A Retro Post – The Hindenburg, Munson Steamship Line, Snaefell Mountain Railway

The Hindenburg. For those that don’t know was considered the “Titanic” of air disasters. Filled with highly flammable hydrogen rather then the helium that was originally planned for the tanks it went down in flames on May 6, 1937 at NAS Lakehurst. The video is at Youtube.

Munson Steamship Lines. The company was established in 1899 and started service mostly between Cuba, Mexico and Gulf ports. It went bankrupt in 1937. Brief history here.

Snaefell Mountain Railway. An electric tram that runs on the Isle of Man running passengers between Laxey and the Snafell summit.

Automobile tent 1923. A last thought addition. This was the state of the art traveling cross country rig of its day.

The concept of hitting a bullet with another bullet as it heads our way seems like a ridiculous idea to anyone that has studied some physics, but not only will the concept not die it is costing taxpayers billions, Faith-Based Missile Defense

Indeed, in his opening statement Chairman Tierney framed the hearing as necessary for three reasons: 1) because the MDA operates the largest research and development program in the Department of Defense at a current cost of $10 billion per year, and a total cost of approximately $150 billion since the 1980’s; 2) as the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service described the missile defense regime, “Numerous programs were begun, and only a very few saw completion to deployment. Technical obstacles have proven to be tenacious, and systems integration challenges have been more the norm, rather than the exception”; and 3) many preeminent experts such as Coyle “have raised very serious concerns about the effectiveness, efficiency, and even the need for our country’s current missile defense efforts.”

Rather than dispelling concerns over such matters as the scheduled purchase of 1200 new missile interceptors that have never demonstrated any capability against a realistic threat under realistic operational conditions, Gen. Obering intensified those concerns by simply repeating his refrain that everything is “on course.” (It was as if Gen. Obering were channeling former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and offering his own version of “I don’t recall.”) Representative Betty McCollum was so irked that she suggested the program be housed in the Office of Faith-based Initiatives.

Coyle testified after Gen. Obering and was asked by Rep. Tierney if anything surprised him in the General’s testimony. “… I was surprised at how many statements – including new statements that he made – that were certainly incomplete, misleading, or even untrue,” Coyle said. “There were quite a few of them. I don’t quite know where to begin. Perhaps it would be best if I provided that for the record. I was just surprised that he made a number of statements that I think are at best misleading.”

One can understand some continued research, but considering that the most recent lagre attack against America was by nine guys with box cutters the expenditures to priorities ratio is a little out of whack. Of course the usual rules apply, if you think 150 billion and counting for a system that doesn’t work is money better spent else where you’re a commie terrorist loving librul.

Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

In the Last Gilded Age, People Stood Up to Greed — Why Aren’t We?

Certainly, Twain would feel right at home today. Crony capitalism, the main object of his satirical wit in The Gilded Age, is thriving. Incestuous plots as outsized as the one in which the Union Pacific Railroad’s chief investors conspired with a wagon-load of government officials, including Ulysses S. Grant’s vice president, to loot the federal treasury once again lubricate the machinery of public policy-making. A cronyism that would have been familiar to Twain has made the wheels go round in these terminal years of the Bush administration. Even the invasion and decimation of Iraq was conceived and carried out as an exercise in grand-strategic cronyism; call it cronyism with a vengeance. All of this has been going on since Ronald Reagan brought back morning to America.

Reagan’s America was gilded by design. In 1981, when the New Rich and the New Right paraded in their sumptuous threads in Washington to celebrate at the new president’s inaugural ball, it was called a “bacchanalia of the haves.” Diana Vreeland, style guru (as well as Nancy Reagan confidante), was stylishly blunt: “Everything is power and money and how to use them both… We mustn’t be afraid of snobbism and luxury.”