One Small Step…

On this day at 02:56 UTC 44 years ago, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to leave one of these on the surface of another astronomical body. Three years and five months later, Eugene Cernan became the last man to do so, so far.

The last Space Shuttle touched down for the last time on this day two years ago.

Elon Musk of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX fame has said that the impetus behind the development of SpaceX came when his son asked him, “is it really true that they used to fly to the moon when you were a boy?”

Now there are two-dozen or more private space ventures around the world. There is a plan to capture and retrieve an asteroid for commercial purposes. Other companies want to mine the moon.  Still another plans to put an observatory there.

If we can just hold it together for a couple more decades, humanity might get off this rock, and we might do it in my lifetime.

But it’s not looking too good.

(Updated and reposted from last year.)

Quote of the Day – Heather Mac Donald Edition

From her NRO column, The Post-Zimmerman Poison Pill:

The idea that the criminal-justice system discriminates against blacks — and that this bias explains blacks’ disproportionate presence in custody — is a staple of civil-rights activism and of the academic Left. Every effort to prove it empirically, however, has come up short. A 1994 Justice Department survey of felony cases from the country’s 75 largest urban areas discovered that blacks actually had a lower chance of prosecution following a felony than whites did and that they were less likely to be found guilty at trial. Alfred Blumstein has found that blacks are underrepresented in prison for homicide compared with their arrest rates. A meta-analysis of charging and sentencing studies showed that “large racial differences in criminal offending,” not racism, explained why more blacks were in prison proportionately than whites and for longer terms, according to criminologists Robert Sampson and Janet Lauritsen.

Pesky things, facts.  RTWT.  More pesky facts therein.

I’m Geeking Out Here

Ok, one of these years I’m going to Comic-Con:


My wife and I were in San Diego over Comic-Con weekend a few years ago, but not to attend the event.  I kind of regret not taking advantage of the timing, but …

So Detroit Files for Bankruptcy

What, it can’t loan money to itself to get out of its hole?

Gov. Rick Snyder justified approving the historic filing by reciting a litany of the city’s ills, including more than $18 billion in debt, maxed-out tax rates, the highest murder rate in 40 years, 78,000 abandoned buildings and a half-century of residential flight. He said the city failed to provide basic services to residents or pay creditors.

“There were no other viable alternatives,” Snyder told reporters Thursday. “We have a great city but a city that has been going downhill for 60 years.”

Just a coincidence I’m sure, but Detroit hasn’t had a Republican mayor for … sixty-one years.

It will be interesting to see if Obama inserts himself into this bankruptcy proceeding and screws the secured bondholders in favor of the unions.  Again.  (ETA:  Walter Russell Mead says “No.”)

Edited to add:

And, of course, this classic from Steven:

UPDATE #4: Michigan AG challenges judge’s ruling that Detroit bankruptcy is unconstitutional

An Ingham County judge says Thursday’s historic Detroit bankruptcy filing violates the Michigan Constitution and state law and must be withdrawn.

But Attorney General Bill Schuette said he will appeal Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina’s Friday rulings and seek emergency consideration by the Michigan Court of Appeals. He wants her orders stayed pending the appeals, he said in a news release.

There’s more.

Apparently Judge Aquilina is a “wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences,” instead of someone who, you know, cares about rule of law.

For Breda

…everyone’s favorite research librarian.

I’m currently reading The End is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome:  How Going Broke will Leave America Richer, Happier and More Secure by Kevin D. Williamson.  I’m about halfway through it, and so far it’s been written in pretty pure libertarian win.  Lots of Quote of the Day fodder, but I get the sinking impression that the last third is going to largely be of “and then a MIRACLE will occur!” variety, because, by George, we’re AMERICANS and that’s what we DO!

Time will tell.

But for today, I ran across a section that just had me saying to myself “Gotta post this for Breda.”  It’s in the chapter on “What Government is For.”:

Privately funded and volunteer-staffed public libraries were the norm for many years, from magnificent ones such as the New York Public Library―the main branch of which was the largest marble building in the world at the time of its opening―to modest ones throughout suburbs and small towns across the country.  At the apogee of WASP society-lady culture, volunteering at the local library was practically a rite of passage, an entrée into more prestigious charitable work.  (It was a perfection of mid-twentieth-century American upper-class culture that the vanity of ambitious social climbers was exceedingly well aligned with genuine civic virtue, and that conspicuous consumption had not yet displaced conspicuous civil service.  The WASP establishment had its shortcomings, to be sure, but its absence is today keenly felt from the Main Line to Orange County.)  To be sure, in many of these cases there was some entanglement with politics from the beginning, and in a great many more an eventual entanglement with politics, which has been especially harmful in the case of the public libraries: Somehow, as library budgets ballooned and volunteer society ladies were displaced by graduate-schooled, credentialed professionals in the faintly ridiculous field of “library science,” our libraries were transformed from quiet places to read a book into psychiatric wards in which homeless men masturbate to Internet pornography.  The San Francisco public libraries recently installed barriers to increase the level of privacy for this activity.

Coming to a library near you?

A Crutch? It Should be Used as an Impaling Stake.

How many inconsistencies (and how much bullshit) can you find in this story:

Affidavit: Man using rifle as crutch when it fired

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man told police he was using his assault rifle as a crutch to help him get up from a couch at a friend’s apartment when it fired a burst through the ceiling and killed a little girl upstairs, court records show.

He was using the gun as a crutch, but it “fired a burst” through the CEILING?!?! Why didn’t it take his arm off at the shoulder?

A police affidavit said Jon Andrew Meyer Jr. told investigators the gun went off accidentally June 27 at the Grants Pass apartment, the Grants Pass Daily Courier reported.

Defense lawyer Gary Berlant adds Meyer had been assured the gun was not fully automatic.

But it “fired a BURST”?  How long had he owned it?  Did it have a happy switch?

Meyer is being held on $250,000 bail on charges of manslaughter, assault and unlawful possession of a machine gun.

Authorities say he was responsible for the reckless burst of rifle fire that killed 5-year-old Alysa Bobbitt of Shady Cove and wounded apartment resident Karen Hancock. The girl and Hancock were upstairs in the same apartment as Meyer.

The little girl and her mother were visiting friends there, but just what Meyer was doing in the apartment with the rifle was unclear. Court records say his fiancee had kicked him out of her place, getting a restraining order, and he listed his current residence as his sister’s home.

So he was under a restraining order, but he still had firearms? That’s unpossible!!

Meyer listed his occupation as lead bouncer at a Mexican restaurant, where he has worked for two years.

Though his fiancee, Victoria Kohout, told authorities that Meyer was a “big teddy bear,” her June 20 petition for the restraining order described him as an “unpredictable drug addict” who had threatened her with a gun, and threatened to burn down her house, slash her tires and break the windows on her car. The judge noted in the file that Meyer had four guns.

So he was a drug abuser, and the court was informed that he had firearms? And they didn’t take them?  Or did he acquire this one after the fact?

Lori Nelson, who lives down the block, said she was startled by the noise of gunfire, and saw Meyer running down the driveway. Then she heard screaming and saw Danielle R. Wilson, Alyssa’s mother, come outside holding the child in her arms.

“She looked up at me and said, ‘Please, help my baby,'” Nelson said.

The perp was using the rifle as a crutch in his apartment, but after it “fired a burst” through the ceiling he is then seen “running down the driveway”. It’s a MIRACLE! He was HEALED THROUGH THE POWER OF JESUS!

Everything about this story stinks. I can’t wait for the junk-on-the-bunk pictures and the handwringing over this guy’s “arsenal.”

And I hope he dies screaming in a fire.

Now watch the AP come after me.  I claim “Fair Use.”  Read the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.