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Category: Robert Farley

Slow Clap

[ 102 ] September 9, 2015 |
Cheney Senior Staff 9-11 PEOC Cropped.jpg

Vice President Cheney with Senior Staff in the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) – Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Bill Kristol is America’s finest troll:


A Bone to Pick…

[ 39 ] September 9, 2015 |
Top forward view of gray aircraft with wings swept forward banking right. Underneath are strips of white clouds and uninhabited terrain.

“B1s”. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

I have a piece up at Lobelog on how sending Massive Ordnance Pentrators to Israel, along with the planes necessary to carry them, is just a bad idea:

Over the past week, the failure of the opponents of the Iran nuclear deal to kill it in Congress has become a foregone conclusion. With that in mind, advocates of war with Iran have adopted a new idea: giving Israel the means to attack Iran on its own, without US assistance. The thinking goes that the Israelis, unhindered by Obama’s fecklessness, will have the wherewithal to do what needs to be done. One of the first sightings of the idea came in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last year, when retired Air Force General David Deptula (along with Michael Makovsky) suggested improving Israel’s deterrent capability by transferring B-52s to the air force of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).


[ 73 ] September 9, 2015 |

Princess Elizabeth on board HMS Vanguard, 1947

Congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II on passing Victoria as the longest-reigning British monarch.

Labor Day Battleship Thoughts…

[ 42 ] September 7, 2015 |
Japanese surrender signatories arrive aboard the USS MISSOURI in Tokyo Bay to participate in surrender ceremonies HD-SN-99-03021.jpg

“Japanese surrender signatories arrive aboard the USS MISSOURI in Tokyo Bay to participate in surrender ceremonies HD-SN-99-03021”  Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

I think Loomis should write a long piece on the shipyard labor and the construction of the American battleship fleet.  I’ll bet that the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty, which cancelled ten battleships and battlecruisers, was a pretty significant Day in Labor History.  I’ll have another piece on unborn battleships up at the National Interest in a couple of days.  Until then, some thoughts on USS Missouri:

Why did the Japanese surrender at the end of the Second World War take place on USS Missouri, a battleship that had served for less than a year in the Pacific War?




Saturday Linkage

[ 32 ] September 5, 2015 |

As we watch young men of great promise tear their ACLs in the first quarter of the first game of the season…


[ 12 ] September 3, 2015 |
Battleship Study - BB65 - Scheme 4 - (1940 Studies).jpg

“Battleship Study – BB65 – Scheme 4 – (1940 Studies)” by Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

My latest at the National Interest continues what amounts to the book tour for The Battleship Book:

In the early 1940s, the U.S. Navy still expected to need huge, first rate battleships to fight the best that Japan and Germany had to offer. The North Carolina, South Dakota, and Iowa class battleships all involved design compromises. The Montanas, the last battleships designed by the U.S. Navy (USN), would not.

Incidentally, the listed January release date for the Battleship Book on Amazon is not correct; we remain on schedule for a late September release.

Let’s Get Government Out of the Business of Enforcing Government Laws

[ 79 ] September 2, 2015 |

There is nothing in this world that says “small government” more than the idea that local government officials should be able to enforce law based on whim and personal preference:

“There never should have been any limitations on people of the same sex having contracts, but I do object to the state putting its imprimatur to the specialness of marriage on something that’s different from what most people have defined as marriage for most of history,” he explained. “So one way is just getting the state out completely and I think that’s what we’re headed towards, actually. Whether or not people who still work for the state can do it without the legislature changing it is something I’m going to leave up to the courts exactly how to do it.” Paul has previously said that he is “not a legal authority on that.”

Paul’s unrealistic plan to remove marriage from the laws has been part of a strategy on his part to avoid affirming marriage for same-sex couples without actively working against marriage equality. For example, back in 2013, he said that even if states continued issuing marriage contracts, if the debate on same-sex marriage continued for another couple decades, he hoped opponents might “still win back the hearts and minds of people.”

Paul’s support for Davis’ refusal to comply with the law seems consistent with his hope that supporters of marriage equality might still be convinced to change their minds. “I think people who do stand up and are making a stand to say that they believe in something,” he said, “is an important part of the American way.”

The idea that government should get out of marriage is unrealistic, but hardly irrational. The idea that selective enforcement of law based on whim somehow follows from this idea is just weird. It becomes less weird, I suppose, in context of Rand’s need to push past 1% in GOP Presidential primary polling.

The Strategy of Engagement

[ 11 ] September 2, 2015 |
Changhe Z-10.jpg

“Changhe Z-10” by Shimin Gu – Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Commons.

Some uncharacteristic Big Thoughts in my latest at the Diplomat:

After 1989, the United States no longer saw an increase in Chinese economic and military power as a useful end in and of itself. Rather, Washington preferred to believe that Chinese economic growth (supported by trade and investment from the United States) would inevitably produce regime liberalization, and potentially the collapse of the CCP. At the very least, integration into the liberal international economic order would “tame” China, and make it a positive contributor within that system.

Whether this amounted to a China “strategy,” or merely a way to rationalize the preferences of American firms which wanted access to China’s markets and labor pools, the engagement of China brought much heavier trade, investment, and integration between the U.S. and Chinese economies. The United States eschewed the tools that states often use to keep potential competitors down, preferring to believe in the possibility of positive sum outcomes.


Monuments to What?

[ 102 ] August 31, 2015 |

H60566Mixed feelings…

The dull reverberations of the underwater explosions are clearly audible from the surface. The scavengers have returned, laying home-made charges to break up the hulls of two of the most celebrated British warships of the age, sunk in December 1941 and the last resting places of more than 830 Royal Navy sailors.

No-one would countenance such desecration on land. But the wrecks of the HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales, just a few miles off the coast of Malaysia, are now being stripped bare for their scrap metal. Recognised war graves, they are disappearing, with the damage intensifying in recent months, according to those who know the wrecks and try their best to preserve them.

It’s obviously unfortunate that the wrecks are being taken apart. At the same time, it’s hard for me to accord too much blame to Malaysian scrap dealers for taking apart a couple of ships that were destroyed when one imperial master fought another imperial master. They are monuments for the British, and possibly for the Japanese, but not for the people of the region.

And of course, HMS Prince of Wales is featured here…

All Y’all Listen Here…

[ 53 ] August 31, 2015 |

Well now this is interesting:

It’s true that “yall” is “the most identifiable feature of the dialect known as Southern American English.” But where did it come from? And how did it end up in the South?

Many discussions of the word connect it to the history of second-person pronouns in English. Old English had singular and plural forms of “you,” and these eventually morphed into the formal “you” and informal “thou” pronouns you find in Shakespeare and the King James Bible. But “yall” isn’t a descendant of these, and there’s still debate about its origins.

Long story short, there are plausible origins in both Scots-Irish and Afro-creole dialects. Given that there’s a lot of variation (in both frequency and application) across the South in usage of “y’all” and “all y’all,” I wonder if it might be useful to map that variation onto Scots-Irish immigration and slaveholding density, see how it falls out.

Craven (Not John Kasich Post!)

[ 11 ] August 30, 2015 |

I’ve seen Nightmare on Elm Street once.  I was eleven, but parts of it are still etched on my brain.

Rest in peace, Wes Craven. 

Bringing Back the Battleship…

[ 39 ] August 30, 2015 |

I’m now all battleships, all the time.  Latest at National Interest:

Is it time to bring back the battleship?

For decades, naval architects have concentrated on building ships that, by the standards of the World Wars, are remarkably brittle. These ships can deal punishment at much greater ranges than their early 20th century counterparts, but they can’t take a hit. Is it time to reconsider this strategy, and once again build protected ships? This article examines how these trends came about, and what might change in the future.

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