Best of 2009: “No takers”

This was first posted on February 20, 2009.  It is clearly the most popular post I ever wrote here, but probably not for the reasons I might have wanted a post to be.  But, hey, traffic is traffic, right?

Popehat on the F-15‘s hoary origins:f15_15

Our air supremacy is built on the same tech level of the 8-track tape, and succeeds because no one will fly against it.

Not only won’t they fly against it — Saddam hid his MIG’s under the sand just at the thought of tangling with the F-15.

Worth remembering.

UPDATE:

Я не читаю, или я говорю на русском языке. Таким образом я удаляю все российские комментарии как спам. Это не является личным, но если Вы комментируете на русском языке, предположения, здесь – против Вас: Если Вы можете прочитать быстро через мой blog, Вы можете прокомментировать на английском языке!

Comments at the original post.

Good Point

Forbes ranks West Point as nation’s top college (via Insty):

A report released Wednesday by Forbes magazine ranked the U.S. Military Academy as the top college in the country in their America’s Best College review. “Marked by an intense work ethic and drive to succeed on all fronts, the West Point undergraduate experience also allows graduates to leave without a penny of tuition loans to repay,” Forbes stated in its release.

World War II Memorial -- Washington, DC

World War II Memorial -- Washington, DC

Yeah.  You know, I’m on vacation this week — hence the lack of blogging, if you noticed — and I’m in Washington, where it’s hot and humid but priced perfectly for a family vacation.  And at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum today we saw an IMAX film about the Air Force’s real-life “Top Gun” training and simulation program, Red Flag.

And, wow.

The flick is propaganda all the way, but, guess what, so are all films.  But coming away from this, and having attended a number of highly-ranked educational institutions myself, I said to myself and a significant other, my, these guys — the U.S. military as a whole, notwithstanding sad notable exceptions– are the most competent people in the country, aren’t they?

I know.  So many awful things do get done wrong by the military, it seems.  It’s so easy to second guess them, though, given the scope of what they’re tasked with.  But if you sensibly weigh the things they do right with proper consideration of the risks of doing it wrong, both locally and globally, extraordinary mastery of multiple arts and scientists required to execute their tasks, the discipline and focus, and —

Then there’s this.

The members of the military essentially do everything that is physically and technological possible in the pursuit of their missions.  You and I look at, say, the way you would go about rescuing a downed pilot and say, well, if you could rappel down a rope and, uh, I guess…. oh never mind.

They rappel down the rope.  They fly upside down.  Anything a human can do, they find people brave enough and dedicated enough to go out there and DO.

For YOU.

How many Ivy Leaguers does that describe?

The shoot ’em up capital

Charles-Bronson---Death-Wish-PhotographA year after the Supreme Court told the Washington, DC city counsel that, yes, the Second Amendment does apply to the District of Columbia, it’s exactly as the Brady Bunch has predicted — with pretty much everyone packing heat, it’s now a wide-open, Wild West firing range where you have to run, squatting, from your car to the lobby of the building you’re going into just to avoid the ricocheting ordnance.

Or not.

Tote boards don’t cut it

In what I suppose amounts to an endorsement by LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® of the Sotomayor nomination from the point of view of her strong intellectual property background, I made a side point decrying what we might call the “tote board” approach to reckoning a judge’s inclinations on given issues.  That’s where we pile up all her published opinions, see how many went “one way” and how many went “the other way,” and declare that the nominee is “pro-gun” or “pro-government” without regard to the facts of those cases, the nature of the appellate or litigation docket that generated those opportunities to write the opinions, or even the ratio decidendi of the opinions themselves, which will be in some unknown percentage utterly unrelated to the issue being “tagged.”  It’s the logical fallacy of the confusion between cause and effect, or perhaps of the “questionable cause,” I suppose.

Thus, in my post, in which I pretend to start parsing out “pro-trademark-owner decisions” versus “pro-infringement-defendant decisions,” I immediately hit PRL USA Holdings v. U.S. Polo Ass’n, Inc., reported on here. That decision by a Second Circuit panel including Judge Sotomayor was “pro-defendant” in outcome, but obviously had nothing really to do with trademark:  The appeal really was about a point in connection with the Federal Rules of Evidence, not trademark at all.

It is true that some judges go where they want to go in certain kinds of cases regardless of what is really happening in a case, and without a care as to what issues are really before them — but these judges are merely robed criminals, patent abusers of their office and their oaths.  It is not as if many such jurists have not achieved high office, but no one seriously suggests that Judge Sotomayor is one of that type.

Now Ann Althouse presents us with a classic example of the “surprising decision” phenomenon, in connection with what unsophisticated observers will utterly not understand.  It relates to a Seventh Circuit decision, published today, holding that the Second Amendment to the Constitution is not incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment — a potentially devastating development for gun ownership advocates.  Here’s Ann:

A unanimous 7th Circuit panel, consisting of Easterbrook, Bauer, and Posner, adhering to Supreme Court precedent, says that the 2d Amendment is not incorporated in the 14th Amendment and thus does not apply to the states. Easterbrook’s opinion (PDF) — emphasizes federalism — the value of decentralized decisionmaking on the subject of gun rights . . .

The panel adheres to Supreme Court precedent, but it also lays out the federalism argument in clear bold terms for future consumption by the Supreme Court. . .

See how this helps the Sotomayor nomination?

Sotomayor was labeled “anti-gun” by Gun Owners of America for refusing to extend to the states the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 decision overturning a Washington, D.C., handgun ban. The group said a January ruling by a three-judge panel that included Sotomayor displayed “pure judicial arrogance” for declining to throw out a New York state weapons law.

Very cool. You don’t love the law? Then you don’t get it!

Why we fight.

The greatest ever Memorial Day words were uttered not on the eve of summer, but in November:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

(Originally posted on Memorial Day 2007.)

UPDATE:

Я не читаю или говорю на русском языке. Таким образом я удаляю все российские комментарии как спам. Ничто персонал, но предположение не против Вас.

Если Вы можете прочитать мой blog, Вы можете прокомментировать на английском языке!

Mass persuasion prevented?

Instapundit reports about a college student who shot and killed a home invader evidently bent on major mayhem.  It’s a chlling story, with a relatively happy ending, and certainly reminded me of an earlier post where I criticized Glenn Reynolds for prescribing that collegians pack heat on campus.  I wasn’t disagreeing with his policy, necessarily, merely his analysis there.  I got slaughtered in the comments, but I still had my doubts on the ponit.

I was about to throw in the towel on this until I took a close look at the story.  Something seemed wrong.  And it is, a little:  From what I can tell, these were college students.  But they weren’t “in college,” i.e., on campus — the incident, which was truly awful and would have been far worse but for the fact that one of the students was able to save the day with his own weapon, appears to have taken place in an off campus apartment.  It’s not exactly clear, but that’s how it reads to me.

So when Glenn says, “Clayton Cramer comments: ‘If you have any doubt as to whether keeping colleges gun-free zones makes sense, I think this answers the question,'” I really have no idea what either of them are talking about.  Do you?

Attorney Ronald D. Coleman