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Month: June 2011

Number 217

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 217                                                                                                                              22 June, 2011   World history is the progress of the consciousness of freedom.   Stunning The New York Times has published a bitter, whining screed that has to be one of the most amazing pieces ever to appear in its pages. Written by a journalist, it is, in essence, a complaint with a purpose: it decries a politician’s view of the news media, and then does all it can to disqualify that politician as a candidate for public office. Just how goofy or extreme would a politician’s denunciation have to be to provoke a journalist into reacting that strongly? It seems reasonable to assume the Solon must be a nutcase — or that he got badly carried away when he shot his mouth off. It’s significant that the journalist skewering this politician is not a columnist or weblogger seeking to entertain his readers, but the executive editor of the paper. This is the boss speaking, and he’s defending not just his newspaper, but the entire press. His tone tells you he thinks of himself as a sage roused to righteous indignation by impudence that is literally dangerous to the body politic. What set him on fire? Here are the words uttered by the object of his anger: “It is our vets who we owe our freedom — not the politician, not...

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Number 216

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 216                                                                                                                              20 June, 2011   The state is the realization of the moral idea.   Inflation Part Three: The New Deal, The Great Depression, And Today Two major themes dominate the overview of how FDR attempted to cope with financial and economic disaster: first, he tried hard to increase governmental control of the economy by increasing regulation and regimentation, and second, he tried to inject money into the economy by hiring people. The push for a centrally-controlled economy was a huge mistake. At first, it pitted the president against the supreme court, which tossed out some of his vital legislation. Furious, FDR threatened the court, which backed down (“the switch in time that saved nine”) when it should have stood its ground. Various social programs were highly-publicized attempts to win the support of the electorate, and they often did. As more and more people were added to the federal payroll — many indirectly, as they were hired to build dams and bridges — the administration took as much credit as it could for doing good. What good? By 1938, the economic distress had grown to crushing proportions. Today only New Deal ideologues insist that either FDR or the Second World War actually ended the Great Depression. Neither assertion is correct. In retrospect, it is not difficult to see how the administration should have...

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Number 215

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 215                                                                                                                              12 June, 2011   Nations that are not intrinsically humane use foreign wars to achieve a sense of inner tranquility.   Who Deserves Credit For The Death Of Bin Laden? Obama partisans are quick to credit their hero with the success, but several hard facts dilute the claim. First, W was no less serious than Obama about taking bin Laden out, but obviously it was not possible. Clinton? It’s hard to say, but Slick seems to have been understandably less eager than W or Obama to go after bin Laden specifically. Second, it’s clear that if the apparatus can’t do the job, simply ordering it to perform will prove futile. It takes time to bring a complex and severely challenged organization up to operating capacity. Neither Slick nor W had the resources they needed. As this article points out, the bin Laden raid demonstrates that U.S. intelligence has come full circle since the end of the Cold War. It was able to successfully collect and analyze intelligence of all types and develop and deploy on-the-ground capabilities it had been lacking to find an individual who was hiding and probably protected. The United States faced Sept. 11, 2001, without strategic warning of the attacks inspired by bin Laden, and then it faced a tactical threat it was unprepared to fight. Whatever the new...

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Number 214

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 214                                                                                                                               9 June, 2011   He who wishes to accomplish something grand must know how to limit himself. He who opposes everything will actually accomplish nothing and bring all his efforts to nothing.   None Dare Call It Incestuous “We don’t actually have a genuine press any more” says a weblogger (no, don’t click and read; that hyperlink is just there to tell you the source of the quotes used here). To my way of thinking, the saddest part of this story is Barbara Walters (sic) devolution; this once-respected newswoman nears the end of her distinguished career by playing as ghastly a non sequitur as I’ve ever heard, saying (in essence) if Sarah Palin “can ride around on her bus,” Weiner Can Stay in Congress. When Joy Behar, of all people has to defend Sarah Palin from your bizarrely gratuitous swipe, you know you’ve let your hate lead you too far into Whackyland. “Once-respected”? Well, Baba Wawa is a veteran limousine “progressive”. Remember — she was one of the luminaries who helped Lenny raise funds for the Black Panthers with a grotesque soiree that Tom Wolfe made infamous. You have to consider the history, don’t you? Yeah. Meanwhile, here’s more from the weblogger: Listen (if you can stand the noise of this show) to Walters talking about how she “knows” Weiner and “knows”...

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Number 213

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 213                                                                                                                               6 June, 2011   “To whom God grants high office, He also gives understanding” is an old witticism that, in our times, one will probably not want to promote very seriously.   The Eternal Constant: Pseudoscientific Fraud Cripes, we have seen cars that run on water, and now we have this. Do not invest. Look, as concerns about energy grow, bullshit artists will proliferate and prey on the public. Most people are ignorant of some basic facts and the implications thereof — such as the fact that every time you convert energy from one form to another, losses are involved. And if you think the losses are trivial, you are not going to pay any attention to anyone who tries to tell you the truth about energy, machinery, electricity, magnetism, electrolysis, chemistry and power. Here goes anyway. You have to begin with the understanding that efficient energy conversion is always a serious challenge for engineers. They try to design for simplicity and elegance; those virtues increase efficiency. Charlatans will imply that sheer ignorance and/or incompetence on the part of engineers has hampered good design, giving us machines that waste huge amounts of energy we can now recover. In almost no cases whatsoever is that true. Yes, the power grid and the machines that draw electricity from it, as well as automobiles, railroad...

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