The Morning Jolt

A Routine Case of Bad Maintenance? Or a Deadly Terrorist Attack?

Thank you to everyone who’s bought Heavy Lifting so far, and to Jonah for his kind words in the Goldberg File. The man speaks the truth about how engaged readers help writers a lot:

I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of Heavy Lifting: Grow Up, Get a Job, Raise a Family, and Other Manly Advice. It’s a great, fun, and a very useful read on the de-chestification of men in America. Also, and I say this as a self-interested party, the single best way you can help the writers you like — never mind the ones who send you free newsletters (wink) — is by buying their books. The Goldberg File is only once a week, but it requires a significant investment of time and energy. The Morning Jolt is daily and requires an even greater commitment. We appreciate the loyal readers in their own right, of course, but speaking only for myself, these things are hard to justify financially solely on their own merits. If you value these newsletters at all — say at the price of a quarter a week — then the cost of a book is still a bargain. Plus, you get a really good book in the process! My next book won’t be out for a while, but you can expect I will be making this case again and again. (Another way you can help is by encouraging TV and radio programs to bring writers you like on their shows, particularly when they have books out. Lots of the folks you see on TV work the refs to get on as much as possible. I hate that crap, but when support comes organically from the viewers, it helps).

I understand some bookstores haven’t received their copies yet, so if you don’t see it on the shelves, don’t be afraid to ask the bookstore employee to order it for you or reserve a copy!

A Routine Case of Bad Maintenance? Or a Deadly Terrorist Attack?

Hmmm.

The only reasonable explanation for the crash of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt is “an external influence,” an executive from the airline that operated the flight said Monday, stressing that planes don’t just break apart in midair.

Kogalymavia Flight 9268 broke into pieces before it hit the ground in a remote area of Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, killing all 224 people on board . . .

Learning that the plane broke into pieces while in the air helps reduce the list of possible causes of the crash, but there are still plenty of scenarios, said CNN aviation analyst Peter Goelz.

“It narrows it down a little bit, but there are a number of issues that could have affected this plane,” said Goelz, a former managing director of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB. “And terrorism has not been ruled out.”

Russia did just get a lot more active in the Middle East, making some enemies with that decision, including the kind of nut-jobs who would like to destroy a passenger airliner.

ISIS claimed they shot down the plane, but authorities are skeptical of that claim:

The claim was almost certainly bogus. Before disappearing from the radar on Saturday morning, the airliner was flying at an altitude of around 30,000 feet, far out of reach of the shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles that militant groups in that area are known to possess.

Steven A. Cook observes that the problem with the crash investigation is that we’re dealing with two governments that have only a vague relationship with telling the truth.

Richest Man in the World: ‘Representative Democracy Is a Problem’

Bill Gates is rapidly reaching supervillain status.

When I sat down to hear his case a few weeks ago, he didn’t evince much patience for the argument that American politicians couldn’t agree even on whether climate change is real, much less on how to combat it. “If you’re not bringing math skills to the problem,” he said with a sort of amused asperity, “then representative democracy is a problem.” What follows is a condensed transcript of his remarks, lightly edited for clarity.

I see Gates is now complaining about capitalism. What, does he think he got a raw deal?

Well, there’s no fortune to be made. Even if you have a new energy source that costs the same as today’s and emits no CO2, it will be uncertain compared with what’s tried-and-true and already operating at unbelievable scale and has gotten through all the regulatory problems, like “Okay, what do you do with coal ash?” and “How do you guarantee something is safe?” Without a substantial carbon tax, there’s no incentive for innovators or plant buyers to switch.

And for energy as a whole, the incentive to invest is quite limited, because unlike digital products — where you get very rapid adoption and so, within the period that your trade secret stays secret or your patent gives you a 20-year exclusive, you can reap incredible returns — almost everything that’s been invented in energy was invented more than 20 years before it got scaled usage. So if you go back to various energy innovators, actually, they didn’t do that well financially. The rewards to society of these energy advances — not much of that is captured by the individual innovator, because it’s a very conservative market. So the R&D amount in energy is surprisingly low compared with medicine or digital stuff, where both the government spending and the private-sector spending is huge.

Has there ever been a bigger, better case of, “I’ve got mine, now you can’t get yours?”

Fred Thompson, R.I.P.

Did anybody not like this guy?

Fred Thompson, a former U.S. senator from Tennessee, GOP presidential candidate, Watergate attorney and actor who starred on the television drama “Law and Order,” died on Sunday in Nashville. He was 73.

Mr. Thompson died after a recurrence of lymphoma, according to a prepared statement issued by the Thompson family. Mr Thompson, who had recently purchased a house in Nashville to return to Tennessee, was first diagnosed with cancer in 2004.

“It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of grief that we share the passing of our brother, husband, father, and grandfather who died peacefully in Nashville surrounded by his family,” the Thompson family’s statement reads.

“Fred once said that the experiences he had growing up in small-town Tennessee formed the prism through which he viewed the world and shaped the way he dealt with life,” his family said. “Fred stood on principle and common sense, and had a deep love for and connection with the people across Tennessee whom he had the privilege to serve in the United States Senate. He enjoyed a hearty laugh, a strong handshake, a good cigar, and a healthy dose of humility. Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio, or the town square of Lawrenceburg, his home.”

Someone pointed out after Thompson’s 2008 campaign that Barack Obama had spent most of his life planning to be the next FDR, JFK and Woodrow Wilson rolled into one. Until right before his campaign, Fred Thompson had been planning to be the next Paul Harvey. His campaign made clear he had no craven, raw lust for power or the glamour of the presidency; life had been good to him and he was happy to spend the rest of his days with Jeri and his children. As Larry Holmes said last night, “He didn’t really want to be president. That’s why he would have been a good one.”

Last night Dave Weigel recalled “one of the strangest hit pieces ever,” a 2007 Los Angeles Times piece that speculated that because Thompson played a racist villain in the 1988 series Wiseguy, people might think he was racist. It was a fairly transparent attempt to get the words “racist,” “white supremacist,” and “Fred Thompson” together as frequently as possible.

The fact that the shallow, hyperactive, partisan, and ideologically-blinkered political and media environment of 2007–08 chewed up and spat out a man like Fred Thompson was a good indicator that we were headed in the wrong direction.

ADDENDA: The big 6-0 for National Review. Here’s to 60 more!

Note this from the editors:

Conservatives meanwhile must consider how a free society can find productive work for the mass of men and women who are not and never will be tech-savvy. Too many in the business community would say: Import foreign workers, who will labor for even less. But that is not an option for a republican citizenry.

Easily the second or third-best book by a National Review editor out this fall, this November 17 Kevin Williamson will unveil The Case against Trump from Encounter Books.

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