )

    It finally arrived!  My copy of “German Battleships 1914-18 (2)” from the fine Osprey series came and I immediately sat down and read through it.  The book is a quick read at 48 pages but it is filled with diagrams, great photos, and detailed drawings of the three major late generation German World War One battleships, the Kaiser, Konig and Bayern classes.

    Prior to World War One the British and the Germans engaged in an arms race to build mightier navies, with each side attempting to out-do the other with each succeeding generation of ships.  The ships got larger, more heavily armored, and were armed with larger caliber main armament.  The Kaiser class battleships have the odd turret configurations used in that era; the Konig looks more modern, and the Beyern class has very similar lines to the iconic WW2 Bismark series ships, along with the same caliber armament (15″ guns, in 4 double turrets).

    One of the most interesting elements to me is the fact that the Bayern class is so relatively unknown given how powerful and modern they were relative to their WW1 contemporaries.  This is likely due to the fact that the Bayern did not participate in the Battle of Jutland in 1916 which was the seminal act in WW1 fleet battles, for afterwards the focus of the German navy shifted to submarines and unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917.  The wikipedia page for the Bismark series discusses how the Bismark series was derided by one British analyst as just a mildly upgraded Bayern class vessel.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Military Affairs | 9 Comments »

    Science or Bust

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 29th June 2010 (All posts by )

    This is a great talk:


    Posted in Science, Video | 7 Comments »

    A Blast From The Past

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 29th June 2010 (All posts by )

    Back in the bad old days of the Cold War, a lot of successful espionage projects run by the Soviets hinged on a certain type of snobbery.

    You can see it most clearly when reading about the Cambridge Five, a spy ring consisting of several British high-bred good-old-boys. Recruited while attending a snooty college, they betrayed their country with elan and enthusiasm. The reason why they managed to get access to sensitive material was because they came from good families, and could use the connections formed during their school days to get jobs in government. Jobs that dealt with intelligence and secret information.

    They had sources of sensitive info other than the documents they read while at the office. Other people in the spy game would let their guard down during casual conversation, and let slip some secrets. After all, this was their buddy from their university days! If you can’t trust someone who wears the same school tie, then the world makes no sense at all!
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Britain, Russia | 29 Comments »

    How Sad is That?

    Posted by Shannon Love on 28th June 2010 (All posts by )

    I have tried to avoid most of the news about Al Gore’s sexual assault scandal. But this is just pathetic:

    The accuser said Gore maneuvered her into the bedroom. His iPod docking station was there, he told her, and he wanted her to listen to “Dear Mr. President,” a lachrymose attack on George W. Bush by the singer Pink.
    “As soon as he had it playing, he turned to me and immediately flipped me flat on my back and threw his whole body face down over atop of me,” she said. “I was just shocked at his craziness.”[emp added]

    Really? That’s his make out music? That’s what gets his engine revving, a song mocking the man who beat him? How much of his emotional life must revolve around Bush that he makes good old George part of his seduction shtick?

    This isn’t the first time that Gore has shown evidence of serious emotional instability. He packed on significant amounts of weight and grew a disheveled beard in the two months following his loss in 2000. That’s not how someone with the emotional balance necessary to be President acts.

    Now he’s (possibly) committed sexual assault and betrayed his wife of 30 years by committing adultery.

    We seriously dodged a bullet when he lost in 2000. He would have imploded under the stresses of a post-9/11 presidency.

    Posted in Politics | 72 Comments »

    Don’t Trust Any General Over 50?

    Posted by Joseph Fouche on 28th June 2010 (All posts by )

    Over at the (American) Civil War Bookshelf, Dmitri Rotov posts on Generals who faint and raises this point:

    General Mansfield

    General Mansfield

    General Petraeus will be 58 in November. General Mansfield was 58 when he was killed in battle. Mansfield, shown right, had not fainted up to that point, at least not on the record. He is the oldest looking general I have ever seen. The Civil War reader, first encountering Mansfield, asks, “What the hell?” The newspaper reader, encountering Petraeus, thinks “How youthful and fit.”
    Petraeus and Mansfield. One slogs around all day in Maryland or Virginia mud, heat, and frost in heavy boots and wool clothing as a kind of daily fitness program; the other mans a desk in Floridian air conditioned comfort between inspections, briefings, and rounds of self-imposed exercise.
    None of this is intended to slight Petraeus but to make the point that one can run, jump, exercise, whatever, and it will not change that one is 58 years old. Fainting or worse are possible. Forget about 60 being the new 40. Mansfield was remarkable – exceptional – and no basis for broad army policy.
    Joe Hooker was our fain[t]ingest [American Civil War] general but his faints were accompanied by blood loss and concussion. Remember how you thought he was a geezer in the summer of 1862 at 47 years of age? That’s 11 years younger than Petraeus, 11 years older than McClellan.
    And speaking of older generals, how old do you make Lee in the summer of 1862? He was 55, three years younger than Petraeus. Lee – another exception and no basis for policy.
    In J.F.C. Fuller‘s book Generalship: Its Diseases and Their Cure, he names three pillars of generalship: courage, creative intelligence, and physical fitness and he attributes all three to “the attributes of youth rather than middle age.” He does not find courage and creative intelligence among middle aged officers as a rule, and he would be dismayed at the current leadership of the U.S. military.
    Under Petraeus, directing the Iraq war, we find Ray Odierno, 56. Under Petraeus, directing the Afghanistan war, we find Stanley McChrystal, 55. At the top, this is an army of Mansfields. We love Mansfield but is this a good thing?

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Military Affairs | 12 Comments »

    Enabling Political Thuggery

    Posted by David Foster on 28th June 2010 (All posts by )

    J Christian Adams, formerly an attorney with the US Department of Justice:

    On Election Day 2008, armed men wearing the uniforms and jackboots of the New Black Panther Party were posted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the entrance to a polling site. They brandished a weapon and intimidated voters. After the election, the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice brought a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and these armed thugs. I, and other Justice lawyers, obtained an entry of default after the defendants ignored the case against them.

    Before a final judgment could be entered, however, our superiors ordered dismissal of the claims.

    Read the whole thing.

    For some time, I have been concerned about the rise of political violence and intimidation in America. This has been most apparent in universities, where administrators have too often allowed leftists and Islamic radicals to interfere with the expression of opinion by others. For example, in this post I cited the behavior of some “anti-war” and anti-Israel activists:

    At Concordia College (Toronto), Benhamin Netanyahu was prevented from speaking by a riot of Palestinian students and their supporters. Thomas Hecht, a Holocaust survivor, was pushed against a wall, spat on, and reportedly kicked in the groin. A woman said that during the same incident, attackers “aimed their punches at my breasts.” Two weeks later, at the same college, a Jewish student was beaten bloody by an Arab student.

    At Berkeley, someone thre a cinder block through the glass door at the Hillel (Jewish) center, and wrote “F___ Jews” on the wall. At San Francisco State University, a rally of Jewish students and other was disrupted by pro-Palestinian students screaming “Go back to Russia,” and “We will kill you.” Some students were reportedly shoved against the wall, and the Jewish group had to be escorted out by police. Laurie Zoloth, a campus Jewish leader, summed up the campus situation in these words: “This is the Weimar republic with Brownshirts it cannot control.”

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Germany, History, Politics, USA | 9 Comments »

    Battle of Okinawa 65 Years Later — Pershing Priority Non-shipment

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 27th June 2010 (All posts by )

    The fighting on Okinawa saw many M4 Sherman tanks destroyed by the improved Japanese anti-tank defense build around the 47mm Type 01 anti-tank gun. Mid-May 1945 the US Army Ordnance branch took upon itself the task to send 12 of the Sherman’s successor tank, the M26 Pershing, to Okinawa. In my previous post on the priority shipments to Okinawa spoke of a LCT convoy from Okinawa to Hawaii to pick up M26 Pershings on Hawaii.

    That story was wrong.

    A M26 Pershing in Korea

    Korean War Mail Delivery, M26 Pershing Style

    I found several references after that post including Kenneth Estes’ MARINES UNDER ARMOR: The Marine Corps ans Armored fighting Vehicles, 1916-2000 that had dates of Pershing Delivery varying from 21 July to 31 July 1945. It turns the 31 July 1945 date is correct and the landing craft tank (LCT) I mentioned were at Okinawa the whole time, not in a round trip convoy to Hawaii.

    The following story of the shipment of 12 Pershings to Okinawa is from PERSHING: A History of the Medium Tank T20 Series by R.P. Hunnicutt:
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, National Security, Okinawa 65, War and Peace | 2 Comments »

    The Political Bazaar and the Political Cathedral

    Posted by TM Lutas on 26th June 2010 (All posts by )

    Last night I got an excellent education in politics from a local old master at how they play the game in Lake County, Indiana. Halfway through it, I had an epiphany, that the whole internal system, top to bottom was largely based on “Cathedral” style thinking straight out of Eric S Raymond’s influential essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar and I had long ago decided that the bazaar had the winning argument, at least for this generation.

    That moment cleared up a lot for me and clarified my thinking. I was having this discussion because the Indiana Republican Liberty Caucus had just organized a Lake county chapter and I was elected chairman. I was calling around and letting the town chairmen know that there was a new player in town on the GOP’s side and oh, could I stop by to introduce myself and the LC-INRLC at their next meeting.

    The old master went on and I paid attention but my entire perspective shifted because I had realized that the fight I was in was a different fight than the one he was describing. Imagine building a cathedral in a bazaar. It’s a bit annoying to the rest of the bazaar but if you’ve got the scratch to reserve that much space, the bazaar will accommodate. Now imagine building a bazaar in a cathedral. The cathedral people will hate you because, inherently, your activities often won’t respect the day to day pieties of the cathedral you’re working in. Nobody has found a perfect solution to this, though the best of the cathedral builders in the software world have learned to make their peace and to change their structure to accommodate the bazaar builders that they rely on and compete with.

    The ideological struggle with the left just got company as my top priority. Party building a GOP bazaar just snapped into focus as a major challenge.

    Posted in Civil Society, Conservatism, Elections | 4 Comments »

    The “Overton Window” and how to apply it

    Posted by Bruno Behrend on 25th June 2010 (All posts by )

    With Glen Beck having discovered the “Overton Window” more than 2 years after I did, I thought this would be a great time to re-post my essay/post from Jan. 2008.

    Being new here, I thought this might be an nice place to repost it.
    Note that this was posted pre-Obama and pre-tea party. I think it is still wholly relevant, but I luxuriate in the fact that the “hand is on the other foot now.”

    I found a good post over at a pretty good lefty blog. Apparently, some Champaign-Urbana blogger named “The Squire” started blogging again, and he posted something pretty significant here. (clicking the link will get you an interesting and polite discussion)

    The poli-sci concept is called “the Overton Window,” and if you want the very short version of it, I can boil it down to five words.

    “The Limits Define the Center”

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Blogging, Education, Leftism, Libertarianism | 21 Comments »

    If I could read Stanley McChrystal’s mind …

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 25th June 2010 (All posts by )

    … I think I would find that he set himself up intentionally to let the Rolling Stone guy get quotes that would end his tenure.

    Gen. McChrystal is anything but a stupid or careless man. He is a cold and calculating strategist, both against the enemy, and in terms of his career and his rise to three star rank. He was also a warrior who would expend lives as needed to destroy the enemy and to win. And he was willing to take personal physical risks as well. Sacrifice was something he was willing and able to demand from himself and others.

    The article tellingly notes that, over his career, he had a genius for knowing exactly where the lines are, and how much he could get away with. Yet, here, he stepped firmly over that line. We are supposed to believe this was inadvertent? That is not plausible. I cannot conceive of Gen. McChrystal making the Homer Simpson “d’oh!” noise.

    He had to know he was doing that.

    But why?

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Military Affairs, Obama, Politics, USA, War and Peace | 13 Comments »

    Battle of Okinawa 65 Years Later — Revisiting and Summarizing

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 25th June 2010 (All posts by )

    I ran across more data on the priority shipping CDL Tanks and deploying Recoilless Rifles for Okinawa that made some of the things I posted my here factually wrong. There was also additional information of the “VT” proximity fuse in US Army artillery.

    Taken together, what didn’t make it to Okinawa would amount to a technological surprise for the Japanese defending the beaches of Kyushu, had the A-bomb failed to get a surrender.
    Grant Canal Defense Light Tank

    The M3 CDL tanks were assembled at Rock Island Arsenal. Instead of a main gun turret the tank chassis mounted a steel box containing a 13 million candle power carbon arc lamp backed by mirrors to focus the beam, a machine gun and fake cannon. A 10Kw generator was mounted on the back and run by a power take off from the engine. The 75mm sponson gun was retained. Some 500 M3 CDLs were produced in 1943-44. Some 300 entered US Army service with a few used during the battle for the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen, Germany. Eighteen CDL arrived on Okinawa in June 1945 after the fighting ended

    First, it turns out that the June 1945 arrival of the M3 Grant medium tank based “Canal Defense Light” (CDL) tanks was not based on a April 1945 emergency request during Okinawa fighting like the Pershing, but instead was due to a trip by a US Army Ordnance officer working for 10th Army to Washington DC months earlier.
    See below:

    Chapter 23, pages 453-453

    What of New Weapons?

    Colonel Daniels thought good use could be made of Canal Defense Light tanks. The Japanese in their campaign in Malaya had successfully made end runs at night along the coast, landing tanks from boats, and could be expected to do the same thing along the coast of Okinawa. Against such attacks, the CDL’s with their blinding searchlights might be used to very good effect. General Buckner had never heard of the CDL’s but after having been furnished a description he gave Daniels permission for a flight to Washington to round up a company. When Daniels got to Washington, he found that all of these special tanks had gone to England for shipment to France, but that he might expect some in several months. Accordingly, he put in a request for about 18 or 20 CDL’s, and an officer and men trained in operating them. They did not arrive until late June 1945, after the Okinawa campaign was over.25
    25. Ltr, Brig Gen Robert W. Daniels to Lida Mayo, 23 Nov 63, OCMH. When the CDL’s arrived Daniels got one ashore and showed it to Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, who had succeeded Buckner as Commanding General of Tenth Army. Stilwell was impressed. Ibid.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, National Security, Okinawa 65, USA, War and Peace | Comments Off on Battle of Okinawa 65 Years Later — Revisiting and Summarizing

    A “Jobs Program,” not an education system

    Posted by Bruno Behrend on 25th June 2010 (All posts by )

    Hey everyone,

    I’d like to express my thanks to the “ChicagoBoyz” for allowing me to become a contributor.

    Check out my profile for my Bio if you want. When I’m not not reading or posting to blogs, I’m probably working for education reform at the Heartland Institute or sailing my modest boat out of Monroe Harbor (weather permitting). Like many happily married men, if I’m not working or doing something I really enjoy, I’m doing what my wife tells me to do.

    I just saw this yesterday over at Big Government. Why we allow these education bureaucrats and teacher’s unions to bankrupt an entire civilization is beyond me.

    The U.S. Economy Needs Fewer Public School Jobs, Not More

    I don’t have time this morning to copy and paste the two graphs in this post right now, but I urge all of you to go the linked article, print the two graphs, and carry them around in your wallets and purses. Show them to any dingbat who thinks education spending is “for the children.”

    Posted in Academia, Anti-Americanism, Education | 6 Comments »

    Dark Thoughts

    Posted by David Foster on 25th June 2010 (All posts by )

    Things are spinning out of control

    Robert Avrech has a story about blatant anti-Semitism in Holland, the land of Anne Frank:

    Anti-Semitism has gotten so ugly in The Netherlands that Jews walking along Amsterdam’s street are being harassed by young Muslims who yell insults or give Nazi salutes…A TV programme broadcast on Sunday by the Jewish Broadcasting Organisation showed rabbi Lody van de Kamp confronted by Moroccan youths giving the Hitler salute.


    “Jews are deserting Antwerp,” headlines De Standaard. The Belgian newspaper predicts that in fifty years there will be no more Jews living in the city. Due to an increase of Anti-Semitism, many young Jews are leaving the city to study in London, New York or Israel, where “working with a skullcap (kippah) isn’t a problem”, and they never return.

    The sharp increase in anti-Semitism is only one among many indicators of social disintegration and dysfunction throughout the Western world. It is increasingly clear that (although there are individual honorable exceptions) our political elites lack the wisdom and courage to deal effectively with the problems confronting our societies. The ongoing appeasement of jihadism is one primary example; the orgy of financial irresponsibility is another.

    Reading Robert’s post, I was reminded of a passage from Sebastian Haffner’s memoir. Haffner, as you may recall from my review here, grew up in Germany between the wars and wrote an indispensable book about his experiences and observations.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Europe, Germany, Judaism, Middle East, Religion, USA | 7 Comments »

    Around Chicago June 2010

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 25th June 2010 (All posts by )

    Just a few snapshots while walking around the city after summer finally arrived (along with big thunderstorms).  Middle left – a big billboard in my neighborhood saying that the GOP is going to try to make it in Chicago!  They definitely have their work cut out for them in this crony-run town.  Their site is and they are having a party at the Cubby Bear July 9.  The movie at this old post is from Cubby Bear when they were playing old hip hop from 20 years ago and the drunken crowd was going nuts post Cubs / Sox.  Upper left – they now have a bus that goes straight to Valparaiso Indiana from downtown with wi-fi and everything; now Gerry (our fellow blogger at LITGM) can get door to door service if he has to trek into down town for work.  Upper right – I think that the U Haul vans get painted based on where they are from, or perhaps that is an old-wives tale on the intertubes.  Either way, that truck must have taken a loooong ride to get from the Northwest Territories to Chicago.  I don’t think the average person owns much that is worth making that sort of trek; throw your snowshoes and parka on your back and leave everything else behind when you head out.   Lower left – some rather sophisticated graffiti art in my neighborhood, definitely not “tagging” unless some weird headed dude is marking his territory.  Lower middle – it doesn’t take much to get the expats in Chicago to drink (or anyone, for that matter) but Fado in my neighborhood is making a killing off the world cup.  That place is literally ground zero for drunks on St. Patrick’s day the line starts before 6am.  Lower right – I remember seeing stupid stickers like this all the time, it says “Most capitalism is nothing more than human and animal slavery”.  Hey, this isn’t high school, but this is probably where your art school tuition is going.  Good luck getting a job.

    Cross posted at LITGM

    Posted in Chicagoania, Humor | 4 Comments »

    Pundita on Pakistan

    Posted by Zenpundit on 24th June 2010 (All posts by )

    Miss P. bangs pots and pans, shoots off fireworks, uses her knee to pound a bass drum while blowing a vuvuzela in an effort to draw attention to the Elephant in the policy room no one wishes to address.

    It won’t work until a Pakistani-sponsored terrorist pulls off an act of catastrophic terrorism inside the United States and kills a large number of elite Americans in Manhattan or the Beltway. After that point, we’ll get serious and these views will become conventional wisdom.

    I just hope the terrorists don’t succeed in Arizona or Kansas – the story will only make page 2, then and policy will stay the course:

    Why General Stanley McChrystal is going straight to hell

    On or about August 30, 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates received a detailed assessment of the military situation in Afghanistan that included a request for additional U.S. troops. The report was from General Stanley A. McChrystal, Commander, Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. But as noted on the first page the assessment was a joint effort representing input from ISAF staff and the component commands.On the matter of Pakistan the report noted:

    Afghanistan’s insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. Senior leaders of the major Afghan insurgent groups are based in Pakistan, are linked with al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups, and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan’s lSI.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, India, International Affairs, Military Affairs, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 11 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 23rd June 2010 (All posts by )

    Even so, it is well to remember that resistence is not futile, it is required.

    -Commenter Veryretired, in a discussion of Ginny’s post about Emerson.

    The post and comment are worth reading in full.

    Posted in Arts & Letters, History, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Politics, Quotations, Society | Comments Off on Quote of the Day

    Légion étrangère: Kepi Blanc

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 23rd June 2010 (All posts by )

    For Gabrielle, Beatrice, Dominique, Elaine, Isabelle, Claudine, Huguette and Anne-Marie.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Europe, France, Germany, History, Middle East, Military Affairs, Music, Video, Vietnam, War and Peace | 7 Comments »

    Medicare optouts

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 23rd June 2010 (All posts by )

    I subscribe to a physician only web site that has a lot of political items in the mix. It has over 100,000 members, well over, I believe. The subject of dropping out of Medicare, and sometimes from all insurance, is a frequent subject. I thought it might be interesting to see the comments (some of them) to one such post.

    I am opting out of Medicare

    Last week I stopped seeing new Medicare patients. Today, I decided to opt-out completely. The sign in my waiting area reads:

    Dear patients,

    As of October 1, 2010, I will no longer accept Medicare insurance due to the harassment and cuts in payments by the federal government. My fees are very reasonable – please feel free to discuss them with me personally. I would love to continue to care for my Medicare patients, just without the federal government telling me how do my job or how much to get paid.

    This is just the beginning of the healthcare reform. Please thank your elected representatives and think carefully how you vote in November.



    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Bioethics, Health Care | 58 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz – Written By The Best Bloggers We Can Afford!

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 23rd June 2010 (All posts by )

    kenosha10 008

    Posted in Photos | 10 Comments »

    Fanny Kemble’s Train Trip

    Posted by David Foster on 22nd June 2010 (All posts by )

    Frances Anne Kemble was a British actress who achieved considerable fame subsequent to her 1829 appearance in a production of Romeo and Juliet. I recently ran across her description of an experience she had in 1830, when she became one of the first people to ride on the newly-constructed London & Manchester railway line. Railway travel was then as exotic as space travel is now…arguably more so. Fannie’s escort for the trip was none other than George Stephenson, the self-taught engineer who had been the driving force behind the line’s construction.

    She was impressed with the experience of railroad travel (“You can’t imagine how strange it seemed to be journeying on thus, without any visible cause of progress other than the magical machine, with its flying white breath and rhythmical, unvarying pace, between these rocky walls, which are already clothed with moss and ferns and grasses”) and with Stephenson (“the master of all these marvels, with whom I am most horribly in love”) She offers an interesting analysis of the roles of government vs the private sector in the creation of this railroad (“The Liverpool merchants, whose far-sighted self-interest prompted them to wise liberality, had accepted the risk of George Stephenson’s magnificent experiment, which the committee of inquiry of the House of Commons had rejected for the government. These men, of less intellectual culture than the Parliament members, had the adventurous imagination proper to great speculators, which is the poetry of the counting-house and wharf, and were better able to receive the enthusiastic infection of the great projector’s sanguine hope than the Westminster committee.”) The relevant section of her memoir is here.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Britain, History, Tech, Transportation | 7 Comments »

    The best war correspondent since Ernie Pyle ?

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 22nd June 2010 (All posts by )

    When I was about 10 years old, my parents had a copy of Ernie Pyle’s book about his life in World War II. I read it and was impressed, inexperienced as I was. Ernie Pyle was killed by a sniper at Okinawa. There were great war correspondents in Korea. I remember Marguerite Higgins, who was probably the model for the woman war correspondent in WEB Griffin’s books about that war. The later reporters in Vietnam, from what I know, spent most of their time in Saigon. Higgins was walking next to Robert Capa, the greatest war photographer, when he stepped on the land mine that killed him. She didn’t hang around bars.

    The only real war correspondent I know of now is Michael Yon. I read his book, Moment of Truth in Iraq and wrote a review. The only other book that compares with it is Bing West’s The Strongest Tribe but this is because West can add a lot of background from his long history going back to Vietnam. Yon had his troubles, mostly with officious PA officers in Iraq, but has had strong support from the soldiers.

    With Iraq winding down, he went next to Afghanistan. Most of his reporting has been on his blog or, more recently, on his facebook page. He has had a lot of trouble with the generals in Afghanistan. Some of us who have doubts about the progress and the chances for success, tend to take his side. He was suddenly expelled from his embed with a US unit several weeks ago. Many of us believed this was due to his harsh criticism of the Canadian general who commanded the sector where a critical bridge that had been left unprotected, was blown up by the Taliban.

    Please stay with me. This matters.

    And so it goes like this:

    Major General Nick Carter (UK) commands RC-South.

    Brigadier General Daniel Menard (Canada) commands Task Force Kandahar.

    Under BG Menard’s command are three U.S. Battalions and just over 2,800 Canadian forces. (U.S. battalions: 1-12 Infantry Reg.; 2-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment; 97th Military Police Battalion). American combat forces comprise a substantial portion of Menard’s force structure, leaving his command and Canadian civilian leadership open to fair scrutiny, just as American leadership is open to Canadian inquiry. Moreover, while Canada increasingly shies from combat, American units under Canadian command will spill blood under Canadian military leadership that answers to Ottawa.

    Kandahar Province is apportioned into battle spaces. As mentioned, TF-Stryker has responsibilities that include Spin Boldak and FOM on Highway 4 that crosses the Tarnak River Bridge. TF-Stryker, however, is not responsible for the bridge itself.

    The British Royal Air Force (RAF) is responsible for something called the GDA. The GDA is the Ground Defense Area, and is responsible for security immediately around KAF. By all accounts, the RAF is doing a fine job. The GDA includes the area around the Tarnak River Bridge.

    TF-K is responsible for Kandahar, but the specific area of the bridge belongs to the RAF. However, the bridge itself is guarded not by RAF but by ANP (Afghan National Police) mentored by the American 97th MPs. The 97th is under Canadian command through TF-K. And so, at the time of the attack, TF-K was responsible for the physical security on the bridge itself, while GDA had responsibility for the land around the bridge.

    Which Coalition partner has final responsibility for this strategic bridge? Is it the RAF who “own” the ground, or TF-K who mentor the ANP guarding the bridge? If an officer were to say this vital bridge is solely the responsibility of the ANP, his judgment would be deemed unsound.

    This kind of frankness got him expelled. He was accused of releasing names of KIA before families had been notified. He was accused of disclosing security information that violated OPSEC. None of this was true.

    The general who got him expelled ? He was court martialed and convicted. Not for the bridge incident but for other offenses.

    The other general Yon has been very critical of is McChrystal.

    he writes, “McChrystal is bent over the coffin of the Afghan war with a hammer in his hand and a mouth full of nails”? When asked for his thoughts on the general state of the war, he says one must be intuitive rather than deductive. “Innumerable wild cards are always flying and so the best that one can do is study hard and watch and listen and give it time to mix.” If a reliance on feelings alone is hardly the metric from which one should draft a war plan, consider the recent words of General McChrystal. The purpose of the Marjah operation was to create an “irreversible feeling of momentum,” but, “You don’t feel it here but I’ll tell you, it’s a bleeding ulcer outside.”

    Yon believes the war can still be won, but that a change of command is in order. At this level of warfare, he says, “McChrystal is like a man who has strapped on ice skates for the first time. He might be a great athlete, but he’s learning to skate during the Olympics.” Yon adds that publicly denouncing the commanding general of a war is not an easy thing for him to do, especially considering it means crossing swords with General Petraeus and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, two men he greatly admires. Indeed, if anyone can turn this war around, Yon believes it is General Petraeus. He concedes such a return to the battlefield is unlikely, and suggests another general whose name fewer people have heard. “General James Mattis from the Marines. I get a good feeling about Mattis but I don’t know. General Petraeus is a known entity and he is solid gold.”

    Now, we have the new developments with McChrystal. If you want to know what is happening, read Michael Yon.

    Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Iraq, Military Affairs | 5 Comments »

    Photo – Kenosha Sunrise

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 22nd June 2010 (All posts by )

    kenosha10 052

    Posted in Photos | 3 Comments »

    Battle of Okinawa 65 Years Later — 21 thru 22 June 1945

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 22nd June 2010 (All posts by )

    21 June 1945

    On Okinawa, the Japanese headquarters on Hill 89 is taken by the forces of the US 32nd Infantry Regiment, part of US 7th Division. The body of General Ushijima, commanding the Japanese 32nd Army is found nearby.

    Five hours after 10th Army commander USMC Major General Geiger declares Okinawa “Secure” the Japanese high command delivered its last kikusui or “Floating Chrysanthemum” suicide strike of the Okinawa campaign.

    Several Kamikaze slip through and strike ships at the at the Kerma Ritto anchorage. Sea Plane tenders Kenneth Whiting and Curtis are both struck and the Curtis is heavily damaged by fire.

    LSM-59 is hit and sunk towing the hulk of the decommissioned USS Barry, which is also sunk in the same attack. The Barry’s new mission was to be a kamikaze decoy, for which it succeeded sooner than intended.

    The 22 June 1945 flag raising signaling the end of organized Japanese resistance

    RAISING THE AMERICAN FLAG on 22 June denoted the end of organized Japanese resistance.

    22 June 1945

    The US Navy suffers a suicide strike on LSM-213 at Kimmu Wan. The landing ship suffers heavy structural damage with three killed and 10 wounded.

    At Nakagusuku Wan the beached LST-534 suffers a bow door strike from a Kamikaze with three killed and 35 wounded. The nearby USS Ellyson is near missed by a Kamikaze with one killed and four wounded.

    Radar Picket Station 15, with USS Massey and USS Dyson present, is heavily attacked, but the fighter cover killed 29 out of an estimated 40 attackers without damage to either ship.

    On Okinawa, the battle with organized ground forces has ended. The 10th Army starts a 10 plan to mop up remaining unorganized Japanese ground forces.

    American forces have lost 12,500 dead and 35,500 wounded.

    In the air, the American forces have lost 763 planes.

    The Japanese losses include 120,000 military and 42,000 civilian dead.

    For the first time in the war, there are a relatively large number of Japanese prisoners: 10,755.

    American reports claim the Japanese have lost 7,830 planes.

    Including today’s suicide strikes, the US Navy had 36 ships sunk and 368 damaged by the end of the Okinawa campaign.

    Okinawa Background — The Death of Generals Ushijima and Cho

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, National Security, Okinawa 65, Uncategorized, USA, War and Peace | Comments Off on Battle of Okinawa 65 Years Later — 21 thru 22 June 1945