Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Archive for May 2005

America the Bad, Europe the Good

leave a comment »

The French have just scuttled the so-called European Constitution, which interesting only in it’s their baby, but the wailing and gnashing of teeth is quite loud nonetheless. But one wailer caught my eye in particular:

Not long ago, for example, Romano Prodi, the former president of the European Commission, had predicted that a French no would mean “the end of Europe.” On Monday he called the outcome “a disaster,” but insisted that the union would continue to function under current rules and that things could be worse.

“This is still better than a war of secession like the United States once had,” he said in a telephone interview. “I’m serious now. We must keep this perspective in mind. We don’t have a treaty, but we also don’t have wars.”

Say what?

Let me get this straight, Prodi is comparing this vote to the Civil War? And if I read this correctly, it was worse than the French non?

Well no merde paison, but what does that have to do with the price of brie in France?

The American Civil War has less to do with this vote than the French Revolution does, and the notion that Europe doesn’t have wars is laughable. North America hasn’t seen a war in more than a century, but I believe Europe’s record is a touch mixed there. Most recently in the 90s, not counting those couple of times Germany got uppity. Europe spilled oceans of blood in the last century.

I do believe this vote has them positively unhinged. But never mind the facts, America is always bad.

Written by martinipundit

May 31, 2005 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Eurofollies

McCain Dreams

leave a comment »

In today’s OpinionJournal, Brendan Miniter observes the McCain meme is back:

Having helped broker the Great Senate Compromise last week, Sen. John McCain is back in the media limelight, winning the usual accolades for bucking his party. But the deal by 14 “moderates” doesn’t just preserve the judicial filibuster and allow confirmation of a few of President Bush’s “extremist” nominees. It also reveals that the myth the McCainiacs hoped would propel their man into the Oval Office in 2000 still endures, despite evidence of successive elections to the contrary.

The myth is simply that the only way to win elections is to draw voters from the other party by bucking a few of your own party’s principles. Call it “maverick moderatism,” but this belief has been the foundation for Mr. McCain’s strategy for achieving national office and has given us great ideas like the recent iteration of campaign finance reform, opposition to some tax cuts and dogged attacks by Mr. McCain on some military expenditures. It’s also the foundation of many pundits’ advice to the president that he pick more “moderate” judges, give up on using payroll taxes to create private Social Security accounts, and trim his sails on fighting terrorism by spreading freedom.

It’s everywhere you look again – McCain will be a formidable candidate. 2008 will be his year. The ‘maverick’ has done it again.


Miniter is not sanguine on McCain’s chances in 2008. I’m conisderably more optimistic: McCain doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the 2008 Republican nomination. The Media’s sure. The Democrat’s sure. The RINO’s sure. But Republicans? No.

I confess to being completely bewildered by the willful blindness of the MSM on this issue. Of course, they love McCain, he’s basically a Democrat. But why they would willfully delude themselves does evade me.

McCain gained some goodwill last summer it is true, by sticking by Bush when the stakes were high. But that goodwill was never going to translate into support at the polls. Conservatives like me cannot stand John McCain because he has consistently opposed bedrock conservative principles or worse, waffled in the crunch like last week on judicial filibusters. That issue alone would be enough to sink him in the primaries, but his botched campaign finance reform carries just as much baggage. And then long-time readers know what I think of senators aiming for the big chair.

Nevertheless, I’m sure we’ll be treated to years of speculation on the man from Arizona, and I doubt this will be the last word on this blog on the subject. But remember, you read it here: John McCain will never be elected President of the United States on a Republican ticket. Take it to the bank.

Update And if you need even more proof, apparently Andrew Sullivan has become a McCain supporter. What a surprise.

Written by martinipundit

May 31, 2005 at 12:13 pm

Posted in 2008 Election, Politics

First American Carriers at War

leave a comment »

The United States was somewhat slower to develop aircraft carriers than other navies, both the Japanese and the British gaining a head start. But in the interwar period, the US built some remarkable ships, several of which would become instrumental in turning the tide of battle in the Pacific in 1942.

Here is a photo of the first three US carriers in Bremerton, WA in 1929:

At the bottom, we find the USS Langley CV-1, the first American carrier. She saw action in WWII as a converted seaplane tender, being sunk in February, 1942. In the middle is the USS Saratoga CV-3, a ship which survived the war only to be sunk during the nuclear tests at Bikini Atholl.

It is the top ship we’re most interested in. This is the USS Lexington CV-2, the “Lady Lex.” She and her sister Saratoga began life as battlecruisers, but they and the four other ships of the class were cancelled in 1922 in compliance with the Washington Naval Treaty. The Lexington and Saratoga had already been launched, and the decision was made to convert them to aircraft carriers. In this guise, they were undoubtedly more successful and more valuable to the nation. Before Pearl Harbor, a total of eight carriers were built by the US, all of which eventually saw action of some sort in WWII, and only three of which survived. The other five were all lost to Japanese action in 1942.

The first six months of 1942 were difficult ones for the American military forces in the Pacific. Pearl Harbor had devastated the American battleships, forcing the Navy to rely on the carriers for major operations. That Pearl Harbor had changed naval warfare in favor of the carrier only made a virtue of the necessity. Three key objectives drove American strategy in those months: Protect American forward bases in the Pacific, prevent the Japanese from seizing New Guinea and the Solomons (which would threaten Australia), and conserve the carriers. Basically, two of these three objectives would be met.

As a prelude to the invasion of New Guinea, the Japanese sent a task force to seize Port Moresby which included three carriers: the Shokaku and Zuikaku – two heavy carriers that had been at Pearl Harbor, and the light carrier Shoho. In total the Japanese carriers had 140 aircraft. In response, Admiral Nimitz dispatched two carriers, the Lexington and the much newer USS Yorktown CV-5 with 138 planes. This is the Yorktown in 1940 in San Diego:

The resulting battle, called Coral Sea and fought over May 7-8, 1942, was the first battle ever to be fought entirely with carrier-based aircraft. The American commander, Rear Admiral Fletcher, attacked the Japanese invasion force on May 7, and sank the Shoho. The next day, the main carrier duel began, and the Japanese withdrew after losing 73 aircraft, cancelling the invasion. The first time out, the American carriers had inflicted a strategic defeat on the Japanese.

It came at a very high cost, however. In addition to the loss of 66 planes, the Yorktown was damaged and the Lexington hit by two torpedoes. Here she is just before the war (the dual 8″ turrets were removed early in 1942):

The damage was severe, and fires raged throughout the ship. Many men were trapped below decks, and herculean efforts were made to save them. The crew managed to put out the fires, only to have them flare up again when the ventilation system was turned back on. The order was given to abandon ship, all hope lost for the trapped crewmen. The Lexington was scuttled, and the US had lost her first heavy carrier. The Yorktown had also been damaged in the battle, and she steamed to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

This loss was not without gain, however. One month later, a decisive carrier action took place near Midway Island, key to a Japanese invasion of Hawaii. A huge Japanese fleet, including the other four heavy carriers from Pearl Harbor: the Akagi, the Kaga, the Hiryu, and the Soryu were met by the newly repaired Yorktown and her sister ship the USS Enterprise CV-6. When the battle was over, all four Japanese carriers had been sunk, and along with their irreplacable loss was the irreplacable loss of the cream of the Japanese aviators. But this battle was won at the cost of the Yorktown, damaged by the Japanese planes and finished by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine.

Yet Midway was a staggering victory. From that point forward, the American took the offensive in the Pacific, and the invasion of Guadacanal followed soon after. The Japanese had shown the world the power of the aircraft carrier, but it was the US Navy which took them to school. A salute to all our veterans, past and present, on Memorial Day.

Written by martinipundit

May 30, 2005 at 11:45 am

Posted in History, Ships

Benedict XVI on Judaism

leave a comment »

I’ve been looking into some of the writings of our new Pope, Benedict XVI. In an interesting little book written while he was still a cardinal called “Many Religions – One Covenant,” I found this gem on pp. 45-6:

Jews and Christians should accept each other in profound inner reconciliation, neither in disregard of their faith nor in denying it, but out of the depth of faith itself. In their mutual reconciliation they should become a force for peace in and for the world. Through their witness to the one God, who cannot be adored apart from the unity of love of God and neighbor, they should open the door into the world for this God so that his will may be done and so that it may become on earth “as it is in heaven”: so that “his kingdom come.”

Funny, doesn’t sound like a Nazi. Do you think those calling him that might not know what they’re talking about?

Written by martinipundit

May 30, 2005 at 9:05 am

Posted in Church

The LA Times Puts the Cart Well Before the

leave a comment »

I’m not going to pretend that I’m a big fan of Bill Frist right now, or for that matter, ever. I simply do not understand the senatorial disease in which each of them sees themselves as a future president. That having been said, I don’t believe Frist has formally announced his candicacy for 2008, and so this seems premature:

The best thing a Senate majority leader with presidential aspirations can do is quit. That was Bob Dole’s strategy in 1996, when he resigned to run against President Clinton. And it may be part of Bill Frist’s decision not to seek reelection in 2006. If so, Frist could hardly make a smarter move.

Oh come on. It’s obvious to me that it’s more than a little ridiculous for an MSM stalwart to call for the resignation of a Republican from the Senate three years in advance of an election he isn’t in yet. After all, Dole didn’t resign in 1993. Does the LA Times actually think it’s fooling anyone here? Now, it’s true, Kerry wasn’t the leader at the time of his nomination, but doesn’t it seem a touch laughable that they call for Frist’s resignation now but Kerry’s … never?

Written by martinipundit

May 27, 2005 at 12:08 pm

Posted in 2008 Election, MSM, Politics

A Year of MartiniPundit

leave a comment »

Hard for me to believe, but today marks the one year ‘blogiversary’ of MartiniPundit. Many thanks to all those who’ve stopped by and to the three or four of you who read regularly. Also thanks to those who said I should have done this a long time before I actually did.

I gather it’s a tradition of sorts to take a look back at the year’s better posts (from my admittedly subjective point of view), so here they are: This is the first post ever.

Predictably, it combined the Europeans and the election. Off and running! Also in those early days was The Perfect Martini, which has proved popular over the year. Another key Martini post here.

Two colossal figures on the world stage left us this year. Here is my look back at President Reagan. The other was Pope John Paul II. Here is the post on the 26th anniversary of his Pontificate, and this on his loss.

Ship-blogging has been a topic to which I’ve returned from time to time. I still get plenty of Google searches that find The Old Battlewagons, although I’m more partial to my look at the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. And we cannot forget my shadow, the USS Ramage.

I visited Apocalypse Now a couple of times, once in connection with terrorist beheadings, and once – far less seriously – in connection with my purchase of “Unfit for Command.”

As with just about everyone else, the election of 2004 formed the backbone of the blog through November. As a Bush supporter in Massachusetts who had been watching Kerry for some time, I was fairly relentless in my criticism of the junior Senator. Kerry’s military service as a campaign theme was exhausted fairly early for me, and I later felt the need to poke a little Photoshop fun. And to note that Kerry had been at a lot of important events. While Ted Kennedy told us to fear George Bush, black helicopters circled Boston. Also seen at that time, was Kerry channeling Nixon. It really was all about Vietnam. Towards the end of an ordeal we were all tired of, I had an encounter with a pair of Yellow Dawg Moonbats, summed up my issues with Kerry, and endorsed Bush for reelection.

Now and then, I dipped into the books to look at things from a historical point of view. Once on two-terms as a phenomenon, and I also touched on King Sihanouk. I also noted how close we came to disaster in 1864, and what Lincoln had to say.

I’ll note for the record that a certain infamous bloggers lost me early, and some people have been on the fringe for some time.

But of course, the most important blogging subjects over the past year have been Chloe and Daphne.

Written by martinipundit

May 26, 2005 at 8:10 am

Posted in Blogging, General

Back Tomorrow

leave a comment »

I’ll be back in earnest tomorrow, which, incidentally, will be the first anniversary of this blog.

Written by martinipundit

May 25, 2005 at 12:26 pm

Posted in Blogging

%d bloggers like this: