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Posts by Timm

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  • Was Neville Chamberlain really a weak and terrible leader?

    09/30/2013 12:24:37 PM PDT · 47 of 60
    Timm to donmeaker
    Churchill didn’t think Neville Chamberlain was the problem. He thought that the unreadiness foisted on Britain by Stanley Baldwin was the problem.

    Chamberlain certainly made mistakes, but the Munich agreement was in fact a peace treaty that made peace, at the cost of Czech defenses. Hitler went beyond the agreement and took over the rest of Czechoslovakia (except for bits handed to Poland and Hungary), but that wasn’t Chamberlain’s fault.

    Let me begin by saying that I agree with a number of other posters that these "news" stories about Neville Chamberlain and Munich are transparent attempts to defend the Obama Administration's recent mishandling of the Syria crisis.

    That said, I too am going to offer something of a contrarian view for FR about the Munich Agreement itself. The agreement was a bad choice for Britain, but it was a bad choice among other bad options.

    By 1938, both Britain and France had neglected defense preparations for about a decade, a de facto bilateral policy that left someone like Chamberlain in a very poor position to act in 1938. This policy and its effects were was simply facts at the time of Munich, and this policy was the fundamental mistake. Not only were both Britain and France underprepared for war against a continental power, but the doubt each country therefore had about the other's willingness to maintain a wartime alliance between the two was quite reasonable.

    Remember that Britain was not faced with destruction in 1938. Nor was the German absorption of Czechoslavakia itself a strategic threat to Britain. Britain reckoned, accurately, that should war be necessary it could be prosecuted later than the spring of 1938 from a position that was no worse than at that time.

    It should be noted, too, that the strategic worries Britain had in 1938 about a major war all came to pass, as things actually happened, and the British ability to avoid these outcomes by declaring war in 1938 is doubtful. The Japanese would eventually have tried to take advantage of British weakness in the far East had Britain begun a major European war in 1938, just as actually happened, and there is no reason to think that these counterfactual Japanese adventures would have been any less disastrous for Britain than the actual ones. Germany would not have abandoned its broader war plans, and it would not have accepted any settlement denying it strategic dominance in Europe without being defeated in war. Britain only suspected as much about German intentions in 1938, true. Britain did realize, though, that the ability of Britain and France to inflict defeat on Germany in 1938 was not notably greater than they could expect it to be in the near future, such as in 1939, when war actually began.

    The real significance of Munich was to make vivid the one fact that Britain and France were struggling to avoid facing. Should it be necessary to go to war to curb German aggression the two countries were neither willing nor able to do so.

    This deficiency persisted right up to the start of the war in 1939. By the time Britain began preparing for war in earnest, it was too late to make good a decade of neglect. Hence the disasters that ensued.

    In this respect, Britain was hardly unique. France, the United States, and the Soviet Union all systematically underestimated the German and Japanese threats, all of them neglected their defense preparations despite ample warnings of strategic danger, and all of them suffered numerous catastrophes as a result. The Munich Agreement was just the last dramatic demonstration of the danger the (eventual) Allied powers had allowed themselves to drift into before war actually began. By itself, it did little to alter the strategic situation for any of the belligerent powers.

    The popular discussion of Munich tends to emphasize a narrative of personal weakness on Chamberlain's part. That is unfortunate, as the more important lesson derives from Britain's strategic weakness that left Chamberlain without good options.

  • Dashcam Shows Trooper Running Over Couple On Motorcycle

    09/13/2013 9:03:27 PM PDT · 30 of 31
    Timm to cuban leaf
    If I’m driving or riding slow, I watch my mirrors almost more than what is in front of me. Sure, if someone hits me it’s their fault, but I ride a motorcycle.from cuban leaf

    Thanks for the reply. This is a good point about the mirrors. Still, this particular accident was a worst case as far as overtaking traffic from behind goes.

    Even if this rider had been attending to the mirrors constantly, he would have had very little time to get off of the road after recognizing that the overtaking car was not slowing and was not going to change lanes. Some drivers don't change lanes until the last minute, and some don't slow until they're uncomfortably close, after all.

    It's hard to protect yourself, on a bike or in a car, from someone who is speeding down the highway and not paying any attention to where he is going. This trooper would have driven right into the back of a car carrier had one happened to be there in front of him.

    It's an uncomfortable accident to view, to be sure.

  • Dashcam Shows Trooper Running Over Couple On Motorcycle

    09/12/2013 11:22:34 AM PDT · 11 of 31
    Timm to cuban leaf
    (From Cuban Leaf:) I gotta admit that this video does bring up the point that one of the greatest contributors to accidents regarding people going the same direction is goss differences in speed. Going extra slow is not always the safe option. (End of Cuban Leaf's comments)

    Wow, no, I'd say the salient feature of this accident was the simple and unmitigated lack of attention from the trooper doing the driving. Rolling up and smashing another vehicle from behind at full road speed, with no braking or evasive action, can only be the result of dangerous negligence on the part of the driver.

    Riding a lower speed at night on a motorcycle is prudent, particularly with a passenger and particularly in Ohio. There are many deer on the roads this time of year and many smaller animals like raccoons that pose a hazard to a rider.

    Simply getting on the road does leave yourself vulnerable to a driver who is paying no attention to what he is doing and thereby threatening others. That's all that happened here.

  • Honk-Your-Horn [Bullying] before running over someone...

    02/23/2013 12:35:52 PM PST · 11 of 35
    Timm to topher

    I am as adamant an advocate for drivers of motor vehicles recognizing the rights of way of bicyclists as any person. I often use a bicycle for practical trips, including rides of several miles on busy roads, and I have done so for years.

    So, I sympathize with your frustration, to be sure. Still, it’s worth saying, for anyone reading the thread, that the proper way for a bicyclist to go straight through an intersection in which right turns are legal for traffic is not on the far right side. It’s safer, and more proper, to move out into the middle or the left of the right lane so that drivers coming up behind you either will wait for you to enter the intersection before they turn right or will occupy the space to your right and make a right turn without crossing your path. You should signal before changing your lane position, of course, and you should do it when safe. So, you sometimes have to plan a bit before an intersection in traffic.

    Bike lanes are supposed to be painted to acknowledge this practice. Bike lanes are supposed to start breaking up for an intersection so as not keep a cyclist riding on a path that will set him up for a right hook from car drivers turning right from the rider’s left. In most places the bike lanes are properly painted, but they might not be in your area.

    It’s also true, too, that some drivers will just try to move past a cyclist and then turn right in front of him anyway. That kind of driving it outright dangerous, and it makes me angry, too. One has to be alert for that even if one is doing the right thing on a bicycle.

    For those who raise the following point, I agree that bicycles should obey the traffic laws, too, on shared streets with ordinary motor traffic. Drivers find it easier to predict a rider’s behavior if one does, and drivers tend to respect the bicyclist more, too.

  • Angry Neighbors Battle It Out With Signs

    06/17/2006 11:44:14 PM PDT · 73 of 75
    Timm to PzLdr
    Just to throw a little gas on the fire [no pun intended], why is it that cat owners think it's perfectly reasonable for their cats to wander onto other people's property, use flower beds for toilets [if not basement window wells], kill whatever wildlife they can get, drive my dogs nuts, and that saying, "they're indoor - outdoor cats" covers it?

    Cat owners are a phenomenon unto themselves. Otherwise decent people divorce themselves from ordinary moral sense when it comes to those animals. The whole world is their litter box. Their neighbors' well tended gardens are fouled by these animals? Not their problem. Any wild creature of any kind-- endangered, threatened, found on private property or public land-- is just a toy for their tabby. And anyone who complains about any of this is the one with something wrong with him.

  • Global warming could burn insurers - Activists call on industry to act

    06/16/2006 11:09:19 PM PDT · 23 of 27
    Timm to Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
    Regardless of what one's view on the subject is, you must admit that it is remarkably coincidental that the rise in global temperatures is occurring in a correlative fashion with the increase in CO2 concentration. And, that CO2 concentration rises correlative to the increase burning of fossil fuels.

    The relation between CO2 emissions from human activity and measured global warming isn't all that correlative, actually.

    The Northern Hemisphere was colder in the 18th and early 19th centuries than today. This period was the tail end of what is called the "Little Ice Age". Starting in the mid-nineteenth century, recorded temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere began rising to those we are familiar with today.

    Between ~1850 and 1940, most of the warming observed in modern times occurred. Yet, only a small fraction of the total CO2 emissions from human activity since 1850-- about 20%-- occurred during that time.

    Between 1940 and today, a minority of the warming that has occurred between ~1850 and today occurred. Yet, that was the period in which the overwhelming majority of CO2 emissions occurred. Furthermore, the period between 1940 and ~1975 saw significant cooling throughout the world. (Many climatologists thought we were on the verge of a new ice age in the mid-seventies, some of you will remember.) Between 1975 and today, there was more warming.

    In other words, there is no close correlation between CO2 emissions and measured warming. At the very least, a measured response to the data would suggest that whatever anthropogenic warming has occurred since the mid-nineteenth century has occurred against a background of warming caused by factors other than human activity.

  • A Traitor is about to be honored

    05/28/2006 9:58:46 AM PDT · 31 of 35
    Timm to garylmoore
    Please

    Please what? Look, I don't like Fonda any more than you do. I'm with you in letting people know why. That letter is full of urban legends, however.

  • A Traitor is about to be honored

    05/27/2006 11:05:32 PM PDT · 8 of 35
    Timm to garylmoore
    http://www.snopes.com/military/fonda.asp

    There is plenty for which one might criticize Jane Fonda-- *Jane Fonda* for pete's sake-- without having to resort to a long discredited chain letter.

  • Next for air travelers: Standing room only? (Airbus Proposal)

    04/24/2006 10:36:56 PM PDT · 32 of 44
    Timm to Naptowne
    How can people stand when a plane takes off or lands?

    If a person can ride a roller coaster in a harnesses in a standing position, he can certainly ride a *commercial airliner* in a standing position, in any phase of flight.

    Airlines like to make a bit of drama of takeoffs and landings to (1) frighten the passengers into unquestioning obedience to all rules, however silly, and (2) because of stewardess unions, who like to promote the notion that stewardesses are trained "safety professionals" just a small step below pilots. If the stewardess didn't have some urgent task before landing, like telling you to move your seatback forward 1.5 inches, it would be undeniable that she was a waitress.

    As far as the desirability of standing places goes, I'd stand on a t<1 hour flight to save, say, $100, without question. On longer flights? Make me an offer.

  • Climate Change Is Real, Beatable, Evangelicals Say

    02/08/2006 9:54:22 PM PST · 25 of 87
    Timm to Westlander

    Since when does the A.P. care what petition a bunch of pastors sign? I guess there must have just been too much urgent news on the *other* days religious leaders were signing petitions against same-sex marriage, abortion, profanity on television, etc.

  • Let's Give Iran Some Of Its Own Medicine (Mark Steyn)

    01/16/2006 6:26:17 PM PST · 21 of 112
    Timm to blam

    Can we possibly be preparing to live with a nuclear-armed Iran? I fear we are on the cusp of a new, grim time...

  • Family Learns Miners Tried to Escape

    01/10/2006 8:57:37 PM PST · 6 of 13
    Timm to Flavius
    Yeah. Unlike the case of a submarine, the mine isn't going anywhere. Unlike the ocean, there are tunnels filled with air through which wireless relays could be placed. Wireless communication would be possible all throughout the mine, you would think. You can't be sure a system like that would survive an explosion like the one that occurred. But there is a good chance it would have, and do you need more than that to install the system?

    Even if a wireless system didn't survive the explosion, there would still be the possibility of lowering transmitters down into the part of the mine accessible to rescuers. Rescuers might then be able to communicate wireless through whatever debris field there was to those trapped.

    The thought that a system like that would have enabled those guys to walk out... wow.

  • AP Spins Rush Limbaugh Story

    12/18/2005 6:38:10 PM PST · 16 of 29
    Timm to wagglebee
    I'm with Limbaugh that there seems to be no crime here. What crime there *might* be in the worst case is hardly sufficient to warrant this endless legal fighting between the prosecutor's and Limbaugh's attorneys.

    That said, several hydrocodone per day is a *lot* of pain medicine.

  • CNN Poll - Who is "stupider"?

    12/08/2005 1:37:04 PM PST · 6 of 57
    Timm to Red Badger
    hehe... I'm with stupid... I mean, with Red Badger...

    What he said!

  • Incursions into paradise: Drug operations tied to cartels plague national parks (Illegals)

    12/03/2005 10:11:48 AM PST · 13 of 24
    Timm to Travis McGee
    Another bit of adventure in the backcountry. Great.

    Speaking of the backcountry, does anyone have any good backcountry/backpacking forums to recommend? Thanks!

  • Stalking the Day Laborers

    12/02/2005 8:31:29 PM PST · 19 of 46
    Timm to EternalVigilance
    What a hit piece! Amazing.

    "Vigilantism"?? The "odor of race baiting"?? These are citizens photographing individuals everyone agrees are criminals, committing what everyone agrees are crimes. But the party to blame for all of this, according to _Time_? The citizens, of course!

  • UW professors: Discovering life on other planets unlikely (Barf!)

    11/16/2005 12:46:31 PM PST · 78 of 101
    Timm to megatherium
    Of course, the dinosaurs' progress was abruptly halted 65 million years ago. Yet their surviving lineage (class Aves) today has demonstrated tool-using behavior, and certain species demonstrate a remarkable language ability, learning hundreds of words and even showing evidence of understanding the meaning of some words.

    This is a good point. I've thought for a while that birds are the closest thing we have to parallel, non-mammalian evolution of intelligence. This thought has occurred to me many times, as I live with a parrot.

    Birds aren't mammals, of course, yet some of them-- like parrots-- have developed characteristics similar to ours: they are highly social, they have close family bonds and also organize into larger than family groups, they have sophisticated means of vocal communication, they are long-lived, they travel significant distances at various times of the year for food, and they have grasping limbs (their feet) with which they might manipulate their environment. These are the factors, we're told, that spurred the development of human intelligence. When you consider these factors, it's no suprise that parrots are very bright. My bird is cleverer than any dog I've known, for example.

    The brains of intelligent birds are organized very differently than mammalian brains, too. They are more efficient per unit of weight and size than our designs-- hence the reason birds like parrots and crows can outthink similar sized mammals.

    However, even more important than intelligence to a bird is the ability to fly. It's thought that the largest a non-gliding, flying bird could get is about thirty-five pounds. That's the weight of a swan. Birds with non-aquatic lifestyles-- hanging out in trees, building nests off of the ground, or eating foods that are widely dispersed and only available in smaller quantities at a time-- are probably even more limited in their largest practical sizes.

    So, it might be that the most intelligent birds-- like parrots or crows-- are about as smart as birds can get given their lifestyles. At least, you would suspect that if it were an advantage for any birds of those kinds to be more intelligent, counting costs of that increase like larger body size, they would have developed more intelligence by now.

    So, the case of birds might suggest that the favorable conditions for the development of technical intelligence are unusual, even among relatively bright, social animals.

  • The Shape of Things to Come

    11/14/2005 12:00:56 AM PST · 9 of 11
    Timm to B-Chan
    Almost no one can afford the health care he needs throughout his life according to this author. But if we raise taxes, and pay for health care that way, everyone will be able to buy everything he needs.

    Wow, who knew socialized purchasing power was so powerful?! Why hasn't anyone thought of this before??

  • Pirates attack luxury liner off Somalia (attack repelled)

    11/05/2005 10:52:21 PM PST · 62 of 69
    Timm to FDNYRHEROES
    Very interesting information.

    I can't help but read (3) as all but advising ships to ignore distress calls altogether off of the Somali coast. It would be very dangerous, to be sure, to respond to any calls from natives. Even western speakers on radio might be hostages.

  • Pirates attack luxury liner off Somalia (attack repelled)

    11/05/2005 6:05:44 PM PST · 36 of 69
    Timm to FairOpinion
    I read a book a couple of years ago on international piracy, _Dangerous Waters_. The book focused largely on the South China Seah, and the Molacca Strait. There is a very serious problem with shipping security in those waters, not only because the waters are heavily traveled but because the shipping is itself very close to poor and lawless land.

    Somalia is poor and lawless, to be sure, but this ship was one hundred miles from shore. So, this attack wasn't a matter of a few barefoot fishermen motoring out in a rubber raft hoping to score some loot from a boat's safe. No impoverished Somali motors out in a small open boat a hundred miles from the African coast, with AK's and RPG launchers, on the chance that some fat ship might pass by. This was an attack well-planned in advance, against a target the pirates knew would be passing by this spot.

    Given the planning of this assault, I'm not at all sure the motive was simply "theft", as a cruise line official put it on a television news report. It is possible that an extremely brutal and protracted version of the terrorist attacks that have shocked the world over the past several years was narrowly avoided today.